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Callaway Apex, Apex Pro Irons: What you need to know



Apex Irons


  • Construction: Forged body (1025 carbon steel), 17-4 stainless steel faces
  • Irons available: 3-PW, AW, SW
  • Price: $1,199 steel, $1,399 graphite
  • Stock Shaft: True Temper XP 95 (steel)

Two years in a row, Callaway’s original Apex iron was voted the top-performing players iron on our Gear Trials: Best Players irons list. For 2016, the company is releasing the much-anticipated follow-up, which uses a new face construction to offer golfers more distance through a higher trajectory and additional ball speed.

Here’s what you need to know about the new Apex irons. 

  • The new irons use Callaway’s 360 Face Cups, which the company currently employs on its Big Bertha, XR and XR Pro irons. The technology has been an important part of Callaway’s resurfacing as a performance leader, especially with its fairway woods and hybrids. The 2016 Apex marks the first time Callaway has used its Face Cup technology in a forged iron.

The wrap-around Cup Face design (red) creates face thicknesses of 0.150 inches on top and 0.050 inches on bottom. The original Apex irons had thicknesses of 0.150 inches on top and 0.300 on bottom.

  • Face Cups are used on the Apex long and mid irons (3-7), and their wrap-around design makes the club faces thinner and more flexible. The Face Cups are made of 17-4 stainless steel, and laser welded to the irons’ 1025 carbon steel forged bodies.


  • The original Apex irons used 455 carpenter steel club faces. Their “face plates” were also welded to the 1025 carbon steel bodies. According to Scott Manwaring, director of design at Callaway Golf, the company made the switch to the 17-4 stainless steel because it allowed engineers to better control the thickness and shape of the Face Cups for better performance.


  • In the Apex short irons (8-SW), where golfers aren’t looking for maximum distance, the company uses 17-4 stainless steel face plates rather than Face Cups to improve consistency.

At address: An Apex 6 iron.

  • According to Manwaring, the Face Cups increase launch angle by approximately 1.5 degrees. The coefficient of restitution (COR), also increased from 0.800 to 0.820.


  • The new Apex short irons are more compact than the original Apex irons, with face lengths that are shorter to offer golfers an improved appearance and more control over their trajectory.


  • The sound and feel of the irons is tuned with a TPU material, nicknamed a “snubber” by Callaway’s R&D team. It is pressed against the back of the club faces to tune vibration without losing ball speed.



The new Apex irons retain the same lofts as the original Apex irons.

Apex Pro Irons


  • Construction: Forged from 1025 carbon steel, tungsten (3-5) and stainless steel (6-7) weights used.
  • Irons available: 3-PW, AW
  • Price: $1,199 steel, $1,399 graphite
  • Stock Shaft: True Temper Project X (steel)

Golfers who are a fit for Callaway’s Apex Pro irons won’t be looking for the huge distance and forgiveness offered by the Apex irons. Their solid-face, 1025 forged carbon steel construction emphasizes consistency and trajectory control, as well as the looks, feel, feedback and workability that the best golfers in the world desire.

Here’s what you need to know about the new Apex Pro irons. 

  • Callaway received feedback that golfers preferred the looks and feel of the company’s X-Forged ’13 irons, but enjoyed the trajectory of the original Apex Pro irons. The new irons blend the best aspects of the two tour-favorite models.
  • To blend the looks of the X-Forged ’13 and the performance of the Apex Pro irons, engineers created a multi-material, three-hole weighting scheme similar to Callaway’s MD3 milled wedges that uses between 8-10 grams of tungsten in the 3, 4 and 5 irons to lower center of gravity (CG).
  • The mid irons (6, 7) use stainless steel weights, while the weight ports in the short irons and wedges go unfilled to raise CG. The weighting system is not visible, and is positioned behind the “Forged” badge on the irons back side.

The Apex Pro irons use a hidden, multi-material weighting system underneath the forged badge that tunes trajectory throughout the set.

