Don't miss

Titleist AP1 Irons Review

by   |   May 7, 2008

Titleist has done some drastic spring cleaning. They’ve swept out all of their resident iron designs and restocked with four brand-new ones, three forged and one cast. The lone cast model is the AP1.

Technology

What’s New? For Titleist, just about everything. This reminds me of the ad that appeared in the Washington Post in the 1960’s, I think. The ad stated: “President Abraham Lincoln’s axe up for sale. Handle was replaced 40 years ago. Head was replaced 32 years ago. Best offer!”

So are these all-new irons truly Titleists? In my opinion, the AP1 irons represent what a traditional clubmaker can do when it takes advantage of technology to help the largest possible number of golfers enjoy the game even more. This certainly is a big change for Titleist, but the market has changed, as well.

These are dual-cavity irons, which means the weight is squeezed out to the perimeters. The body of the head is cast #431 steel with an aluminum cavity plate. New for Titleist is a soft elastomer cushion and central cross-member, which translates into a nice, solid feel with muted vibration. Combine all that with a high-density tungsten nickel box and a low center of gravity, and you get a state-of-the-art cast club with excellent feel and control that flies the ball high.

Titleist says that these irons are for “the skilled and aspiring player.” This is a little puzzling, in that the remaining three-quarters of their line is composed of forged clubs for skilled players. After playing the AP1 irons, I think that many truly skilled players will opt instead for one of the more exacting forged offerings from the Titleist, namely the AP2, ZB (Blend), or ZM (Muscle).

AP stands for Advanced Performance. Between the marketing line I quoted above and the name of these irons, I think Titleist is trying to take one giant step away from the game-improvement market, while retaining a better-club appeal for the masses.

Many committed mid-handicappers are asking this question: Should I go with forgiving irons like the AP1s while I’m trying to improve, or should I go for irons that are more challenging? I can only speak for myself, of course. For me, my swing is my biggest challenge, and adding harder-to-strike clubs to the mixture gives me too many things to analyze. I need to keep it simple, one thing at a time. Let me get a better swing, then I’ll work on my feel and shot-making. I guess it can be as complicated or as a simple as a golfer wishes to make it.

Appearance

I liked the colorful look of the AP1 irons in the bag. With the bold lines and slashes of red and black they look cheerful, confident, comfortable, and welcoming, like an old diner with shiny new siding.

Setting a 6-iron down in address position, the first thing I noticed was the thicker-than-I’m-used-to top line. Everybody is talking about thick top lines in the same vein they’d talk about the short bus. Stigma aside, I’ve always had trouble with fat top edges, going way back to my set of Ping Eye-2s that I had for exactly six weeks. To me, when I see a fat top the club is telling me that it also has a fat bottom and is unable to swiftly snick a ball from the turf. For me, it is not a look that inspires confidence. What helps the AP1 irons is that the club head is a normal size and not gigantic. Besides, I’ll tell you this: the more I played these clubs, the thinner the top line seemed.

Lining up the clubface posed no problems at all. Some won’t like the shiny chrome on the toe face. The offset is minimal and that suited my eye. The feel and weight of the club is satisfying, although they feel a bit heavier than my TaylorMade RAC LT2’s, which is fine with me. Also, the sole of the AP1s have virtually no camber from toe to heel, so the club sits relatively flat. My LT2’s have a bit more camber, although the club heads are nearly identical in size. As usual, buyers, club-fitting is essential.

Performance

I took these irons to the range, as well as onto the golf course. The contact of AP1 meeting golf ball at nearly all times was good, solid, soft, and long. With the longer irons particularly, the ball jumped off the face and flew higher than I normally hit them. I enjoyed playing these clubs and was punished less when I hit one of my out-of-nowhere pull-slices.

The feedback I received from the clubface was less felt than it was heard. Normally, if you toe a shot, you feel it from your hands to your hair. The AP1s didn’t provide too much of that kind of sharp feedback, but the sound the ball made hitting the clubface was, as usual, a sound you don’t want to hear.

