Pros: A serious distance upgrade. The 716 AP1 irons have thin, unsupported club faces that make them a challenger in the distance category. The addition of 50 percent more tungsten allowed engineers to keep the size of the irons the same, yet make them more forgiving than their predecessors.

Cons: The PW has an unusually strong stock loft of 43 degrees. Golfers will most likely need to use an AP1 “W” wedge (47 degrees) or another specialty wedge to maintain consistent yardage gaps.

Who they’re for: They’re designed for golfers looking for maximum distance and forgiveness, but anyone can play the 716 AP1 irons. Those interested in Titleist’s players irons may want to consider AP1 long irons as part of a mixed set.

The Review

Titleist_716_AP1_Feat_2

  • Price: $899 steel, $1,099 graphite (for eight irons)
  • Irons available: 3-P, W, W2 ($112.50 each steel, $137.50 each graphite)
  • Construction: Cast (431 stainless steel, tungsten)
  • Stock Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold XP 90 (steel), Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage TiNi 65 (graphite)
  • Availability: In stores Oct. 23

Titleist’s changes to the 716 AP1 irons has made them, without a doubt, the longest, most forgiving irons in company history. While distance isn’t everything, there wasn’t much left for Titleist engineers to improve other than the distance the clubs few, as their predecessors, the 714 AP1 irons, were already considered one of the most consistent irons in the game-improvement category.

Maybe just as important as the performance of AP1 irons, however, has been Titleist’s commitment to making a set of game-improvement irons that garner the same respect as the players irons for which the company is known. Sure, the AP1 blade lengths have always been long, the top lines have always been thick and the offset has always been noticeable — but the sound and shaping of the irons has always been impressively traditional.

The science of adding distance to irons is well known, so there was no question if Titleist could make the irons longer. The question was, could its engineers make the AP1’s longer and continue to maintain the qualities that have made the irons a favorite with everyone from PGA Tour players to Peter in Pittsburgh?

After extensive testing of the 716 AP1 irons, it was obvious that Titleist achieved its goal of making a set of irons that were longer and more forgiving than past models, while actually improving the little things that have made the irons a leader in the game-improvement category. The sound of the irons is slightly louder, as expected from irons with thin, unsupported club faces, but its far from the hollow, “tingy” sound golfers have come to expect from distance-driven, game-improvement irons.

Here’s how Titleist did it.

Titleist_716_AP1_360_undercut
Less structure, more performance: The 716 AP1 irons have a 360-degree undercut cavity

The company removed a supportive bar from the cavity of the 716 AP1 iron, which had two important benefits:

  1. It allowed the new thin, heat-treated club faces to flex at impact, creating more ball speed across the club face.
  2. It saved approximately 12 grams from the design, which was redistributed to improve moment of inertia (MOI), a measure of ball speed retention on mishits, and increased launch angle.
Titleist_716_AP1_Tech
With an average of 42.5 grams of tungsten in the 3-7 iron heads, the AP1 irons are now more forgiving.

 

Skeptics will point out that the lofts of the 716 AP1 are stronger than previous models, which also leads to distance gains. And they’re right; each of the 716 AP1 irons are 1-degree stronger than their predecessors, with a stock pitching wedge loft of 43 degrees.

Titleist_716_AP1_specs

What our testing data says about the lower lofts, however, is that they do not come at the expense of launch angle. Launch angle is most important, particularly for the game-improvement crowd, in long irons. Looking at the data, however, you’ll notice that the 716 AP1 4 iron (22 degrees) actually launched as high or higher than the 716 T-MB (23 degrees), 716 AP2, 716 CB and 716 MB (all 24 degrees).

It should also be noted that the AP1’s, unlike many other game-improvement irons, have a stock 4-iron length that is the same as Titleist’s other iron models (38.5 inches). Each iron was tested with the same shaft (KBS’ C-Taper S+), shaft length, grip, and Titleist’s stock specs.

Titleist2016_API1s
All 716 irons were Trackman tested with the same shaft (model and length), same grip and Titleist’s stock specs.
Titleist2016_API1s2
All 716 irons were Trackman tested with the same shaft (model and length), same grip and Titleist’s stock specs.
Titleist2016_API1s3
All 716 irons were Trackman tested with the same shaft (model and length), same grip and Titleist’s stock specs.