  • The Apex Pro irons have a high-polished, chrome finish that was preferred by Callaway’s Tour Staff, as well as in internal tests. The original Apex irons had a satin chrome finish.
  • Expect the performance of the new Apex Pro irons to be very similar to the original Apex Pro irons, with a shape, sound and feel that will remind golfers of the company’s X-Forged ’13 irons.



The new Apex Pro irons retain the same lofts as the original Apex Pro irons.


See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the Apex and Apex Pro irons in our forum.

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  1. Bijan

    Dec 19, 2015 at 7:19 am

    I was recently fitted for a set of irons at a non brand specific fitting centre who works with many European/ europro tour players. Looking at a lot of the arguments above I feel there is a lot of points that were addressed when I tried these irons out. Firstly, regarding the loft situation (talking about the pro/players clubs in general here) so long as the lofts are providing a decent peak height against spin rate you won’t have any issues, but in his experience the fitter suggested that I go for the apex pro irons but that he bend them a degree stronger first. So all the discussion regarding lofts becomes fairly irrelevant- what you want is a club that looks good to you at address and has a feel you like on impact. Lofts are easily adjustable and the fitter suggested that regardless of which head I chose, he would adjust them in order to get the numbers to create the best consistency. Furthermore, getting it the shaft right is far more effective than worrying about the heads, looking at the back isn’t going to help matters, but the top line and heel-toe profile is important. I found that the clubs I hit all preformed almost exactly the same in terms of distance, regardless of how nice it felt or unpleasant it looked. Alongside this, a good fitter will take whatever you like the looks of and adjust the loft/lie/shaft, even grip thickness in order to make it produce the correct launch/peak/spin numbers.

  2. ?????????????

    Oct 16, 2015 at 11:12 am


  3. Mark Combs

    Oct 13, 2015 at 8:24 am

    I have a set of the original Apex and I just love them. I switched to them after years of playing Ping G series irons, so I had become used to irons that could be described as “clunky”. The original Apex irons are not progressive, meaning the shorter irons do not get smaller. I usually get a gap and sand wedge in the set I play that matches the set, then I get one speciality wedge, typically a 58′ wedge for bunker shots and other small shots around the green. I use the gap and sand wedges in the Apex set for full shots between 90 and 110. So I like these clubs to be a tiny bit larger than normal, and slightly more forgiving. Since the new Apex is progressive, the club heads from 8 on down are smaller, and have a smaller hitting area, so they will NOT be as forgiving as the original, which I thought was perfect. The new Apex is going to be MORE expensive than the original, about $13 a club from what I’ve read – with a stainless 17-4 insert, this is puzzling. I think the original Apex is the best looking iron I’ve ever seen and I will buy a 2nd set and play them for years to come. When Callaway first came out with a “cup face” I put it up against my Apex 6 iron versus the GBB iron that was promoted as “2 clubs longer” and I simply did not find this to be true, that 6-iron was about 3 or 4 yards longer..not worth a switch…

  4. Raddest

    Oct 7, 2015 at 5:41 am

    I love an imperial-decimal measurement. 0.150inches hahaha.

  5. Jon

    Sep 30, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    IMO the previous generation Apex/Pro irons look better, and I can’t imagine these new irons would offer meaningful performance advantage over them, either. This is all great news, however, since we will be able to pick up the original Apex/pro irons at a much larger discount.

  6. Secret

    Sep 29, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    Iv hit both models and they are great! problem is you can’t combo the set. well you could but it would look funny. too bad callaway didn’t think of that..

    • JF

      Sep 30, 2015 at 4:11 am

      Why would it look funny? People do that all the time. Telling me that 2 hybrids and 6 irons don’t look funny? How about MP-25 and MP-5? or AP1 and AP2? Or even AP2 and CB or MB? I’ve seen all those and they do just fine.

    • Sean

      Oct 22, 2015 at 8:35 pm

      Probably not sensible to combo-set these two (new) clubs. With cup face technology in the standard clubs and not in the Pro model, there would be significant distance gaps. I hit both clubs recently and the standard #7 iron went about 8-12 yards farther than the pro model with ease. As it turn out, there were very few combo sets in the previous version so it was insignificant and not simply forgotten. Can’t wait to trade in my XR Pros for similar performance and better feel.

