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Field Testing the Titleist AP1, AP2, ZB, and ZM Irons

Feb. 2, 2008     By     Comments (68)

Proving that you can't judge a book by its cover, the Titleist AP1, AP2, ZB, and ZM are put to the (field) test.

Titleist AP2 IronWhat do Adam Scott's final-round 61 and three-shot victory at the Qatar Masters and 2007 European Tour Rookie of the Year Martin Kaymer's first win a week earlier have in common? Both were fired with new Titleist irons. Adam Scott won with the Titleist Forged AP2 irons while Martin Kaymer played the Forged ZM irons in taking the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship by two.

The existence of these irons (and their two siblings) has been official for a few days now, but the details were made known in our Bag Drop "Titleist Introduces New Irons for 2008" of a few weeks ago. Titleist is replacing every iron in their set with the new AP1, AP2, ZB, and ZM irons. Gone are the well-liked 695 (in CB and MB variations). Gone is the 735.CM. Gone are the 755s and the 775s. Five models are being replaced by four, three of which are forged, and one of which aims to bring incredible feel and performance to the "aspiring golfer" crowd.

Though no Acushnet company (Titleist, FootJoy, Cobra, Pinnacle) has displayed at the PGA Merchandise Show in several years, Titleist was nearby prepping sales representatives and their vast club pro network on the changes coming in 2008. For many of the sales reps, that meant familiarizing themselves with the 2008 irons lineup.

The Sand Trap was there, and I've hit all of the irons. What follows are my quick observations. As a quick teaser, I will tell you this: you cannot judge a book by its cover.

The Looks
Several of the comments on the original post talk about the looks of the new clubs. Most didn't specify whether they were talking about the looks of the AP1 and AP2, which I will admit look different than previous Titleist irons, the ZB/ZM, or all of the irons.

I think it's likely, though that the ZB and the ZM irons are not the irons people were talking about. They're a fairly evolutionary step up from Titleist's "Z-Muscle" 695.MB models and really aren't remarkably different looking from previous models.

ZB Irons BacksZM Irons Backs

Instead, I'm going to assume that most of the people who have anything to say about the looks of the clubs are talking about the AP1 and AP2.

They say there's no accounting for taste, but my own personal opinion is that the irons offer a nifty throw-back look. I don't personally care for the "overdone" graphics we see on a lot of clubs, and I'm willing to say that the Titleist AP1 and AP2 come close to overdoing it a little. The lines don't bother me - in fact, I like the lines - but the black/grey and black/red striping and the words in that area are what push the iron close to the edge for me. And this isn't the first time Titleist has "dressed up" up the backs of their irons. The very 755 and 775 irons these clubs replace also had decorative backs with different colors, materials, and lettering.

AP1 TripleAP2 Triple

And let's be real - as much as I like to look at what I personally deem to be an attractive set of irons, the graphics and look of the back of the club matter for naught when you set up at address position and take your swing. If I were to assign weight to various factors when I review clubs, the looks of the club would barely even register on the scale.

That's not to say the look of the club at address doesn't matter. It does, and can affect performance or perceived performance. Fortunately, even the bulkiest of these irons, the AP1, looks squeaky clean and simple at address.

So, whether you like the looks or not, in the end it really doesn't matter much at all. At address, these clubs have clean lines not a bit of writing, stamping, or unnecessary markings in sight.

Performance
I was able to test the performance of each of these irons by hitting about 40 balls with each on a cool, windy day in central Florida. Testing took place on a fairly well marked range with Titleist Pro V1 and V1x practice balls.

My swing was in early season form - I was striking the ball crisply and could hit a variety of shots. You know what they say about winter being good for un-learning the compensations you build up over the summer? It's true.

Even Adam Scott Uses the AP2 Now
Little did I know what a shock I was in for. Word that Adam Scott - a longtime muscleback iron player - had switched to the AP2 made me curious. Titleist finally availing themselves of an elastomer cushion also intrigued me. Other companies have used elastomer (most recently, Cleveland with the CG Red and Yellow) to varying degrees of success.

Titleist is quick to point out that the primary focus on these revisions was not only the usual performance advances, but feel. After hitting a few shots with the AP2, I started to see what they were talking about. Balls struck with the AP2 felt quite softer than the cold weather and cavity-back design would have me led to believe they would. The clubs were rather forgiving but still told me where I'd struck the ball on the face. Though I didn't care for the slightly thicker topline at first, I adjusted fairly quickly.

The AP2 still features minimal offset and traditional lofts and about 0.01" more offset than traditional musclebacks, and I found that I was able to do my normal tricks: alter the trajectory and shape of shots, control distance, and get to the ball from a variety of lies. The AP2 did nothing but soften the feedback and gently correct the shot when I got a bit too carried away with some of the swings I was putting on them.

This stands in direct contrast to, for example, the r7 TP line of irons. The r7 TP over-corrects and yet still passes on a clunky feel to the golfer. The AP2 gently corrects and passes on a muted, soft feel. Though I've been a die-hard muscleback golfer for as long as I can remember, I must stay I'm looking forward to reviewing the AP2s this spring.

AP1 Irons for the "Apsiring" Golfer
I've always had bad experiences with the "high handicapper" line of any clubmaker's sticks. For Titleist, those "high handicappers" are the double-digit handicappers and their sticks are the AP1. These "aspiring golfers" as Titleist prefers to call them prefer "game improvement" irons. I've always found game improvement irons to be clunky beasts that feel like shovels at impact and which can generate only one ball flight. They tend to do everything they can to help the player get the ball airborne, minimize shotmaking, and maximize distance.

