Review: Titleist AP2 Irons
With many students returning to school, some at the high school level (and their parents) hear a lot about AP classes, (Advanced Placement classes.) These classes are for the gifted and talented. When I heard that the newest set of Titleist irons were called AP2, I wondered if they were also only for the gifted and the talented? Titleist has always had a reputation of being a player’s club brand. So do the AP2 hold to that tradition or break the mold?
Titleist typically makes a pretty traditional set of irons. Looking over their history of irons, most are simple, straightforward, performance-minded, and aimed at the advanced golfer. The AP2 irons were designed for the pro golfer, but happen to be appreciated by a wider audience as well. The new line up for 2008 consists of 4 new irons, from the most demanding clubs in the Z Muscle down to the AP1 which are a moderate game improvement iron. The AP2 hits a market segment that Titleist maybe hadn’t tapped in the past. The AP2’s have an advanced player’s club appearance with the forgiveness a mid-handicapper will need. They were designed for the scratch player, making the bags of many of Titleist’s pros, yet forgiving enough to appeal to the mid-handicap golfer. The set consists of a traditional 3-PW. It contains many of the Titleist features of simplicity. The grips are simple Golf Pride Velvet grips, the shafts Project X steel, and the ferules a simple black. But the AP2 head is anything but simple made of forged 1025 carbon steel body, a tungsten-nickel box, an elastomer cushion, and an aluminum insert tuning plate. The appearance while in the bag really broke the Titleist mold; they are high-tech and maybe even a bit busy. I would have liked to see Titleist tone down the looks of the tuning plate and removed some of the unnecessary stamping and wording in the cavity.
Starting in the middle of the fairway with the first swing approaching, the sight behind the ball was very pleasant. They have a relatively thin top line and a nice mixture of chrome and satin. At address it is all business. The progressive offset was modest even in the long irons keeping with a traditional and advanced player’s desire, but just enough for even the mid-handicap player. For more offset see the AP1 irons.
After that first swing and every following swing, the clubs offered the softest sound I have been privileged to hear on the golf course. There are many different adjectives to describe the sound of an iron shot, a click, a tink, a clunk, a clank, but none really fit the sound of the AP2’s. The best I can call it was a tick. They are so quiet that some might be uncomfortable with how muted they sound. My guess is all the techno stuff behind the face: the elastomer cushion and aluminum tuning plate accomplish a very quiet sound. I heard more sound from the brushing of the grass than the contact with the ball.
Titleist set out to construct a soft yet solid feeling iron. They constructed the head out of 1025 forged steel which contributes to a soft yet solid feeling metal. But much of the feel in the head comes from the design of the pocket cavity and elastomer cushion, even on miss-hits, there was very little vibration. It didn’t seem to feel much different on toe hits or heel hits. There might be some golfers that want a little more feedback in an iron head. That fine line between solid, soft and some vibration tends to be a personal choice. But no matter the personal preference, these have a very soft feel to them.
Another performance benefit of the AP2 is the standard shaft, the Rifle Project X non-flighted steel. The mid launch design of the head partnered with the high, boring, and flat trajectory of the Project X shaft make for an excellent combo. At times the height of a few shots caused worry while in the air, only to find them carry the appropriate distance. Into the wind there was very little distance loss maybe a ¼ club, while with the wind seemed to add about ½ a club. According to Titleist these are supposed to be mid-trajectory, I would hate to see what their high-trajectory would be, for me these hit very high, without ballooning.
With a slightly blunted leading edge, these irons cut into the turf nicely. They didn’t want to dig too much because of the larger sole and exited cleanly because of the relief grind/bounce. I think it is a perfect combination for the steep swinger or shallow swinger. The divots were a nicely cut shallow strip. But those divots come at a price. The chrome appears to be very durable, but the forged metal beneath the chrome is fairly soft allowing for some dings and bag chatter.
They are upright in comparison to some other companies standard lie angles. It seems there is a variation from one company to another, so be careful about buying a set off the shelf. Titleist offers many custom order options so it shouldn’t be a problem getting fit for your needs, just remember to get fit.
The AP2 irons have considerably more forgiveness than expected from a set of Titleist irons. They just go straight, even if the strike isn’t dead center. I don’t have a perfect swing, yet on my first round with them, I hit 15/18 greens in regulation (might have been more if I would have kept my driver in play). I liked that I could put them in play and improve my score on the first round. The high-tech design works; high, straight iron shots that stick. There was more than one time when I came out of the swing feeling that the ball should have spun out to the right, only to see it land on the green softly. The spin was controlled, both side spin and back spin. The ball didn’t roll across the green, nor did it come spinning back off the green, it just stuck. I think this is where the mid-handicap player and the advanced player will find these clubs to work for them because everything stays under control. Chip shots were easy to control while the knock down was a little tricky due to the tendency for these irons to fly high. If you want to work the ball right or left, you can, but only a little. Intentional or non-intentional cut shots are less wild, maybe 5 yards one way or the other, not 15+.
In no way does the AP stand for Advanced Placement, these are not just for the gifted or talented, they appeal to the mid-handicapper and the accomplished. If you are a golfer that wants to hit the ball straight with a little control, you will love these irons. There might be a reason that these irons have been on back order most of 2008. Titleist did what the name says, they give the golfer Advanced Performance.
For more information: http://www.titleist.com/golfclubs/irons/AP2.asp
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