November 8 2013
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
Titleist's new AP1 and 714 AP2 Series irons have been on the PGA TOUR since the AT&T National, and in the span of less than six months, have helped some of the world’s best golfers accomplish some major goals. Jason Dufner used the AP2s to win his first major championship at the PGA Championship while Jordan Spieth used the AP2s to win for the first time on the PGA TOUR at the John Deere Classic.
Dufner and Spieth are just a few of the high-profile names who've enjoyed success with the fourth generation AP line, which includes enhancements to the feel, flight, forgiveness and ground interaction in both iron models.
"There are two target audiences when it comes to the AP line," said Chris McGinley, Titleist's vice president of marketing. "The AP1 is built on our progressive game improvement chassis and geared towards golfers looking for maximum forgiveness, optimum launch and distance."
While AP1, the company's best-selling iron, is considered the game-improvement model in the AP line, it still has a presence on the PGA TOUR. Former British Open winner Ben Curtis has been using AP1 for the last few seasons and became the first player to win with a full set at the 2012 Valero Texas Open.
Curtis, who switched to the new 714 AP1 the very first week it was on TOUR at AT&T National, noted the additional forgiveness and bounce were the main reasons he decided to switch to the game-improvement iron.
Even though AP1 has the largest head of any Titleist iron, it still remains relatively compact compared to other game-improvement irons on the market. Instead of making the blade length longer, which in turn can make an iron more forgiving, Titleist found other ways to maintain the blade length, while improving forgiveness, flight and feel.
"There aren't any irons at the AP1's blade length that are more forgiving," McGinley said. "There are some that have a higher MOI, but they have pretty significantly bigger blade lengths."
Cast from 431 stainless steel, the set features an extremely progressive makeup, making it the longest and most forgiving iron Titleist has ever made.
The long irons (3-6) have been designed with a dual-cavity construction that includes a deep undercut beneath the topline that allowed engineers to free up 10 grams of discretionary weight and position it in the bottom of the iron, driving down the center of gravity (CG) and making the long irons easier to hit high.
Along with a wider, cambered sole for added forgiveness and ground interaction, the lower cavity also includes a high-density tungsten weight in the toe section of the head that helps golfers maintain consistent distance, by increasing ball speed on off center hits.
With the 714 AP1 short irons (7-GW), the goal was to improve control by managing spin and trajectory. To achieve this, engineers raised the CG — doing so allows the short irons to flight low — by removing the tungsten weight in the sole and adding a thicker upper face and a narrower sole. As a result, the thicker face enhances feel, while the narrower sole (as well as a thinner topline) improves the appearance at address.
"We want players to have control in their short irons," McGinley said. "Removing the weight and raising the center of gravity will make them easier to flight with a flatter trajectory."
Titleist also strengthened the lofts in the 7-GW by 1 degree, making the pitching wedge 44 degrees. To account for the stronger lofts in the short irons, two new gap wedges (48 and 52 degrees) were added to the set.
The 714 AP1 is available at golf retail stores for $800 with True Temper's XP 95 steel shafts or $1,000 with Mitsubishi's Kuro Kage 65 graphite shafts. Custom shaft options are available by special order.
Similar to 714 AP1, improvements were made to the flight, forgiveness and feel in the new 714 AP2 — an iron designed for better players who want to work the ball.
The difference between the two irons is that unlike AP1, which features a progressive blade length that aides in improving forgiveness, the blade length on AP2 is constant throughout the entire set.
"Because we don't have the blade length or the size of the AP1, we have to get even more creative to make AP2 more forgiving," McGinley said. "We were able to make improvements with the help of tungsten in the extreme heel of AP2."
Tungsten plays a major role in the AP2 design. Nearly twice as heavy as steel, tungsten — there's an average of 43 grams of tungsten in each iron head — accounts for roughly 20 percent of the head weight.
"What's really unique about AP2 is that it has toe tungsten and tungsten in the extreme portion of the heel," McGinley said. "We were able to get it in the extreme position of the heel through a process called co-forging that no one else in the business is currently using.
To get the tungsten in the heel, engineers drilled out a hole in the hosel and co-forged it into place. The additional tungsten weight in the heel and toe of the head increases the MOI in the long and short irons without increasing the blade length, making it the most forgiving iron in the industry at its current blade length.
Forged from 1025 carbon steel, the 714 AP2 long irons (3-5) have a dual-cavity design and face that's 25 percent thinner than its predecessor. Along with the addition of tungsten in the heel and toe, the long irons have a slightly wider sole, lower CG and higher MOI, making them longer and more forgiving.
The 714 AP2 short iron (6-GW) lofts were also strengthened by 1 degree, and the center of gravity moved progressively higher through the short irons to make it easier to flight the ball low. The AP2 also has a thicker upper face (for improved feel) and a pre-worn leading edge that helps with turf interaction.
While the 712 AP2 and 714 AP2 have the same amount of offset, McGinley said designers were able to make the offset less visible in the new model thanks in large part to a new hosel blend.
The 714 AP2 is available for $1,100 with True Temper Dynamic Golf shafts. Custom shaft options are also available by special order.
PGA TOUR SUPERSTORE: Click here to pre-order Titleist's AP1 and AP2