This is a comprehensive review of the Callaway Apex CF 16 iron, one of two new upgrades to the Apex line of irons (full reviews of the previous Apex and Apex Pro models can be found here and here respectively). Although the Apex CF 16 iron is forged and considered to be in the better-player class, it has characteristics of both a players and a game-improvement iron.
Callaway is certainly one of the top golf equipment brands out there today; does the Apex CF 16 iron live up to that reputation? Is it worth the buy? What are its strengths and weaknesses? Read on to find out what you need to know to make an informed purchase.
In a hurry? Here’s the quick overview and verdict for you…
Rating: 4.9/5 (Outstanding)
Pros: Distance is tremendous thanks to a hot face with a high COR; forgiveness is very impressive for a forged iron; easy to hit and easy to get the ball up in the air with long irons; workability is excellent; sound/feel is buttery smooth, soft and satisfying; beautifully blends the best better-player and game-improvement qualities into a great-looking package
Classification: Better-Player (with game-improvement characteristics)
Recommended for: Whether it’s forgiveness, quality feel, distance or workability, there’s something in the Apex CF 16 irons for everyone. Any golfer — professional, scratch or double-digit handicap — can have great success with them.
Best places to buy online: Please see the relevant table near the end of the review!
Want a high-resolution look at the Apex CF 16 irons? Click on the composite image at the top of the page and navigate the photos on the left-hand side of the screen.
What are the reviews like?
The Apex CF 16 irons, perhaps not surprisingly, have received fantastic ratings from customers and critics alike. They have a perfect average customer rating of 5/5 (100% recommended with over 25 reviews) on the Callaway official website and a 5/5 average rating on Golfsmith, among other places.
The irons have been praised for their excellent forgiveness (considering their forged quality), incredible distance (thanks in part to a very hot face, discussed in the features section below), great workability and control, sharp look, smooth buttery feel and extensive shaft selection. Many people have reported clear and substantial distance gains (sometimes 10-20 yards and upwards) over their previous irons, including the previous Apex model. Although the Apex CF 16 irons are pricey, they’re super high-quality and most people find them to be worth every penny.
What are the features?
The Apex CF 16 iron is the first forged iron to feature Callaway’s “industry-leading” Face Cup 360 technology previously found in their fairway woods and hybrids. This “precision-engineered” face cup is found in the longer irons (3-7) and delivers increased ball speeds, more consistent ball speeds and improved ball speed preservation across the entire face. The coefficient of restitution (COR) of a Cup 360 Apex face, which is a measure of the efficiency of momentum transfer between the clubface and ball, lies at about 0.82 — about 0.02 higher than the COR of the original Apex iron and the highest of any forged iron currently on the market. The result of this is unprecedented ball speeds with the Apex CF 16 iron that can translate into huge distances.
The sole widths, offset and center of gravity (CG) of the Apex CF 16 irons are all progressive. The longer irons have wider soles, more offset and a lower CG (through a tungsten insert) for higher launch and more forgiveness. The shorter irons and wedges, on the other hand, have less offset, are more compact and have a higher CG for a more penetrating ball flight, improved feel and workability.
The Apex CF 16 irons features a multi-piece construction that provides the golfer with the performance they need all throughout the set. The longer irons utilize the Cup 360 technology (as mentioned above) while the shorter irons utilize what Callaway calls a “unique engineered face plate” that enhances feel and distance control.
The 1025 mild carbon steel head of the Apex CF 16 iron has undergone an advanced forging process (very precise quadruple net forging) with precision milling. This results in an ultra-soft, smooth and satisfying feel at impact that is rivaled by few other competitors.
The stock shafts offered are the True Temper XP 95 in steel and the UST Mamiya Recoil 760/780 in graphite. A wide selection of additional shaft options are available at no upcharge for those who are not satisfied with the stock offerings. More information on the shafts and their specs can be found on the Callaway website. The specs of the Apex CF 16 irons can be found in the table below:
|Name||Loft||Availability||Length||Lie||Offset||Graphite Swing Weight||Steel Swing Weight|
How do these irons perform?
I will say that I think Callaway really did an amazing job with the Apex CF 16 irons combining the best traits of players irons and game-improvement irons into one beautiful “Superman” package. Plenty is offered to golfers of just about all skill levels and handicaps.
Distance: The Apex CF 16 irons are long. In fact, I’m comfortable saying that you’re very likely to hit them at least a full club longer (10-15 yards or even more) than your previous irons, especially when you use a suitable shaft. When you couple the strong lofts with the super-hot Cup 360 face, the result is a piercing explosive shot that truly goes a long way. Even mild and moderate mis-hits still retain a very good ball speed and hence distance. With the shorter irons you can also expect penetrating shots, but with added precision and workability as well.
