5 While most major equipment companies are currently releasing new products more often than ever before, Titleist devotees have had to wait two years for the latest (and fourth) incarnation of the stylish AP irons.
Having seen, being fitted, and tested the new clubs I can say with confidence that their patience will be rewarded.
“The reason we have two-year life cycles is important to us,” says Titleist’s brand director Matt Johnson.
“It is different to other brands. The reason is because we have a proven R&D process that includes taking feedback from tour and golfers of all abilities.
Once they’ve got that, they go into the development stage then into the validation process through Tour, which happened with these irons since June and culminated in a great win for Jason Dufner at the PGA.
“To make something that is considerably better than the previous generation takes us that long,” he said.
Like most things with Titleist, the improvements are subtle but significant. There may well be other, more eye-catching products on the market but any golfer with an eye for classic head shapes and proportions will be drawn to the AP range.
To my eye, the 714 AP2s look sleeker and shinier than their predecessors. I suspect that there will be some Titleist fans who have previously played CBs now tempted to make the switch to AP2. Better news still for those of us whose ball striking is not always of, shall we say, tour standard, these are the most playable irons the brand have ever brought to market. The really clever bit, though, is not just making forgiving irons – it is doing so while retaining timeless looks and proportions.
To my eye, the 714 AP2s look sleeker and shinier than their predecessors. I suspect that there will be some Titleist fans who have previously played CBs now tempted to make the switch to AP2. You get a very similar look at address but are likely to find the long irons fly that little bit higher and go further on off-centre hits. The short irons have been carefully refined in terms of shape, with a little height taken off the blade, and also design, to ensure no ballooning and that flat flight we all like from clubs at that end of the set.
The more forgiving AP1s just look that little bit more credible to the serious player in search of greater playability.
“We don’t stray too far from our blade length and certainly we have a look that works very well, but there is a lot of technology under the hood, particularly more feel and forgiveness,” says Johnson.
“On the shelf, you’ll notice the back of the club is a bit more appealing. Those are the two main differences. Personally I noticed a big difference in feel. When people hit it, it has a big top line compared to the AP2 but people will be surprised how good it feels.
“Many golfers who might have felt they were unsuited to Titleist irons will look at these and realise that here is an iron for them.”
Titleist expect sales to be roughly equal between the two irons, perhaps with AP1 just shading it.
Titleist AP1/AP2 714 irons