We got a first look at the Titleist 718 AP3 irons at the 718 launch at Archerfield Links.
This was arguably the most exciting product from the launch as it was something we hadn’t seen before.
So where does the AP3 sit within the 718 family? Which players will it appeal to? And what’s the technology behind it?
Titleist 718 AP3 irons – First impressions
Another stunning looking iron and straight away you can see that it’s sleeker than the AP1 but it’s not forged like the AP2.
So it was clear to me ahead of the launch that they were going to sit between AP1 and AP3.
It’s a tad confusing because the line-up goes 1, 3, 2 in terms of the playability and forgiveness levels.
Titleist say it takes the best elements from each. It’s more forgiving that the AP2 but a bit sleeker and with less offset than the AP1.
In my opinion the gap between AP1 and AP2 was quite large so it does make sense to try and plug that gap.
It throws up more opportunity to blend the 718 irons together – whether than be using two or all three to make up a set.
Apparently 75 percent of tour players have a split set in their bag. I believe that number is a lot smaller for club golfers as we’re more in the mindset of just having the one model.
Anyway, if you’ve always found the AP1 a bit chunky and the AP2 a bit intimidating, AP3 is going to be right up your street.
Titleist 718 AP3 irons – The technology
Titleist call this a ‘players distance iron’. It features a hollow blade construction combined with a thin, unsupported face insert.
AP3 was inspired by the development of Titleist Concept C16 irons, which were about adding distance and forgiveness into a player preferred, smaller footprint.
It should still have plenty of forgiveness with an average of 84.9 grams of tungsten per head, placed low and in the toe of the long and mid irons.
Titleist 718 AP3 irons – The results
I hit this iron as part of my 718 fitting and really loved the looks, sound and feel.
It’s not intimidating at all and will suit players of all abilities. Tour players are using it, mid-high handicappers could use it.
I could use it but during my fitting there was a bit of a drop off in carry on my not so good strikes compared to what I was seeing with the AP1.
Even in the shorter irons, I just felt like I was sacrificing a bit of needed forgiveness.
Titleist 718 AP3 irons – NCG verdict
Maybe on a different day I could have got fitted into these but despite me preferring the looks of these to AP1, the performance just wasn’t quite as good for me.
My advice to anyone would be to hit every single iron in the 718 range and let a fitter guide you into the right set – whether that be a split set or just the one model.
At £150 per iron, you don’t want to be making any expensive mistakes.
I’ll be really interested to see how popular this iron will be. The fact that it’s new will create interest in itself.
I suspect there will be a lot of people out there currently using AP2 that probably should be using AP3.
Yes you’ll get that lovely forged feel from AP2 but it really is a compact looking iron. And if you’ve got tour players opting for AP3 instead of AP2 then I think that feel you everything you need to know.
SRP: £150/£175 per club (steel/graphite)
Available irons: 3-P & 48˚
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.