What doesn’t show up on the charts, and will be important for golfers interested in the 716 AP1’s, is the attention to detail on the soles of the 716 AP1 irons. Titleist uses what’s called a “pre-worn” leading edge on all of its 716 irons, but it’s most important to the performance of the wide-soled AP1’s because it helps golfers make crisp contact from tight lies. For golfers with steeper attack angles, the soles of the clubs are also heavily cambered, or rounded, to limit digging and help the club exit the turf smoothly.

Titleist_AP1_sole_widths

In short, the 716 AP1’s perform at a high level, both at impact and through the turf, which is one of the reason they’re a popular choice for a variety of golfers, either as a full set or as long-iron replacements.

The Takeaway

If you’re considering a set of AP1 irons, keep in mind their strong lofts so that you gap your wedges appropriately. You may want to consider a W (47 degrees), or another specialty pitching wedge of a similar loft, to help bridge the gap between your highest-lofted AP1 iron and lowest-lofted wedge.

Golfers interested in replacing their longest irons with 716 AP1 should have no problem doing so, and can expect a more forgiving club that is longer than Titleist’s other 716 iron models.

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

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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.

42 COMMENTS

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  1. I recently purchased the 716AP1. They are excellent clubs. Not sure why there is always so much hate about the lofts and numbers on the club. I simply went to Ping/Titleist/Mizuno demo days. Then I went to Edwin Watts and hit these clubs (AP1&2, Ping G, Mizuno EZ, Callaway CF16) and compared them to my Mizuno MX300. I liked the forgiveness, height and distance the best with the AP1s. (They were all excellent and all more forgiving and longer than the MX300s). I don’t get to practice much and the MX300s were a little to exacting. I get about 1 more club length per iron but more importantly don’t need to hit as perfect to get that distance (P 130v120, 7i 160v150, etc) and accuracy. Not sure what my swing speed is but hit driver about 250-270. I swing easy and hit regular steel in my irons. I’ve got 4i-GW and also carry 50/56 wedges. I have a Ping G driver, 5W and 22* rescue. I’ve played a few rounds and broke 80 for first time in 10+ years. The irons go mostly straight. When I miss with irons usually a little left. Bottom line, everyone has to find the iron that bests suits their swing and needs. For me, I love my new Titlist 716AP1. They do not feel as nice as the Mizunos but that’s easy to forget when the ball is sitting nicely on the green.

  2. 45 years ago I started golfing in my parents backyard in Detroit with five clubs and two balls I got from an 80 year old neighbor. Under the circumstances you learn a lot of different shots to play without breaking windows. During the last 20 years technology has made this game much easier but has made it too mechanical. Enough with the data analysis. 95% of golfers can’t hit it within plus or -10 yards consistently. I believe if the average golfer would play a few rounds each year with just five clubs their game would drastically improve and they would have more creativity in different conditions. They would then worry less about the number but more about feel. The variables for each shot on any day are infinite and so should your ability to create a shot for each challenge.

  3. Come on there are people who need the distance help. They won’t play volkey wedges. Even their wedges will be gi. I’m glad we all hit very far with no distance help needed. But truth is the gi clubs help them make the game playable. Same reason I hit ap2s and not blades cuz I’m not good enough for blades.

  4. Hello! Taylor made has been juicing their clubs for years on their low to mid irons. Check the Ap1’s against any of their clubs and the 4 irons alone are 2 to 3 degrees less. Not to mention their shaft lengths and longer than standard for those that by off the rack.

  5. Sorry, but some of the comments are pretty ignorant. I have these clubs and they are @ 1-club longer than my 712 AP2. To maintain the distance continuity with my existing wedges (52 & 56), I went 4-GW (compared to 3-PW in the AP2). The bottom-end is covered, so I’ll be getting a 816h to fill the gap between my 3w (230) and my 4i (200). FWIW, my driver SS is 102.

