Titleist’s iron line over time has gone from appealing strictly to better player—the top of the pyramid of influence as the company is fond of saying—to expanding to more player types. Its original AP2 irons aimed at those preferring a modern players iron, then the more game-improvement AP1 and then the players distance AP3. The company’s new T-series of irons continues on that path, and now reaches a previously underserved segment of the market with the T400, a club some would consider to be on the border of super game improvement.
“The first order was not appealing to a broader swath of golfers but following our golfer,” said Josh Talge, the company’s VP of golf club marketing. “We’ve always focused on that. It’s like TS1 drivers. We saw that as an opportunity to serve that player. It’s similar with the T400 irons. We wanted to make sure we follow our golfer and give them what they need. They’re looking for very specific things. It’s the Starbucks-ization. You used to just order coffee—regular or decaf. Now you can have pretty much anything you want. That’s a consumer expectation now. They want lots of options.”
Not that the T400 is that big of a stretch for Titleist. The company had experience with a similar iron design with its VG3 product in Japan.
“Often a concept that starts in Japan can make its way here and this idea of strong-lofted, high-launching irons we’ve been working on for years,” said Talge. “The other is the U510 utility iron. We wondered how we could take that and turn it into a full set of irons for a player that doesn’t have a lot of speed. I was at a golf course in Naples last fall and every golfer was this target market. It was clear we needed to help those golfers get the ball up and out.”
The result is an iron with a wide, hollow-body construction designed to maximize forgiveness on mis-hits. To assist in that endeavor, loads of high-density tungsten (up to 100 grams in some irons) are used to not only boost forgiveness, but produce a low center of gravity to foster launch. An extremely thin SUP-10 L-face insert in the 5- through 7-irons adds extra yards in those clubs. The split sole provides an assist with turf interaction as well.
The Titleist T400 also features progressive blade lengths, sole widths and hosel lengths to provide appropriate shaping and center of gravity positions throughout the set.
Of course, golfers who tend to swing slower need help generating speed benefit from every gram saved, making the 43-gram Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 Lite+ grip (9 grams lighter than the regular Tour Velvet 360) a smart choice. For shafts, True Temper’s AMT Red or the 50-gram Mitsubishi Fubuki MV IR in graphite further reduce weight from standard irons. A number of custom shaft choices, many at no upcharge, also are available.
Also different is the set configuration and lofts. The T400 starts at the 5-iron and the pitching wedge is a super-strong 38 degrees.
“We’re using all the technologies that we know work: tungsten and such, but now that we have a wider body we can place it in new areas to get different CG locations to help assist the flight goals,” said Marni Ines, Titleist’s director of iron development. “The question was whether we could give them launch angle with that low loft. We found that we could.”
The Titleist T400 irons will be available in golf shops beginning March 27, with fittings starting Feb. 27. Cost is $185.50 per iron in steel ($1,299, set of seven) and $199.50 per iron in graphite ($1,399 set of seven).