Titleist is getting ready to unveil a new line up of Advanced Performance Irons on November 15th that will include four new models: AP1, AP2, CB and MB. Miles of Golf is one of five Regional Fitting Centers across the country that has been given early access to fit current Titleist PGA Staff members and top amateurs in the Mid-West. Having the fitting tools early has given us the opportunity to do some early testing and get player feedback with the new product. We focused our attention on the 2012 AP1 and AP2 irons for this review.
Titleist has been making ongoing enhancements to the AP line over the past 4 years based on feedback from the best players in the world on every major professional tour. This year’s adjustments are a continuation of the Titleist R&D department searching for the perfect blend of performance and feel.
The 2012 Titleist 712 AP1 has the biggest visual change in the line-up. The goal for the AP1 irons was to retain workability and shot control, improve forgiveness and improve the looks at address. When you compare this new model to the previous you will notice a slightly smaller profile thanks to a beveled top line and a smoother hosel blend. They have continued to use progressive blade lengths and stronger lofts than AP2. By repositioning weight using a tungsten weight block low in the toe, Titleist has increased MOI by 4%. This iron is available in both right and left hand models. The stock shaft offering in steel will be the True Temper Dynalite Gold XP and in graphite will be the Graphite Design Tour AD 65i.
The 2012 Titleist 712 AP2 went through a more dramatic internal change to get the performance characteristics Titleist was looking for. In previous AP2 lines, Titleist used a single tungsten nickel weight that was part of the exterior of the sole of the club. This year’s version is now a two-piece tungsten (not tungsten/nickel) weight, which accounts for more of the head’s mass (20% on average). This allows the design team to move the mass more towards the heel and toe of the golf club, which increases the MOI by 7.2%. The result of this change also improved dispersion by 6% over the previous model.
Visually, Titleist has made minor changes that include a squarer toe profile along with a thinner top line design. Based on player feedback and grind work done on tour, the AP2’s offer narrower sole profiles in scoring clubs to increase playability and improved turf interaction. This iron is available in both right and left hand models. The stock shaft offering in steel will be the True Temper Dynamic Gold.
During the test we used five different players ranging in handicap from 0 – 7. Those players swing speeds (6 iron) ranged from 84 to 98 mph. The test involved comparing AP1 and AP2 to prior generation models. Each player hit 10 shots with each iron in his current iron specs (lie, length, shaft, flex). The shots were measured using the TrackMan Pro swing and ball flight monitor.
During our testing we did not see any major launch condition changes (launch/spin/swing speed) over the 710’s. The two consistent changes we saw from the TrackMan data were the horizontal angle/spin axis numbers (curve of the golf ball in the air) and the ball speed numbers. Talking to the Titleist crew early on we knew that one of the goals was to make the AP line more forgiving, which is accomplished with higher MOI numbers. They wanted to make ball speeds more consistent across the face, allowing for better distance control. This showed up on TrackMan through ball speed, smash factor, spin rate, and horizontal launch angle. The R&D department at Titleist succeeded with the design vision over the previous AP model. Both the 712 AP1 and 712 AP2 produced a faster ball speed, as well as a reduced spin rate over their predecessors creating a longer carry distance that wound up closer to our center line.