You'll find our FlightScope Doppler Radar report to back up everything we're about to say about the new Titleist 718 AP3 iron. Our goal is to test the AP3 and provide FACTS about its performance and not just say "trust me, this club is good".. So, we put it through the gauntlet. In short, the new Titleist 718 AP3 iron is mind blowing.. Ill first talk about the testing, then results, and lastly the AP3 review. SPOILER ALERT - We liked it!
Everybody, meet Jon! Jon is one of our club-fitters here at Spargo Golf, he is also our journeyman off the mini-tour events and local tournaments. In college, he had the privilege of being named to the PING All-American Team 2010-11, has won five times on the Pepsi Tour, and has made an appearance at the U.S. Amateur 2011. Thus, he knows how to strike the ball. Jon and I teamed up to test some new stuff coming out this year, (718 AP3 being one of them) to bring a un-biased view to the new equipment. Jon will act as our "Iron Byron" for all the new 718 testing. So, lets get started!
We tested the entire line of 718 irons, we broke them up into separate blogs to give each 718 iron its own fair review, so this one, we'll only focus on the AP3 iron. However, we had to test the AP3 against something, so we chose the 716 AP1. We did this because a big part of the marketing of the new AP3 was that it's LONG. Literally, Titleist.com explains the 718 AP3 iron as "the players distance iron". Knowing that the AP1 has the strongest lofts in the Titleist family of irons, we thought it would be best to set a high mark for the AP3. Lets prove that the new clubhead design and its technology is long because of those factors, not just because the lofts are juiced up. In this test, both 7-iron (716 AP1 and 718 AP3) models are 31º loft.
Here is our control while conducting the test. Jon was our sole tester, as stated above, he's pretty accomplished at striking the ball... We used the same exact shaft throughout all our testing.. Whether hitting a 716 or 718, AP1 or AP3 or AP2, Jon was using the Project X LZ 6.0 shaft. Thus, the only variable at play was changing the club-head.. Lastly, the FlightScope report (below) shows one line, this one line shows of the averages of the 10 shots Jon hit with the irons. (For full 10-shot detail report, see bottom of page.)
Now, the long awaited testing results of the 718 AP3! After only a few shots, Jon was looking back at me and saying "I want..." :D It was mind blowing seeing the results we where getting. Below, there is a chart from our friends at GolfWRX that matched swing speed (in the gray at the top of the chart) to total carry distance (listed below per each club). Knowing that this chart is an overall general assumption, it does not hold true to be exact for everything, but still a good overall/general view of what club-speed to carry distance should be within a +/- variance a few MPH/Yards of each other..
During our test of the 718 AP3 (see FlightScope Report below), Jon averaged a 91.4 MPH club-head speed and a carry distance of 183 yards on the 7-iron. Comparing loft of a 7-iron in this chart is 34º, which our test 718 AP3 is 31º, so let's use the 6-iron for equal comparison. Obviously, the AP3 can definitely be called a "players distance iron". The 718 AP3 is performing a club stronger (because of loft).
Remember how I said before, we tested the 718 AP3 against the 716 AP1? Here where the AP1 results to compare against. Keep in mind, the lofts are identical at 31º, so AP3 vs AP1 is a good apples-to-apples test and comparison. Also note (full disclosure), Jon's club-speed dropped by 3 MPH with the AP1, but would only account for maybe 2-3 yards lost with a 7-iron.. The 718 AP3 still out-performed the AP1 as a longer hitting iron.
Same golfer, same shaft, same ball, same loft, different club-head, you can see the 718 AP3 achieved higher ball speed for more distance.
Want to be impressed even more? Below is the grouping chart. The AP3 had a much tighter dispersion than the AP1. This could be because the AP1 is a little larger than the AP3, and Jon is not used to the larger head and hit the AP3 more comfortably to what he is used to. BUT, you can still interpret the AP3 grouping as tight and accurate iron.
AP3 - BLUE AP1 - RED
"I want" - Jon P.
From year to year, model to model, there can only be so much technology introduced to make a drastic difference. But for a player who wants to work the ball flight, which this iron is designed for, the distance is a big gain. Golf courses are only getting longer, not shorter, so to gain upwards of a whole club makes a huge difference. Some may not be impressed, because the AP3 is juiced up iron, however, rather than a player taking their current clubs and bending to a stronger loft, the Titleist 718 AP3 are designed with the appropriate bounce. For every 1º you bend an iron stronger in loft, you loose 1º of bounce in the sole. This causes problems at the top of the bag, especially with the longer irons. Typically, a 4 or 5-iron may only have 2º of bounce, so if you wanted to bend your clubs 3º stronger (like the AP3 offers), you'll make a club that has -1º bounce. Big thick divots, club getting stuck in the ground, and overall bad turf interaction is what will happen. This alone is how the AP3 iron becomes an offering that is rarely seen across the industry for a "players iron". Most smaller player irons being traditional in lofts, and bending 3º strong creates problems. The Titleist 718 AP3 offers the stronger lofts WITH the optimal bounce designed with it. For a tournament player, you'll be playing a golf course at 7,000+ yards, adding distance can be beneficial to attack more greens, easier, in regulation. Mission Accomplished Titleist!
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