CATEGORY: Game Improvement Irons
PRICE: $1,200, steel; $1,400, graphite
WE TESTED: 3-PW with True Temper XP 95 steel shafts
KEY TECHNOLOGIES: A 360-degree cup face boosts ball speeds in the 3- through 7-irons.
PLAYABILITY: One of the best -- excellent from everywhere; nimble enough to bend the ball to your will, with plenty of power to clear-cut the tall grass.
ACCURACY/FORGIVENESS: Much more forgiving than a player's club and adequate for this category; protects you from your misses without inhibiting creativity; exacting, focused ball flight doesn't wander off line.
DISTANCE CONTROL: Among the longest -- an uncanny combo of sprinter speed and consistent results; ample spin and stopping power -- short irons absolutely pounce on the pin.
FEEL: It's like a forged blade with a bigger sweet spot -- top-tier refinement for a game-improvement set; rewarding and responsive, the sort of club you want to hit all day; stable and silky through the turf.
LOOK: For many guys, the best in class; old-school elegance, an impressive profile with ideal offset and a classic look; the midsize head wears its satin finish well.
Small size means less space for misses, so if you need more of a sledgehammer than a scalpel, look elsewhere; light swingers should swap the long irons for hybrids.
BOTTOM LINE: The Callaway Apex CF 16 irons are the top-rated game-improvement iron of the year. On the blade-ish end of the bunch, this club wakes up with a bit of skill. But it's as comfortable helping mid-handicappers feel like serious sticks.