Callaway Apex CF 16 Irons Review

Callaway Apex CF 16 Irons_0076

50 Words or Less

The Callaway Apex CF 16 irons are beautiful, really long, and easy to hit.


“Apex” is a bold name.  It’s bolder still in the golf world where it carries the legacy of Ben Hogan and some of the best irons ever made.

The Callaway Apex CF 16 irons don’t shy away from the challenge of their name.  With distance-enhancing technology, superb aesthetics, and the shot control that better players demand, these irons live up to their billing.

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The Callaway Apex CF 16 irons walk the line between players clubs and game improvement irons.  There’s some offset, but not much.  The top lines and soles are small but not razor thin.  These are fairly compact from heel to toe, but the straight leading edge does make them appear a bit longer.  Overall, “I only play real blades” snobs may take exception to the look, but most players from 15 to scratch will be thrilled to have them in the bag.

If you’re looking to compare these to the Apex Pro irons, the Apex CF irons are a bit thicker in the top line and sole, and they have a touch more offset.  Most noticeable is the difference in finish – the Apex CF is brushed chrome, the Apex Pro is a shiny, mirrored chrome.  I actually prefer the brushed finish, largely because I think it will age better.

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Sound & Feel

Quiet, crisp, and hot.  The forged face of the Apex CF 16 irons provides plenty of feedback without stinging your hands on those occasional mishits.  Impressively, though there are differences in construction between the long and short irons, the feel and sound are consistent throughout the set.

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Just as with people, first impressions are important with golf equipment, and the Callaway Apex CF 16 irons made a really strong first impression on me.  My very first swing with the Apex 6I – stiff, cold, right out of the car – went right down the center line, a full club longer than my gamers.  As I warmed up and worked through the set, I found that extra club regularly turning into a club and a half.  There are a few reasons for this distance boost.  First, the lofts are strong.  Second, the long irons use the Cup 360 face technology that Callaway originally put into their fairway woods.  This makes the faces hot even when you miss the center.  Finally, the stock True Temper XP 95 shafts (reviewed HERE) are lighter and have more pop than your average iron shaft.  For those that would prefer a different shaft, Callaway is offering a variety of options at no upcharge, just as they have been doing with their drivers.

Beyond the distance and forgiveness, it’s important to recognize that the Apex CF 16’s are an incognito combo set.  Though the irons all look the same in the bag, the 3-7 are designed differently than the 8-AW because Callaway recognizes that players need different things in their long irons compared to their scoring irons.  This, combined with the progressive offset, sole width, and CG height, means that each iron does exactly what you need it to.  The long irons are easy to hit, forgiving, and high launching.  The scoring clubs produce a more penetrating trajectory and consistent distances.

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If you’re looking for an iron that combines distance and forgiveness with great looks and feel, the Callaway’s latest lives up to the name.  The Callaway Apex CF 16 irons will be a great choice for the single-digit handicap, the aspiring player, or the scratch player looking for more yardage and forgiveness.

Buy the Callaway Apex CF 16 irons HERE

Matt Saternus
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  1. Moritz Bünger

    Hello Matt,

    what about the stopping power of those vs your i25s?
    I heard the Apex is quite low spinning which could get me into trouble as I naturally dont spin or launch the ball very high.

    Thanks for your advice

    • Matt Saternus


      At equivalent distances, the stopping power is comparable to the i25. If you compare 6I to 6I, the stopping power is less, but that’s to be expected when it’s going 10-15 yards farther.



  2. Simon Suddons

    Nice review Matt. I play i25s. Did you play them also? Have you gone from Ping to these Apex now?

    I am looking for 5-1o yards more per iron with a higher flight, so are the Apex doing that for you?


    • Matt Saternus


      Yes, I’ve played the i25 irons for over two years. I have not made a switch – for the amount of golf I play (very little), I don’t have a desire to go through any transition period plus the i25s do everything I need them to.
      If you need 5-10 more yards and higher flight, you should go for a fitting to find out what irons will actually give that to you. That said, the Apex would be high on my list to try.


  3. I have the 2014 Apex/ recoil 670 reg. shaft. I hit them well just going to get a 2016 model 6 thru gap. How do you think the new Apex compare to the orginal? Inside on launch monitor I’m getting roughly 5 more yds hard to tell on forgiveness. Also looking at cobra forged tec. Not many good days I can spend comparing clubs outside in Wichita Ks. (8.1 index). Your opinions are appreciated, thanks for all you guys do!

    • Matt Saternus


      I never tested the 2014 Callaway Apex, so I can’t give you much of a comparison.
      Both the 2016 Apex and the Cobra Forged Tec are great. I’d go with whatever produced better numbers in a fitting.



  4. Dale Hillman


    I am still playing TM Burner irons (7-8 years old now ). I’m not a pure ball striker but am better than most and still hit my 4 iron well (to me that is the test of an iron). Do you think there is more technology in this APEX CF 16 that would maintain distance in off centere hits? They both have strong lofts so should I expect to see distance gains? I know I have to be fit, but would nonetheless appreciate your thoughts. I will not give up distance unless it comes with dispersion gains that are measurable. It’s foregiveness that I will admit that I need. Even a 7 handicapper like me misses the middle more often than we like to think.

    Normally I wouldn’t consider a club like this but was blown away by its looks.

