How do the Titleist 718 AP1 irons compare to the 716 AP1?
Our initial Titleist 718 AP1 irons review took place at Archerfield Links during the 718 launch event.
We then followed it up with a comparison of the 718 AP1 vs the 716 AP1 at Saadiyat Beach in Abu Dhabi.
I have played the 716 AP1 irons for the best part of two years now so was really looking forward testing their successors.
At the launch event I had a brief introduction to the product from the guys at Titleist, before heading to the range for a fitting with product specialist Tim Baker.
Out in Abu Dhabi I hit a number of shots with two 7-irons – both in my custom-fitted spec – and monitored the results on Trackman 4.
Titleist 718 AP1 irons review – First impressions
These clubs had a lot to live up to because I loved the looks and the performance of the 716 AP1.
And for the first time the AP1s were the best-sellers after the 716 launch. That came at no surprise to me.
The 718 AP1 certainly don’t disappoint from a shelf appeal point of view.
There are arguably the best-looking game-improvement irons on the market at the moment.
Titleist 718 AP1 irons review – The technology
Tungsten was the big tech story in the 716 AP1 and it is again a key material in the construction of these irons.
What’s also really interesting here is that the irons go down to a 53˚ model.
So the pitching wedge is 43˚, then there’s a 48˚ wedge and 53˚ gap wedge.
That would then just leave room for a specialist sand wedge.
We have hollow body long irons for more distance and forgiveness and undercut cavity mid and short irons to offer a bit more control.
The high-density tungsten weighting produces a lower CG for higher launch. That helps counteract the strong lofts – 7-iron is 30˚
There’s an average of 58.5 grams of tungsten per head, placed low and in the toe of the long and mid irons for more stability.
Titleist 718 AP1 irons review – The results
I definitely didn’t have my best stuff during my fitting but in a way that highlighted the strength of these irons.
Once I got dialled into the right shaft – True Temper AMT Black S300 – the grouping of my shots was really impressive.
I was striking the ball 7/10 at best but never saw the carry dropping below 140 yards.
And this is exactly what can happen out on the golf course for me. I will have days where I just don’t swing or strike the ball that well.
But if I had been hitting each of these shots to a pin 150 yards away, I would have been on the green every time.
This was highlighted further when I hit the AP2 irons as an 8/10 strike with those carried about 138 yards.
There is a lot more loft on the AP2 – 7-iron is 34˚ – so even on a good strike it would be behind the AP1.
One area that surprised and impressed me was the performance of the AP1 4-iron.
I currently use a Ping G400 Crossover as a substitute for a 4-iron as I hit a 4 hybrid too high and a bit too far (big gap from 5-iron and too close to 3 hybrid).
With the AP1 4-iron I was getting a consistent 180-yards total which is the perfect gapping number for me.
When I tested the irons out in Abu Dhabi, I was getting much better numbers. I’ll put it down to the warm weather and taking away the pressure of a custom-fitting.
And you can see from the performance of the 716 AP1 that there’s actually little to split them from a performance point of view.
Titleist 718 AP1 irons review – NCG verdict
What the 718 irons gave me was a consistent performance even on ropey shots and swings.
Which is exactly what they are supposed to do. And it’s exactly what I need them to do to help me shoot better scores.
I went into my fitting eyeing up the AP2 and AP3 but my fitter just couldn’t make a case for using anything other than AP1.
The reality is, I will have days out on the course where I hit it like I hit it during this fitting.
And I can’t really afford to lose 15-20 yards carry on an average strike. That could be a ball going in a front bunker – or worse.
Titleist say there should be a little more ball speed on the 718 AP1 which we can see from the results above.
— James Savage (@JamesSavageFJ) August 10, 2017
The 718 AP1 do look a little bit better in my opinion and there’s a slightly crisper sound and feel.
It may be a little bit early to trade in your 716 AP1 but after giving these a hit I think you will be tempted…
SRP: £115/£140 per club (steel/graphite)
Available irons: 4-P, 48˚, 53˚
Shafts: True Temper AMT Red, Black, White (steel)
Mitsubishi MRC Tensei Red (graphite)
On sale: September 29, 2017.
More information can be found on the Titleist website.