Callaway Apex Pro 16 Irons Review

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50 Words or Less

The Callaway Apex Pro 16 irons are some of the best looking irons available.  The big surprise is how easy they are to hit.  Plenty of distance, too.

Introduction

In the golf industry, there are countless products that do what they’re expected to do: giant irons that are really forgiving, beautiful blades that reward only the best strikes.  The new Callaway Apex Pro 16 irons are an expectation-buster: they pack enough forgiveness for recreational golfers into a package that screams “Tour only”…and they’re long.

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Looks

When you pick up the new Callaway Apex Pro 16 irons and put them in a playing position, they are supermodel beautiful.  These are the epitome of a players iron: minimal offset, rail-thin top line, skinny sole, and a blade length that frames the ball without much extra.  The mirrored chrome finish even makes them appear a bit smaller.  In the bag, the combination of black and chrome is classic and clean.

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Sound & Feel

Based on the looks of the Callaway Apex Pro 16 irons, my expectations for the feel were high, and these clubs delivered.  Impact feels soft but with a crisp, hot feeling, similar to the Apex CF 16.  In comparing the two, I would say the Apex Pro is a bit quieter and not quite as explosive feeling, a bit more traditional.

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Performance

In many ways, I’m your typical golf equipment junkie: I look at gear way more than I practice or play, and this leads me to want equipment that I don’t have the game for.  Said another way, I have champagne taste but a beer golf swing.  I was fully expecting to love the Apex Pro 16 irons but quickly realize that I didn’t have the game for them.  I was wrong.  The Apex Pro 16 irons might be the most playable blades ever.  The progressive center of gravity – lower in the long irons, higher in the short irons – makes these clubs easy to get in the air all the way through the set.  Small mishits are completely forgiven; only when you stray substantially from the center will you notice a real loss in distance.

While the Apex Pro 16s are relatively easy to play, they also offer good players the ability to control their ball.  The minimal offset allows you to hit fades and draws without big, exaggerated swings.  These clubs naturally produce a fairly high, strong ball flight, but you can adjust trajectory with little effort.

It’s also worth mentioning that despite being fairly traditional in terms of the lofts, the Apex Pro 16 can hang with any players iron in terms of distance.  If you want to bang your irons past everyone, you should opt for the Apex CF 16, but the Pros will be plenty long for most good players.

As has become expected from Callaway lately, the Apex Pro 16 can be ordered with a number of different steel shaft options at no upcharge.  Kudos to Callaway, once again, for emphasizing the importance of custom fitting.

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Conclusion

While not quite as forgiving nor as long as the Apex CF 16, the Callaway Apex Pro 16 irons are so beautiful and sweet-feeling that players will fall in love with them.  Just as importantly, these irons open up the doors to creative shot shaping as only a true blade iron can.

Matt Saternus

43 Comments

  1. Jason Warlond

    Matt, How would you compare them to the Mizuno 850 Forged for forgiveness and overall feel and looks?

    • Matt Saternus

      Jason,

      The Apex Pro’s are not really comparable to the 850 Forged in looks and feel; a Mizuno MP iron would be much closer. In terms of forgiveness, the 850 Forged would have the edge.

      -Matt

  2. Bruce MacRae

    Matt –

    I love the look of these irons. I got the chance to hit them and was amazed at the performance. Would you recommend these irons for a 13 handicap? How would you compare them to the Ping i irons?

    Thanks,
    Bruce

    • Matt Saternus

      Bruce,

      If you hit them successfully, there’s no reason not to play them, regardless of handicap.
      There’s a substantial difference in the look of these vs. the PING i. There’s also a gap in forgiveness. It comes down to what you want in terms of a look and how much you prioritize forgiveness.

      Best,

      Matt

  3. Jason Warlond

    How would the Apex compare to the Ben Hogans Ft.Worths you tested a few months back? PS. Still enjoying your direct style of review without regurgitating the marketing info. Refreshing stuff.

    • Matt Saternus

      Jason,

      Thanks!

      The Apex Pro and Ft Worth irons are my two favorite blade irons of the year. In fact, I mentioned both to Bill earlier today as being very impressive for the way they combine super traditional looks with forgiveness. I don’t think there’s a clear cut reason to favor one over the other – I would go with the one that you prefer (looks & feel) and that performs better in a fitting.

      Best,

      Matt

  4. Is there much difference between the Apex Pro and the Apex Pro 16?

    • Matt Saternus

      Jacob,

      I don’t have much experience with the original Apex Pro, so I can’t give you an educated answer on that.

      Best,

      Matt

  5. I’ve booked a proper fitting for new irons to check how on/off my current i25s are 2 years after a “big box fitted”. (I know, I know…)

    Do the i25s work for me? Yes, but I’m constantly doubting that I’m optimized since I didn’t go through a proper fitting to compare different heads and shafts originally. Maybe there is better, maybe not, I will soon know for sure!

