• Apex Black irons with Black Plasma PVD
  • Same construction as 2021 Apex irons
  • Retail price is $215 per club with steel shaft, $229.98 with graphite

The 2022 Callaway Apex Black irons are the same as the 2021 Callaway Apex irons, save for one major detail. The finish.

For this limited run, Callaway uses a Black Plasma PVD finish which provides a “sleek, superior look and iconic feel on every swing.”

No word on whether that sweet feeling is available on thin shots. Hey, for some of us that matters.

Callaway Apex Black Iron

Consumers are used to seeing wedges with multiple finish options. Raw, chrome, satin, oil can, black and so on. Conversely, irons are typically either chrome or satin. Generally, it’s the former which is a bit odd to me, given that satin conceals scratches and wears far better than chrome.

But when a manufacturer decides to offer an option other than satin or chrome, it’s typically some version of a PVD or DLC black finish. More on that in a sec. For this release, the story, and the Black Plasma PVD finish, are one and the same.

The iron is still the 2021 Apex which Callaway launched in January 2019. So, yes, like most such releases, Callaway took a popular model and is breathing new life into it via a coat of fancy paint. That’s not a slight nor a criticism. It’s simply an acknowledgment of the basic elements of limited-edition iron releases.

At launch, the salient talking points of the 2021 Callaway Apex included A.I. designed Flash Cup Face and a massive tungsten energy core with five times more tungsten than the 2019 Apex iron model. That year, the Callaway Apex Pro garnered top honors as the Most Wanted Player’s Iron. Its slightly larger sibling, Apex, received plenty of praise from testers for its forgiveness, particularly in mid and long irons.

Callaway Apex Black Finish

Black trucks. Black suits. Black irons. They all look damn sexy—on the rack. Or in the shop. And therein lies the basis for what I call the paradox of black.

The finished product looks amazing but it’s “keeping the paint off your clothes even if you’re really careful” difficult to keep it that way. As a result, manufacturers continue to experiment with different materials and applications to find a finish that’s playable yet durable.

The two most common applications are PVD and DLC. Both PVD (physical vapor deposition) and DLC (diamond-like carbon) are applied using similar process inside a vacuum chamber. To date, subjective feedback seems to indicate that DLC is the preferred material. It’s also often more expensive than PVD. However, in chatting with several other large manufacturers, the latest versions of PVD are vastly improved as compared to previous mixtures that had a shelf life like a piece of Bazooka bubble gum.

All that aside, any black finish is going to show wear quicker than the chrome or satin counterpart. It’s going to be on a pitch count and, at some point, the black finish is going to show its age. If the premature wear is concentrated primarily to the sole, it might not bother some golfers. But if you’re the golfer who organizes shirts by color and can see a pin prick-sized imperfection on the top line of your driver, black may not be the best choice.

My $0.05

For Callaway … excuse me … Topgolf Callaway Brands, the fall serves as an opportunity to release equipment that isn’t necessarily intended for the masses. Last year it was the Apex UW. Next year, who knows? Maybe a small run of Endo-forged, box-toe Apex muscle-backs? In black, of course.

The supply-chain conundrum has a visible horizon. Lead times on equipment builds are getting shorter. With any luck, 2023 should, from an equipment release and delivery standpoint, be relatively normal. If so, expect to see more short-run releases of irons and wedges across the industry. Black is the new black.

What iron would you like to see in black next? Comment below.


Availability and Pricing

Retail availability starts Sept. 30.

Retail pricing: $215 per club with steel shaft and $229.98 per club with graphite

For more information, visit callawaygolf.com.


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