Tech Talk: Titleist 714 AP1, AP2, CB and MB irons
Titleist’s new 714 AP2 irons are as forgiving as the original AP1 irons.
Think about that for a second. That means that the compact forged irons used by Jason Dufner to win his first major championship have as much forgiveness as one of the largest cast irons Titleist has ever produced. How is that possible? According to Chris McGinley, Titleist’s vice president of marketing, it’s because of tungsten and the irons’ progressive design.
Tungsten is important because of its density. It’s about twice as heavy as steel, which means it can impact an iron’s performance in ways that steel can’t. And it’s plentiful in the AP2′s. According to McGinley, there’s an average of 43 grams of tungsten in each head, which accounts for about 20 percent of the headweight.
In the AP2 long irons, the tungsten is positioned low and toward the edges of the head, which lowers the center of gravity (CG) and increases moment of inertia (MOI). The soles of the long irons are also slightly wider, moving even more weight to the bottom of the club.
A lower CG helps golfers to hit their long irons higher and carry them farther, while the increased MOI gives them more ball speed and less club head twisting on mishits. That means that on less-than-perfect shots with the 714 AP2′s, the ball will end up a little closer to the intended target with a little straighter flight than previous generations.
When most golfers think about moving weight to the edges of a club head, they think about the heel and toe sections of the back cavity, which is where most players irons like the AP2′s concentrate their discretionary weight. But Titleist truly took its weighting strategy to the edge with the 714 AP2′s, adding a tungsten weight slug in the bottom portion of the hosel.
The clubs are forged with the tungsten slug in place, which McGinley said gets the tungsten slug into a very critical area of the heel. The wider distance between the two tungsten weights gives the irons a higher MOI without having to increase the size of the iron — an important consideration for better golfers, most of whom prefer smaller-sized iron heads.
Engineers were also able to trim extra weight from the iron’s dual-cavity design. In the long irons, the upper cavity was thinned to 2.1 millimeters, which allowed more weight to be moved to the perimeter of the irons. But in the short irons, engineers did the opposite, adding weight to the upper portion of the club heads.
Adding weight to the top of the AP2′s short irons is key part of the set’s progressive design. Along with the short irons’ thinner soles, it moves the CG of the clubs higher, creating a lower, more penetrating trajectory that most golfers prefer from their higher-lofted irons. To further enhance the irons’ ball flight, Titleist strengthened the loft of 6 iron through gap wedge one degree, which will make them fly a little lower and go a bit farther as well.
Just like previous generations, the irons are forged from 1025 carbon steel, which gives them a soft, solid feel. They have the same amount of offset as previous versions, but it is less visible thanks to a new hosel blend.
Compared to the 712 AP2′s, the 714′s have soles that feature slightly more camber, as well as pre-worn leading edges, which remove a small amount of metal from the front of the sole to allow for better turf interaction, particularly in firm conditions.
The AP1 irons
In 2013, Titleist’s 712 AP1 irons — the company’s largest, most forgiving model — became the best-selling Titleist iron in the marketplace, generating 51 percent of the company’s iron sales.
It’s very likely that the 714 AP1 irons will sell better than their predecessors, thanks to their extremely progressive makeup. The new long irons were made to be higher launching and easier to hit, while the short irons are noticeably more compact at address and offer a more penetrating trajectory.
Like the 714 AP2 irons, the AP1 long irons use wider soles and tungsten to lower the CG. They also share the AP2′s dual-cavity construction, but instead of thinning the top of the face, engineers removed weight from underneath the long irons’ thicker topline, creating a deep undercut that allows 10 grams of discretionary weight to be positioned around the perimeter of the irons for a higher MOI.
The 714 AP1 long irons are cast from the same 431 stainless steel as their predecessors, but they feel better because of a new support bar that was added in the cavity. Like the iron’s multi-layer medallion, the bar fine tunes vibration to give the irons a pleasing sound at impact.
The most dramatic change, however, are the sole widths of the AP1 short irons, which were made substantially more narrow and with thinner toplines than previous models to give the irons a much slimmer look at address. The faces were made thicker as well, which not only improved feel, but raised the CG to a level where tungsten was not needed in their design.
Like the AP2 irons, the trajectory of the short irons was lowered with slightly stronger lofts. The 7 iron through gap wedge were strengthened one degree, which brought the pitching wedge loft to 44 degrees and the gap wedge, or “W1″ as its stamped on the sole, to 48 degrees. To fill the gap between golfers’ pitching wedge or gap wedge and their sand or lob wedges, Titleist added a second gap wedge, stamped “W2,” which measures 52 degrees.
The AP1 irons come stock with either True Temper’s XP 95 steel shafts or Mitsubishi Rayon’s Kuro Kage 65-gram graphite shafts. Both shafts have a flighted design, which complements the AP1′s flighted make up.
The MB and CB Irons
Titleist’s MB and CB irons are the company’s smallest and most workable irons. While the 714s are very similar to their predecessor — they’re still one-piece irons forged from 1025 carbon steel — engineers made a few tweaks to their designs to improve the look and feel of the clubs.
Like the 714 AP1 and AP2 irons, the MB’s and CB’s have an improved hosel blend that makes offset less apparent at address. They also have slightly straighter leading edges, and the CB has a sole with increased camber to help improve turf interaction.
The CB short irons also have a slightly shorter profile that makes them look more compact at address, which many better players prefer. Unlike the AP1 and AP2 irons, the MB and CB irons retain their traditional lofts — the 6 irons measure 31 degrees, while the pitching wedges measure 47 degrees.
The 714 MB and CB irons come stock with True Temper’s Dynamic Gold shafts in regular, stiff and extra-stiff flexes.
Both the 714 AP1 and AP2 irons have a combo satin and mirror-polish finish that reduces glare at address, but gives the irons some “bling” in the bag. They’ll be available at retail on Nov. 8 along with the MB and CB irons, which come with a satin finish.
The AP1 irons will sell for around $799 with steel shafts and $999 with graphite. The AP2 irons will carry a street price of $1099 with steel shafts and $1299 with graphite, while the MB and CB irons will cost $999 with steel shafts and $1199 with graphite.