Titleist 714 AP1 Irons
Titleist made the new 714 AP1 irons available to PGA Tour pros in the days leading up to the AT&T National in June. Ben Curtis, the winner of the 2003 Open Championship at Royal St. Georges and a player who'd been using the previous version of the AP1, the 712 edition, switched immediately.
Now the company has announced 714 AP1 irons will be in pro shops starting Nov. 8.
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"There's a lot of interest in distance when it comes to irons these days, but a good iron shot really should be defined by both hitting it the right distance and stopping the ball by the pin," said Chris McGinley, Titleist's vice president of marketing. "Distance without some control really doesn't mean a whole lot."
McGinley said the goal of the new 714 AP1 irons was to improve the ball flight while increasing forgiveness and feel. But one thing Titleist didn't want to do was make the clubs bigger.
"An easy way to make a club more forgiving is to just blow it up in size and make it giant," McGinley said. "But that also takes away some control, so we've come up with sizes that we're comfortable with and players like."
Though the cast AP1s feature the largest club heads that Titleist makes, they are not as big as several competing models in the game-improvement category. But Titleist says that among the smaller-headed, game-improvement irons available, the AP1 is the most forgiving.
"There aren't any irons at [the AP1's] blade length that are more forgiving," McGinley said. "There are some that have a higher MOI, but they have pretty significantly bigger blade lengths."
The long irons (3-6) feature thin faces that are designed to increase ball speed. Behind the face, the 714 AP1s again have been designed with a dual-cavity construction that is now 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 to pull the sweet spot more to the center of the hitting area.
By removing weight from around the perimeter of the club and from under the topline and repositioning it in the bottom chamber, Titleist says it managed to drive down the center of gravity (CG) – making the long irons easier to hit. The bar that runs along the top of the lower cavity also is designed to support the face and provide a more-solid feel at impact.
The soles of the long irons are wider than the last edition of the AP1 to make the clubs work through the turf more effectively and help steep-swingers avoid hitting fat shots. The leading edges of the 714 AP1 irons also are more rounded and camber has been added to the soles, all to help the clubs avoid digging into the ground.
Equipment aficionados might recall Titleist's DCI iron family, which aimed to keep the CG in the same place throughout the set. By comparison, in the 714 AP1, the CG gradually rises in the progression from long irons to short irons (7-GW). McGinley says this helps to create more control in the scoring clubs by better managing spin and trajectory.
"The 714's short-iron faces are a lot thicker [than the 712 AP1's] and that helps to drive the weight higher," he said.
The toplines and soles of the short irons have been made thinner, and the short irons – unlike the long ones – don't have the undercut in the top cavity. Titleist also strengthened the lofts of the short irons by 1 degree. This lowered the loft of the pitching wedge to 44 degree, prompting Titleist to make two gap wedges (a 48- and a 52-degree) to properly bridge a transition to a sand wedge and avoid excessive gapping.
Titleist opted not to strengthen the lofts of the long irons to avoid making it more difficult to hit them higher and to stop shots on greens.
"These irons are played by Ben Curtis on the PGA Tour, but they can also be used by a 20-handicap golfer," McGinley said.
The 714 AP1 irons will cost $799 with True Temper XP 95 steel shafts or $999 with Mitsubishi Kuro Kage 65 graphite shafts. Other custom shaft options will be available via special order.