The lofts on the AP1 irons are strong, two degrees stronger than my LT2 irons from a couple of years ago. Still, the ball gets up in the air and stays there longer than I’m used to, even with the lower loft angles. Could it be the tungsten sole weights in the AP1s? Out of the rough, they’re no better or worse than any other club, but if you toe the ball you might still dig the ball out (and your hair won’t hurt).

I’m not totally sure why, but I had difficulty moving the ball with these irons. After some practice, I could perform baby draws or fades, but nothing drastic. I could, however, still pull, push, top, chunk, thin, and sky, so the rest of my game was just fine.

Conclusion

So, the AP1s are not game-improvement crutches for your game. They will not improve the game of high-handicappers as much as, say, a bag full of seven-woods might. And the AP1s are probably not for low-handicappers who love to slice and dice the ball with forged kitchen cutlery. In my opinion, the AP1s are for weekend mid-handicappers who want to improve but can’t practice enough to master forged or less-forgiving irons. They’d also be great for golfers who are returning to the game and can’t decide what to buy, or if you’re looking to finally get rid of your old rusty MacGregors.

I just love this description from Titleist’s website. I can hear a sexy female announcer saying these words as a dazzling fashion model flaunts these clubs down a long runway…“Titleist AP1 irons offer a contemporary, confidence inspiring appearance in the playing position with soft blends, modern proportions and semi-underslung hosel. The metallic cavity plate tunes sound and feel and provides attractive cosmetics for great bag appeal.”

Bag appeal. That’s what I’m talking about!

Specifications

MSRP $100 per club, steel shaft.

Design: Multi-material, tungsten nickel box, dual cavity irons
Center of gravity: Center, low, and deep
Construction: Cast #431 steel body, tungsten nickel box, elastomer cushion and aluminum cavity plate
Stock grips: Titleist Tour Velvet Rubber (round with logo underneath)
Stock shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold HL, Titleist VS Proto-T 75
Available Irons: 3, 4 – W (RH & LH)

About



10 Comments

  1. showtime

    December 17, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    LMAO Im a 7 handicap and I love these irons, don’t tell me there not for the better player, I can work either way, easier to draw the ball, there long, soft, and versatile, I don’t care about the topline Im not staring at it during the swing

  2. Jordan G

    July 28, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    I have a newly purchased set of AP1 irons. Im a 15 hdcp so the clubs are really working out for me. The only thing I can tell you that I dont like is the feel. These clubs hit very solid all the time, and there in lies the problem. Often on off center hits it becomes very difficult to know exactly where I contacted the ball so the feedback is diminished a bit. On the plus side when I do hit the ball perfectly it actually feels perfect. I switched from taylormade RAC os. I have hit the Z blends on the range and I really like the feedback Im getting. I will probably play these clubs for abotu 3 years then switch to a “players” iron. I definitley would like a little more feedback on my swings. Also the look of the AP1 is big and bulky not much different then my taylormades. The weight is very low and at times it feels as if the club is too bulky. (almost as if you are trying to strike the ball with a hockey stick.) They are very forgiving and provide enough workability to get by. But I would definitley not recommend the club for single digit handicappers.

  3. Tim Schoch

    July 19, 2009 at 8:24 am

    Jake, obviously, go hit the clubs. They are certainly worth your serious consideration.

  4. jake

    July 16, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    I am 15 years old, and i am about a 8 or a 9 handicap (deffinitly single didgit) I have been upgrading all of my clubs in the past couple of months. The only thing left is irons. I have Ping Zings irons. I hit them very well, but i am starting to work the ball left to right on shots. I like the price of these clubs, but am not sure if i will hti them long enough becuase i am improving alot. i have heard that single didgit handicapers shouldnt play these clubs, but i normally thinks that stuff is false. Tell me if is should get these clubs or not

