|GolfWRX Top Rated|
With an impressive boost in distance, the uber-forgiving 716 AP1 irons can compete against any iron in their class. Their design boasts an attention to detail that will give them the nod with discerning golfers.
5 out of 5
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.
- 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.
The company removed a supportive bar from the cavity of the 716 AP1 iron, which had two important benefits:
- It allowed the new thin, heat-treated club faces to flex at impact, creating more ball speed across the club face.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Review: Titleist’s 716 T-MB irons
- Review: Titleist’s 716 AP2 irons
- Review: Titleist’s 716 MB/CB irons
- Titleist 816 H1 and H2 hybrids