    As far as what handicap range for these, it doesn’t matter. There are touring pros that play these all the way to the average golfer (@15 handicap). At the end of the day, clubs are just “dumb animals”. It’s up to the user to decide what works and what doesn’t based on their personal needs and preferences.

  6. i love seeing all the comments, but what I want to know is how do they perform, how to they feel, how does the ball launch, do they help you hit more greens, what do these shafts feel like (XP 90). How do they perform? What shaft (R,S,X, steel, graphite) did you like and why?

    I like seeing the numbers posted, it gives me an idea of what they might be like especially compared to other Titleist clubs. My 95 mph driver speed will certainly will lead me to extrapolate though based on those swing speeds shown in the charts, lol.

    I want to figure out if they will PERFORM better for me than what I have today. Will it make the game easier physically and mentally? I would prefer lofts on the clubs, but will get used to the numbers (and what they mean to my game).

    I look forward to trying these out. Thanks

  7. All this did was make the stock go up for the Vokey wedges! You will see an increase in sales of wedges for those buying the AP1 716. So $899 + $199*3 wedges to fill the gaps = $1500 for a new set

  8. Let’s be honest. Every half-legit iron club review will have a section comparing distance. That only feeds the beast in this never-ending arms race for more distance. When will it stop? 6 irons are already 5 irons in disguise. Soon, the 6 will really be a 4 iron and you won’t even be able to demo it because no average golfer will be able to hit it. The 7 will really be a 5 and few will be able to hit that as well. 8 irons only in the demo bag at your local store which are really 6 irons like they were 10 years ago. Book it.

  9. I always wondered what would happen when the lofts got so low that they needed a gap-gap-wedge. So now we have 8I, 9I, PW, W1, W2….

    Ridiculous.

    Roll on 2018 when we’ll have 9I, PW, W1, W2, W3….

    Then 2021 with PW, W1, W2, W3, W4….

    Eventually, something has to give. Or we’ll end up at W1, W2,…., W10.

    I will look on with interest and keep my money in my pocket. A golf club is a hunk of metal on the end of a stick and no amount of engineering is ever going to make more than a handful of percentage points of performance difference over what we’ve had for several years now. Most of the wins have already been made, e.g. cavity back. Tom Wishon tells this like it is, I encourage you to seek out his writings.

    Wake up! It’s all marketing.

      • Really wish they would stop listed iron numbers and just put the loft on clubs. The name of the iron is not relevant.

        I personally will be testing their 47 degree “W” vs a 48 degree vokey, as my current setup has a 45 degree PW and my first wedge is a 52.

  10. The issue with the lofts is that the long irons have changed marginally so the gaps have not been as drastic. The majority of changes have been from ~8-iron and down. The gaps that it creates forces you to add more wedges but rules still only allow for 14 clubs.

    • Then don’t buy the long irons. With the length and loft of today’s irons, a 5 iron is the longest iron most people should carry in their bag. 5i-GW in the iron set, pick-up a sand wedge and a lob wedge there’s 9 clubs, that leaves room for your driver, your putter, and a combination of 3 hybrids or woods.

  11. This is my 68th season playing golf. I started with a cut down, hickory shafted mashie niblick, and it has taken me this many years to finally realize that those irons are just tools of the trade. They have numbers on them for easy identification. With experience we discover how far we can carry each number. Sometimes someone will ask us what number we hit on our last shot, but most of the time (and according to the rules of golf) that number is strictly our own business — unless we have some ego investment in announcing it after a shot. A 39 degree 9 iron horrifies me. When I started playing, in 1948, that was the loft of a 6 iron. But so what? Pull the number that goes the distance you’re looking for and enjoy the game. Oh, don’t forget to drop another two or three hundred on extra wedges. I mean, isn’t that what’s really driving the development of the way-too- long short iron thing?

  12. Man, agree with you all with jacked up PW.
    Might have to do combo set now, but how will a combo AP1/AP2 set work now?
    Might not work with replacing my 5,6 AP2 with 5,6 AP1. Might be huge gap in distance from i6 AP1 vs my 7i AP2.

  13. Rob’s comment above might be the best description of current club design as I’ve read on these blogs. Spot on! The OEM’s need to make the stronger lofts on the short irons so they do not balloon. Purely based on club head design.

