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Titleist’s 718 Irons Offer Endless Possibilities, “Surprising” AP3

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The biggest surprise of Titleist’s 718 iron lineup? It’s the AP3, an all-new design that has the potential to redefine what golfers expect from a Titleist iron.

In creating the AP3 irons, Titleist’s design team sought to blend the best features of two of its most popular irons: AP1 and AP2. It wanted to combine the distance and forgiveness golfers expect from game-improvement irons like the AP1 with the feel and consistency of PGA Tour-approved irons like the AP2 irons. The name of the new irons shows Titleist’s confidence in its work: AP1 + AP2 = AP3.

Titleist_718_AP2_AP3_Irons

“You bring new technology to the [PGA Tour], and you wait to see what happens,” says Marni Ines, Titleist’s Director of Product Development for Irons.

The AP3 irons were first made available to PGA Tour players at the Quicken Loans National in July, along with the company’s new AP1, AP2, T-MB, CB, and MB models. “We expected a few players to use [AP3], but the tidal wave we saw was surprising,” says Josh Talge, Titleist’s Vice President of Marketing for Golf Clubs.

At Address: Titleist's 718  T-MB (left) and AP3 irons.

At Address: Titleist’s 718 T-MB (left) and AP3 irons. Both clubs are 5-irons.

In a discussion about the AP3 irons, Ines recalled the response PGA Tour players had to Titleist’s AP2 irons when they were released 10 years ago. At the time, the vast majority of Titleist’s PGA Tour Staff was using the company’s CB and MB irons. The AP2 irons were significantly different from those irons, with a larger size and new technologies, namely an internal cavity and tungsten weighting for increased forgiveness. Despite the differences, PGA Tour players switched to the new irons at a much faster rate than the company anticipated. AP2 is now the most popular Titleist iron model globally on the professional tours.

“To see [tour players] stretch their perspective as to what [irons] they can and should play is cool,” Ines says. “They’re starting to see the benefits of faster, more forgiving irons, especially in their long irons.”

Titleist_718_MB_CB_Irons

Possibilities for golfers within the 718 line go beyond the AP3. It includes six distinct models that can be mixed and matched to suit the specific needs of golfers throughout their iron sets. According to Titleist, more than 90 percent of its tour players used “mixed sets,” including the winners of the last two major championships: Jordan Spieth (T-MB and AP2 at the Open Championship) and Justin Thomas (CB and MB at the PGA Championship).

Learn more about each of the new Titleist 718 irons below, which are available for fittings beginning September 1 and in golf shops on September 29.

718 MB Irons

Titleist_718_MB_Back

Titleist’s 718 MB irons are the company’s shortest-flying, least-forgiving model in the new line, and the company makes no apologies for that. “The majority of our PGA Tour players are saying, ‘Hey, I love the MB performance,’ Talge says. “We take that to heart.”

Titleist_718_MB_Address

The back of the 718 MB irons looks slightly different than the 716 MB irons they replace, but the changes are purely cosmetic. The head design and shape is the same, relying on a one-piece, 1025-carbon-steel construction that gives golfers the ultimate in workability.

Titleist_718_MB_Sole

Purists will appreciate that the 718 MB irons maintain the company’s traditional lofts (the 6-iron is 31 degrees, the pitching-wedge is 47 degrees), as well as a minimalistic design that is unencumbered by medallions or badging. These irons are pure, which is what your swing better be to play them.

The 718 MB irons ($1299.99 for an eight-piece set with steel shafts) are available in 3-PW. The stock shaft is True Temper’s Project X.

718 CB Irons

Titleist_718_CB_Back

The players iron category is brimming with forged cavity-back irons that look a lot like Titleist’s 718 CB, but to call the new CBs “yet another forged cavity back” is to miss the complex construction the company uses to squeeze more performance out of its classic CB shape.

Titleist_718_CB_Address

Like the 718 MB irons, the bodies of the 718 CB irons are forged from 1025 carbon steel. That’s where the similarities end. The 718 CB long and middle irons (2-7) employ a 2.1-millimeter face insert that’s made of 17-4 steel. The thin, strong face insert isn’t designed to flex to increase distance; rather, it allowed designers to remove mass from the middle of the club head and reposition it to the corners where it enhances forgiveness.

Titleist_718_CB_Face

In those corners of the club heads (the low heel and low toe), two high-density tungsten weights are added through a process called “co-forging.” It’s a secondary forging process that merges the steel body and tungsten inserts into a precisely-shaped iron head. It also maximizes the concentration of the higher-density material. On average, nearly 71 grams of tungsten are added to the 718 CB long and mid irons.