    Here’s my question: I’m planning to test out the Ping i, AP2s, and the Apex CF/Apex Pros, but am I making a mistake looking at the Pros as well? Are the Pro’s in a different class that I should be avoiding?
    I’m a 9 handicap (with 4.5 penalties a round from the tee, but working on fixing that), so I’m not sure if I’d be over reaching and wasting “fitting minutes” if the CF is a better comparable to the Pings and AP2s.

    I’m sure the fitter will have great advice, but I respect your opinions as completely unbiased, and you’d have a great base for comparison since you play the i25s yourself.

    Thanks as always!

    • Matt Saternus

      Adam,

      There’s no reason to avoid the Pros. I would say the CF is probably more of a direct competitor with the I and AP2, but the Pro isn’t a world away. You might consider going to a big box before the fitting to try the two head to head to see if one isn’t for you. Good luck with your fitting.

      Best,

      Matt

      • thanks Matt!
        I ended up going to the big box last night to swing the two and there were some insane results from the CFs. My normal 7 iron carries 168Y but I was hitting the CFs on average 185 carry! I noticed the lofts are jacked up by almost a full club loft, which could cause some serious issues with the scoring clubs.
        I did notice they released a CF/Pro combo set with adjusted lofts, that might be a great option.

        I did have a strange experience though, and I wonder if you have any input… The XP95 shaft felt great in both a 7i and a 5i in the CF, but the Project X 6.0 only felt right in the 7i Pro, but felt off with the Pro 5i. Have you noticed anything similar in your testing? Is it maybe that I was feeling the less-forgiving face on mishits in the Pro, or are there huge differences between the two stock shafts?

        • Matt Saternus

          Adam,

          Project X and XP 95 are about as different as two steel iron shafts can be. PX is also well known for being very harsh feeling.

          Best,

          Matt

          • **Update
            I went for my fitting yesterday and it was amazing! It really is so important to get fit.

            I went in thinking I needed a lighter shaft in stiff after big box testing the Apex CF with XP95s vs Apex Pros with PXs, but during my fitting we had a great discussion about my game/wants/needs and ended up finding a sweet spot with the Dynamic Gold Pros in extra stiff. To top it off Callaway offers this as a no-upcharge shaft!

            I also ended up with a blended set:
            Apex 4 hybrid
            Apex CF 16 5-6 irons
            Apex Pro 16 7-8 irons
            Apex MB 9 iron – PW
            Vokey gap wedge to match my other Vokey wedges.

            This type of set make up would not even be possible going the big box route, and I would never have been able to come up with this type of combination. But Flightscope readings + feel + look made this an unreal set makeup for my game!
            Super excited!
            GET FIT!

          • Adam,

            Sounds like a great set. Play well!

            -Matt

  6. Hi Matt, any thoughts or comparisons between the Mizuno 850 Forged irons and the new Callaway Apex CF 16 irons? I love the Mizunos and have yet to hit the Callaway’s but have been told that the Apex might offer a bit more forgiveness? Much thanks in advance and keep up the great work!

    • Matt Saternus

      Damon,

      If you’ve read both reviews here, you probably have a pretty good idea which one I prefer, but I haven’t tested them head to head, so I can’t make any real comments about comparative performance.

      Best,

      Matt

  7. Randy Chappell

    How would the apex pro 16 compare with 714 ap2 for forgiveness and feel

    • Matt Saternus

      Randy,

      I prefer the Apex on all counts, but I haven’t tested them head to head to get a fair comparison on forgiveness.

      Best,

      Matt

  8. Hi Matt,

    Would it make any sense to go with the apex pro PW-6 and CF 5-3 because of the different lofts?
    I am aware there is a combo set but I’like to have my mid irons still with more control as you mentioned in your review!
    Thanks

    • Matt Saternus

      Lucas,

      No reason at all that wouldn’t work, just check the 5-6 gap and bend accordingly, if necessary.

      Best,

      Matt

  9. Matt,

    Great reviews!! I have hit the CF16 and love the feel and distance, and forgiveness. I’m just beginning to learn to work the ball, which is really new to me and really fun, I must say! So, as a 19 handicap and improving, I’m thinking I’d like the distance of the CF if I am not giving up a ton of workability. Otherwise, based on how easy the Apex pro is to hit, would i enjoy that more? Any comments? Thanks!

    • Matt Saternus

      Chris,

      As a 19 handicap, I would say the CF is probably a better choice. That said, a fitting is always option #1.

      Best,

      Matt

  10. Matt,

    Could use some advice. I’m 62 and looking for some new irons. Currently playing titleist
    DCI. Been looking at AP1 and Apex. Also thinking about changing from steel shafts to graphite. Would you recommend this change if so which shaft. Recoil or Kurokage

    • Matt Saternus

      Harold,

      Why are you looking to change?

      The only way to know if the change would be beneficial, and to which model you should switch, would be to work with a qualified fitter.