  7. Will

    Sep 29, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    I love the previous Pro version for its clean lines and great feel/ performance and the KBS stock shaft worked very well for me. The satin finish did mar easily at first but they quickly settled in to a really nice patina, a real working tool I’d say, and I don’t think they’d hold up as well to bag chatter if they were a shiny chrome finish. I still love the ’14 Pros and care more about how a club plays in the end so when it comes time I’ll give the new models a chance, but I’m honestly not excited about the design aesthetics.

  8. Philip

    Sep 29, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    What I find most telling is that the OEMs no longer specify materials and such on their website. They give club specs (loft, lie, length, SW) and a lot of marketing spin claiming this and claiming that, but other than a new look – what has changed other than the fact they tend to change shafts with each new offering. Makes one wonder what you are buying – the club or the shaft.

    • TR1PTIK

      Sep 29, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      That’s why I like Titleist and Mizuno so much better than the rest. They make a bigger deal about the materials used to make their clubs and recognize how important it is to the semi-knowledgeable golfer.

      • prime21

        Sep 29, 2015 at 10:25 pm

        What??? The article clearly states Callaway’s use of multiple materials & the reasoning behind it. Semi-knowledgeable is a BIG reach here.

        • Philip

          Sep 29, 2015 at 11:07 pm

          I was referring to some OEMs websites. Obviously this article does indeed go into great detail. If it is on Callaway’s website, I am having a bit of trouble finding it among all the social media advertising. The information that is presented here used to be on their website too, which makes it easier to compare models when one is considering to make a purchase a year later, especially with prices creeping up and up.

  9. Rob

    Sep 29, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Regardless of how far club technology has advanced in the last decade, the 24/38 rule still applies to 99% of all golfers. The longest iron a player should have in their bag is 38″ with minimum 24° loft. The longest of these irons anybody but the absolute best players should be playing is a 5 iron.

    • tim

      Sep 29, 2015 at 11:30 am

      I’m far from a great ball striker, and play to a 5 hcp. The XR Pro 4 iron with a 21.5* loft has been an awesome addition for me vs. a hybrid that on mishits would go all over the map.

      • Phil

        Sep 30, 2015 at 3:16 pm

        Ditto… I play the original Apex 6-W and a 4-5 in the AP1-714. I’m doing just fine as a 10.

    • christian

      Sep 29, 2015 at 11:35 am

      That would complicate matters for me, that got fitted into 1 inch + length shafts. So, I’d only be allowed to use a 7-iron according to your “system”

      • Rob

        Sep 29, 2015 at 1:07 pm

        It’s not a system, it’s fact. Club makers and fitters established this rule almost a century ago. There is a reason why 3 irons were 38″ long and had 24° of loft for decades. Clubs that are longer or have less loft require the skill and precision that most amateurs just don’t have. 40 years ago when you bought a set of cirons you could (with some practice) hit every club in the set reasonably well. Now, even with new technology the 3 and 4 irons never get played because they are basically un-hittable.

        • other paul

          Sep 29, 2015 at 3:17 pm

          You are right. Lets live in the past.

          • Rob

            Sep 29, 2015 at 5:31 pm

            I’m not saying live in the past. My point is that most golfers would benefit not buying the 3 and 4 irons and spending the money saved on the extra wedge or a hybrid.

        • prime21

          Sep 29, 2015 at 10:31 pm

          While most should not play a 3 or 4 iron, hitting one from today’s manufacturer is clearly easier to hit than one from 40 years ago. With today’s technology you would still hit a club higher, even with the loss of 3-4 degrees of loft. While I agree that longer shafts make it harder to find the center of the face, I don’t think the loft “fact” holds much backing. If the science were indeed undeniable, manufacturers would simply never step outside of these boundaries as it would simply be a waste of $.

        • christian

          Sep 30, 2015 at 12:30 am

          And you don’t suppose your “factual rule” might need a bit of updating since the principles you describe are over a HUNDRED YEARS OLD?

