Titleist’s previous lineup of irons irons, the 712 series, included the AP1, AP2, CB and MB irons — four different models that were made with different shapes, styles and materials to fit the needs of a wide range of golfers.
The 714 line features the same models, but they’ve been updated to improve the flight, feel and performance according to Chris McGinley, Titleist’s vice president of marketing.
McGinley said that there was not much Titleist could do to improve its new 714 MB and CB irons — like blades, their small size and solid forged construction only allows subtle tweaks to be made. And even if Titleist could have made them better, some of the company’s staff players would likely resist the changes.
“The only thing our tour players told (us) was ‘Don’t screw them up,’” McGinley said. “They like them the way they are.”
Above: Titleist’s new 714 MB irons are the company’s latest line of musclebacks. They’re the smallest, most workable irons in the lineup, with the thinnest top lines and the narrowest soles. See photos of the 3 iron through pitching wedge that were being tested by John Merrick at the AT&T National.
Above: Like the MB’s, the CB’s are forged from a solid block of 1025 carbon steel. They have a slightly wider, fuller sole than the MB’s, and a shallow cavity that makes the irons more forgiving. See photos of the 3 iron through pitching wedge that were tested by Robert Streb at the AT&T National.
But Titleist’s new 714 AP1 and AP2 irons are a different story. Since the original AP irons were released in 2008, both have had multi-material, dual-cavity designs that give them much more forgiveness than their sizes indicate. But with every new launch, Titleist has found a way to improve the performance of the AP irons by removing weight from certain parts of the iron structure and replacing it with high-density tungsten.
Marni Ines, the director of iron development for Titleist, wouldn’t discuss the specific technology that went into the new AP irons — with the launch still several months away, company leadership feels that it is too early to spill the beans. But he did provide broader clues on how the new irons have been improved.
One of the ways to make an iron better without making it bigger is to optimize the performance of each club. It’s called a progressive design, and it will give the AP1 and AP2 long irons a higher, softer flight, while the short irons will have more penetrating, controllable trajectory.
Above: Titleist’s new 714 AP1 irons are Titleist’s most forgiving model. Many of Titleist’s staff players use AP1’s as long iron replacements, which is one of the reason Titleist didn’t want to increase the size of the irons. See photos of the 4 iron through pitching wedge that were being tested by Ben Curtis at the AT&T National.
Titleist received feedback from surveys that showed golfers liked the size and shape of the 712 AP1 long irons, which are cast from 431 stainless steel, but they felt that the short irons looked clunky. So the short irons were slimmed down in the new version, especially in the address position, to give them a more compact look.
Above: The AP2 irons have a satin finish on the face to reduce glare, but a chrome finish on the back of the iron that makes the irons stand out in the bag. See photos of the 4 iron through 9 iron that were being tested by Jason Bohn at the AT&T National.
The new AP2 irons, which are forged from the same 1025 carbon steel that Titleist uses for its CB and MB irons, are very similar in size to the old model, but they have wider soles in the long irons to create a higher launch, and narrower soles in the short irons that help with turf interaction and versatility. While they have a similar amount of offset, that offset is better hidden than in previous AP2 models through a hosel blend that makes the space between the hosel and leading edge less apparent.
The construction of the new irons is not the only thing that has changed — like most new irons on the market, some of the lofts have been strengthened as well.
The 7 iron through pitching wedge has been strengthened in the AP1 irons, making the loft of the pitching wedge 44 degrees. Because of the wider gap between the AP1 pitching wedge and Titleist’s Vokey gap wedges, which are 50 and 52 degrees, the company is introducing an AP1 gap wedge that measures 48 degrees.
The AP2’s 6 iron through pitching wedge has been strengthened 1 degree, making the pitching wedge 46 degrees. Both the pitching wedges of the CB and MB irons will remain at 47 degrees for golfers who prefer traditional lofts.