  14. I just got my ping g30 irons and there is no more 3 iron…starts with a 4 and the pw is 45..and that is kind of low…..but they go high so …but that leaves me trying to figure out what wedges to put in.

    • Which is exactly what the manufacturers want you to do – buy one of their more expensive wedges instead of the cheaper one that comes in the set, making you believe you need more precise wedge play gapping feel control touch (roll eyes here)

  15. Amazing: Pitching Wedges from the test players carry 150 yards. The wedge is the same loft as my R9 TP 9 iron that I carry 140 (my driver swing speed is 103 mph). The 7 iron is exactly the same loft as my 6 iron that I carry 170. They carry them 194 and 182? The 4 iron is 2.5 degrees stronger than my 4 iron, that I carry 195, These test brutes carry the Titleist 4 iron 221 and 214.

    All I can say is Wow! Where did these test beasts come from and what business do they have hitting a club made for chops? These guys must swing in the 115 range (with driver). Top 3% of all golfers?

    This is beyond stupid and insulting to the intelligence of the people reading it. I am a current 1.2 handicap, 43 years old. I am glad we get to see the pictures and the reviews, but please, I really question the credibility of these numbers.

  16. I hit these last Friday at a demo day. Even though the 6 iron has the same loft as my current set (jpx ez forged), I hit the AP1 (with the kuro kage shaft) about a half club farther and noticeably higher. The AP1’s actually felt better than my Mizuno’s. If I were to ever buy these I would have the lofts weakened 1* for the 7-PW.

  17. They could just start making a 10 iron for these sets… then you could still have your strong lofts, but your wedge lofts wouldn’t be as affected. I remember my Nickent 3DX’s had a 10 iron. Granted, then you have to rethink your bag setup because you have an extra iron… I think a lot of people complain about strong lofts forget that the clubs launch higher than clubs from the past, so you still end up getting the right launch conditions.

  18. The higher the MOI of the club, the higher the launch. As companies increase MOI, they have to strengthen the lofts to keep the launch angles manageable. Also keep in mind that the ‘3’ iron is actually a 2 iron. If they knocked the 3 iron out and started the set at the 4-iron and changed the numbers on the clubs, the clubs would fall in line with tradition club lofts. As much as club technology has changed the 24/38 rule hasn’t. A player who is targeting these irons should not get the 3 or 4 irons. A set from 5-W2 (traditional 3/4-PW/GW) with a couple more wedges and a hybrid would be a good setup.

    • Great, why don’t they just reset the numbers? Why confuse things even more? So a part of increasing MOI is adding backspin – interesting, since I know more higher handicap golfers that struggle with getting the ball airborne and holding greens. Also, explains why when I increased all my lofts to more sane lofts “48 degree PW” that I gained not only height and straighter ball flight, but 1 to 2 clubs extra distance from an old CB/MB combo – I was quite surprised at the huge distance gain.

      • Does it really matter? In reality all you need to know is how far each club goes. With a new set distance always takes awhile to dial in anyway. Just know your yardage and grab your stick.

        • Of course it matters! On that long par 3 when your buddies exclaim they had to lay into a five iron to reach the green you get to say, “Oh, I babied a 7 iron.” :)

    • I have the 5 thru w2 AP1 716 irons. I am a 1 handicap in my late fifties. I really like the launch and added distance. The numbers on the clubs make no difference to me. I just took a sharpie and wrote my carry distance on the shaft by the grip. And I do that on my wedges as fell for full and partial shots.

      Went with KBS 105 shafts and it is a fine shaft for the AP1.

      I am hitting these clubs about 5 yards farther than my previous taylormade blades and the stop quicker due to decent angle.

  19. Titleist has not been the gimmicky club until now. The shape is copying TM and Cally, and the lofts are ridicules. A 43 degree PW? and 2 gab wedges, wow, and they have the gonads to say they are long. Sure, the PW is yesterdays 8 iron, sure they are long.

    Too bad to see a Company with Titleists reputation turn to this for more sales. I know distance sells, but to get it this way. Be honest Titleist.

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