I'm happy to report that the AP1 succeeds on the "game improvement" front without sacrificing too much feel, workability, or distance. The topline is thicker than I'd like (again, as a 2.7 handicap) and the offset a bit more than I'd like, but the clubs seem right up the alley for a golfer looking for more game improvement than has traditionally been available from Titleist.

Shots with the AP1 did not balloon or get in the air too quickly. I was still able to hit a variety of shots, from knockdowns to bleeding cuts and sharp draws. The feedback isn't as rich as you get from the AP2, but the feel is even softer. Given that this is Titleist's one cast iron in the lineup, that's amazing in and of itself. The elastomer must work.

On a few bad swings I felt myself hitting the ground a bit behind the ball (fat), yet the AP1 responded by gliding into the back of the ball without any noticeable loss in distance or any change in trajectory. Thin shots weren't rewarded nearly as perfectly as the slightly heavy shots, but still got in the air and tracked nicely.

Titleist calls these double-digit handicappers the "aspiring golfers." The word "aspiring" says to me that the golfer wants to improve, and I've long believed that these types of golfers should play irons that force them to hit the ball a little better than they can at their current level. The golfer usually gives up a little forgiveness in exchange for the extra difficulty, but I think that learning to hit "tougher" irons facilitates their improvement.

The AP1, however, may offer the perfect blend of both sides: game improvement for their current playing ability with enough "room to grow" that the player can continue to improve.

As for the low-handicapper's approach to the AP1, I'll put it this way: I'd play the AP1 before I'd TaylorMade's r7 TP, and it's a coin flip at this moment between the AP1 and Cleveland's CG Red. If you know me, that's saying something.

ZB and ZM
I ended last year with a 2.7 handicap, so I gravitated towards the ZM and ZB. The lines are clean, the tops of the clubs relatively thin, and the "Z" cut into the back is simple and attractive. The clubs perform as you would expect: quite similarly to the 695.MB and 695.CB irons. Any subtle differences between the current models and the previous models is tough to discern, so for now I'll simply believe that Titleist has tweaked the irons a bit to improve feel and performance.

Conclusion
The introduction of the AP1 and the AP2 mark a bold step for Titleist: tungsten sole weights, flashier graphics, and elastomer cushions are all new to their irons. I've played Titleist irons for quite a long time, always going with the muscleback variations or, on occasion, blended sets.

We're obviously going to give these irons a more thorough review in the future, but for now I'm rather confident in declaring the entire lineup a winner. The ZB and ZM will appeal to traditionalists like me who are looking for slight improvements to their 690 or 695 irons (or their Mizuno MP-67s, MP-32s, MP-60s, or MP-57s)

Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words?
You know, the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words doesn't quite hold up in the golf world. That is, unless you would rather mount your golf clubs on the wall as art than play with them.

Titleist AP1 Irons
AP1 6-iron at Address, AP1 Backs, AP1 Rear Insert, AP1 Lineup, AP1 Toes

Titleist AP2 Irons
AP2 Backs, AP2 Rear Insert, AP2 Faces, AP2 Faces (Another View), AP2 Top View, AP2 Toes

Titleist ZB/ZM Irons
ZB Backs, ZB Top View, ZB Toes, ZB Faces, ZM Backs, ZM Top View

Titleist's 2008 Irons Lineup
From a Quarter Angle, High Toe View, Low Toe View, Backs

Promotional Shots
AP1 Hero, AP2 Hero, ZB Hero, ZM Hero, AP1 Triple, AP2 Triple, ZB Triple, ZM Triple

Discussion

  1. Jeff says:

    When the AP1 and AP2 was released I thought that they were as close to a toaster oven as any iron I've seen, but I'd just as soon play them as any similarly performing iron from other manufacturers. They seemed to have included all the technological gimmicks without making it look like the Death Star.

    Good mini-review. I look foreword to reading your AP2 review.

  2. Xavier says:

    I was skeptical about the look of the "Z"on the backs of the ZM and ZB but they seem to be growing on me a little. I don't think that any iron on the market can knock out my R7 TP's though.

  3. Tom says:

    Erik, in your opinion what is easier to hit, the ZB's or the Mizuno MP-60's. I am thinking of getting one of these sets and I would like to know which is more forgiving and which one launches the ball higher.

    Also, I am playing off a 6 handicap so would the ZB's suit me or should I get the AP2's.

  4. In your opinion what is easier to hit, the ZB's or the Mizuno MP-60's. I am thinking of getting one of these sets and I would like to know which is more forgiving and which one launches the ball higher.

    I can't say. I haven't hit the MP-60s with the same shaft(s). It'll vary considerably as you can guess. And of course the ZB uses the ZM irons for the 8, 9, and PW while the MP-60s continue with their slight cavity back.

    Also, I am playing off a 6 handicap so would the ZB's suit me or should I get the AP2's.

    Adam Scott plays them, and he's been playing musclebacks, as I've said. That continues to speak volumes to me. The biggest adjustment to a low handicapper may be the slightly thicker topline. That's about it. The feel is pretty sweet.

    I'll know more after we do our full review, but as you can tell from the above, I'm pretty keen on them after early testing.

  5. Scott says:

    For a 12 handicapper, which new titleist iron would you recommend

  6. Joaquin P. says:

    Erik, thanks for the preview. Although I am playing 695MB's I am now curious to try the AP2's.

    Anyway, when do you think you'd be able to review the ZM's? Anything else you could tell us about the set? I asked my local pro if he could get me the clubs to demo. However, I don't know how soon I will be able to try them.

    Any additional comments would be immensely appreciated. Thanks.

  7. Anyway, when do you think you'd be able to review the ZM's?

    As I've said, I basically already did. Look up our 695.MB review. Not much has changed.

