Pros: The 716 AP2 irons retain the looks, forged feel and flight characteristics of Titleist’s previous model, while adding 25 percent more tungsten to their design to improve performance on off-center hits. Stock shaft options include True Temper’s Dynamic Gold AMT.

Cons: By no means are the 716 AP2’s “distance irons.” Their forged construction (1025 carbon steel) and reinforced club face design limits the distance these will fly, especially when compared to Titleist’s 716 T-MB and 716 AP1 irons.

Who they’re for: Single-digit handicappers to the best golfers in the world. Every iron in the set allows for ultimate trajectory control, while still pardoning slight mishits.

The Review

Titleist_716_AP2_Feat

  • Price: $1.199 steel, $1,399 graphite (for eight irons)
  • Irons available: 3-P, W ($150 each steel, $175 each (graphite)
  • Construction: Forged (1025 carbon steel, tungsten)
  • Stock Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold AMT (steel), Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage TiNi 65 (graphite)
  • Availability: In stores Oct. 23

An analysis of Titleist’s 716 AP2 against its competitors reveals that the irons are mostly in a league of their own, which is at least partially due to the AP2’s own success. Now in its fifth iteration, the AP2’s have become a leading choice with better players as many manufacturers have trended toward larger, distance-orientated players irons — often at the expense of looks, sound and feel.

At the time of its release, there’s simply no other forged players iron that can match the technical accomplishments of the 716 AP2, which follows in a design strategy that resulted in its predecessor, the 714 AP2, being used to win all four major championships from 2013-2015 (Jordan Spieth in the 2015 Masters and U.S. Open, Zach Johnson in the 2015 Open Championship and Jason Dufner in the 2013 PGA Championship).

What Titleist continues to get right with the AP2 line has to do with its compact size, as well as what’s referenced its namesake: “Advanced Precision.” The 716 AP2 offer more forgiveness than the previous model by using an industry-leading amount of tungsten in the irons. Titleist uses an average of 56.2 grams of the high-density material in the 3-7 irons of the 716 AP2. Its competitors don’t even approach half of that number.

Titleist_716_AP2_Tech
The 3-7 irons use an industry-leading amount of tungsten to improve launch, ball speed and forgiveness.

What’s also distinct is Titleist’s co-forging process, or the way the tungsten is distributed. Each of the iron heads (3-7) is fitted with a specialized pair of tungsten weights, which are forged into corners of their soles to maximize the irons moment of inertia (MOI), a measure of ball speed retention on off-center hits. It’s that process that has allowed the AP2 irons to remain essentially the same size over the years, yet improve on the performance of past models. It also allows the multi-material design to retain an acoustic quality eerily similar to other 1025 carbon steel forgings, yet offer forgiveness typical of much larger club heads.

390f880784698bd287bf88c8f4e63ef8
The 716 AP2’s reinforced face design gives golfers maximum feedback and consistency.

Of course, golf is played on courses, not in engineering departments, and on grass is where the 716 AP2’s truly shine. I’ve tested a variety of leading players irons from different manufacturers in recent years, and the AP2’s always surprise me with how compact they are at address. While their shorter blade lengths and slight offset can be intimidating for less-skilled golfers, many better players — especially those who, like me, grew up playing traditional forged cavity-back and muscleback irons — gain a feeling of control and precision from their small chassis.

What’s just as important is the way the AP2 feel at impact. Marni Ines, director of product development at Titleist, makes the case that forged irons with tungsten in their design can actually feel softer at impact than one-piece forgings because of its aforementioned MOI boost, which causes less twisting of the club head on mishits. Both myself and our two testers noted Titleist’s tungsten-laden 716 CB and 716 AP2 irons as feeling softer than the company’s 716 MB irons, which supports Ines’ stance.

Titleist_716_AP2_47P_soles

The turf interaction of the AP2 irons is also fantastic for better players — especially those with moderate-to-steeper angles of attack. The irons, because of their compact size, are extremely nimble on long grass. From tighter, firmer lies, their Vokey-inspired sole grind, which uses a combination of a pre-worn leading edge and a reasonably cambered sole, supports a golfer’s ambition to make ball-first contact, strike the ground and keep the club moving through the turf without snagging.

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Titleist is the exclusive launch partner for True Temper’s Dynamic Gold AMT shaft.