Titleist_718_CB_Sole

The co-forging process also has the advantage of placing the center of gravity (CG) of each iron closer to the true center of the club head than previous models, which creates more consistent distance on off-center hits across the club face. Another benefit is that it lowers the CG of the long and mid irons, helping golfers boost their launch angle and ball speed for more distance from the long end of their set.

The 718 short irons (8-P) are made with a one-piece, 1025 forged construction. Ines says the shape of short irons inherently gives them a higher MOI, as well as the higher CG better players prefer in their short irons. For that reason, a multi-material approach was unnecessary.

The 718 CB irons ($1299.99 for an eight-piece set with steel shafts) are available in 2-PW. The stock shaft is True Temper’s Project X LZ.

718 AP2 Irons 

Titleist_718_AP2_Back

In recent years, Titleist’s AP2 irons have come to occupy a unique space in the players iron market. Competitive models have increasingly been given fast-face technologies to help the irons create more distance. Despite the peer pressure, Titleist has continued to focus on feel and consistency above all else with the AP2, opting to launch entirely new models like the T-MB and AP3 to offer golfers more distance.

“We’re being honest about what [AP2] is and who it’s for,” Talge says. “It’s our bread and butter tour product. [Tour players] like that size. They like that loft package.”

Titleist_718_AP2_Address

With fast-face technologies and stronger lofts off the table (the 6-iron is 30 degrees), Titleist investigated new ways to improve the AP2 recipe. The result was a new main ingredient, a high-strength steel known as SUP10, which is used to make the forged bodies of the 3-6 irons. Titleist also used SUP10 to form the face inserts for the 3-6 irons. Because SUP10 is stronger and lighter than the 1025 carbon steel bodies and 17-4 stainless steel face inserts Titleist previously used to create the AP2, designers were able to move the CG of the new irons lower in the club heads for higher ball speeds and a higher launch angle.

Like the 718 CB, the 718 AP2 irons are also co-forged to concentrate high-density tungsten weights in the corners of the club heads to improve MOI and exactly center the CG of the irons. “This is the Tour iron that’s really in reach [for most golfers] because it’s so forgiving,” Ines says. “The MOI is now pretty much at the level of the 714 AP1 irons.”

Titleist_718_Sole

Another change, which could be just as important as the structural changes for discerning golfers, is the addition of a pre-worn leading edge to the soles of the 718 AP2 irons. The sole grind is inspired by the shaping of Titleist’s MB and CB irons, and it has also been added to the 718 T-MB, AP3 and AP1 models. It can help golfers make cleaner contact, particularly from tight lies.

The 718 AP2 irons ($1299.99 for an eight-piece set with steel shafts) are available in 3-PW, 50. The stock shaft is True Temper’s Dynamic Gold AMT Tour White. 

718 T-MB Irons

Titleist_718_TMB_Back

“[The 716 T-MB] is what allowed us to feel like we can go forward with fast-face designs and give our players what they’re looking for,” Talge says. Which is to say, if you’re happy to see more fast-face irons from Titleist, you have success of the T-MB to thank for that.

Titleist_718_TMB_Address

Like the original 716 T-MB irons that marked Titleist’s entry into the fast-face players iron category, the 718 T-MB irons have a hollow-body construction that makes them longer-fliers than the AP2. That has made them particularly popular as long-iron replacements on the PGA Tour due to their higher launch and faster ball speeds.

Titleist_TMB_718_Sole

Like the 718 AP2 irons, the new T-MB long and mid irons (2-6) use SUP10 club faces, but they’re made with an L-shaped club face that encourages the head to flex at impact for increased ball speed. Their cast construction also contributes to improved distance and forgiveness, enabling an average of 91.5 grams of tungsten to be welded inside the club heads to optimize the launch angle and spin rate of each iron.

The 718 T-MB irons ($249 each, $1,999 for an eight-piece set with steel shafts) are available in 2-PW, 50. The stock shaft is True Temper’s Project X PXi.

718 AP3 Irons

Titleist_718_AP3_Back

More distance, more forgiveness. That’s what golfers should expect from Titleist’s 718 AP3 irons when comparing them to the company’s traditional players irons. In Titleist’s robot testing, an AP3 4-iron offered an average of 6.4 yards more carry distance when compared to an AP2 4-iron at a moderate swing speeds.

According to Ines, higher-swing-speed golfers should see an even larger distance increase, a realization that has had several of Titleist’s PGA Tour players to swapping their current long irons for AP3s, including Jimmy Walker, Bill Haas, Byeong Hun An, and Jason Kokrak.