  8. rookie says:

    Hey, i am 30 years old from germany and i started playing last april with a borrowed half-set of irons.
    Now i wanna buy my first own.
    In those 9 month i managed to get my game at a point where i shoot rounds in the middle 90th. I would say i am playing around 20 now. I am practacing a lot and hope to improve more.
    I have my eyes now on the 775cb, 755, or the new AP-Line.
    Waht would you think would be the best choice, to help my game improving.

  9. Hey Erik thanks for adding more info, pictures and your own feedback on these new Titleist irons... I love the site and the stuff you guys bring out.

    I previously had a set of Titleist 735 CM's, currently have a set of Mizuno MP 57's... looking forward to setting up a "Title Fight" with my MP 57's and the AP2's when they come out to see which win's for me.

    I'm with you on some of the graphics with the AP irons. I think the AP1's have just jumped the line a little into tacky... but I think the AP2's look pretty good (any more and they'd be overdoing it like Taylormade does).

    Keep up the good work.

  10. Mike says:

    I'm sticking with my 755's for now...the new AP clubs look nice, but that top-line looks mighty beefy/Callaway-like.

  11. Joel says:

    I mentioned this in the other thread on the ZM's but since hitting them did you notice the reduced offset from the 695's to the new ZM's. You mentioned to Joaquin "not much had changed"...did the reduction in offset catch your eye?

    i just ordered a new set of the ZM's due to the fact the offset was reduced.

    any thoughts

    thanks for your time

  12. Joaquin P. says:

    Some of you might find this interesting. I did an analysis of what the Titleist tour players (on Titleist.com) are currently using and here are the results.

    The most popular irons are the 695MB with 21.54%. Surprisingly, the newly introduced AP2’s are currently being used by 16.92% of players. The 670, 695CB & 755 each represented a 10.77% of the total. 3.08% and 1.54% of players has adopted the ZM and ZB respectively.

    But wait; before you jump to any conclusions consider this. 44.62% of all irons being used are full type blades. 26.15% are of the 695CB type club. Those two types represent 70.77% of the total. The remaining 29.23% is comprised of 755’s with 10.77%, AP2’s with 16.92% and an AP1 with 1.54%.

    Therefore, 70.77% of Titleist top players do not use game improvement (forgiving) irons. It should be noted that some of the younger players use old model blades. Nevertheless, it is impressive that the AP2 has been adopted so fast and by as many players. Even though I play with 695MB’s, and are extremely happy with them, I think that the AP2’s deserve a try. However, in my case, and that is personal preference, I don’t think that I will be moving away from blades anytime soon.

  13. I mentioned this in the other thread on the ZM's but since hitting them did you notice the reduced offset from the 695's to the new ZM's.

    No, and if your shotmaking varies when the offset varies only 0.01 to 0.015", you're far more sensitive a golfer than I.

    As to Joaquin's comments and numbers, I agree. It's startling to see the number of people playing the AP2, and that number is only going to increase throughout the year.

    I only hit the irons for about 100 balls, but as you know if you've read my articles, I really prefer the full muscleback type iron, yet these were very impressive and I'm really looking forward to playing them. Feedback + gentle shot correction + good ball flight and feel = a winner. They may be the holy grail for low handicappers who can get past the slightly thicker topline.

  14. Frank says:

    Great review of the new Titleist equipment. Would you be able to compare the feel and forgiveness of the AP1 to the MX25?

  15. Great review of the new Titleist equipment. Would you be able to compare the feel and forgiveness of the AP1 to the MX25?

    No, I cannot. I've never hit the MX25.

    Also, this wasn't a review. Our go into substantially more depth than I've done here. This was just a quick peek based on limited testing. Though I stand by what I've said, we'll be providing more depth and refinement in our full reviews.

  16. Tommy says:

    Great read on the early testing,

    Ref to Joaquin P. the info provided was great, but you forgot to mention to the public that these are the some of the best players in the world!

    With that said and after 22 years in the business I have found that most hcp players think they are better then they are or ever will be.

    Bottom line on club selection be honest with yourself, get fitted by a professional who knows there equipment and you will enjoy the game more.

  17. Sander says:

    Hey Erik,

    I have been looking to buy some new irons. I have handicap 19 at the moment and I really need new clubs. Now I have been testing some Titleist clubs and I liked the Titleist 775 CB Irons. Now, as a quite high handicapper, would you recommend these AP1 Irons for me?

  18. Tom says:

    Very nice intro on Titleist's new line. It seems that my game is in between the AP's......14 handicap in the spring down to 8 at the end of the summer. It's like clockwork! I am nearing retirement and have purposely shortened the swing to save some wear and tear. I am also making the move to graphite (irons) and was actually ready to purchase the 755's before these newbies made their arrival. I would appreciate your thoughts on a senior that wishes to stay competitive. Thanks, again, Erik.

  19. Joe says:

    Great Review!

    Can you compare the Topline of the AP2 to the Callaway X tour?
    Thinner, Fatter?

  20. Tommy says:

    [

    Hey Erik,

    I have been looking to buy some new irons. I have handicap 19 at the moment and I really need new clubs. Now I have been testing some Titleist clubs and I liked the Titleist 775 CB Irons. Now, as a quite high handicapper, would you recommend these AP1 Irons for me?

    Sander,

    It is very hard to make a suggestion on HCP alone, the fitter would need to know more info like, how much do you play, how much do you train, what type of swing do you have, your consistency of impact on the clubface ,where do you loose most of your strokes etc.. just to name a few, if you are serious about your game and want to play a brand, then call and make an appointment with the professional fitter, they know there equipment better than a salesman.

