Back in Black – Callaway Apex Smoke 19 review

Black irons these days have become all the rage and they’re ideal from an anti-glare perspective, especially here in the UAE. There is no performance benefit surrounding a standard steel version, they just look cool. Unlike a black paint finish on your car you will not be able to polish out the scratches. In this review we look at the Callaway Apex Smoke 19 irons to see how they look, perform and wear.

First of all, this is a tough test, as all forged irons are softer than regular cast iron and even the regular finish shows marks after the first round. So I’d advise putting head covers on your irons, as most marks will be picked up from the clubs ‘dinging’ into each other in your bag. Callaway say: “Apex 19 Smoke Irons are the ultimate forged players’ distance irons, and they’re designed with a stunning new smoke PVD finish, Apex Smoke Medallion, and a Smoke Elevate shaft.”


Callaway created a new standard for incredibly soft feel from a forged 1025 mild-carbon steel body, and for the first
time they have engineered proprietary urethane microspheres into a forged iron. The carbon steel body promotes an amazing Apex sound and feel, and the urethane microspheres consist of more than one million tiny air pockets that absorb unwanted vibration without slowing the face. Long, Consistent Distance with Playability their 360 Face Cup employs a shallow, flexible rim around the perimeter of the face that flexes and releases at impact to promote fast ball speed for consistent distance on centre hits and off-centre hits. In the short irons, the spin control VFT Face is designed for aggressive shot-making in your scoring clubs.


The tungsten-infused, multi-material construction allowed Callaway to locate the position of the CG in each iron with extraordinary precision, while maintaining the flexibility of the Face Cup. This promotes optimum launch, ball flight, and pinpoint control for scoring performance through the set.


A grey smoke PVD finish paired with a smoke version of the Elevate shaft gives the clubs a great all-round look.


First off, the club feels great, but you would expect that, being forged. The use of tungsten in the head means the lower centre of gravity kicks the ball up quicker off the face, so Callaway can strengthen the lofts to deliver a strong flight and more distance. This appears be the trend with most quality distance clubs these days. Mind you, it’s rare to find in a forged head. The heads lie well on the ground and the offset is confidence-inspiring. For better players, who find them too big and the offset too much, Callaway offer the smaller Pro model. When you buy any black-or satin-finished irons, be prepared for them to show the marks from your first round onwards. They will not stay in showroom condition for long. PVD coating vaporises specialised materials through a high-tech vacuum process to leave a very thin layer, so in many ways it’s like a tough, thin paint finish. To keep the clubs looking black the coating would need to be applied thicker, therefore reducing the performance characteristics of the club. So be prepared for them to wear but still perform great.


Some have complained about heads coming away from the shafts. This can happen with any club. It comes down to where and how the club was assembled. Thankfully, in the UAE the club fitting process is first class. Everyone seems delighted with the performance, and rightly so. It’s a great balance of distance and feel.


I’ve always liked the forged Apex for that balance of feel and forgiveness. The Satin finish comes down to personal preference. If you are looking to up the ‘bling’ effect and add a little more distance, the new Callaway Epic Forged Star irons are worth trying. We are still to put these to the test


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