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.