    Titleist says the 775 and AP1 are for the aspiration player which is usually the 10 to 12 HCP

    Success.
    Tommy

  21. Tommy says:

    Very nice intro on Titleist's new line. It seems that my game is in between the AP's......14 handicap in the spring down to 8 at the end of the summer. It's like clockwork! I am nearing retirement and have purposely shortened the swing to save some wear and tear. I am also making the move to graphite (irons) and was actually ready to purchase the 755's before these newbies made their arrival. I would appreciate your thoughts on a senior that wishes to stay competitive. Thanks, again, Erik.

    Tom,
    Based on the info you provided
    Question I would ask you would be how much do you play? How much do you Train? Where do you loose your strokes? The 755 was played by 12 of the best players in the world! that should give you a big hint.
    I would stay with the AP1 irons, they have the proto shafts, which seem to be a good setup, get fitted by the Fitting Works guys, and enjoy the lower scores and the Game!

    Tommy

  22. LT says:

    Erik,

    Once again, you are the guru of equipment reviews, even if this is just the field test.

    How would you compare the performance and feel of the AP2s to the 755s, which you reviewed earlier? I know it's partly dependent upon the shafts but any thoughts would be appreciated.

    I upgraded to the 755s from the 704CBs about a year ago and am doing my research to determine whether another upgrade might be warranted. ;^)

  23. How would you compare the performance and feel of the AP2s to the 755s, which you reviewed earlier? I know it's partly dependent upon the shafts but any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Ahh, but I didn't write the 755 review. In fact, I haven't hit the 755s in several years, and I'm definitely not the person to ask.

    If I had to guess, though, I'd simply offer you the Adam Scott angle again: he never played the 755s, but he switched from musclebacks to the AP2s.

  24. LT says:

    Sorry Erik. I forgot that Donald wrote the 755 review. Anyway, again, thanks for this great field test review and your other Titleist reviews, which have helped me immensely.

    I finally had a chance to try the AP1 and AP2 at a Titleist/Cobra Demo Day at Poppy Ridge today and I was able to answer my own question.

    First off, I'm an 18 handicap and like many, a golf equipment junky who is always looking for an excuse for fix. :wink:

    My 755s are fitted with Project X High Launch 6.0s and I brought along my 5, 7 and 9 iron for a side by side comparison.

    I asked the Titleist rep what handicap range the AP1s and AP2s were designed for and he stated that he would recommend the AP2s for 12 handicaps and below but felt that the AP1s could work for any handicap when fitted with the right shaft. (With the assumption that the player will continue to work at his game.)

    I started out with the AP1s and found them to be very forgiving and incredibly soft feeling. Toe and heel hits also felt soft but you could still tell where you hit it. Not as much feedback though as my 755s. Part of the feel was probably due to the DG HL shaft. Trajectory was high and straight. Distance was a few yards longer than my 755s but not much. The top line is thicker than I like but the club looks good and the semi-slung hosel really hides the offset, which I like.

    I then tried the AP2s and surprisingly found them to be a little less forgiving than my 755s. Additionally, the feel was a bit firmer. One could say more crisp; however, they were fitted with the regular Project X 5.5 shaft, which has a stiffer tip than mine and the Titleist rep said that could cause part of the feel difference. The AP2's face is a little bit smaller than the 755s. Distance wise for me, the AP2s were a bit shorter (5 - 10 yards) vs. the AP1s. Trajectory was obviously lower than the AP2s and my 755s. The AP2s look great at address and the top line seemed about the same as the 755s.

    I finally hit my 755s and knew immediately that these are still the clubs for me. A big reason why is that I'm used to them and I heard somewhere that it takes most amateurs about two years to "become one" with their equipment. That said, the feel of my 755s were softer than the AP2s yet crisper/clickier than the AP1s. Again, some of this is probably due to the shaft differences but the Titleist rep told me that the 755s are known for their good feel even though they're forged stainless.

    I also compared the AP1 gap wedge against a Vokey wedge. I've been playing Vokey for so long that I'm probably biased but while the AP1 gap was very forgiving for full shots, it felt a bit clunky for me on chip and pitch shots.

    To wrap it up, if you're like me (an aspiring, aspiring golfer) and wondering whether it's worth it to upgrade from your 755s to the AP1s or AP2s, I would say that if the 755s are too much for you and you're looking for more forgiveness then the AP1s are definitely worth a look. Titleist states that they are the most forgiving irons they've ever made and in my eyes, probably the best looking and feeling game improvement iron I've ever tried. I actually owned the Mizuno MX-900s for a short time and loved the feel but couldn't seem to adjust to the 3 - 7 hybrid irons, which have that clunky shovel look. (I'm not a fan of thick top lines and a pronounced offset.) Otherwise, if you're unlike me and actually have game and are ready to move to a club that's more blade-like but still offers player-level forgiveness than the AP2s definitely warrant a look. That said, if I were looking at the AP2s I'd also want to try them head to head against the Mizuno MP-57s and MP-60s, which have a sweet feel and probably have comparable forgiveness. As reported, there are a few pros like Scott, Love and others who have switched from muscleback blades to the AP2s and that's probabaly a good indication that these clubs probably won't provide many short-term benefits for my game. :grin:

  25. Roger says:

    While away on a golf school vacation, I got to hit the AP2s, (the 6 and 7 irons) and thought they felt incredible. I currently am playing Mizuno MX25s and have thought about upgrading. I am a 19 that plays multiple times a week and am aspiring to be a single digit (I was a 29 at the start of last season).

    The AP2s were very smooth and even when I hit ita little fat it wasn't terribly harsh, but you knew you didn't hit it well. The club fitter recommended what I was thinking about, going with the AP1s in the longer irons (3,4,5) and going with the AP2s in the rest of the set.