Titleist_718_AP3_Address

At Address: A Titleist 718 AP3 5-iron

To create the additional distance, Titleist gave the AP3 a size that falls roughly in-between the AP1 and AP2 irons. Compared to the 718 AP2, the AP3 long irons are between 3-4 millimeters longer from heel to toe. The AP3 short irons are only fractionally larger than the 718 AP2, however, creating a progressive design that merges longer-flying, easier-to-hit long irons with short irons that could be mistaken for AP2s.

The internal design changes, on the other hand, are unmistakable. Titleist gave the 718 AP3 irons what it calls a “hollow-blade” design. The bodies of the irons are cast from 17-4 stainless steel, and they’re given L-shaped club faces made of 455 Carpenter steel to boost flexing at impact. The result is not just more distance, Ines says, but more “playable distance.”

Tilteist_718_AP3_Sole

Ines’ emphasis on playable distance has to do with consistency of the irons, which is boosted by an average of 84.9 grams of tungsten in the 3-7 irons that’s positioned strategically to optimize the trajectory of each iron. It ensures that each AP3 iron is not only as forgiving as possible, but that the irons also offer golfers enough height and spin to stop their shots on even the most demanding greens. The playable distance promise extends to the feel of the irons, which were fine-tuned to create an AP2-like sound at impact.

The AP3 irons ($1299.99 for an eight-piece set with steel shafts) are available in 3-PW, 48. The stock shaft is True Temper’s AMT Black.

718 AP1

Titleist_718_AP1_Back

Titleist’s 718 AP1 irons offer golfers the most distance and forgiveness of the company’s new iron line. They accomplish the feat with a cast, hollow construction and thin, unsupported club faces that boost both ball speeds and MOI.

Titleist_AP1_Address

The 4- and 5-irons in the set are designed to be particularly lethal from long range, with a fully hollow construction and club faces that measure just 2 millimeters in thickness. They also use an average of 57.4 grams of tungsten (4-7 irons) to lower CG for higher, more consistent shots. According to Ines, the 718 AP1 irons are about 5 yards longer than the 716 AP1 irons, but as with the AP3 irons, the faster golfers swing the more benefit they’ll see.

“If you have more speed, all technology is going to be even better,” Ines says.

Titleist_AP1_Sole

The 718 AP1 irons share the same sole design as their predecessors with the exception of a pre-worn leading edge that can improve turf interaction. The club heads also have a lower profile than previous models.

The AP1 irons ($999.99 for an eight-piece set with steel shafts) are available in 4-PW, 48, 53. The stock shaft is True Temper’s AMT Red.

The stock graphite option is Mitsubishi’s Tensei Pro Red AMC (Ascending Mass Concept). Like True Temper’s AMT White, Black, and Red steel shafts, the shafts gradually increase in weight from long iron to wedge to help golfers maximize the performance of each iron. With graphite shafts, the 718 AP1 irons sell for $1199.99 for a set of eight irons.

Discussion: See what GolfWRXers are saying about the 718 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.

31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Dr. Freud

    Aug 25, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    AP3 = APE subliminally. Are you a gorilla golfer?

    • Dodo

      Aug 25, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      No, but you are, obviously

      • Dr. Freud

        Aug 25, 2017 at 9:59 pm

        I see what’s subliminal, therefore I am smarter than you, you Dodo.

  2. Fhfuv

    Aug 25, 2017 at 3:58 am

    Do the ap3 and ap1 get progressively longer because they have genuine technology or is it because the lofts are stronger?

    Anyone know uk prices?

    • luke

      Aug 27, 2017 at 7:04 pm

      ap3 are 1 degree stronger than ap2. and ap2 are 1 degree stronger than cb and mb.
      i think this contributes to the length but they will have a lower cg so they should produce the same apex height.

  3. luke

    Aug 25, 2017 at 12:25 am

    I need offset, swing weight and bounce specs. im looking into a ap3/2 combo with a tmb driving iron

  4. Derrick

    Aug 25, 2017 at 12:20 am

    Effortless power built into those AP-3s……… they ooze with power…… they even “empower” me. They go in my bag asap.

  5. Jerry/SwingMan

    Aug 24, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    I predict AP1 sales will plummet as golfers go to the AP3. Just on looks alone…

  6. bill kerplowsky

    Aug 24, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    so 6-7 yards further for the ap3….actually further or did they just jack the lofts stronger? Pretty soon we’ll all be hitting 21 degree pitching wedges

    • Derrick

      Aug 25, 2017 at 12:21 am

      No, it’s the Magic of Tungsten weights in the heel and toe for massively more MOI….. the good stuff.

