Callaway Golf resurrected the Apex name two years ago from the Hogan family, invoking images of one of golf's great players irons. Now, the company has taken what it believes is the next step with the Apex label, creating, for the first time, a forged players cavity-back iron utilizing 360 Face Cup technology.
If you haven't given Callaway a look in the last couple of years, the 360 Face Cup technology has been a staple of its releases, utilizing a cup face that is welded onto the body of the iron, including around the perimeter, with the aim of increasing ball speeds throughout the face and improving energy transfer at impact. However, they've been doing that with cast, hollow-body irons. They'd yet to figure out how do do that with a forged blade, that is, until this iteration of Apex.
The Apex '16 iron is a two-piece clubhead, utilizing a 1025 mild carbon steel body with the steel cup face laser welded to it. There's little room for error in production, with Callaway choosing to use minimal welding materials to make sure each club gets the designed benefit from the Face Cup. With a better weld point, Callaway was able to use a weaker face material in conjunction with the geometry of the face to actually improve the coefficient of restitution by two basis points. A TPU piece in the back cavity improves sound and feel.
The Face Cup technology is employed in the 3-7 irons in the set. The short irons have an engineered face plate, getting smaller in size compared to the long irons for more control. Offset and sole width increase through the set, while the center of gravity moves gently to optimize launch conditions for each iron.
The Apex Pro '16 irons are a blend of Tour player-preferred features from two prior offerings, the Callaway X Forged '13 and the initial Apex Pro. The new set is made from mild 1025 carbon steel using a quadruple net forging technique for softness and feel.
Three weight ports in the back of each head are used to control weighting through the set. In the long irons, two of three ports have tungsten to lower the center of gravity and improve launch angle. In the middle irons, two of the three ports were filled with stainless steel for an appropriate mid-height ball flight. The ports were left unfilled in the scoring clubs.
This Apex cycle also comes with a line of hybrids, continuing the bifurcation of the hybrid category, with an offshoot of the concept built to look and perform more like long irons than short metalwoods.
The hybrids are built with a forged Face Cup utilizing Carpenter 455 stainless steel. They have an iron-like shape with an Internal Standing Wave designed to refine the center of gravity for tight launch conditions. The club is built to be hit like an iron, with a descending blow, imparting more spin on the ball than a typical high-launching, soft-landing hybrid.
The Callaway Golf Apex '16 irons (3-PW) will be available Oct. 30 for $1,200 with True Temper XP 95 steel shafts. UST Mamiya Recoil 760/780 graphite shafts are available in the set for $1,400. The Apex '16 Pro irons (3-AW) will also hit the market on Oct. 30 for $1,200 with True Temper Project X steel shafts, with UST Mamiya Recoil 95/110 graphite shafts available for $200 more.
The Callaway Golf Apex hybrid will be available Dec. 4 for $220 each in 2- through 5-iron options with Mitsubishi Rayon's Kuro Kage Black shafts.