Forgiveness: The fact that Callaway was able to make a forged iron this forgiving is truly impressive. The Cup 360 technology in the face of the Apex CF 16 iron increases ball speeds across the entire face, which means that mild and moderate mis-hits still retain a very good distance. Directional forgiveness is also very good — while all bets are off when you hit a terrible shot, typical mis-hits for a mid-handicapper should not stray too far off target.
Trajectory: Normal trajectories with the Apex CF 16 irons are long, straight and penetrating. This penetrating flight holds up well in the wind even with the scoring clubs.
Playability/Workability: Despite the strong lofts, players should have no trouble getting the ball up in the air with the Apex CF 16 irons, particularly the longer irons which are easy to hit. Workability is great; competent golfers should be able to shape draws, fades, low or high shots with relative ease.
What about look, sound and feel?
Look: True to its performance, the Apex CF 16 iron almost looks like a hybrid between a players iron and a game-improvement iron both in terms of offset (not excessive) and top line thickness (not as thick as some of the chunkiest game-improvement irons but not razor-thin either). The iron has a brushed chrome finish and a simple effective silver/black design on the sole. Overall, it’s a look that will probably appeal the most to double-digit handicappers. Low-handicap/scratch golfers who want an even more compact look should look to its sibling, the Apex Pro 16.
Sound and Feel: With a forged iron comes premium sound and feel, and the Apex CF 16 iron doesn’t disappoint in this regard. Sound and feel are very consistent throughout the entire set, similar to the previous Apex model but arguably even better. They can be described in many words: quiet, soft, muted, smooth, crisp and explosive are just some. It’s certainly one of the best-feeling and best-sounding irons you’ll ever play. Mis-hits are not harsh on the hands and feedback is plentiful for troubleshooting purposes.
Where should I buy these irons online?
|Best Online Locations||Prices (subject to change)||Shipping Details||Returns/Exchanges||Additional Notes|
|Amazon||Click here to display current prices.||- fast and reliable|
- free shipping available
- eligible free two-day shipping and free same-day shipping for Amazon Prime members (free trial available)
|- returns can generally be made within 30 days of receipt of shipment (past 30 days up to 80% of the price can be refunded)|
- exchanges can be made through the Online Returns Center if the option is available
|- A-to-z Guarantee ensures you receive your item from third-party sellers as advertised and in a timely manner
- a wide variety of configurations and shaft types are offered for the Apex CF 16 irons
- trusted with excellent customer service
- individual irons can also be purchased
|eBay||Click here to display current new listings.|
Click here to display current used listings.
|- shipping speeds and costs depend on location, individual seller and available services (free options sometimes available)||- exact policies depend on the individual seller|
- in the event returns are allowed, they can be initiated easily through the eBay website
|- great for used and new clubs
- some $150+ and $250+ discounts for new and used Apex CF 16 irons respectively
- overstock is often sold here at a substantial discount
- generally offers the best prices for used clubs
|Global Golf||Click here to display current prices.||- multitude of options available including Economy (often free) and Next Day|
- international shipping available
- shipping discount codes can be used at checkout
|- exchanges can be initiated by contacting Global Golf directly|
- unused equipment can be returned for a full refund within 30 days, subject to certain conditions, through the online returns center
- many golf products qualify for a 30-Day Playability Guarantee, which allows customers to return used clubs within 30 days for a full refund in the form of store credit
|- offers coupon/discount/promotional codes on an ongoing basis to be used at checkout|
|Golfsmith||Click here to display current prices.||- ground, two-day and overnight shipping options available|
- ships internationally
- free shipping coupon codes can be used
|- exchanges and full refunds for unused product can be granted within 30 days of purchase, subject to certain conditions|
- Performance Guarantee allows customers to return used clubs they're not satisfied with within 30 days for a full club credit, subject to conditions
- equipment can be returned to any retail location or to the Distribution Center
|- a free online club fitting for a custom set of Apex CF 16 irons is offered right here
- the Club Trade-in program (currently offering a 50% bonus) allows customers to trade in an old club for an amount to be put towards the purchase of a new club, subject to certain conditions
It’s difficult to find prices lower than the price set by the manufacturer for new golf irons such as these. However, new Apex CF 16 irons are being sold in all different configurations and shaft types by trusted sellers (often for over $150 off normal price) on eBay; their prices are really unbeatable and I strongly recommend checking it out.
Aside from eBay, the best most trusted places to look for new Apex CF 16 irons would be Amazon (sets and individual irons available), Golfsmith (with a free online fitting), Global Golf and of course the official Callaway website.
The Apex CF 16 irons are outstanding, a definite step up from the previous Apex model and must-try for those willing to shell out a little extra for something that’s top quality. There’s something in them for everyone: a confidence-inspiring head with great forgiveness and distance for mid to high handicappers, and excellent feel, workability and playability for skilled golfers. They can be counted on in just about any situation on the golf course to deliver the performance you need.
If you have any thoughts or opinions about Callaway’s Apex CF 16 irons, be sure to leave a comment below!