      • Joe

        Jan 7, 2018 at 11:16 pm

        They are 2 deg stronger on the 4 5 and 6 and then 3 degree stronger on 7 8 and 9. Mmmm doesn’t come across in the article …. 21 deg pitching wedges coming soon

    • Terry (TMAC)

      Aug 26, 2017 at 2:38 pm

      I’ll bet the lofts are stronger than the AP2’s.

  7. rymail00

    Aug 24, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Has anyone seen a list offset specs for the 718 line?

  8. Donald Trump Rules

    Aug 24, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    Need to release a single length iron set.

  9. Harry

    Aug 24, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Having played titleist clubs over the last 8-10 years irons woods wedges at various time I have no desire to play the new irons as I agree not enough change to make me a better golfer

  10. jgpl001

    Aug 24, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Agree that the AP line is getting a bit fussy looking, but that does detract from their performance and that’s what really counts

    Moaning about MB on the blades is really petty…..

    ALL Titleist clubs perform and these will be a no different

    Good to see all have different stock shafts and delighted to see PX in the MB’s

  11. Allan A

    Aug 24, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Clubheads cannot “give you speed”. They are inertial mass that resists speed. Only by reducing the weight of clubheads can you gain speed. Light weight clubheads are problematic.
    Otherwise the cosmetics of these Titleist clubs are fantastic.

  12. Ccshop

    Aug 24, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    These look fantastic! Can’t wait to hit them!

  13. fmaxturbosi

    Aug 24, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Would have considered looking into the ap3 IF……….they were forged, and if they weren’t chrome.

  14. Holly Sonders

    Aug 24, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    +1 to what Johnnylongballz said, would love to get back to an old school MB head that doesn’t have NASCAR-esque Stamping on it. Less is more people.

  15. Scott

    Aug 24, 2017 at 11:55 am

    I think the reason why the ap2 doesn’t look like a “classic club” because it’s not a classic club. There’s a lot of technology going on there behind the scenes I personally cannot wait to put that club in my bag Wasn’t thrilled w the look of the 714s

  16. Travis

    Aug 24, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Not too thrilled with the direction of Titleist clubs. The MB’s are fine, but they’re just a rehashed design… would’ve loved to see a little creativity there. The CB’s I think are going in a solid direction, but again, nothing different from the 714 line.

    Unfortunately, I think Titleist is really losing their way with the AP line… 714 was the last solid year of AP2 design, and these 718’s are trying way too hard to look robotic and futuristic, instead of air on the side of classic club design Titleist is known for…

    I know there’s not all too much we can do in club design anymore. Year over year are just going to produce cosmetic changes. But now more than ever I have no desire to play the new Titleist lineup…

    • Raider Fan

      Aug 28, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      “losing their way on the AP line”? Did you miss this: “AP2 is now the most popular Titleist iron model globally on the professional tours.”. When a 10HC can play the same clubs (understand the mods Ppos get) as Jordan Speith, kind of hard to think Titleist has a problem.

  17. birdy

    Aug 24, 2017 at 10:55 am

    would love to see a head to head review of Mizuno MP18 MMC and AP3.

    May boil down to fact Mizuno offers so many other shaft options at no upcharge.

  18. Scott

    Aug 24, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Talk about closing the deal wow that was easy. 9/1 can’t come soon enough. Boo ya!

  19. Johnnylongballz

    Aug 24, 2017 at 10:19 am

    Why do they insist on stamping that “MB” on the blades. Other than that they are pretty perfect!

    • Hatch

      Aug 24, 2017 at 11:05 pm

      Agreed. I have the 716 and would love to see them without MB and forged. Just the Titleist script.

  20. Tcann32

    Aug 24, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Some of the purest looking MB’s out there.. They’re gorgeous.

    The AP2’s keep getting busier-looking unfortunately. This isn’t exclusive to Titleist, as many of the “Players CB’s” seem to be going that route, which I don’t understand. You’re either a minimalist and play an iron that people will say is outdated, and not a good fit for your game, or you’re swinging a golf club that looks like a spaceship.