These finer points of the 716 AP2 design, which Titleist has honed with the feedback from its staff of Tour Professionals, have to breed confidence with golfers in the form of reassurance that they’re using the same clubs the best golfers in the world are using to support their livelihoods.

Titleist_716_AP2_Specs
The 716 AP2 lofts remain the same as past models.

The one weakness of the 716 AP2 may not be a weakness at all, depending on your needs. Their club faces are reinforced with structure that prevents them from creating any meaningful spring-like effect at impact. Other manufactures, including Titleist with its 716 AP1 irons and 716-T-MB irons, have sought to increase this spring-like effect to add distance and retain more consistent ball speed on off-center hits.

There’s no question that fast-faced irons are effective at adding ball speed, which you can see in the comparative data of the 716 AP1 and 716 T-MB irons below, but so far the reception of such irons by PGA Tour players has been lukewarm at best. At the high levels of competitive golf, most players demand irons that offer accurate feedback and reassure them that their best and worst shots will fly exactly the distance they expect. The AP2’s live in that space.

Titleist2016_AP2
All 716 irons were Trackman tested with the same shaft (model and length), same grip, and Titleist’s stock specs.
Titleist2016_AP22
All 716 irons were Trackman tested with the same shaft (model and length), same grip, and Titleist’s stock specs.
Titleist2016_AP23
All 716 irons were Trackman tested with the same shaft (model and length), same grip, and Titleist’s stock specs.

Expect the 716 AP2 irons to go a little farther on mishits than their predecessors — especially the long irons — but don’t buy them if your main desire is more distance than you’re getting from your set of 714 AP2’s.

See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the 716 AP1, AP2, T-MB, CB and MB irons in our forum. 

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Previous articleReview: Titleist 716 AP1 irons
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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals.

He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

38 COMMENTS

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  1. Thank you for the info on the lofts I was wondering why the 714’s distance seemed a little different then my old 712’s. Did Titleist change the lofts any from 714 to 716?

  2. Is it me or do the spin numbers seem quite low. Both players seem to have higher than average swing speeds, particularly player 1, but for the 7 iron, spin is down in the 5000s with a tour average in the 7000 range and for pw, spin in the mid to high 8000s with tour average 9300. Not everyone should be expected to have tour player spin numbers, but these two testers have comparable to tour player speeds. Just curious….

    • I am hoping you (and others) will appreciate the simplicity of information that I can provide. Launch angles will vary depending upon the player. My best 7 iron launches at 19 degrees and has 7000 rpm backspin. It travels 165 yards through the air. Many of the launch angles and spin rates achieved by the testers are not ideal. I can make my 7 iron go much lower, reducing the spin rate and increasing the distance – but why would I do this other than to impress someone? Optimum spin rate is about the same as the number on the sole, ie, 5 iron, 5000 rpm. Driver, under the 3,000 is good.

      • Pete…thanks for the reply. That’s what I’ve always used as an estimate too…1000*club stamp. My numbers are very close to yours…about 7000 spin on my 714 cb 7 iron and carry right at about 170-172. I’ve also heard that as lofts have come down, the spin should come down by maybe as much as 15%, so a 7000 rpm 7 iron nowadays could/should be about about 6000. But these numbers are even lower than that.

  3. I am sure the AP2 is a great performer but I would certainly go the CB route. I didn´t choose the AP2 4-5 years ago and would not choose them today. The CBs are just much more superior to the AP- – from experience hitting both clubs and looking at the chart here related to carry, launch, etc. – also looks are bit factor and . Ideally I would like to go the MB (PW-8) and CB (7-5) combo. Looking forward to the demo days in 2016. Funny looking at the chart as the normal dude would probably hit a 7 iron in the 155-165 range. So where do you get the extra 10 -20 yards from, what HCPs are Player 1&2?

  4. Good thing they got Bubba and Jason Day (yeah I know they are not Titleist guys) to test it. I really want to know if they will be able to perform when I smack my 7 iron 185 carry. Who/what are these testers?

  5. I think the CB’s or even the MB’s look better but I’ll test em out. Why not. I love my 714 AP2’s so not sure how much difference these will be. I’m shopping…

  6. This isn’t an article… this is an advert. This doesn’t even read like an article.

    I guess we’ll all have to find a new website because this is rubbish. Golfwrx sold out. I’m guessing all a company has to do is pay some bucks for a positive article and Golfwrx and their staff writer Zak (spelling) Kuzochow.. ski? will just soft serve up some shiny words to increase their bank accounts.

