Review: Titleist AP2 714 Irons
I dubbed the Titleist AP2 712 Irons “Absolutely Perfect” which sets the bar really high for the AP2 714 irons. How do you top perfection? When I stated that about the 712 irons I meant that they are the standard by which other irons will be judged and holding to that standard of excellence, the AP2 714s move the bar higher. They are “perfecter” (which I know isn’t a word or even a concept), but the small tweaks to the AP2 line for this year really make them Absolutely Perfect Twice.
The Titleist AP2 irons have always been the perfect blend of players and forgiveness. They offer that mix of easy to hit for even a mid handicapper, but performance minded enough for the low handicapper. The subtle changes from the 712s to the 714s are just enough to notice the benefits on the course yet still feel in that comfort zone with these irons.
Being a northern golfer means that the release of the 714 irons came right at the end of my season. I was able to get fit for them at the TPI Oceanside facility in California. It was the best fitting I’ve ever had. While I wasn’t striking the ball as purely as I would have liked, since I had just hopped off the plane, I was still hitting my consistent shots (and errors). We decided that I was best suited for DG S300 shafts. While I’ve been a KBS guy for many sets, the DG S300s offered a lower spin rate which I needed to get proper distance and control out of these irons paired with my swing. I ended up with my set 1* upright and 1* strong. I also went with Lamkin’s new grip, the Crossline 3Gen Ace which is like the 3Gen grips, but even a little tackier. (I hit the 714 CBs too during my fitting, actually slightly better on the range, from just a pure numbers standpoint, but I think over time the lack of forgiveness could hurt my scoring)
Since the Titleist AP2 714 irons arrived when we had snow in the ground in MN, I first got them in play in Palm Desert, CA. Obviously the first few swings were rusty and took me a few holes to get my mechanics figured out, but once I got some feeling back in my swing, I had some of my best scoring rounds. I even went under par for 9 holes, which isn’t bad for a -7 handicapper. I really attribute that to my iron play; more looks at birdies really keep the scores low.
The perfection is in the details. There are a couple minor changes to the AP2 714 irons that make the biggest difference. The sole grind has more camber. This means from leading edge to trailing edge it is slightly more rounded. It doesn’t have extreme grinds, but holding them up you can notice the rounder sole, which makes for better turf interaction. I found less digging and less bouncing, both of which can cause inconsistent ball striking. While I hit the AP2 712 irons really well, I hit the AP2 714 irons even better although the Titleist 718 AP2’s are my favorite! They still allowed me to hit and strike the ball like I normally do, but with better turf interaction means less chunks and thins.
The second factor that helps with forgiveness is the added “beef” out at the toe of the club. There was some there before, but this additional weight in the toe helps with forgiveness and stability. I found I had less miss-hits in terms of results. I got the ball closer to my target with these irons.
Another slight change is an even better feel. The AP2 line has gone from a slightly hollow feeling iron to a really solid sensation at impact. Better vibration dampening with each progression and solid feel right where you want it. The forged feel comes through even better with the AP2 714 irons.
I went with this set in a 4-GW combo. This has been an excellent move as well. I don’t hit a 3-iron particularly well compared to a hybrid, but starting at my 4-iron I like the look and playability of an iron. In the long irons I found forgiveness that is needed to get the distance and accuracy needed to have looks at birdies. They are easy to get lift, yet have a strong trajectory for consistent distance. The mid irons are probably the best weapons of this set. They are just pure forged feel, yet forgiving enough to make up for a slightly off swing or a bad lie. The short irons are great as expected, I had a very flat controlled flight with these. One surprise was the inclusion of a Gap Wedge. Most sets don’t typically include these, but this wedge has been “money” for me. I need that 110/105 club more often than I think. This club hits that yardage every time, and close to the pin. I actually like it better than a gap wedge that matches my wedges. I hit it much more consistent and accurate.
When it comes to distances, there wasn’t much change, maybe a couple yards tops. I was fit for these on a Trackman at the TPI Oceanside facilities and have hit them on my Flightscope indoors here at home. By comparison, the AP2 714s were longer by 2.5 yards, spun 500 rpms less and had 1.5 yards less dispersion. Those aren’t big numbers, but they are an improvement.
The Titleist AP2 712 irons were really good and I still played them regularly until the Titleist AP2 714 irons came, these are now my gamer set. The 714s have just a couple minor tweaks that have made them even better. Titleist did it again and set the bar even higher for 2014 irons. They are Absolutely Perfect Twice.
For more information: http://www.titleist.com/golf-clubs/irons/AP2.aspx
+Excellent turf interaction
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