  5. Paul T

    November 28, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    I arrived at my club yesterday having forgotten to bring my bag and shoes with me following a (rare) away day at another club last week. My stuff lives in my club locker about 350 days per year. I borrowed some shoes from the locker room lost and found and my pro shop lent me a set of hire-out AP1′s. My irons are Ping I3′s (I make no apology for the fact that I am a mid handicapper) and I wasn’t looking forward to playing with the AP1′s – the look was so fundamentally different from what I am used to. However, I am now looking to persuade my pro shop to take my Pings in PX for a set of AP1′s. With these clubs, I barely put a ball anywhere I wasn’t aiming, the main problem was getting used to clubbing down – I kept over-hitting because these irons played so well. And I should also mention that the driver is brilliant, I’m getting one of those, too. Get over the looks and stop obsessing about the other clubs that Titleist make for other people; these are really, really good.

  6. Declan

    July 22, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Hi

    I am playing DCI 990 ( for the last 8 years) but no longer get to play as often as I used to. At the time of purchasing my 990′s I was playing 3-5 times per week.

    Ive demo these AP 1′s and hit them pure each time..Lovely feel off these sticks IMO….

    Im now in the market for new titleists but not too sure what to do….ie..Do I go with AP 2 or do I swallow my ego and go with AP1?

    Size of clubhead and offset on AP1 put me off a little but as I have a tendency lately to thin a lot of shots maybe this would help me…

    Any thoughts???

  7. bobsuruncle

    July 22, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Does anyone have any experience in comparing the AP1 to the 775CB that it replaced?

    Unless the technology in a new iron is so compelling, I believe there’s always better $ value in the “older” model. Would this be true of the AP1 vs 775CB? Thanks

  8. Dizzle

    July 4, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    HAha….I went from Titleist 735 Chromes to these…Sure they are a little bit bigger and a touch of offset but it’s the player not the club….I can do everything with these that I could with my 735′s and you wanna know what….the only reason I didn’t get the AP2′s was becaue I liked the red of the 1′s Sure these are a little forgiving and can be used by players with a higher index but I think it is great that Titty is giving those players another chance to use a truly life long classic brand and the confidence that comes with having these in your bag..THATS RIGHT I said ANOTHER CHANCE you idiots act like this is the first time that Titleist has come out with a more “game improvment style club” wake up look back a few years and do your homework….oh and all you others that love the fact you can hit these 15 yars longer than you rold clubs..I think it’s great but check the specs thay are also stronger then your old clubs Pedro.

  9. John

    June 20, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Titleist went to these irons to stay competitive in the market. I still play 990b irons and won’t change until they are devoid of any grooves. But…..I can see why higher handicappers, who have heard of Titleists performance, feel and accuracy, would want to give these new irons a whirl.
    No, they’re not for better golfers but even better golfers are going to more forgiving irons and Titleist can’t make a profit by remaining in a niche that has fewer and fewer golfers. Lots of companies offer players clubs and having a small following won’t keep them in business.
    They will remain true to the “player” but at the same time, will be able to help mid to high hdcp golfers.
    The company’s expansion to this type of club doesn’t hurt me a bit and I don’t see why anyone else would care either. They still make great players clubs and for me, that’s what counts. (or will when I finally buy new clubs).

  10. James L

    May 13, 2008 at 3:52 am

    Not sure why Titleist want to go down this road. The AP1′s do not do anything better than the equivalent Callaway or Ping models (especially the G10). Recently I looked at them for a few seconds (honestly I could only bare a few seconds) in a shop and was horrified at the chunkiness and shiny/tacky finish (very un-Titleist). I am a good ball striker currently playing TM RAC TP forged, but do love Titleist equipment (play 905R, vokey wedges and Scotty C putter), so I admit to being a bit biased against the new AP line from Titleist.

    I have hit the AP2′s and they are ok, but only ok. While they are solid the short irons are a bit chunky and the sole a bit thick. They are a little difficult off a tight lie and not to easy to work.

    The ZM’s and ZB’s look beautiful and are much more traditional Titleist and I will change to the ZB’s later in the year.

    I think Titleist should have kept the game improvement line in the Cobra range and stayed faithful to “serious clubs for serious golfers”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>