Titleist emailed us some images from the Buick Open, where they've rolled out their fall 2009 iron lineup to their tour staff. The 2009 lineup is essentially a tweaked 2008 lineup, with four models: AP1, AP2, CB, and MB. Those will be the model names. They've come to be known by their series name - the "710" series - but word is the official names are AP1, AP2, CB, and MB.
Titleist plans to begin selling the irons later this fall, though again this marks the first week that they're rolling them out to their entire PGA Tour staff.
Titleist says that the new AP1 irons offer better feel, more forgiveness, and an improved shape with a thinner topline throughout the set and a shorter blade length in the short irons. The new feel is hotter and more lively.
AP2 improvements are similar, and Titleist feels they've taken a great iron and made it better. Similar to AP1, they've improved the feel, shot control, and ground contact - particularly in the short irons by reducing bounce by one degree. The great performance, shot workability, playability, and looks have been retained, while the feel has been improved by making the new feel a bit more solid.
A big part of that feel in both sets is likely due to the thermoplastic urethane (TPU) "arms" that stick up a bit in the 710 series of the AP irons (both models).
The new CB and MB irons are traditional 1025 carbon steel forgings, available in full cavity back (CB) and muscle back (MB) models. Word on the street is that mixed sets of the CB and MB will be readily available.
Complete details, including specifications, the typical tech callouts, features and benefits, and all that jazz should be available at Titleist.com early this fall. If you'd rather not wait that long, some additional shots are available on two posts at Titleistblog.com: here and here.
Titleist 710 Series AP1 and AP2
The first thing you'll notice in looking at the AP1 is that the back is now notched, with a bit more weight spread to the heel and toe. The tungsten weight no longer shows through the back. The red/black/silver scheme remains, but this is the first shot in which you'll notice the new "TPU arms." The TPU actually goes all the way around the perimeter of the club in the AP1.
(Click any of the images for a larger image.)
Believe it or not, several of Titleist's PGA Tour staff play the AP1 irons.
It's tough to see in this image (below), but the shape of the short irons - traditionally the 8I, 9I, and PW - has been improved. The notching remains fairly consistent throughout the set, but you'll notice the difference between the top two irons with their curvier toplines and the remaining four.
The AP1 at address. There's only so much you can do to thin up the topline of a "game improvement" iron. Titleist won't call it that - they tend to leave that market for Cobra - but of all Titleist's clubs, the AP1 is the easiest to hit.
A few shots of the 710 Series AP1 and AP2 in the bags. Titleist uses the six iron for demo, and their fitting carts are loaded with six-irons as well.
The AP2 also gains the "TPU arms" and the full TPU ring, as seen here:
The AP2 at address:
710 Series CB and MB
Here are two shots as a tease: one of the CB in Greg Chalmers' bag and another of the MB about to smack a practice ball. Below, the address shots and what we call the "hero" shots.
Two looks at the 710 series MB:
And two looks at the 710 series CB: