Callaway Apex CF 16 Irons Review – Still Good And Forgiving For High Handicappers?

“The Callaway Apex CF 16 irons came out in 2015 and were meant to blur the lines between player’s performance and game improvement irons.”

But this is a claim that we’ve heard before. Many companies boast that they have come up with the ultimate design that perfectly blends game improvement and player’s performance. I’ll be honest, I’ve seen a handful of irons come close to the “perfect mix.”

For the most part, companies who make this claim don’t really disappoint. But it’s never absolutely perfect and there have been a few attempts that fell flat on their face. I had high hopes for the Callaway Apex CF 16. I figured if any iron line can pull off the marriage of GI and player’s performance, it would be the Apex line. So let’s see how the Callaway Apex CF 16 irons fared in testing.

Are Callaway Apex CF 16 Irons Still Good?

“The good news is that the Callaway Apex CF 16 irons are only eight years old.”

There have been 20 year-old irons that I’ve tested and found to still have value in 2023. So right out of the gate, the Callaway Apex CF 16’s had a puncher’s chance. The first sign of quality is their net forged 1025 mild carbon steel construction. When I took my first swing with the 7-iron in this set, the soft feel was apparent. The Callaway Apex CF 16’s definitely have the premium feel of a player’s iron.

What about the game improvement DNA? The Callaway Apex CF 16 irons feature Callaway’s 360 face cup which helps the face to flex basically no matter where you make contact. The forgiveness is certainly here in these irons. My very first test shot on a cold morning flew as long as my gamer iron after I’ve warmed up.

And when you look down at the Callaway Apex CF 16 irons, they don’t scream “game improvement” or “player’s performance” too loudly. It really does look like a good mix of both. The top line is thin but not crazy thin. The blade length is just a hair on the thin side. And the offset isn’t garish but there is enough there to make its presence known.

Overall it’s a look that should please a lot of players across a wide range of handicaps. The offset, sole widths and CG are all progressive which is a huge plus in my book as it gives players distance and precision exactly where they need them. Overall, I would resoundingly state that the Callaway Apex CF 16 irons are indeed still good irons.

Are the Callaway Apex CF 16 Irons Forgiving for High Handicappers?

“The only problem I have with these irons for high handicappers is spin rate.”

The spin rates across the set are on the high side which may present a problem for high handicappers who have trouble with slices or hooks. If you are one of those players, you may not get much help from these irons as they are likely to exacerbate your spin issue.

But other than that, I see no reason why 22 handicaps and under couldn’t get along with these irons. They still produce really good ball speed across the face and the progressive offset will help you achieve straight shots so long as you are reasonably accurate.

The progressive CG was a nice touch too. This will help high handicappers get the ball into the air with the long irons and control flight with the short irons. Basically, the Callaway Apex CF 16 irons will probably make you look better than you actually are thanks to the progressive nature of the set.

You get forgiveness where you need it and better flight and trajectory control where you need it. The lofts are pretty much middle of the road which should appease both high and low launch players.

Callaway Apex CF 16 Vs Callaway Apex 21 Irons

“The Callaway Apex CF 16 and the Callaway Apex 21 irons are actually the same in most respects.”

Both have moderate offset, both are forged from 1025 carbon steel and both have a middling head shape. The only difference is that the Callaway Apex 21 was designed with the help of AI. But I like the progressive CG and sole width of the Callaway Apex CF 16. For me, that puts it over the top and makes the Callaway Apex CF 16’s better overall.

Callaway Apex CF 16 First Impressions

“The smooth feel from the 1025 carbon steel forging was the first thing I noticed.”

Even on a cold morning, I could feel how soft these irons were. And in the short irons, the forging affords you very clear feedback and a smooth feel from tough lies.

Callaway Apex CF 16 Selling Points

  • Progressive offset
  • Progressive CG
  • Forged from 1025 carbon steel
  • 360 Face Cup
  • Multi-material design
  • Progressive sole width

Callaway Apex CF 16 Key Technology

360 Face Cup

A channel bored all around the perimeter of the face allows for more flexing on almost any type of contact.

Progressive Soles

Wider soles in the long irons improve turf interaction and prevent digging while thinner soles in the short irons enhance feel and control.

1025 Carbon Steel Forging

The quadruple net forging gives the Callaway Apex CF 16 an incredibly soft feel.

Callaway Apex CF 16 Loft & Lie

Club Loft (degrees) Lie (degrees)
3-iron 19 60
4-iron 21.5 60.5
5-iron 24 61
6-iron 27 61.5
7-iron 31 62
8-iron 35 62.5
9-iron 40 63

Who Should Buy the Callaway Apex CF 16 Irons?

“I could see these irons working for anyone in the handicap range of 10-22.”

They are compact enough to be reasonably workable and they are forgiving enough to be viable for high handicappers? Are they the perfect blend of GI and player’s performance? I’m afraid the search still continues. But the Callaway Apex CF 16’s come darn close.

Distance: 97/100

Forgiveness: 96/100

Workability: 97/100

Overall Performance: 97/100

Value: 96/100

Overall Score: 97/100

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