    • Agree, those supposed “Reviews” are just BS. I can go to the Titleist site and get more information from there. Launch Monitor data is useless if you don´t compare your own personal numbers – and for sure I am hitting my 7iron 175/185 yards respectively.

  7. A quote from the article: “At the time of its release, there’s simply no other forged players iron that can match the technical accomplishments of the 716 AP2, which follows in a design strategy that resulted in its predecessor, the 714 AP2, being used to win all four major championships from 2013-2015 (Jordan Spieth in the 2015 Masters and U.S. Open, Zach Johnson in the 2015 Open Championship and Jason Dufner in the 2013 PGA Championship).”

    OK, fine. So why didn’t the 714 AP2s even make the TOP SEVEN in GolWRX’s own “Best Players Irons” of 2015? You guys ranked at least seven other models in front of them, and now you say that the AP2 series is the best in golf…

      • I think it may have been something to do with the quality of the player too. It’s an awkward truth than a skilled player will make almost any ball and club work well. It’s the technique that remains so critical to the result. It’s a game of basic fundamentals. My staff were practising with a traded in set (value – nil!) of Sam Snead Blue Ridge from years ago. They performed perfectly well. Here’s the tough question for us to consider…… has golf been hijacked by excessive technical analysis, launch monitors, putting labs and mental trainers?

  8. Titleist need to get a new product designer because they continue to release insipid clubs every year. The AP2’s look like crap…Titleist clubs are totally overrated!!!

  9. Aesthetically they are ugly. How they perform, haven’t hit them. Glad I pulled the trigger on 714AP 2’s, X-100 tour issue. I agree with previous poster low launch angle on data.

    • Mark Crossfield has just tested them and come out at 15.1 degrees launch angle on the 4 iron, as opposed to 7.6 degrees here. I’ve no idea about their swings, and I appreciate they are useful comparison numbers, but I don’t think these are the right two testers to really put them through their paces.

  10. Cons: By no means are the 716 AP2’s “distance irons.” Their forged construction (1025 carbon steel) and reinforced club face design limits the distance these will fly, especially when compared to Titleist’s 716 T-MB and 716 AP1 irons.

    As long as a “lack of distance” is considered a drawback, is it any wonder why people have such wild views about lofts, loft jacking, and 17 more yards? When you say “limits the distance”, does that not suggest yardage control? This is a target sport, right?

    • Agree 100%… How can that be a “con”? I don’t get why people are so fixated on more distance. When is this distance craze going to end, when a 7 iron flies 230??? In all seriousness though, AP2 are meant for the established low handicapper in mind… And at that level having and knowing precise distances is what is desired.

  11. Not feeling these. Too much happening on them in my opinion. TM Psi has me intrigued having seen them up close and how good they look. These just seem a bridge too far for Titleist. Kind of reminds me of when FJ try to do technical, athletic looking footwear. It ain’t their forte…

  12. Nice set of comparison numbers, just a couple of things…

    Player 1 launch angle with a 4 iron is 7.6 degrees????? Yes he is swinging fast but with just 4000rpm that ball is not stopping on the green. Absurdly low launch angle. All those launch angles look very low, I’m a bit cautious about them. PGA tour average with a 4 iron is around 12 degrees.

    Secondly, and I will be in a minority of one on this, but I am struggling to love my set of 712 AP2s. To me they appear a bit boxy, neither sleek and slim like a true blade, nor powerful and solid like a GI iron, kind of worst of both worlds. It’s been long acknowledged you can see the back of the AP2 long irons from the address position.

  13. Coming from someone that does not need to hit the ball longer I think thats a great idea to reduce the spring like effect. its going to be interesting to try these against my current Srixon Z745’s. also it will be interesting to see how the AMT shaft feels as a few guys have already switched to them on tour.

    • Hi Teaj,
      I saw your comments from the 716 ap2 review. I was curious to know if you did a comparison of your srixon z745 compared to the new 716 ap2’s? How was feel? Turf interaction? I am currently debating between these two sets of irons. How about which iron was more forgiving? Did you like the AMT shafts? Thank you so much for helping me!!

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