Titleist’s new 716 AP1 and AP2 irons raise the forgiveness bar to unprecedented heights thanks to their use of high-density tungsten
Forgiveness is not a characteristic I’ve paid much heed to when choosing the irons that go in my bag. They need to look the part at address – minimal offset, thin topline – and offer distance consistency from the sweetspot to ensure I hit my yardage when I make that rare good swing.
So I had mixed emotions about the prospect of being custom fitted for a set of Titleist 716 AP2 irons at the Titleist launch event at Fairmont St Andrews. The snob in me has always considered these clubs aimed at game improvers, and not offering the compact look and shape at address this four-handicapper desired. But if Jordan Spieth is reeling off the major wins with a set, I owed them at least a trial run. It was a decision that did not disappoint.
Down at address, the 716 AP2 strikes that fine balance between being confidence inspiring but without appearing oversized. This finish and lack of offset were surprising and the feel from the sweetspot rivals that of true better player models. The most impressive feature, however, was how Titleist have managed to pack in so much forgiveness into such a small package.
The dispersion, both left and right and short and long, didn’t tally up with the mixed bag of strikes I offered up on the day. Wherever I struck the face, the ball never strayed too far from its intended target.
Titleist Golf Club General Manager Steve Pelisek talks about the tungsten technology
While most of this was down the construction of the head, I must also pay some credit to the new AMT shafts, which for me created more even gapping through the set, helping me see a marginal increase in swing speed with the long irons, which most golfers, myself included, miss-strike more frequently.
The Titleist 716 AP1 irons takes this impressive forgiveness level and raises it even further. The feeling of power and stability you experience at impact leaves you gagging to pull another ball from your range basket. Slower swing speeds and inconsistent ball strikers will love the distance these irons provide while still being playable from different lies and offering consistent distances from the middle of the face.
It makes you wonder why other manufacturers have shied away from using a significant amount of tungsten in their irons. Many have used, and currently use, high density tungsten in their irons but only in small quantities in the toe to bring the CG closer to the middle of the face by offsetting the extra weight in the hosel. Yes, it’s an expensive material to use, but the fact that Titleist have used much more of it, and passed on very little of that cost to the consumer, means the new 716 AP1 and AP2 irons offer even better value for money than you may think.
Titleist have always prided themselves on offering performance for the serious golfer. Remember than serious doesn’t just refer to low handicaps and a huge variety of golfers are sure to see an improvement in their iron play after an investment in AP1 or AP2 and better gapping through more of the set thanks to the introduction of the 816 hybrids.