When Callaway sold off the Ben Hogan brand early last year, it didn't give away everything. While it obviously held on to some valuable technologies, it also kept the name "Apex," part of the Hogan nomenclature since 1972 and one of the more venerable names in the history of forged irons. It brings back the name this week in introducing its latest premium iron offering, a multimaterial iron that combines a forged frame, a high-strength steel face and tungsten in the cavity.
The iron is being billed as a unique mixture of distance technology with the feel benefits of a forged iron. The thin, high-strength, Carpenter 455 steel face insert is designed to improve the potential for higher ballspeeds, but it also saves weight that can be repositioned in the perimeter and back cavity to help lower the center of gravity in an effort to improve the ease of launching shots higher in the long irons. The face insert is made of the same material found in the face of the company's successful X Hot fairway woods. The face also features a wider, 30-degree angle groove, which Callaway engineers say will help average golfers generate more spin on shots from the rough.
The face is joined to a forged 1020 carbon steel frame, which features the same material and satin chrome finish found in the company's muscleback irons. According to the company, each frame is machined for 40 minutes so that the face insert precisely fits into the frame. Tungsten in the sole helps lower the center of gravity. The sole width, topline thickness, offset and depth of cavity all change progressively through the set to accommodate each iron's performance objectives.
The multimaterial nature of the design is reminiscent of Callaway's earlier success in joining a hot face insert to a uniquely perimeter-weighted cradle, principally, the Big Bertha Fusion iron in 2004 and the FT irons from 2008 (both which had a titanium face and a tungsten alloy cradle). The Apex also employs some of the knowledge gleaned from the Diablo Forged irons from 2012, which also featured a Carpenter 455 face insert.
The stock shaft for the irons will be a True Temper XP 95 lightweight steel designed for higher launch or the UST Recoil shaft in graphite. The Apex is expected to be available in December at a price of $1,100 (set of eight, steel). An Apex Pro version is also expected to introduced in early 2014.