In 2015 Callaway claimed it was Taking Perfection Farther (Apex CF 16), today it’s apparently again taking perfection farther, or, at a minimum, it’s painting perfection black.
Lazy headline writers will no doubt tell you that Apex is Back in Black, but the reality is that it never left, it’s simply getting a new and alternative finish option. So before we dig into Apex Black, I thought it might be helpful to offer up the briefest of refreshers on Callaway’s Apex CF 16 iron.
About Apex CF 16
Apex is, by mainstream definitions, a high-end, multi-material, forged iron featuring distance-boosting 360 Face Cup Technology. The sum total of all of that is an iron Callaway says offers Distance with Playability.
With Apex selling well, Callaway isn’t feeling any pressure to reinvent the wheel (e.g. release an Apex CF 17). A cosmetic tweak is all that’s needed, so for the rest of 2016 and likely into 2017, the Apex blend of Distance and Playability will soon be available in a sleek, arguably sexy, all-black package.
The Apex Black Difference
With our little stroll down memory lane out of the way, you may find yourself wondering; How is the Apex Black different from the Apex CF 16?
Firstly, it’s black.
Secondly…well, I suppose there is no secondly. Apex Black is black, regular Apex CF 16 isn’t.
From a design, and by extension performance standpoint, it’s exactly the same iron as the current Apex, but with a new finish.
I know…it’s not totally mind-blowing, but let’s at least credit Callaway for going all the way with the Apex Black by offering your choice of a blacked out version of UST’s Recoil, or a blacked out stepless version of TrueTemper’s XP 95 shaft, along with a blacked out Lamkin UTx grip part of the stock package.
This is a great example of the efficacy of today’s Callaway Golf. It gets an idea, and it works with its shaft and grip partners (and anybody else who might benefit from the symbiosis) to realize the total product vision.
It’s true, there’s nothing inherently brilliant about releasing a black iron, but as a total package proposition, Apex Black is well-executed.
Satin Black PVD
The Apex Black is finished in a Satin black PVD, which differs from Cobra’s Diamonized Black Metal (KING Ltd), and PXG’s Diamond-Like Carbon (0311). We’re less than convinced that PVD will prove as durable as those other options, but we also know there are golfers who like the the distinct patinas and hues created when PVD wears.
Personally, I would have liked to have seen a more resilient finish, but to each his own.
As far as the big picture goes, why would Callaway release a finish tweak to an existing iron right now?
It’s becoming apparent that releases like these…not dissimilar from PXG’s are, for better or worse, the byproduct of the industry’s transition to longer product cycles.
Be careful what you wish for, or maybe be grateful for what you get. New finishes, colors, limited edition stuff, what have you, are easy – and not wholly disinteresting – ways to keep product lines fresh even as the calendar flips and older (and current) models are driven towards industry-inflicted obsolescence.
Personally, I’m torn…I understand why Callaway and others need to keep the old (as if a product with less than 1 year on the shelf should be classified as old) fresh while giving you the longer lifecycles you say you want. At the same time, from the consumer perspective, I can understand a bit of frustration too.
Why couldn’t Callaway have made Apex Black available when CF 16 launched last season? I’m guessing many of you would have chosen black PVD over satin chrome. Wouldn’t it have been a nice option to have?
But again, releases like Apex Black are about keeping it fresh, regenerating excitement, and maybe even about having something to tweet about nine months after a product’s initial release. It’s more difficult to regenerate buzz when you’ve thrown a kitchen sink’s worth of potential options (and excitement) on the table day 1.
So on balance, Apex Black is not that awful…especially considering the full black package (heads, shafts, grips). For what it’s supposed to be, what it actually is…Apex Black looks to be a well-executed effort that won’t offend many and will likely generate plenty of interest among Callaway fans and might even create a few converts along the way.
Pricing, Specs, and Availability
The Apex Black has a retail set price of $1299 (steel) and $1499 (graphite). That’s $100 more than the non-black Apex CF 16.
Pre-Sales (not sure how you sell before you sell, but whatever) begin on 5/20. Full retail availability starts 6/3.
For more info, visit CallawayGolf.com
from MyGolfSpy http://www.mygolfspy.com/callaway-apex-black-irons/