    We will have to see if I can scrape up the dough and if I can improve enough to make it worth getting them (I promised myself I wouldn't even think about it unless I could get my handicap down to less then 15) so we will see.

  26. LT says:

    I need to make a correction to my last blog. I now recall that the Titleist rep's actual words were that he could see recommending the AP1s (fitted with the right shaft) for up to a 30-handicap who plans to work diligently on their game. That's obviously not the same as "any" handicap. He did also state that the AP1 is not a club for the weekend warrior who doesn't work on their game, aka a non-aspiring golfer. :wink:

  27. Eddie says:

    FINALLY!!!! Someone who aggrees with my thinking. During the reviews: "I've long believed that these types of golfers should play irons that force them to hit the ball a little better than they can at their current level. The golfer usually gives up a little forgiveness in exchange for the extra difficulty, but I think that learning to hit "tougher" irons facilitates their improvement." Similarly with skiing, using better skis to improve also. Which brings me to a question, I hope Erik can answer. If I haven't broke 100 yet, which has nothing to do with my iron play, CAN I get away with buying more of a "players" iron(not tour pro), such as Ping I3+, the Cobra Forged CBs, even the Callaway X-Forged? Therefore forcing one to improve their game, yet unfortunatly most likely taking some time without enjoying the game do to mis hits?

  28. Bria says:

    Hi - excited to try the AP2's, but a bit concerned about the forged part. I'm still playing the old Titleist 962's, so change does not come easy- hard to find anything I like looking down upon. I'm a 9 handicap, but have been forced back to a semi-weekend warrior. Too much club?

  29. LT says:

    Bria,

    The type of metal a clubhead is made out of (forged versus cast) has nothing to do with the forgiveness of the club. It's the clubhead design that determines the forgiveness, i.e. cavity back shovel versus cavity back blade versus muscle back blade. According to the Titleist rep, your handicap is within the target range for the AP2s (a forged cavity back blade) so demoing them is the only way you'll know for sure. :grin:

  30. LT says:

    For what it's worth, I just spoke to my instructor/clubfitter about the AP1s and AP2s and he basically echoed Erik's perceptions in this review. While he has ordered a set of AP2s for himself, he really likes the AP1s and highly recommended them for my game. This says a lot, given the fact that he previously steered me away from the 804OS (to the 704CB) and 775 (to the 755), due to the fact that they looked like shovels and made it difficult to learn shot making. Basically, he feels that with the AP1, Titleist as finally made a game improvement club without ths shovel look that provides great forgiveness and feel without sacficing the ability to shape shots. As an 18 handicap, he feels that the AP1s will make life a lot easier for me versus my 755s. :smile: BTW, he currently plays the 755s and felt that they are a tad more forgiving versus the AP2s.

  31. John B. says:

    I am currently playing the 735-CM's, and playing to a 6 handicap. I work out regularly, and play a couple rounds per week, and at least one solid practice session per week. I am trying to fit a little more practice into my schedule. Most of my lost shots are due more to mental errors than anything else - which translates to my course management. I am working on my mental side, and really focusing effort on my short game (to help me recover and save a few more shots).

    I am always looking for better equipment to help shave another stroke or two off, with the appropriate practice. I am torn between the AP2's and the ZB's. I really like the blended concept, but was very intrigued earlier this year when Adam Scott won with the AP2's - knowing, as you stated, he's been a muscle back man for a very long time.

    How do the AP2's and ZB's compare to the 735 CM's (as forgiving, not as forgiving, flight, control, etc.)? You seem very positive about the AP2's. Would you recommend the AP2's over the ZB's?

  32. Charles says:

    I currently play with an old pair of titleist irons the 690 mb. I am looking for a new pair of irons this year cause im not sure i play enough to have the muscle backs anymore any suggestions on irons you would recomend?

  33. John B. says:

    I spent several test sessions at the local Golfsmith, going back and forth with the AP2's and the ZB's. Both are pretty sweet, and consistent. I just wish they had put the Project X shafts in the ZB's also, which would have been a better comparison.

    After reviewing the numbers (ball speed, launch angle, and spin rate), hitting all of the clubs in each set, I then decided that I could have my cake and eat it too.... so I made my own mixed set. I ordered the 3-7 irons from the AP2, and my 8-PW are ZB's - all with the same custom specs and Project X 6.0's. I'll take advantage of the technology and additional forgiveness in the longer clubs (still forged), and keep the laser-like accuracy, spin characteristics, feel and look of the blades in my 8-PW. This should replace my set of 735's quite nicely - easy transition.

    Titleist reported that they should have the clubs to me by the second week in April. Once I have them, I will report back on how the new 'set' works on the course. I am quite anxious to get the feel of the ZB's with the PX shafts in them (should have a lower, more controllable flight).

    I find it almost funny how whippy the TT DG shafts feel now. I have been playing a Rifle shaft for nearly 10 years now. I have never noticed a huge improvement in distance, but accuracy and feel were definitely the determining factor. The Project X should be a perfect match for me with the new AP2 and ZB technologies.

  34. Serge says:

    I have been playing to about 16 with Titleist 775CB irons and have decided to treat myself. However the clubs I use are fitted with the stock graphite shafts and I like the lighter shafts which work well with my swing speed. Since I have no way of testing the shafts that can be customized with the AP1 irons, I wonder if anyone has tried the True Temper Dynamic Gold SL which apparently features a high flex point and extra stiff tip for players seeking lower launch and spin with less weight. I would love to know how these may compare with graphite shafts. I played steel for years and miss the feel that I get with them. Thanks

  35. johny s says:

    Just to comment on the whole adam scott switching from muscle backs to the AP2's. Its all money and marketing hype. Look at tiger woods. Do you really think he liks his nike equipment. I hardly doubt it. When your getting paid millions to hit a club, it could be a hockey stick for all they care. Muscle back players like myself would never consider switching. Nothing comes close.