    • Matt Saternus


      I think the Apex CF16 is certainly deserving of a run at your Burners. I think the forgiveness is there and the distance should be comparable if not better.



  5. I love your site and reviews. I read about everything, even stuff I’m not interested in for myself.

    I’m an upper mid handicapper. Low 90s with an occasional 88 or 89 when everything works. On real easy courses I’ve even scored lower.

    My irons are the best part of my game. I actually strike them very well. Straight, reasonably long, and pretty accurate.

    My scores would improve greatly if I was smart enough to ditch the driver and hit three wood tee shots. Need to work on 60 yards and in too. Just don’t have enough time for a lot of practice there.

    I currently play Callaway Razr XF forged irons. Love the longer irons 4-8. I’m a little weaker with the 9-A. I actually hit these scoring clubs much better with my very old set of stiff shafted taylormade 360s. I could actually adjust distance and trajectory well with them. The Razr XF’s just have too much variation in distance accuracy with these shorter clubs. For me at least.

    Sorry so long winded. My question – would you recommend the new Apex’s to someone like me or am I fooling myself and the difference going from the SGI Razr XF’s to the Apex be too much?

    I very much like the “theory” of the Apez’s with more forgiving long irons and more accurate scoring irons for the reasons I mentioned above.

    Assuming this thread is even still active, I’d be interested in your thoughts. And if not, I’ll surely continue to read your site.

    (I actually just bought a Callaway BB ALPHA 815 driver based on your review. It’s shown a LOT of potential based on just one round and a few range sessions so far here on Ohio.).

    Keep up the good work. Love the site.


    I do currently play Callaway

    • Matt Saternus


      There is definitely a lot of space in the Callaway line up between the Apex CF and the RAZRs that you mention, but if you’re struggling with the RAZR short irons, I don’t see any reason not to try the Apex. I think that if you hit the RAZR XF long irons well, the Apex long irons will be a significant adjustment, but there’s no reason you can’t pair the RAZR XF long irons with the Apex scoring irons.



  6. I currently play the Nike Vapor Pro Combo irons but I seem to lack a Bit of distance with them when compared to my counterparts. However I love the Vapor pro combos ability to shape the ball and I would probably rate it as my top priority when purchasing irons. Will the Callaway apex irons compromise my shot-shaping ability greatly? (I play off a 1 handicap)

    • Matt Saternus


      I had no problem shaping these irons, but I would recommend testing them for yourself before buying.



  7. Jesse Garcia

    Hi Matt,
    How would you compare the Apex to the Taylormade M2?

  8. Matt I am 65 anf a 11-14 handicap. Would these clubs be suitable for me?

    • Matt Saternus


      I can’t say with any certainty. I would suggest trying them with a fitter, seeing how they perform for you, and then making a decision. Random guess: as an 11-14 they should be fine.



  9. Hi Matt big Callaway fan right now I am using the X tour irons looking at the apex irons and the Taylor made P790 I am a 9 handicap sure like to have your in put Thank you Al

    • Matt Saternus


      I’m a big fan of the Apex, but I haven’t hit the new TMs yet. We’re hoping to have a review of those up on the site soon.



  10. George Hinds

    70 year old 10 handicap. Generally a high ball hitter with 7 iron 155 yds. Can’t decide between Apex C-16 and Ping i-200 with Project X lz shaft. Any recommendation. Can’t decide between 5.5 and 6.0 shaft.

    • Matt Saternus


      Both are great clubs. I would work with a fitter to find out which one performed better in a head-to-head test.



    • Jean-Paul Smets

      Bought the Apex C16 with the ProjectX LZ shaft (6.0) in May. Great shaft, great club. Very few misses. Penetrating medium to high ballflight. The 7 iron is 170 yds. (age 58). #SecretGiveaway

  11. Picked a a set over the winter from Callaway Pre-owned very mint condition. Played 9 holes today, WoW better feel and much longer than my ping 1-200’s & AP2 716. I’ve found a winner…

  12. How do the launch, spin and ball speed of the apex CF16 compare to the callaway XR irons?

    • Matt Saternus


      I haven’t tested them head to head, but my recollection is that the XR may launch a bit higher, speed would be equal, spin would be close.



  13. I own a fitted set of Rogue X and an unfitted set of JPX 900 hot metal. Both graphite, I had a chance to try the Apex yesterday in graphite and I’ve got to say now I wonder if I went wrong with the Rogue X. How would you compare these to the others i mentioned? I didn’t want to put the Apex down.

    • Matt Saternus


      The Rogue X is a super game improvement iron like the Hot Metal. The Apex is somewhere in the game improvement/players range. You’re going to give up some forgiveness with the Apex, but if you like them, play them.



  14. Pingback: Callaway Apex 19 Irons Review - Plugged In Golf

  15. Conor Laverty

    Hey matt I’m a 19 year old kid and I really got into golf the last year. I’m currently playing my mates old set of ping g20’s which are a cavity back, I’m a 10-15 handicap and I’m wondering if these would be good replacement for them, I’m wondering how the forgiveness and the overall quality in the apex 16s would compare to the ping g20s, i assume they would be a little bit less for giving but I’m not sure.

    Thank you

    • Matt Saternus


      You’re correct, the G20 is going to be a bit more forgiving, but the difference isn’t huge. My standard recommendation is to try lots of things, work with a qualified fitter, and then get the clubs that give you the mix of looks, feel, and performance that you want.



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