        • larrybud

          Oct 1, 2015 at 11:54 am

          The difference, of course, is that today’s materials are lighter and the configuration of the weighting is completely different than clubs from 50 years ago. The 4 irons of today are easier to hit than the higher lofted 4 irons from 50 years ago.

    • Mike

      Sep 29, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      Agree with Tim, I have an old 22* Nike VR Pro Cavity that is one of the smoothest irons I’ve hit. Even with new irons I may continue to keep this one in the bag. However it is fair to say that the 3i could be considered “unhittable” even many tour pros are turning to utility type 3 irons like Speith and his 712U with an AD DI shaft.

    • JF

      Sep 30, 2015 at 4:14 am

      Well Rob, that is if you’re of an average stature of, lets say, 5’7″ to 6’1″??? So what happens if you’re shorter or taller than that? duh

  10. Tom

    Sep 29, 2015 at 10:59 am

    I like the kook of these. The lofts are some what baffling , but I guess the engineers know what their doing.

  11. Joe

    Sep 29, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Regarding the Forged Apex Pro model – I just don’t care for the design. I’ll give Callaway every opportunity because they have made some great product – but I just don’t care for the looks. And looks are important to me. I simply don’t think they compare to the latest Mizuno or new Titleist 716 CB/TMB offerings. Guys are DROOLING over those designs. I’m not saying these don’t hit well, but how did the design get past committee? Or “who approved this design?” To my eye it’s busy, Victorian, many fonts, funky arcs in the graphics. Weird stuff. Not trolling – just offering my take.

    • christian

      Sep 29, 2015 at 11:39 am

      I agree. Quite horrible font/design-wise. And baffling too, who on earth ok’d the look of the pro?

    • Rob S

      Sep 29, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      Last time a swung an iron, I do not think I saw the back of it… look at the playing position pic, it looks fantastic, thin topline, compact look, they got rid of the satin chrome which wore badly.. I have to see them in hand, but I think they look great!!

      • Joe

        Sep 29, 2015 at 5:51 pm

        Correct you don’t see the ugly badging from address. That being said there are over 50 iron sets at my retailer. I can find one I love everything about. This isn’t it. By the time I custom order (I don’t play the stock ProjectX 6.0) I may as well get exactly what I want – and the Titleist 716 CB is gorgeous. The new offerings from Mizuno have bag appeal as well.

        • prime21

          Sep 29, 2015 at 10:33 pm

          Great, then don’t buy it. Also, NOBODY cares that you don’t like the graphics. When your opinion only matters to 1 person on the planet, it’s best to keep it that way. Enjoy the CB and hitting the ball 10 yards shorter than you could if you had these ugly sticks. Finally, the 6.0 is a stock option, 1 amongst many, not the only one. And we wonder why the sport is in trouble.

          • christian

            Sep 30, 2015 at 12:26 am

            Well you seem to care enough to write your clueless response? Clueless because negative comments on the looks of the Pro is hardly limited to one person, but rather widespread.

      • Joe

        Sep 29, 2015 at 5:55 pm

        And I actually do not like the look from address. The topline is nice but I’m a stickler for a sharp toe. The toe is rounded off. But that personal taste. Perfection in address to me has been every Nike blade in the last 10 years. They have a square heel and toe.

      • christian

        Sep 29, 2015 at 10:20 pm

        I guess you apply the same logic to car buying, since while driving you don’t see the exterior, or don’t mind living in a slime green/shock pink house for the same reason?

    • JF

      Sep 30, 2015 at 4:17 am

      Wait. Joe – you say you give Callaway every opportunity – so can I assume you have done that in the past? And yet you say that aesthetically these new clubs don’t look that great with a rounded toe? So what about all the Callaway clubs from the past? 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, etc etc……. I seem to recall they have that distinct Callaway off-set and rounded look to all of them, including the Tour ones.

    • Sean

      Oct 22, 2015 at 8:50 pm

      Anyone that puts these in their hands and says the look ugly has a screw loose! You may prefer a slightly different heel, toe, top line or whatever but from any angle these are solid. It’s like saying you prefer the blond hot chick and automatically say the brunette hot chick next to her is ugly. She’s not ugly just not your preference. Cleveland VAS irons from many moons ago…….now that’s UGLY!

