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The year was 2003 when the USGA and the Royal and Ancient drew a line in the sand for the coefficient of restitution (COR)--the measure of the springlike effect of golf balls struck by drivers--at .830. It was a big deal. Fast forward to 2015 and it’s become a way of life. The focus in the beginning centered on drivers as a way of putting the equivalent of a governor on distance for players, especially elite caliber ones.

As equipment has evolved with the assistance of technology, COR has become less of a tempest in a teapot of sorts. However, equipment companies have found ways to increase the spring-like effect in more products besides drivers. Case in point, Callaway Golf has announced a new set of Apex irons that will be arriving at retail in the weeks ahead.

callawayapexCallaway’s Apex family is a forged product, which better players prefer in terms or appearance and feel. However, Callaway’s R&D department has built into its new Apex irons cup face technology, which has also been a mainstay in its driver business. Nevertheless, the significance of the marriage of forged with cup face technology represents a breakthrough, according to Callaway Golf.

“A regular iron featuring no face technology would have a COR of about .78,” Dr. Alan Hocknell, head of Callaway Golf’s Research and Development department stated. “Our original Apex iron had a COR of about .80 region. Using the face cup you get the COR up to about .82. There are no other forged irons that have that kind of ball speed capability. This is the first forged cup faced irons from anybody in the world, ever!”

The cup face is featured in the 3-7 iron, Hocknell said. It becomes muted in the 8-iron and above due to loft, he added. So for players that love the look and feel of forge and want to maintain or possibly improve ball speed on their iron shots, the new Apex irons could just what the doctor (Hocknell) ordered.

The new Apex irons (3-SW) will debut at retail on October 30th. Callaway is pricing the set at $1,199.99 with steel shafts (True Temper XP 95) and $1399.99 with graphite shafts (UST Mamiya Recoil 760/780).

The company continues its tradition of offering a Pro set of the irons as well. “The Pro is really a blend of feedback that we’ve had from Tour and better players,” Hocknell explained. “A lot of it saying the shape and size of the profile of our X forged 13 irons was more preferred but the trajectory of the original Apex Pro was also preferred. So could we combine those two things together?”

Hocknell and company used a multi-material design that it says optimizes the Center of Gravity (CG) of each club, yet working within the confines of the shape feedback it was given. The longer irons (3-5) have more offset and a tungsten insert to lower the CG for higher launch, while the shorter irons (6-A) have a higher CG for a controlled, penetrating trajectory. 

The Apex Pro irons will also be at retail on October 30th. It is priced identical to the new Apex irons with the only difference being True Temper Project X steel shafts versus True Temper XP 95 found in the new Apex model.

Another first for Callaway is the introduction of a hybrid for the Apex and Apex Pro player. It takes the company’s Forged Face Cup that leads to high ball speeds and fuses it with its Internal Standing Wave for versatility. The Internal Standing Wave positions the weight so that Callaway can move the CG where better players want it. “A lot of Callaway hybrids are derived from what you would think of as fairway wood DNA. They’ve got really hot faces with forged face cups particularly low centers of gravity and they have fairway wood launch conditions. It’s the bulk of what average players in the market absolutely need. However, there is a school of players that are really looking for a more iron replacement characteristic in their hybrid,” explained Hocknell.

Callaway’s Apex Hybrid won’t arrive at retail until December 4th. It is being priced at $219.99 and the stock shaft chosen for it is a Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Black.