GolfWRX.com recently had the opportunity to take a look at the upcoming 2008 lineup of Titlieist Advanced Performance irons, the AP1, AP2, ZB, and ZM . It was a rare peek into the technology, design, and fitting factors which are driving the next generation of Titleist irons.
The 2008 crop is definitely not your Father's 681s or DCIs.
The initial reaction from seeing pictures on the forums, make most take a double look, and beg the question, 'What is Titleist thinking?' The typical Titleist player may not be used to seeing thicker top lines, multi-color paint fills, or grooved badges; however, they all have a purpose. Titleist seems very intent on expanding their core market and to prove their approach to today's accomplished golfers has been simplified without sacrificing performance.
The 2008 crop of irons were designed and built around the concept of pure feel. The typical Titleist player loves the look of a 'Player's Iron' but at the end of the day all that matters is performance and being in the Winner's Circle. The AP1 is a multi-material, dual cavity cast iron versus the AP2 which is a multi-material, dual cavity 'contemporary' forged iron. The AP1/AP2 is aimed at those players who are currently playing 775 and 755 irons who are looking for a better shot control, forgiveness, and that typical Titleist feel. These irons will be well positioned against competitors like the Callaway X-20s, TM R7, Mizuno MX-25, and Ping i10 iron.
The AP1 is an attempt to focus on the 5-15 handicap of aspiring golfer who seek better feel and shot control for their game. Feel is the driving factor 2008 lineup and that is achieved with multi-material construction. The AP1 body is made by casting 431 stainless steel while the AP2 is forged from 1020 mild carbon steel. Both have sole plates that are compromised of tungsten nickel to achieve extreme perimeter weighting. Within each head is also an elastomer cushion. All these components work in conjunction to deliver that muted click feel traditional players love. The AP1 has a semi-under slung hosel which aides in bounce and forgiveness. The AP2 has a traditional blade-like hosel junction which allows for a relieved trailing edge for shotmaking.
The AP 1 will be strong loft and play off of a PW of 45*. The AP2 will be set at Tour lofts with a PW of 47*. Irons are slated for availability in March of 2008 and will have the typical Titleist custom options available. Project X 5.5 will be standard on the AP2 and Dynamic Gold HL for the AP1. No 2 iron specs were seen at this point but will be available for leftys. These irons should start showing up in stores in early spring of 2008. Pricing has not been officially announced yet.
Didn't get much time to hit the AP1 and AP2 in depth but, from the few shots that I did take, they did deliver on the feel promise. For those who are used to thin top lines, the transition to a thicker top line may very well be worth it because of the performance benefit involved. The sole versatility is also quite evident and those who like to shape their shots will not be disappointed. Titleist has had very good feedback from all its Tour Staff and believes that most of them will move to the AP2 irons by next season. These should definitely be on every one's list to try out who's looking for a player's cavity back for the 2008 season.
Look for these and other new additions to the '08 line at the PGA merchandise show later this month!
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