  12. Chris C.

    Sep 29, 2015 at 9:52 am

    I remain excited by the prospect of testing the new Apex at the end of the month to see if they can displace my current set of Apex.However, I am now a bit less excited seeing that Callaway has opted to use 17-4 steel. I realize that Callaway’s “thing” is their cup face tech but with the availability of 431 as well as any number of newer and hotter steel configurations, I can not shake the nagging impression that the primary reason for Callaway’s use of 17-4 is simply cost. If so, it is particularly annoying in light of the price of the new Apex.

  13. Trent

    Sep 29, 2015 at 9:44 am

    That is incorrect. Due to the advances in iron technology they are able to place the CG much lower in the head, causing the irons to launch at a higher than normal trajectory. So to counter act this, they then strengthen the lofts to give you the desired trajectory you’re used to with say an 7 iron. The bonus is that yes it will go further but still flies like a traditional 7 iron.

    • christian

      Sep 29, 2015 at 11:46 am

      THAT is incorrect. The reason for stronger lofts is to massage hackers egos on some monitor at some golf shop. The talk about CG being sooo low they “must” strengthen lofts is BS, pure muscle back blades usually have lower CG than almost any CB/GI club..Wishon has some interesting threads on it

      • prime21

        Sep 29, 2015 at 10:19 pm

        Actually, Trent is spot on, keep up that great thread research, it’s doing you wonders.

      • Double Mocha Man

        Oct 4, 2015 at 1:29 pm

        I am in the market for a 2 degree 7 iron.

      • JoeJoe

        Oct 13, 2015 at 9:57 am

        Do some research in your own backyard. Go bend a 10 year old forged 7 iron to the current day 30-31 degree of some of these “longer” hitting cast clubs (be careful not to break it). Go play both and you’ll quickly know the reason for stronger lofts these days. It is not about the degree of the club but the ave peak launch height. That old club on the best strike will hit a low frozen rope shot every time at the lower loft and scoot right off the back of the green.
        I’ve been on Trackman several times with just about all the major manufacturer offerings and when launch heights are viewed and compared, most 7 irons no matter the loft, launch around the same peak height give or take. If your 7 iron happens to be 35 degrees and mine is 30 degrees, it still probably launches around the same peak height, but with newer technology designs in the clubhead mine will go further at the same peak height. That’s not a bad thing and choices are still out there to choose any club you want with any loft you want.
        I can’t remember discussing lofts when I play golf but in the clubhouse we do call out the scores. Just play what you like and makes you happy. There will always be MARKETING in everything you buy and everyone buys things for many different reasons.

  14. mlecuni

    Sep 29, 2015 at 9:38 am

    What Callaway didn’t understand when they received feedback that golfers preferred the looks of the company’s X-Forged ’13 irons. For the fell, i don’t know but for the look it’s nogo.

  15. Jafar

    Sep 29, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Shouldn’t the Pro irons have stronger lofts?

    • Sappy

      Sep 29, 2015 at 9:28 am

      No, stronger lofts are designed for “higher hcp.” players, which mostly want more distance, so the OEMs put stronger lofts on their irons, e.g. a 9i becomes a 8i but still with the 9 stamped on the sole; High Handicappers might think now, that they can hit it longer than their buddies, when in reality they are just hitting a 8 intead of a 9.

      • Jay

        Sep 29, 2015 at 12:25 pm

        Makes you think the new Hogan clubs might be the way to go

        What did you hit there? 6 Iron??

        Nope, my 31 degree

      • TR1PTIK

        Sep 29, 2015 at 4:13 pm

        Stronger lofts are designed into GI (higher hcp) clubs because their design warrants it. Many GI clubs are designed to help golfers launch the ball higher (since high cappers typically have trouble getting the ball off the ground) and require stronger lofts to keep the ball from ballooning. There are some clubs that have strengthened lofts solely for the purpose of increasing distance, but it is not the only reason OEM’s do it.

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Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (04/05/21): Rare TaylorMade 3-wood



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