Is your game up to playing Titleist AP2 irons? Titleist’s track record
with forged “players irons” like these is unsurpassed, but you need to
realize they’re intended to meet the needs of “skilled to highly
skilled” players. Basically, golfers who aren’t professionals or
single-digit amateurs need not apply.
But, if you have the game, you might want to read this review. These clubs combine the feel and playability of forged with a modern, multi-material cavity design.
I tested a set, but it didn’t take long before I decided they were just “too much club.” I have to admit I wasn’t terribly surprised. I play off a 9 handicap, and that’s at the extreme upper limit of the targeted skill level for these clubs. Some (although probably not all) of my issues with these irons may have been due to their stock steel shafts. It’s not that the shafts aren’t high quality – they’re True Temper Dynamic Gold and one of the best steel shafts you can get. It’s just that I far prefer graphite shafts. Several different graphite shafts are available as an option on the Titleist AP2 irons, but my pro shop didn’t have a graphite demo set.
I had problems with the clubs, but I know there are plenty of golfers out there who can beat me any day of the week. My hat’s off to you if you’re one of them. And I’ve written this review for you.
Titleist AP2 irons are technologically advanced despite their classic looks, and they deliver the workability demanded by highly skilled players. Their unique twist is that they also provide the forgiveness that even better golfers occasionally need. They feature the narrow soles and minimal offset that better players prefer, but their multi-material construction distributes the head’s weight to improve their playing characteristics. The head is made of forged 1025 carbon steel, but a high-density tungsten plate on the back and sole pushes the head’s weight down and out toward the perimeter. The resulting higher Moment of Inertia (“MOI”) and deeper, lower center of gravity provide optimum launch and spin conditions, along with better feel, distance control and forgiveness on miss-hits.
An elastomer “cushion” positioned in a cavity behind the face dampens vibrations and creates a soft feel and a pleasing sound at impact. Titleist calls the back’s cavity and its elastomer insert a breakthrough design that has never before been accomplished in a forged iron.
Most average players would notice that the soles of the Titleist AP2 irons are much narrower than the soles of the game-improvement clubs they normally play. But the soles of these clubs are actually slightly wider than most “players” irons. They feature an optimized bounce and a relieved trailing edge that are intended to deliver the right mix of playability and forgiveness.
The result of all this, according to Titleist, is an outstanding combination of superior feel, sound, workability, forgiveness and looks. In other words, Titleist AP2 irons are exactly what you’d expect from a set of Titleist forged blades – with the important addition of the forgiveness.
The “AP” in the name of the Titleist AP2 irons stands for “advanced performance.” Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, I had difficulty hitting them effectively. That’s not a knock on the clubs – I’m just not skillful enough to hit them well consistently.
But, for what it’s worth, I really liked the way they set up and looked at address. Feedback on my miss-hits was present but a bit muted and not at all overly-punishing. And when I did find the sweet spot, the soft feel and powerful “crack” let me know. When I hit them well, they produced some nice shots from a variety of lies – Bermuda fairways, hardpan, rough, and so on. I was even able to work the ball a little. Only rarely did one of my shots go way offline. It’s just that I couldn’t hit them well consistently.
The stock True Temper Dynamic Gold steel shafts are designed to produce a low, penetrating ball flight for players with high swing speeds. They’re high-quality shafts but they’re too heavy for me – and at 90 mph or so, I have an average swing speed at best. I wish I’d been able to try a set of Titleist AP2 irons fitted with lighter graphite shafts. I might have hit them a little better if they’d had that type of shaft.
The Bottom Line: Titleist AP2 irons look good, feature an innovative design and promise the type of performance that “better” players demand from their irons. They’re a great mix of technology and looks, but they’re too much club for me. They might be ideal for you if your handicap sits at 5 or less.