NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – You'll have to wait about four months to try Titleist's new 712 Series irons, but pros at the AT&T National are getting their first chance to hit the new AP1, AP2, CB and MB irons this week. (Photos below; Titleist uses 700 numbers for irons, and the 12 indicates the model year.)
While the heads of the new AP1 irons are the same size as their predecessors, their most significant new feature is a progressive blade length.
"The long irons are about the same size," said Chris McGinley, Titleist's vice president of golf club marketing. "But as you go through the set, we brought the blade size down. That lets us make the long irons more forgiving and the short irons more traditional."
When it comes to the AP2 irons, which are designed for low handicappers, McGinley says Titleist has significantly increased the club's moment of inertia (MOI) by re-positioning tungsten weight within the heads.
"The overall goal was to better apply the different materials we use in the design," McGinley said. "To make both [the AP1 and AP2], in essence, more forgiving. But when you are talking about the AP2 player, he's not really looking for forgiveness. For him, iron play is all about distance control. When we can make an iron more forgiving, we're really giving the AP2 player more consistent ball speed over a larger area of the face."
McGinley said that a player who owns 710 CB or MB irons won't feel much difference if he tries the new 712 CB or MBs, and that’s by design. The pros who use the clubs—like Rory McIlroy, Geoff Ogilvy and Rickie Fowler—give the company lots of good feedback on them, so Titleist doesn't want to tweak these classic forged blades too much, McGinley said.
"We've updated the cosmetics with a new satin chrome finish," McGinley said. "We've also updated the sole design of the MB, taking a little bit off the trailing edge because the guy playing that club—a small blade, pure muscleback—is looking for crisp turf contact."
Titleist decided not to release a combo set, blending CB long irons with MB short irons.
"If you do that, you're assuming what the player needs, and we don't want to do that," he said. "The fact that we can make those custom means that we don't have to make a pre-packaged set. Everyday golfers can go get fit for Titleist irons and order a mixed set if they want."
Golf.com will give you more information on Titleist's new 712 iron series in the weeks to come, including the exact date when the clubs will be available and prices.
Click the images below to see high-resolution close-ups of the new models.
-- By David Dusek, deputy editor, Golf.com See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Titleist clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC or Golfsmith. Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter | Facebook