      Best,

      Matt

  11. Is the callaway apex pro irons full on blades or semi blades

  12. Bill Keselowski

    Matt, great review! I am a 2.2 handicap, 110 mph ss. I’ve been gaming the Bridgestone J36 combos since 2008 with Project X 6.5 flighted shafts. I’m thinking a set of these Callaway Apex Pro 16 might be the way to go…I don’t practice nearly as much as I used to. And probably the std Proj X 6.0 shaft.
    Do U have any opinion on how these two sets compare, obviously the Callaway should be better?!

    thanks for your input!

    • Matt Saternus

      Bill,

      I don’t have any real experience with the J36, but I think the Apex Pro is among the elite in the “better players irons” category. The ball speed is tremendous, particularly given the traditional looks.

      Best,

      Matt

  13. Hi Matt
    I want to change my set irons and I want your opinion about it.
    I am 12 hadicap, I currently use the RSi 2 of taylormade, KBS steel firm, I want something very similar.

    I have read a lot of APEX CF 16 and APEX Pro 16, I would like to know your opinion about which one could be more adapted to my game. which one is more similar to the irons that I use in details as the size of the iron face.

    Apex Pro is very forged?
    the Apex pro 16 can be used by players with 12 handicaps?
    Is there a big difference in the sizes of the iron face?
    I’m looking for irons that are very playable and look like the ones I currently have in size.

    Thank you for your comments

    Francisco

    • Matt Saternus

      Francisco,

      As always, I will advise that you work with a fitter to find what’s best for you. That said, for a 12 handicap, my recommendation would be the Apex CF 16 because it’s more forgiving.

      Best,

      Matt

    • Which has more forgiveness in your opinion apex pro or Iblade?

  14. Ayondeep Phukan

    Hi Matt, great review!
    I’m a 5 handicap and looking for a new semi bladed set of irons.
    Also, coming from a game improvement set of irons with 32° 7 iron (Razr X), I don’t want a much loss of distance when I change to semi blades.
    What would you recommend between the Apex Pros and the TM P770s in terms of feel and performance?

    • Matt Saternus

      Ayondeep,

      My preference is the Apex Pro, but I haven’t tested the two head to head for performance.

      Best,

      Matt

  15. Hey Matt!
    How do the Apex Pros compare to the P770s in terms of performance, feel, and distance?

  16. Hi Matt i currently use Srixon z745 irons would you say that the Callaway apex pro would suit me and if i will be able to play them

    • Matt Saternus

      Donovan,

      I don’t think the Apex Pro would be hugely different from the Z745 in terms of forgiveness. Whether it would fit you is a question that only a fitter, working with you in person, can answer.

      Best,

      Matt

  17. Hi. Been in the market for a new set for a while (most likely used). How would these compare to the Tailor-made PSi’s? I play the version that is Forged 8-PW and regular 7-4. Thanks

    • Matt Saternus

      Ryan,

      I prefer the look and feel of the Apex Pro. I don’t have any head to head testing to compare distance or forgiveness.

      Best,

      Matt

  18. The Reviews, (atleast 15), for these irons have me perplexed? I got a set of these 3-pw with Recoil PT 110’s and honestly, they were all around Junk. The feel was awful and I believe they were the first set of irons where I could not find a discernible “sweet spot”? Nothing felt “sweet” off of these. The ball flight was extremely low and the distances were far shorter than any club I’ve used. Oh, and the chrome finish began cracking on a number of the irons and it revealed a blackish rust colored steel that actually bled into the edges of the cracks.
    Did I get a bad set? At first I thought they were fake. But they weren’t fake. The only other thing I can think of is that someone tried to re-chrome them, and failed, but why would someone go through the trouble? I wound up selling them at a loss, because I couldn’t lie to prospective buyers, I told them that they were the worst irons I’d ever had. I probably should’ve just kept the shafts and thrown the heads in the trash. But an individual really wanted them, so I sold them at a huge loss. (Huge to me is $190.) I paid $390, sold them for $200 and I gave the kid the old Ping Staff bag that I kept them in. I cringe now, everytime I read about how Great this set is. I play Mp25’s now and love ’em! But I’ve other Callaway irons that are excellent! I still have the X22 Tour irons and I believe it’s still 1 of the best iron sets available for someone that wants a set between true Players irons and Game Improvement irons. I had the regular X20’s and they are a great set for mid-high HDCPR’s. I still game the Callaway BB Alpha 816 DBD with Rogue Silver 60 and as of yet, nothing has knocked it out of the bag. So it’s not as if I’ve some aversion to Callaway…I’m actually fond of the brand, but the Apex Pro CF 16’s that I had, were just….Nasty! (Sorry for the rant! But I do feel better now!)

    • Matt Saternus

      Joeg,

      This is why we encourage everyone to get fit before they buy – you know what you’re getting will perform, and if you buy them from the fitter, no chance of getting fakes.

      -Matt

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