716 AP1 iron review

Andy Roberts's picture
Andy Roberts
Wed, 23 Sep 2015
0

A sexy, powerful and laser-like iron that combines better-player looks with game-improvement performance

Need To Know

Superb forgiveness; improved distance, launch and backspin; lovely sound and feel; easy-to-control stock shaft
Price
Our score:
Overall: 
4
PRICE: £93.00 YEAR: from 2015

It is not just game-improvement players that will want to get involved with the new Titleist 716 AP1 irons. 

Although Titleist admits these clubs are aimed more towards the higher handicap players seeking maximum distance and added forgiveness, the 716 AP1 irons would not look out of place in the hands of a better player. 

The new 716 AP1 irons come loaded with added tungsten low and in the toe of the mid and long irons to make it easier to fire the ball skywards.

NEW: best game improvement irons 2016 test

Because the tungsten drives the centre of gravity down, Titleist has made the lofts of these irons one degree stronger to improve their distance. The six iron, for example, has gone down from 29 degrees on the 714 AP1 to 28 degrees.

The new irons also feature an extreme "360-degree UnderCut Cavity" that helps the face to flex more at impact, generating both additional speed and higher launch. 

Looks

At address the 716 AP1 iron offers a much more appealing, thinner topline than its predecessor, the 714 AP1.

While looks are personal, we think the majority of aspiring game-improvement players out there would rather look down on something a little less chunky and the 716 AP1 delivers.

Titleist may have placed 42.5 grams of tungsten into each of its AP1 irons (50% more than the 714 AP1 in order to maximise heel and toe stability), but it has done all this without increasing the preferred blade length that AP1 players are associated with.

Another nice touch to the appearance is a pre-worn leading edge and cambered sole that allows for a smoother and more forgiving entry into the back of the ball.

Feel

Ball striking felt remarkably solid no matter what sort of strike we put on the ball – much to do with the high density tungsten adding greater stability to the clubhead on off-centre strikes. We did prefer the softer feel and crispness of the 716 AP2, however. 

The new stock True Temper XP90 shaft, exclusive to Titleist for the first six months after its launch, felt beautifully balanced and particularly easy to gauge throughout the swing, but we favoured our trusty KBS Tour shaft during the fitting. 

Performance

The 716 AP1 six iron carried close to 182 yards on average, some three yards further than the former 714 AP1 six iron, while launch angle (17.4-degree) and spin rate (5100 RPM) also improved.

With the extra launch being obtained from the additional tungsten lowering the centre of gravity, Titleist has strengthened the lofts of these irons without lengthening the shafts - something the brand claims is far removed from many of its rivals.

“Stronger loft means more speed, more speed means more distance,” said Titleist iron director Marni Ines.

“There are a lot of companies that chase distance mainly by strengthening lofts and lengthening shafts, but we think we’re doing it the right way with superior technology.”

Of the 15 shots we hit with the 716 AP1 six iron, you could throw a blanket over 10 of them down our intended target line. The other five shots veered between six and 10 yards to the left of the flag.

Verdict

A sexy, powerful, laser-like iron that combines better-player looks with game-improvement performance.

Golf is no fashion show but the thinner topline to the 716 AP1 is likely to appeal, while the feel and sound of this club at impact is sure to whet the appetite for more. 

Performance-wise, the 716 AP1 is as good as it gets for a game-improvement iron with strong distance gains and accuracy to be obtained throughout the set. We did find there was softer feel and greater workability to be had with the 716 AP2, however. 

By no means cheap at £93 per iron, but these are certainly golf clubs that will help take your game to the next level. 

Given the sleeker looks and overall performance, we can see many avid Titleist 716 fans favouring a combination set of both AP1 in the long irons and AP2 in the short irons.

But overall, the fact we even had to contemplate which of the new 716 irons we preferred at the end of testing speaks volumes about the AP1’s appeal. 

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picked
Category: 
Brand: 
0
Performance: 
4
Quality: 
5
Value: 
4

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