Titleist began the process of transitioning its staff players into the company’s four new 714 Series irons – the AP1, AP2, CB and MB – at Congressional Country Club before the start of the AT&T National in June.
A trip to the winner’s circle didn’t take long for the new gear.
Two weeks later, Jordan Spieth won the John Deere Classic with 714 AP2 irons, and his triumph was followed by another AP2 victory, at the PGA Championship – this time in the hands of Jason Dufner.
All four models will be available at retail beginning Nov. 8. Here’s the skinny on each:
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Though the cast AP1s feature the largest clubheads that Titleist makes, they are not as big as several competing models in the game-improvement category. But Titleist says that among smaller-headed, game-improvement irons available, the AP1 is the most forgiving.
The long irons (3-6) feature thin faces that are designed to increase ball speed. Behind the face of each is a dual-cavity construction that is enhanced by a deep undercut beneath the topline in the upper cavity. The lower cavity houses a high-density tungsten weight in the toe section that helps lower the center of gravity, making it easier to hit higher long-iron shots.
According to Titleist, the CG gradually rises in the progression from long irons to short irons (7-GW), helping to control spin and flatten trajectory for better distance and flight control. The toplines and soles of the short irons also have been made thinner, and the short irons – unlike the long ones – don’t have the undercut in the top cavity. Said Chris McGinley, Titleist’s vice president of marketing: “These irons are played by Ben Curtis on the PGA Tour, but they can also be used by a 20-handicap golfer.”
• Cost: $799 steel / $999 graphite
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The fourth generation of the AP2s features long irons (3-5) with faces that are 25 percent thinner than their predecessors and a dual-cavity design that is similar to the AP1’s. Titleist has positioned a high-density tungsten weight within the enclosed lower cavity of the AP2 near the toe and co-forged a second weight into the heel section below the area where the shaft enters the hosel.
The combination of the AP2’s thin face, perimeter weighting and lowered CG is
designed to make these forged irons easier to hit and help mis-hit shots maintain ball speed.
Although the 714 AP1 irons are more forgiving, the AP2s provide some margin for error for accomplished players who want to shape the ball.
To make the AP2 irons work more effectively through the turf, Titleist added camber to the soles and gave the leading edges a “pre-worn” treatment that makes them less likely to dig.
• Cost: $1,099 steel (graphite available as custom order)
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714 CB / 714 MB
With these two models, Titleist isn’t targeting high-handicappers seeking distance and forgiveness. The cavity-back 714 CB and muscleback 714 MB irons are for accomplished players – many of whom have been devoted followers of earlier iterations.
“When we ask pros what we can do to the MB and the CB,” McGinley said, “they usually tell us, ‘Don’t screw them up.’ ”
Both sets are forged from 1025 carbon steel for soft feel and feature very thin toplines and narrow soles. Their clubheads are identical in size to their predecessors (712 Series), but camber has been added to the soles and the straight leading edges have been rounded slightly to improve turf interaction.
The cosmetics of the CB and MB offer a shiny chrome finish with matte chrome accents. Though the aesthetics may appeal to all, these clubs aren’t for everyone. McGinley cautioned: “Our iron-design guys like to say, ‘Performance is not an issue, but your skill level might be.’ ”
• Cost: $999 steel (graphite available as custom order)