  36. Just to comment on the whole adam scott switching from muscle backs to the AP2's. Its all money and marketing hype. Look at tiger woods. Do you really think he liks his nike equipment. I hardly doubt it. When your getting paid millions to hit a club, it could be a hockey stick for all they care. Muscle back players like myself would never consider switching. Nothing comes close.

    Adam Scott is free to play any Titleist club he wants. He switched. Titleist has no interest in forcing Adam into a set of clubs he doesn't like - they want him playing at his best, and playing whatever equipment he feels will allow him to do so.

    And Tiger likes his clubs - I'm absolutely certain of that.

    Your comment fails both logical and common sense tests.

  37. Mike says:

    Erik, thanks for the review. I am a 7 handicap and am trying to decide between the ap1 and ap2. I hit and liked both. Understanding there are fitting considerations, but which would you recommend to a single digit handicap player? thanks again

  38. Marty says:

    Erik,

    These clubs caught my eye in magazines over the past few months, and I loved the way they looked. I am a decent golfer, around a 12, but can play to an 8 on a good day and a 15 on a bad. I only tried the AP1's and AP2's because I just knew that I don't have the game to play the other two. I loved them both but felt the AP1's ft me and my game the best. I can tell you and the other reading this, the positive and not so positive individuals, that the feel to the AP1's is awesome. I learned on Blades years ago and played to around a 9 at my best, but age, 3 joint surgeries took me out of the game for 7 years. I could not really tell that big of a difference in the feel between the AP1 and AP2, they were both great.

    A new Golf Galaxy just opened in my area and I had the opportunity to all the "semi forgiving" clubs on the simulators etc. It took me about three visits s and a tom of balls. I seriously hit all the clubs. I wanted not to like the Titlist because of the history of being the "players club”, but cold not go with another club. I just hit the AP1's too well and they really did feel like butter. It took me back to the days when I actually could hit the blades pretty well.

    To end this long story, I ordered a set of the AP1's on March 26th (was told they were one if not the first set ordered in Maryland). Was told they would take a month, they only took 10 days and it felt like Xmass.

    All I can say is these blow my Callaway X18's away, with the look, feel and results. I LOVE THESE CLUBS!!!!!!

    To the readers, try top get some knowledge on what you speak about before you give such specific and concrete views and "facts". If you never held and hit these clubs you really have no business saying how good or bad they are. You may not like the look of the clubs, and that is fine, but the playability comments should happen if and when you ever swing them.

    PS Adam Scott can play any Titlist clubs he wants, and the bottom line is it looks like he hits them AP2's pretty good , doesn't it.

    Hit em straight and have a great year on the links, I know I will

  39. Serge says:

    Marty
    May I ask what shafts you decided on? I spent a lot of time on the website as I did not have the possibility of trying out the various shafts.
    I eventually settled on the Nippon 970 shafts, which seemed like a good compromise between light-weight and the feel of steel.
    I am waiting for them to arrive next week.

  40. Marty says:

    Serge,

    My swing speed is 109 with a driver and it is 89 with a 6 iron. One of the guys were leading me to the r300's due to I was coming off of using graphite’s on my old Callaway’s and he thought since I was 36 and had some shoulder surgery that would be the best fit. But I decided to go with the s300’s; I have always had the stiff shafts in my clubs except for the "horrible" advice and fitting for my Callaway's. I am 6.5 feet tall and can get after the ball ok, so I decided on the s300's because I would rather have less play in the shafts that I think the r300's would have given me.

    PS. ps just hit them for the first time on the range yesterday and :). Can’t wait to show up for an annual Masters Weekend golf outing with 7 of my buddies this Sunday.

    Hope that help. Good choice in getting these irons.

  41. LT says:

    This is a follow up to my past posts. At the strong recommendation of my instructor I ended up getting the AP1s, 5 - PW with the stock DG S300 High Launch shafts. I'll continue to use Vokey for my gap wedge and my 585Hs for the long irons.

    I have to agree with my instructor that this is definitely the best decision I've made to date with regards to irons. The AP1s are so much more forgiving than my 755s and the feel and sound is sweet! I can't believe their cast! Also, while the top line is thicker, it's a very clean look at address without the huge amount of offset nor the cavity sticking out the back like other game improvement clubs. In fact, the beefier head at address actually inspires me to slow down my tempo and swing smoother at 80%.

    As I mentioned in my first post, distances are about a half to a full club longer than my 755s, which makes sense, given that they're 2 degrees stronger. With regards to shafts the DG S300 HLs feel like regular flex compared to my Project X 6.0 High Launch. This is a nice change since the overall feel is softer. Trajectory is definitely higher but flattens out quickly. I'm guessing this difference is also contributing to some of the distance gain versus my 755s. I feel a lot more accurate and confident with these clubs versus my 755s.

    Chipping is probably the most challenging part to calibrate since the AP1s seem to be at least about a club longer than my 755s when chipping and pitching. I'm not sure I like the beefier head for chipping/pitching but I'm definitely getting used to it and made some incredible chips that left me with tap ins. This is probably the one area where I like my 755s better; however, the AP1s still feel good...different but good.

    To sum up, it was a great move and I finally feel like I'm playing the correct Titleist iron for the "aspiring player". I'm definitely going to keep my 755s as backup or for those days when I'm "feeling it". :wink:

  42. Landon Lyons says:

    Hi, I am looking at the AP1 and AP2 sets. I am close to a 0 handicapper and play in a number of AJGA junior golf tournaments. I play with 735CM's now but want to get into a more forgiving club since i will have slight misses with my current set and its cause me to have to rely on my scrambling game. I am not really concerned with shaping the shot and would rather hit straight shots and with the added distance.