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Equipment

Forum Thread of the Day: “Best 3-wood of the newest releases?”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from Kaexo, who asks fellow GolfWRX members for their opinion on what they feel is the best 3 wood of the recent releases. Described as the “hardest spot in the bag to settle on” by one of our members, an array of different 3 woods get a mention in Kaexo’s thread.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Phil6380: “Cobra F8 is the best I’ve hit. Something about those rails when hitting it out of the turf. I have no fear of hitting down when needed. It’s also my most consistent club off the tee BY FAR! I give up a little distance, but when I need to hit a tight fairway, or I’m not hitting my best, that’s the club I’m grabbing.”
  • calfan36: “King LTD is great if you have some speed/launch. Very low spin, very forgiving, and an amazing feel. Also, I love that I can play it shorter and easily add weight via the space port.”
  • aussieb: “The two best fairways of recent releases are the G400 and Epic SZ for different reasons. G400 for forgiveness and great launch conditions from just about any lie, plus it sounds extremely solid.  Might still make my bag if I can find the right shaft combo, the Epic SZ is better for me than the Rogue for adjustability, ball speeds and head shape.  I found it worked off the short grass better than anything, and if I miss the fairway, it’s more likely to be the hybrid or a layup.”
  • ChipNRun: “Reality check: for many golfers, the best 3W is a 4W – slightly shorter shaft for better control, and extra loft to enhance launch.”

Entire Thread: “Best 3 wood of the newest releases?”

 

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Equipment

Bargain Challenge 2: Putting together a $500 set of clubs for a mid-handicapper

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Last week, I posted about what clubs you can get with $500. I built a set that I would use myself to show that even golfers with particular specs can find what they want for a decent price. Overall the feedback on the post was good, but I did want to follow up since one of the commenters put me up to a challenge. See below.

Well alright James, challenge accepted.

Challenge: A set of mid-handicap clubs with stiff shafts for less than $500.

Driver

Since I was going to be building a set of a mid-handicapper, my goal was to find a driver that got solid distance, but was also forgiving. I found this R9 460 in 10.5 degrees for $65. While the paint has seen better days, this should perform exactly how we want it to. Plus it is adjustable.

Wood

The 3-wood search stumped me for a bit. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to go with. I knew I didn’t want a strong three wood and I knew I needed something with forgiveness. After some searching I found a Ping K15 16 degree with a stiff shaft. While the loft is higher, I have found that many higher handicap amateurs can find good use out of a higher lofted 3-wood. On top of that, the K15 is an incredibly easy to hit and forgiving head.

Hybrid

I knew what most mid-handicappers would have a hard time hitting a 2 or 3-iron, so my mind immediately went to a 3-iron hybrid. After some searching, I stumbled on this Ping Rapture V2 with a stiff shaft. Historically, the Raptures have been really easy to hit which makes this a great addition to the bag.

Irons

I had the hardest time in this entire process finding irons. There were just too many to choose from. You had great player irons like the Ping S57 and you also had the super game improvement Adams irons. To find something slightly more in the middle, but still easy to hit, I went with the 2012 TaylorMade CBs. A great year for TaylorMade irons and easy to hit with the irons only going down to the 4. This is where someone can have some fun with their choices if they want.

Wedges

Wedge shopping was still hard this time around. Since the PW in the iron set was strong, I knew I needed a stronger gap wedge. I found a Callaway X-Jaws 50-degree for $24. Really, the entire point of the 50 is to have another iron and bridge the gap to the sand wedge. Speaking of the sand wedge, I went with the 56-degree Ping Gorge SS wedge. It has good grooves and will get the job done around the greens. For the lob wedge, I went with the Cleveland RTX 2.0 60 degree: A really solid wedge with good groves to give you the zip you need around the greens.

Putter

And finally, I went with another great blade putter for $55. Honestly, there were a lot of different options in the range from mallets to blades, so don’t be afraid to search around.

Total

In summary, anyone and any skill level and swing speed can find something in the used market. In fact, it was even easier to find clubs in stiff than X-stiff because most X-stiff clubs are custom and are in less demand making, them more rare and expensive than stiff clubs. Take a look, you never know what you may find.

Related: Bargain Challenge: Putting together a set of clubs for $500

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Forum Thread of the Day: “What’s the best budget wedge?”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from bamagator, who asks fellow GolfWRX members what wedges they feel offer the best bang for your buck. As always, our members display their diverse taste, however, Maltby wedges prove to be a particularly popular choice.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • BIG STU: “Depending on the fine line of how you really want to do it and the budget Maltby is a good bet. Their stuff is as good of quality as any. If you are able to build your own clubs, you can do the shafts, and grips like you want them. You can also mix bounces and even style of heads within the set.”
  • Orlandogolfguru: “Rock bottom t7 for 69. Dicks – gg rtx 3 for 69. Or Maltby for like 39. I have all of them and can’t decide which I like best. They are all great, depends in the shape you like really. Can’t go wrong.”
  • Lefty431: “Don’t sleep on Wilson FG tour pmp wedges…  especially tour grind!  They seem to be readily available and super affordable!!”
  • kiw1982: “Wilson PMP. You are welcome.”

Entire Thread: “Best Budget Wedge”

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