Titleist irons have traditionally been the choice of highly skilled players who favor shot-shaping and control over pure distance and forgiveness. The iconic clubmaker’s 2016 stable still caters to Tour pros and club champs, but its newest sticks—both the better-player offerings and the ones for average Joes—pack a heap of help into their compact designs. The company uses several cool technologies, including high-density tungsten, to improve launch, forgiveness and distance without compromising Titleist’s hallmark look, feel or control.
Titleist has raised the bar on its terrific AP1 714. Well, actually, it has replaced the bar. Whereas the 714 has a bar running from the back of the head to the face, the stainless steel AP1 716 sports a 360-degree undercut cavity and a thinner, unsupported face. It’s more flexible than its predecessor, which leads to more ball speed, a higher launch and likely more carry distance. The 3- through 7-irons have 50 percent more tungsten in the low toe than the previous AP1 (42 grams per club versus 28). That boosts MOI by 4 percent and lowers CG, letting Titleist strengthen lofts by one degree without flattening launch. Plus, more sole camber should prevent digging for mid-handicappers who need help through impact. $900, steel; $1,100 graphite
Added forgiveness (and ball speed) should expand the AP2’s appeal in 2016 without compromising its Tour pedigree. The 3- through 7-irons have 25 percent more tungsten in the heel and toe than the 714 model (56 grams per club), which concentrates mass low and toward the perimeter. And because the AP2 716’s blade length is identical to the AP2 714’s, the result—an 8.5 percent higher MOI—is even more impressive. The 3- through 5-irons have a slightly lower CG that’s positioned closer to where you typically strike the ball, which helps increase speed. And by design, this model has launch and spin characteristics that are similar to the AP2 714. $1,200, steel; $1,400, graphite
Don’t let its bladelike profile fool you. The stainless-steel body is packed with a high-strength steel face reinforced with tungsten weights in the heel and toe. This distribution of mass contributes to a low, deep CG and an MOI that’s 6.8 percent higher than the one found in existing 712U utility irons. The T-MB also has one-degree stronger lofts than the 712U, which helps generate, on average, 2 mph more ball speed and an extra 3.9 yards of carry. The T-MB profile and blade lengths are similar to the AP2’s, and the sticks come with True Temper Dynamic Gold AMT steel shafts that are lighter in the long irons and heavier in the short. Standard lofts are 17°, 20°, 23° and 26°, but full sets ($1,600, steel; $1,800, graphite) are available through Titleist’s MOTO (“made only to order”) program. $200/club, steel; $225/club, graphite
Tungsten finds its way into these forgings, lending stability to the carbon steel CB. The 3- through 7-irons have 55 grams of tungsten low in the toe and heel. This creates a 12 percent higher MOI than the previous CB and puts it on par with the AP2 714. $1,200, steel; $1,400, graphite
The MB 716, a fifth new model (not pictured), is a pure muscleback blade with a thinner topline than its predecessor. The muscle has been shifted higher in the head to improve impact feel. $1,100, steel; $1,300, graphite