    Should I go with the AP1 or AP2. I have noticesd I hit the AP1's about 7 yards longer than the AP2's and 12-15 longer than the 735CM.

    What do I lose if I chose the AP1? Why not practice with 735 or blades and then play with AP1 or AP2's

  43. Shanon says:

    Hi, as I am used to playing Callaway irons, the thick top line doesn't bother me. I have a bit of an odd question. Does anybody know how the Ap1's compare to Callaways X-16 pro series in terms of forgivness? Well, I don't even know if the two clubs a compareable, but I thought I might give a try asking.

  44. Andy says:

    LT, I am looking into getting a new set of irons and the AP1s have caught my eye. I got a few questions. I really like the look, however a bit concerned about the thick topline. My greatest concern is basically if the AP1s are too "hard" to hit. I tried the Taylormade r7s the other day, and I hit them very good. Dont know how these compare to the r7.

    I have only played for 1 season, but am improving rapidly, and I feel very confident with my swing. Currently 27 hcp, but I am fairly confident Ill lower that fast. (Havent played too many golf rounds as I have been focused on practising.) I wanna get a set of irons that not "everyone" got, and that looks great. I could go safe and buy a set of r7s, but SO many got them at where I play, and tbh I am not too found of how they look. So any thoughts on the AP1s? Could I make a huge mistake by getting them? I am not able to try them out, but nothing I can do about that.

  45. Quinn says:

    Hey there just wondering, i am a 13-15 handicapper, now i am looking for new clubs as of this year, and i am curently playing with a set of x 18. I cant stand the chunky topline, i want something smaller, i really like the look at adress of the ap2 Iave yet to get the chance to hit these clubs, but is there any point in buying something like the r7 tp or the ap2..(players irons).... with such as middle of the road handicap? or should i stick to something like the mx25 or a3....i want to buy a forged iron and something that can bring me both playabilty and forgivness...please help me out on this.
    thanks
    Quinn

  46. Marty says:

    Quinn,

    I am pretty much the same handicap as you. I just purchased the AP2's and love them. I had a set of x18 before the Ap2's and they are about 90% as forgiving but 150% better feel.

    I felt that the AP1's were just a little to harder to hit, but when I hot them solid they didn"t feel that much better than the AP2's. Love them and they like to spin the ball :)

  47. For further discussion of the AP2s, please see our full review. An AP1 review will be coming in a few weeks.

    Thank you.

  48. lee says:

    im off 1 handicap and i think ap2 am the best clubs so far and the titliest d2 is even better than any other driver in the world

  49. Stuart says:

    I just played my first 9 holes yesterday with my new Titleist ZB set. While they are not a huge departure by any stretch from the 695CB's that I've been playing, I do really love having the blades for the PW, 9i and 8i. Their top line is definitely thinner than the CB short irons, and much more appealing to my eye. They are also softer when struck well. My iron play is my strength, particularly in the shorter irons, so they play to my strength. I will be playing a full 18 today and will comment further on them afterwards.

  50. Cocco says:

    Erick,

    I'm 31 years old player and I was 5 handicap 3 months ago, normally I use to play two times per week... I started to playing golf at 7 years old with and old blades until i have 22 with other blades, then I switched to the Pings. During the times i had have to suspend the golf because my studies and my job.

    Two months ago I decided, finally to switch my Old PING ZING 2 for a ZMs. When i started to play the blades (ZM) I was like a 15 handicap, now I am playing with 7.5 handicap... and of course and I'm sure I will be on my 5 handicap on less than 3 months, of course with a little more job on field.

    What I think is if you are a little classic and not a professional golfer, and I think there's nothing wrong with that. I compare with fishing to play blades . Using super forgiveness improvement irons like fish with a natural bait, you'll definitely catch more fishes with that way. But using blades is like being a fly-fisher. It's more work, and probably more difficult, but when you succeed, the reward is far greater.

    And a really love :grin: when i hit well my ZM iron 3 or 4.

    What do you think about that??

    Greattings From Italy---

    Thanks,

  51. What do you think about that??

    I think that if you read the review, you'd see my thoughts on that. In summary, I've always played blades, but these are the first irons I've ever played that offer a little "help" while still offering a TON of blade-like feel.

  52. camwow says:

    hey erik. i'm playing with 755's at the moment, i have a handicap of 11, how do the ZB's compare with the 755's?

    if i went to the ZB's would they be too difficult fore me to use?

  53. Andreas says:

    Ive played a few rounds with my new AP1 set, and I am loving it! Great clubs! Absolutely amazing feel, and awesome even on bad/miss hits. Best buy I couldv done. Will recommend them to anyone.

    I am personally on HCP 27, been playing golf for 3 months.

  54. Stuart says:

    Im looking for a bit of advice on clubs...

    Im currenly a 16 handicap, but i've only just started playing at a club to get my handicap (played for a few years but with no HCP). Anyway... According to my local pro i strike the ball like a 2 HCP (chip and putt like a 22HCP). I've tried AP1's which i hit with no problem, but was wondering if its at all worth spending a bit extra cash and going for the ZB's?

  55. Marty says:

    Stuart,

    I feel lke I was in the same 'boat" as you. I took 5 years off to recover from some surgery. I was plaing o a 14-17 the last time played on a regular basis, and putting was always the biggest issue.

    I picked up the AP1's early this year and I love them. I am hitting more greens in regulation. They feel great and they do let you know when you mis hot them, but they feel so soft and good when you hit them well. I feel you can work them as well. After my first 21 rounds with them his year I am now a 9.3 handicap and see it going lower. unfortunatly putting is still killing me 3-6 3 jacks a round.

