Since their introduction, Titleist T100 irons have been one of the most successful irons ever launched by the equipment manufacturer. Not only have they seen massive success on the PGA Tour by being at or near the top of the iron count since they were released, but they, along with the whole T-Series, have also made major waves with recreational players too.
As a complete gear junkie, and someone who has always had a fascination with the engineering and design process, I reached out to Titleist to get the inside scoop on the development of the popular iron and spoke with the team behind the T100.
Ryan Barath: How long is your standard development cycle for irons, and was there any part of the process that was unique for the T100’s?
Titleist: At Titleist, we have a two-year product lifecycle, meaning we introduce new irons every two years. However, the creation timeline of new irons stretches well past those two years as we start working on early engineering three to five years before launch. In those early years, we focus on two areas
- The first is the feedback we get from the best players in the world, our PGA Tour staff, what are they looking for to optimize their game.
- The second is about researching the emerging types of engineering or material advances that our team can utilize in future performance enhancements. For T100 specifically, we started this process early as our stated goal was to create the best modern tour iron, ultimately replacing AP2 as the most played iron across global tours.
With T100 the goal was to give the club a tour-preferred look at address while retaining the solid feel and best in class overall performance. The response to T100 has been overwhelming as not only did we see AP2 players shift to T100, but so did many CB players helping T100 quickly become the new #1 iron across global tours.
RB: With the evolution of the players’ line beyond the MB and CB irons, what is the hardest part of making already great better?
T: There are a couple of challenging things when improving tour irons. The first is that tour pros know exactly what they want an iron to look like in the address position. Generally, they want short, compact blade length, minimal offset, and a narrow top line.
Feel is also incredibly important and that comes from materials, engineering, and the sole for turf interaction. T100 stands out in all of these areas and delivers on both the look and feel players are looking for in an iron. The dual cavity design, combined with our tungsten toe and heel weighting, helps separate T100’s performance making it the true modern tour iron. This is an iron that has a blade-like look, feel, and versatility that tour players want, but also provides an extra degree of forgiveness and precision that players can take advantage of at the highest levels of the game.
RB: With tour player feedback being a crucial part of the process, how are players like Jordan Spieth involved in the discussion? Is it a wants vs needs discussion?
T: Tour player feedback is a key component in continuing to make our irons perform better as they give us input on size, shape, and performance attributes they are looking for such as launch and spin.
Jordan Spieth is one of the players we really enjoy working with as he gives very detailed feedback, especially on turf interaction. We worked extensively with Jordan and others to design a sole for T100 that would provide the turf interaction they are looking for. In fact, we have been working with Jordan on refinements to that sole for our next iteration of T100.
From a wants vs. needs standpoint, we try to give players all of their “wants” because that pushes our team to innovate and ultimately yields the best product.
Jordan’s “wants” in a new iron are for it to deliver consistent performance on every shot. He wants to be able to work the ball in both directions as well as control his launch window and spin. Jordan is also looking for a little bit of forgiveness as while he is one of the best ball strikers in the world, he still appreciates getting closer to his number when he doesn’t make perfect contact. This is where T100 really shines as even a player of Jordan’s caliber realizes the value of increased precision when his carry distance and spin are more consistent.
RB: As a follow-up, can it be difficult to have a player be critical of an iron they are currently playing when on the search for better?
T: In partnership with our PGA Tour team led by JJ Van Wezenbeeck, we believe we have our players in the best product for their game. But the constant quest for better is in large part what drives both our Tour players and our R&D team so we are always pushing them on what are they looking for in future products as we want to get better just as much as they do.
We love it when during the testing process when a player says, “I love this, can I keep it?” and it is a little disappointing to have to tell them “soon!” but it is worth it knowing that we have found something they really enjoy. And we know if the best players in the world have vetted an iron that the rest of us will love it too.
Another important thing to know is there are plenty of prototypes that we test that don’t work for the players and that feedback is just as valuable as it helps us refine or in some cases completely eliminate ideas. At the end of the day, we are fortunate to have such a large and diverse tour staff to rely on for insights, testing, and ultimately validation during our product creation process.
RB: The T100 and the T100s irons have demonstrated tremendous success all over the golf world from the PGA Tour down to everyday golfers. What are you most proud of with this iron?
T: It is incredibly rewarding to see the best players in the world have success with irons that we design, but it’s just as fun seeing the in bags of regular golfers when we are out playing. The T100 is a great iron as it is the perfect combination of performance, looks, and feel. We feel just as comfortable putting that iron in the hands of any single or even low double-digit handicap index golfer as we do Jordan Spieth.
