The Titleist doctrine on iron design has always been pretty clear.
“We want our irons to be about gapping and green-holding capability,” says Dan Stone, vice president of golf club R&D. “It’s the balance between two key variables: face compliance and feel, but we don’t see any value in giving up any feel.”
It is in that vein that the company is announcing its largest iron launch ever, five new irons that run the gamut from traditional forged muscleback blades to cast irons the company touts—in somewhat of a shift in tone—as its “longest, most forgiving ever.” The lineup includes the latest updates to the AP1 (the aforementioned distance iron), AP2, CB and MB models, as well as a model that has seen success in Japan, the tungsten-filled, driving iron T-MB, which also will be sold as a full set for the first time.
The new 716 AP1 and AP2 irons are the latest to work within that equation. The AP1’s 360-degree undercut and the use of a specially heat treated 17-4 steel increase the face area that is directly unsupported. The face is a constant thickness of around 2.4 millimeters to make it more consistently flexible.
It also means there will be less weight in the face, which allows for more tungsten in the low toe area for higher launch. There’s nearly a 50-percent increase in the tungsten used in the 3- through 7-irons, wrapping seamlessly around a large section of the toe. “We’ve sculpted the tungsten so it’s really put in there in the most efficient way it can be done,” says Marni Ines, director, Titleist Irons DevelopmentTK iron design. An average of 42.5 grams of high-density tungsten is inserted into the long and middle irons.
That capability further allowed designers to strengthen the lofts throughout the set by one degree. That yields a direct angle at impact for better energy transfer and more distance, but the lowered center of gravity thanks to the tungsten helps these faster-launching shots maintain the launch and distance gaps and green-holding capacity most players want in their irons.
The 716 AP2 irons also use tungsten (25 percent more than in the 714 version) both in the heel and toe to better line up the center of gravity for more consistent distances across the face. The AP2 uses an average of 56.5 grams of high-density tungsten, an effort to boost the overall head moment of inertia (MOI) or stability on off-center hits. Like its predecessors, it combines a forged 1025 carbon steel body with the tungsten perimeter weighting in a unique construction, says Ines.
“I said, ‘Let’s throw out what we’ve done in the past and determine what the best way to use the tungsten was and then figure out how to manufacture it,’” Ines says. “It’s very important that we maximize MOI at our blade lengths.”
Ines says the tungsten helps lower the center of gravity, and while the lofts have not been changed, the 716 AP2 are designed to produce more ballspeed. “We are getting more speed from better CG alignment,” he says.
The iron line includes two other traditional forged heads, the 716 MB and CB. Like the AP2, the latter includes tungsten co-forged low in the body to produce extra ballspeed through better CG alignment. The MB uses the template created by the popular Forged 680 Series irons, preferred by Titleist staff players Adam Scott and Webb Simpson. It features a squarer toe and a higher muscleback weight shaping in back.
The T-MB irons, named Gold in Golf Digest (Japan) Online’s Hot List earlier this year, feature a hollow construction of cast 431 stainless steel with a thin Carpenter 455 face for improved deflection at impact. Heavy tungsten is placed within the head at the heel and toe to provide greater off-center hit stability (7 percent) compared to its predecessor the 712U driving iron. Its one-degree stronger lofts produce similar trajectories vs. the 712U but with less spin. Iron lofts range from 2-iron through pitching wedge.
The 716 AP1 ($900) and 716 AP2 ($1,200) will be in shops Oct. 23. So, too, for the 716 CB (1,200), the 716 MB ($1,100) and the T-MB ($200 per club in steel/$225 in graphite, or $1,600 for a full set, only through Titleist’s MOTO program).