Columnist image
Bob Weeks

TSN Senior Reporter

|Archive

Titleist has announced a bold overhaul of its 718 iron lineup, delivering improvements, introductions and expansions with six offerings.

The clubs have been in play on the world’s tours and were used by Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas to win the Open Championship and the PGA Championship respectively. They will go on sale to the public on Sept. 29.

The collection of clubs includes the popular AP1 and AP2 irons, as well as a new member of the family, the AP3.

The AP1 is Titleist’s entry in the game improvement category and as such, these irons are larger than others in the offering. The 718 version features a progressive construction from hollow-body long irons to undercut cavity mid and short irons.

Titleist says the design provides a combination of distance and trajectory, aided by a thin, fast, unsupported face insert. In the four- and five-iron, the face is placed on top of a hollow body while in the rest of the set features a 360-degree undercut. The result throughout is an increase in ball speed and carry distance.

Tungsten weights placed in the toe of the four- to seven-irons help aid in forgiveness.

Titleist doesn’t like to compartmentalize its clubs but this is probably best suited to fit a medium-handicap player who needs some help with hitting it higher and straighter.

The AP2, the club found in the bags of most of Titleist’s PGA Tour players, is a forged iron that’s been re-engineered to optimize launch and spin throughout without sacrificing feel. The look of the iron hasn’t changed drastically. It still carries a clean, blade look and offers users the ability to work the ball without sacrificing distance.

As with the AP1, this iron makes use of tungsten inserts and a high strength steel face insert that is forged to the body (in the three- to seven-iron). The insert is just 2.1 millimetres thick.

The eight-iron to wedge don’t have the insert and are made from forged 1025 carbon steel.

While you don’t need to be a Tour player to use this club, it is suited to better players who like to work the ball and prefer the clean look of a blade.

The new member of the family is the AP3, an iron that will attract that golfer who is a better player but still wants benefits of forgiveness. That might mean the 10-15 handicapper, although this club is already in the bags of PGA Tour players. It takes the distance and forgiveness of the AP1 and combines it with the look and feel of the AP2.

Embedded Image
Titleist AP3 irons

The clubs have a hollow blade that is covered by an insert with an L shape that wraps around the bottom of the iron. That’s said to deliver moment of inertia, ball speed and launch angle to their peak.

Hitting these irons, I found the feel excellent and the sound off the clubface equally pleasing. I was able to launch this higher than my normal ball flight and there was no huge loss of distance on off-centre hits.

Looking down on the club, the topline was thin, something pleasing to my eye and the club didn’t feel bulky in any way. It seems to marry the best of both worlds, with the look of a player’s club and the performance of a distance iron. It fills a gap in a distance club that also delivers on appearance and forgiveness for that player not yet ready or possibly ready to move away from a pure blade. It’s a smart move and the club should sell well.

For purists, the 718 MB is a one-piece muscle back iron that delivers on feel with a traditional forged blade. There is also the 718 CB, a cavity back iron that is a classic-style cavity-back, which allows for great playability.

Both these irons are there for lower-handicap golfers who enjoy working the ball with a clean looking design.

Finally, the 718 family is rounded out by the T-MB, which started out life as a utility iron but enjoyed so much success it morphed into a complete line.

The clubs are a hollow-body, multi-material design with a thin, unsupported face to give maximum distance. Tungsten placed low on the club allows for high launch and more speed.

While everything from a two-iron to a wedge is available in this line, it’s still expected that most of the sales will be in the form of higher irons in mixed sets.