Callaway Apex CF16 Irons Review – Pure Quality

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Callaway Apex CF16 Irons - 4 Perspectives

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, and if you’re interested in the new Apex 19 model, check out this review.

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.

Note: Unless otherwise stated, stock shafts and stock grips are used when evaluating this club. In most cases, the golf clubs reviewed on Golfstead are acquired temporarily for testing purposes and are not purchased. The review that follows is based on the personal experience and research of the author. Because everyone’s swing and body are different, results with a particular club may differ from person to person.

Quick Verdict

Rating: 4.9/5 (outstanding)

Classification: Better-player (with game-improvement traits)


  • 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


  • expensive (now less so)

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

These irons used to be readily available at many different stores, but because they’re now a few years old, there’s less availability. However, they are also a lot cheaper, which is awesome.

You should look for used Apex CF16 irons at Callaway Golf Pre-Owned, a certified reseller.

You can look at the prices on Amazon and Global Golf (Global Golf has a great return policy).

But the best place now to get Apex CF16 irons at the lowest prices is probably eBay, where you can sometimes find them at over $500 off the original price.

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.

They have an average customer rating of 4.9/5 (96% recommended with hundreds of reviews) on the Callaway Golf Pre-Owned website, a 4.9/5 rating on Global Golf, and a 5/5 average rating on Golfsmith, among other places.

What People Like

  • 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
  • extensive shaft selection

What People Don’t Like

  • expensive (but less so now)

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?

Face Cup

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.

Progressive Traits

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.

Multi-Piece Construction

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.

Stock Info

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 CGPO.

The specs of the Apex CF 16 irons can be found in the table below:

NameLoftAvailabilityLengthLieOffsetGraphite Swing WeightSteel 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.


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.


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.


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.


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 & feel?

The 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.

The Sound & 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.


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, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

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