Equipment: Titleist 714 irons
BETHESDA, Md. – Titleist brought its latest collection of irons, the 714 series, to Congressional Country Club on Monday to give staff players their first opportunity to use them in competition.
Like the clubs they eventually will replace in the company's line-up (the 712 series, which debuted at this event two years ago), there are four irons that comprise the 714 family: the AP1 (Photos), AP2 (Photos), CB (Photos) and MB (Photos).
Because the clubs will not be available until November, Titleist has not yet announced prices or the stock shaft options for them.
Chris McGinley, Titleist's vice president of golf club marketing, declined to provide many technical details about the new clubs, but said the company made enhancements in flight, forgiveness and feel its top priorities.
According to McGinley, the AP1, which is cast from 431 stainless steel, still has a slightly-larger head than the AP2, which is forged from mild carbon steel. High-density tungsten has been added to specific areas of both clubs to increase forgiveness.
"You can make a club bigger to make it more forgiving," McGinley said, "but that is not what our audience wants. We have distinct targets for each club. The AP1 player likes to see a certain size; the AP2 player likes to see a certain size. At those sizes, we've tried to maximize the forgiveness and, in fact, we have. So nothing is more forgiving at that size."
The 714 AP1 and 714 AP2 each feature sporty new cosmetics on the back of the club. But the insert badge, made from aluminum and elastomer, serves more than an aesthetic purpose: It enhances sound and feel.
"We've worked really hard to step things up with these models," McGinley said. "We try to make improvements every time, and there are some changes to the chassis and the structure of each iron … and some of those details we'll get into later."
"This was the largest amount of changes we've made since the beginning of this franchise," McGinley said. "There was some significant work done on these."
The changes that Titleist made to the 714 CB and 714 MB – both popular clubs among Titleist's PGA Tour staff players – were much more subtle. In fact, McGinley said, such popularity practically handcuffs designers from making major alterations.
"When we ask pros what we can do to the CB and the MB," McGinley said, "they usually tell us, 'Don't screw them up.' "
According to McGinley, Titleist focused on improving the shaping and blending of the CB and MB models, tweaking the ways that different areas of the heads flow into each other to improve each club's appearance.
"We also made some improvements to the sole," he said, "adding a little bit of camber, which gives it a little more versatility."