That’s what I’m most proud of with this iron, that we’ve combined the look and feel of a tour iron, with modern technology that makes it playable for so many golfers.
The uncommon club that led to Phil Mickelson’s opening 64 at Wells Fargo
Phil Mickelson is one of the most interesting players on tour, not just for his creative and exciting play but also his gear which he is very particular about depending on the event.
Lefty got off to a stunning start this week at Quail Hollow, firing a round of 64, all set up by his excellence off the tee, an area of the game that has sometimes hurt Mickelson.
On Thursday, the 50-year-old gained 1.5 strokes over the field off the tee, and the secret behind the success was down to a 2-wood he plays as a mini driver.
The 2-wood in question is a TaylorMade “Original One” Mini driver, and following his electric start at the Wells Fargo, Mickelson told reporters what he gains from playing the club off the tee and how he uses it:
“It’s just kind of a mini driver head that I use as a strong 3-wood, and out here, because the fairways are so firm if I hit it low enough, I’m able to get a lot of chase out of it, and I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing any distance. So that allows me to kind of keep my misses a lot tighter. Today I hit it very successful, I hit a lot of good shots with it.”
Mickelson ranked eight off the tee after round one, and following some fun banter on Twitter with playing partner Joel Dahmen before Thursday’s round, the club helped Lefty gain all the bragging rights heading into day two.
Lesson learned ? pic.twitter.com/WgjiWmB3hM
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) May 6, 2021
Is a blade just a blade? – GolfWRXers discuss
In our forums, our members have been discussing blade irons and whether there are discernible difference in models or not.
WRXer ‘LowAndLeft32’ wants to know how fellow members decide on a particular blade to game, and WRXers have been sharing their thoughts and process in our forums.
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.
- benclab: “Look of top line, offset and how bounce acts at contact and through. All blades are not the same.”
- Yoshifan151: “Blade designs differ a lot from one manufacturer to another. Sole design is the biggest one that will have an impact IMO. But if you like your VR Pros I’d stick with them personally; those are one of the best blade sets ever in terms of a total package.”
- cgasucks: “The shape of the blade has virtually been changed for decades. You can only forge a billet of carbon steel into so many shapes. It is really up to the person to decide. You can’t go wrong with any of the blades you listed. Your current Nike Blades are can still perform up there with today’s blades. For me, I would choose one which is based on looks and feel and how it frames against the ball at address.”
- DaRiz: “Looks at address. Sound/feel. Looks in the bag. In that order, no other criteria need be analyzed.”
PXG expanding Battle Ready putter collection with Closer and Spitfire
PXG is expanding its Battle Ready Collection of putters with the all-new: Closer and Spitfire models which are 100 percent milled and have been engineered to combine high MOI with prominent alignment features to increase confidence on the greens.
“Golfers love options. And our new Battle Ready Closer and Spitfire are two of the very best putters you’ll ever use. Period. These putters are fully optimized, from CG and MOI to stability and alignment so that you can sink more putts” -PXG founder and CEO Bob Parsons
Battle Ready Closer
The Battle Ready Closer is a high MOI wide-body blade featuring high-density tungsten in the heel and toe to increase the putter’s stability compared to the previous model and optimize the center of gravity.
Beyond the flange sightline, the geometry of the head is intentionally built around parallel and perpendicular lines for easy alignment.
Battle Ready Spitfire
The Spitfire is a “wide-winged” mallet with the wings built using tungsten to create a very high-MOI and to also aid with alignment.
- Optimized face pattern – Like with previous PXG putters, the pyramid face pattern optimizes the ball speed across the putter face by reducing speed on center strikes while also retaining speed towards the heel and toe, all providing a soft feel. The face ensures consistency in all parameters that affect roll including; initial ball velocity, launch angle, spin rate, and skid.
- Tungsten weighting – For maximum stability, the putter has an added tungsten frame along the perimeter to boost MOI and create a deeper center of gravity. The Tungsten works alongside the lightweight aluminum frame to remove mass away from the center while still having ports for weight customization.
Price, specs, and availability
Both the Battle Ready series Closer and Spitfire putters will retail at $525 but are being introduced at a special introductory price of $295. For more information or book a putter fitting, visit PXG.com or call 844.PLAY.PXG.
Specs will vary based on putter configurations, but each putter will have the option for a plumber’s neck, Heel Shafted, Double Bend, or Armlock – provide additional customization based on a player’s unique stroke style.
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