    I think the AP1's are great and may actually step up to the AP2's next year if I cotinue to see my game improve.

    good luck,

  56. Joaquin P. says:

    Erik;

    Hi. Are you planning on doing a full review of the ZM & ZB irons in the foreseeable future? I thank you in advance for your response.

  57. Jshoe says:

    I purchased a set of AP2's in July 2008, after a bit of custom work, ie: x-stiff shafts and a slight lie adjustment, I can say with complete confidence that Titleist has hit a home run with these irons. I play to about a zero relating to handicap, these irons are the most accuracte I have ever hit. If the shot callls for a draw or fade, make the swing and these iron deliver the goods. Why did i buy them?, I liked the way they looked. It was that simple, I had never hit them before buying them, I simply trusted that "Titleist knows irons", and indeed they do. If your a low handicap player who wants to treat yourself to perhaps the best set of iron available today, give the AP2 a try. They can be summed up by simply saying, "It's a Titleist"

    Well done Titleist, keep up the tradition of excellence.

  58. Brent says:

    Looking for some advice......

    I need to decide shortly if I am going to leave my Apex Plus Hogan's for AP1's or 2's. My handicap (USGA) is normally between 8 and 11. This is due more in part to short game/putting. I certainly don't play as much any more either w/ kids and a demanding job. I try to get out once a week. With that being said can a 8 - 11 hdp use AP1's or should I really look at the 2's? I'm affraid if I go w/ AP2's my game could get worse because the fact I don't get out as much as I would like to anymore. Any thoughts or opnions would be greatly excepted? Thanks!!!!

  59. John says:

    Have hit the AP2's with the project x 6.0 and hit the new NIke Victory forged split back irons and can't decide. Love them both. Has anyone any experience with both and can shed any light? thanks everyone.

  60. brad says:

    hey, i have a mid hcp but i dont no wether i want the ap1 or ap2 i have just hit both of these clubs at my local golf store and the pro there said that i have a good swing and i could hit the ap2. i lose most of my strokes putting but im just not shure yet withc ones i want. what do you think??

  61. Joaquin P. says:

    Brad;

    From experience; get the gear for what you WANT to do, not for what you currently do. It will allow you to get better.

    One more thing... and I write this with the most respect. You have to learn and love to practice your short game. if you waste an average of one stroke per hole do to a poor short game you are adding 18 more strokes in your golf card. Now look at it the other way. A good short game can mean getting rid of double boogies, saving par, and adding some birdies.

    Last month I played with a pro that scored 67 on 18 holes. He did not hit all the fairways, and missed most greens. However, his short game was unreal. Chipping and putting... enough said.

  62. Marcel says:

    Hi Eric, (or others with the same experience)

    Is it possible for you to help me out, with some rough guidelines, what to look for and why??

    The situation:
    32yrs old, 2mtr long and strong.
    Hcp 10.9
    Every 2 weeks 1 hour private lesson.
    Minimal 1 x per week DR-practice
    Minimal 1 x per week playing.

    I've been fitted with Titleist 704.CB, Rifle 5.5, 1,5" extra and 3 degrees up. My swingspeed is approx 105-110mph (irons)

    I want to get into a single hcp, but most importantly, I want to get the feeling that the ball does, what I want it to do. Or if not that I know why it doesn't.

    Based on this, what would you do:
    - AP2 or ZB from Titleist or even an other brand?
    - shaft types? Stronger or weaker and which brand?

    I will get fitting again, but I just want an honoust opinion instead of a commercial advise.

    Many thx in advance

    Marcel
    The Netherlands

  63. John says:

    These irons are unbelievable; instantly took 5 off my game and I'm already a 7. For those who asked if you can still play them if you don't have a very high handicap, I'd say definitely. They're more forgiving than you think, and they are the cleanest irons I have ever hit. My pro friend hit mine for a week, and says he's selling his MP-60's to get my AP2's because he liked them so much. They really are fantastic.

  64. Evan says:

    Nice review.

    Looking at a couple of irons.

    Ap's looked good at address.. Am a 20 Hdcp, but improving.

    Iron game is strong point, lose most strokes on short (50 in) game.

    Wasn't sure about Callaway X-22 line, Titleist AP line, Taylormad TB or Taylormade TP, or Mizuino Mp line. Help!

  65. Mark says:

    Currently I play the old 962s and I am thinking about making a change to the CBs or the AP2s. Are the CBs comparable to the 962s? I would rather get those but I hear they are a lot tougher to hit then the ap2s.

  66. Brian S says:

    Erik, in your opinion what is easier to hit, the ZB's or the Mizuno MP-60's. I am thinking of getting one of these sets and I would like to know which is more forgiving and which one launches the ball higher.
    Also, I am playing off a 6 handicap so would the ZB's suit me or should I get the AP2's.

    I can tell you without question that the MP-60's are MUCH easier to hit then the ZB's. I have had both, and the Z-Blends are a a very, very tough club to hit. I am a 5.4 handicap and I lost almost 10 yrds of distance with the Z-blends (with the clubs strengthened 2 deg). The MP-60 which I hit much further was also much more workable in my opinion. The Z-blends are only for low/scratch/+ handicaps. Go with the MP-60's and you will be very pleased unless your hitting it a tour pro status.

  1. [... What do Adam Scott's final-round 61 and three-shot victory at the Qatar Masters and 2007 European Tour Rookie of the Year Martin Kaymer's first win a week earlier have in ...]

  2. [... What do Adam Scott's final-round 61 and three-shot victory at the Qatar Masters and 2007 European Tour Rookie of the Year Martin Kaymer's first win a week earlier have in ...]

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