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Chris Kirk explains switch to Callaway’s new Apex CB irons

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Equipment

Chris Kirk explains switch to Callaway’s new Apex CB irons


    Written by GolfWRX GolfWRX.comGolfWRX.com

    Switching into new irons, especially at the PGA TOUR level, isn’t always about distance gains. TOUR players work incredibly hard on the range and golf course to ensure they’re hitting the exact yardage numbers they want, and they set their irons up to properly fill any gaps.

    For five-time PGA TOUR winner Chris Kirk, his recent change from Callaway Apex MB 2018 blade irons to new 2023 Callaway Apex CB irons wasn’t about distance. At least, not from the fairway.

    Most amateur golfers test their irons when the golf ball is sitting on perfect lies on the range, or they’re hitting off an indoor mat. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – perfect lies help maintain consistency from shot to shot, thus eliminating variables. But golf is played under varying conditions and even professionals don’t hit the fairway every time.

    According to Kirk, there’s not much difference in yardage between his former Apex blades and his new Apex CB irons when hitting from the fairway. Hitting from the rough, though, is a different story.

    As Kirk explained on Tuesday ahead of the BMW Championship, he used to struggle at times hitting the correct yardage with his irons from out of the rough. A mishit, or a trajectory that comes out a bit too low, would cost him distance and leave him short of the green.

    “Last week [at the FedEx St. Jude Championship], was my first week with them in the bag,” Kirk said of his new Callaway irons. “I had them at home for a few months, just kind of testing around with them. But the main reason I put them in, I would say, is because of the consistency out of the rough.

    “My older blades were kind of coming out slow out of the rough. If I flew it 330, I would like that. But there were a lot of times, like in Greensboro [at the Wyndham Championship], I’d be 160 out and have an 8 iron and come up short. They were coming out slow. And I would get the occasional jumper. But these are really, really consistent out of the rough. They’re coming out a bit hotter.”

    Kirk recognized the Apex CB irons were a better fit for him because, unlike most golfers, he actually tested his shots out of the rough against his previous irons.

    “I’ll go on the side of the range [into the rough] and hit off Trackman,” Kirk said. “Then on the golf course, it’s more of a feel-based thing. When you’re on the range, you can see the difference in ball speed and spin rates … This week, with this thicker, denser rough, it’ll allow me to get a bit more on the ball, as opposed to using a groove that comes out a bit more dead.”

    Using Trackman for data, and some longer grass on the side of the range, Kirk was able to verify that he was hitting his intended target number more often than he did with his previous blades.

    Additionally, Kirk said the new Apex CB irons add about 5 feet of height per shot, helping him boost trajectory on shots that come out too low, thus allowing him to reach greens out of the rough more easily, and stop more quickly upon landing.

    As for the design of the irons, Kirk especially took a liking to the new sole design and the easy transition from his 2018 irons.

    Chris Kirk's new 2023 Callaway Apex CB irons. (GolfWRX)

    Chris Kirk's new 2023 Callaway Apex CB irons. (GolfWRX)

    “The sole on them is great,” Kirk told GolfWRX.com. “They have like a pre-worn leading edge, which I like a lot. And they have plenty of bounce for me, I like to have high-bounce irons.

    “Other than that, out of the fairway, it’s coming out really, really similar to what I was playing. I noticed maybe an extra 5 feet of apex height or so, which is good for me because I’m not a super high ball hitter, so it’s nice having my stock shot be up in the air just a teeny bit more. But not enough of a difference that it would take me a while to adjust."

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