Well, I’m not fully au fait with that particular cliché, but whatever the exact wording, the allegory does seem a fitting one to associate with the Titleist 718 AP3 irons.
Not only have they been brought in to bridge the growing gap between the AP1s (which are getting bigger and bigger and bigger) and the AP2s (which haven’t grown an iota in the past decade), they were even given a “3” in their name, thus ostensibly reaffirming their place as an afterthought.
Nevertheless, this “man in the middle” has arrived amid much hype and fanfare, with single-figure golfers begging for the perfect mix of feel and forgiveness. It’s a void the AP3s have set out to fill, and even the likes of Adam Scott have snapped them up. The question is… should you?
We reviewed the Titleist 718 AP3 Irons as part of our Best Golf Irons, check it out here.
If you already own the Titleist 718 AP3 Irons please leave your review in the customer review box at the end of this article.
Titleist 718 AP3 Irons Review
The Titleist 718 AP3s are a fine addition to the team, stepping into the sizeable breach between the AP1s and AP2s to deliver a commendable mix between feel and forgiveness that will pique the interest of many a single-figure handicapper. The classy, compact look is maintained with a thin top line and sole, but with significant tweaks on things like offset, the design of the leading edge and head size to make them a whole lot easier to hit; and to establish greater consistency. The AP3s haven’t been priced any differently to the AP2s. However, it opens the door to a greater volume of players, and thus makes the launch of the AP range look a whole lot more complete. Very, very fine clubs indeed.
Pros and Cons
- Generous launch and forgiveness, most notably when you strike it thin
- Feel, quality and playability comparable with the AP2s, but much easier to hit
- Impressive distance with long irons despite unremarkable ball speeds
- Pleasing mix of a thin top line with a bit of offset at address
- A bit of a dull, hollow sound with the longer irons
Titleist 718 AP3 Irons
The AP3’s offer a great amount of consistency and playability and will appeal to a lot wider market so Titleist have hit the nail on the head in that department.
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There is some basic deviation from the AP2s in that the body is manufactured from cast 17-4 stainless steel, rather than forged. In the case of the 3-7 irons, they also contain high-density tungsten weights tucked away in both the heel and toe areas, which help to keep the club square, and prevent twists and turns during the course of the swing. Indeed, these weights collectively account for 78g, which is about a third of the overall weight of the clubhead.
Like the AP2s, there is also a High Strength Steel face insert, which helps to smooth over the pre-worn leading edge such that it flows seamlessly into the sole and takes the join to behind the clubface. Not only is this good for turf interaction, it also boosts MOI for impacts on the lower part of the club.
The 8 and 9 irons’ face insert is 17-4 stainless steel, while the wedges have both a stainless-steel body and face.
There is a myriad of shaft options to choose from during the fitting process, but few will poke a hole in the stock True Temper AMT Tour Black shaft, which gets lighter as you move towards the longer irons. It’s available in both regular and stiff flex, and adds to the smart look and feel of these irons.
Control & Performance
Yes, I know you’re all dying to know the truth: are they actually that much more forgiving than the AP2s? The answer is a resounding, unequivocal yes. The biggest contrast of all comes when you catch the ball thin. With the AP2s, you know all about it. However, with the AP3s, those tingles are nowhere near as severe, and there is far more leeway in terms of the launch.
One misgiving would be that the hollowed-out design of the cavity doesn’t make for the most rewarding sound with the longer irons, but by and large the feel is tremendous across most of the face from 3 to wedge, and the offset doesn’t negate the ability to manoeuvre the ball.
Interestingly, ball speeds weren’t as high as we expected, and it was a little short in terms of carry with some of the longer irons. The trajectory was also significantly lower than the AP1s (with more focus on roll), which makes clear that there is still a lot of daylight between these and your typical improvement irons. So, the AP2 irons aren’t a market leader in terms of forgiveness, but they still do more than enough to promote consistency.
Design & Appearance
With a preordained raison d’être in mind, establishing an optimal design was always going to be a big challenge, but we think it’s one Titleist have surmounted impressively. The AP3s are a bit bigger than the AP2s, but nowhere near the oversized AP1s in terms of blade length. They’ve also been able to boost forgiveness without thickening the top line or the sole. This has been achieved in a couple of ways – one of which is to add a notable amount of offset. In combination with a thin top line, it does look a bit unusual, but we liked it, and it undoubtedly inspires confidence at address.
Perhaps the only criticism – music to the ears of elite players – is with the longer irons, where the top line almost begins to look a little bit too thin, given the increased length compared with the AP2s. The irons also make use of a progressive cavity back design (with the cavity behind the badge), whereby the cavity increases as you move towards the longer irons. This makes for a slightly hollow sound with the longer irons.
But, on the whole, Titleist have hit the nail on the head in terms of keeping things compact, but still with a visual impression at address of these clubs having a bit of give and cushion. And of course, while retaining the classic, stylish look you associate with this tremendous brand.
Value for Money
We think that, in the months and years to come, the AP3s really are going to sell like hotcakes. With their midsized – but still compact – heads, they’re going to be suitable for a broad spectrum of single-figure handicappers. And even those who are on the brink of shedding the double digits.
There is nothing in the build quality which sets them apart from the AP2s; nor the price tag. But as a package, the blend of forgiveness and consistency, whilst still maintaining that classic, stylish look of a modern-day blade, will bring a greater volume of feet through the door.
We’re here for your needs specifically, but we also need to bear the masses in mind. And our take is that many will see decent value in this majestic set of irons.
Video Length – 00:41
Titleist 718 AP3 Irons Review
Titleist 718 AP3 Irons Review
|Product Details||Titleist 718 AP3 Irons Review|
|Hand Availability||Right & Left Hand|
|Set||4-PW (3-iron & GW also available)|
|Lofts||19° to 48° (3-GW)|
|Lie Angle||60° – 64°|
|Shaft Type and Name||True Temper AMT Tour Black|