Titleist Forged 735.CM Irons Review

Titleist’s 735.CM irons were some of the most eagerly awaited products of 2005. Do they stack up?

TitleistRarely are a set of irons so lusted after as Titleist’s Forged 735.CM irons. The 735s – Titleist’s first foray into “combo” or cavity-to-muscle “progressive” irons – were a rumor in March, reality in August, and had already earned a place in my bag by the time the Newport Cup rolled around in October.

Titleist 735.CM Spread OutIf you don’t read past the first two paragraphs, take one thing away from this review: these clubs were worth the wait. It takes a lot to knock a set of irons out of my bag, but these irons effectively replaced the irons I was playing (Titleist’s Forged 680) by the turn the first time I played with them. The 680s are a forged, muscleback club with a great amount of feel and feedback, which I had always deemed important to improving my golf game. I never thought a cavity-back club could replicate the feel of a finely crafted muscleback. Until I tried the 735s. They felt so good, I came up with a phrase that I’d rather not repeat here… (but you could find it in the forum quite easily).

They’re that good.

Progressive (Not the Soup)
Titleist’s iron line has traditionally been divided between pure cavity backs (like the 690.CB, the 704, and the 804) and pure musclebacks (670, 680, 690.MB). With the exception of a few clubs through the years (the 804s, for example), the Titleist line has also focused on feel over “playability,” as Titleist has maintained a traditional approach to iron design. They’ve eschewed the “metal brick on a stick” that characterizes irons from fellow Carlsbad resident Callaway and didn’t bat an eye when Nike introduced irons nearly as wide as they were deep. If recreational golfers wanted “game improvement,” they could go to Titleist’s sister company Cobra. Titleist was the brand for classic player’s irons.

With the 735.CM, Titleist remains the brand for player’s irons, and the irons themselves maintain a sense of dignity, austerity, and classic style that better players find appealing. What’s changed, however, is Titleist’s stance on “combo” or “progressive” sets – the 735.CM is Titleist’s first foray into “combo” irons, blending cavity-back long irons to muscle-back short irons. Many speculate that the “.CM” in the name stands for “combo,” but as with the 690.CB/690.MB, the company stands by the fact that “.CM” stands for “cavity to muscle” or “cavity and muscle.”

Titleist 735.CM All
The Forged 735.CM progress from pure cavity back in the long irons to pure muscleback in the scoring clubs.

With this step, Titleist acknowledges that even the best players in the world might not want a blade 3-iron or even a blade 4-iron. They acknowledge that the purpose of a 5-iron is not necessarily to go pin-hunting, but to make give yourself a putt for a birdie instead of playing out of the weeds. They acknowledge that better players use their 8-iron, 9-iron, and pitching wedges to score, and developed a true muscleback design in the short irons to facilitate tremendous ball control.

Design and Technology
Titleist, true to their nature, does all of this while maintaining an incredibly simple looking iron with clean lines, subtle features, and the classy appearance you’d expect from Titleist.

Titleist 735 Address
At address, the 735.CM presents a surprisingly thin topline and very little offset even in the long irons and a clean, simple appearance throughout.

At address, the 735.CM presents a thin topline. It’s somewhat thicker than that of my 680s, a pure blade set of irons, but no thicker than the 690.CB. The offset (from 0.140″ in the 2-iron to .085″ in the PW) is in line with a player’s club, and about half that of the 804.OS. In other words, these clubs won’t help you cure your slice, but you probably knew that already.

Titleist 735.CM PlugThe clean look hides some pretty serious technology. Better players know that a muscleback’s sweet spot is often closer towards the heel than the toe because the hosel shifts the center of gravity heel-ward. To move the center of gravity and, correspondingly, the sweet spot back to the center of the clubface, Titleist removed a plug from the hosel of the irons and filled it with a much lighter plug. At first glance, the plug almost resembles a bore-through design, but it’s shifted back from the line of the shaft. In both the Chrome and Stainless variations of the 735.CM, the plug is on the underside of the club, hidden at address.

Additionally, a good bit of engineering went into creating not only progressive offset and cavity-to-muscle transition, but also launch angle as well. Longer irons launch higher to help get the ball airborne, while short irons launch flat to allow for precise trajectory and distance control.

As I said, it did not take long to fall in love with the 735.CM. My first shot, a wedge into a par five, came off on a flat, low trajectory that just bore through the air. It sat quickly and spun back. My next shot was a 7-iron from a sloped lie that I caught a little towards the toe. I looked up, expecting a shot going short and right, but instead saw my ball headed just right of the flag and about three yards short of where I’d have expected a normal shot to go. On the next hole, I hit a smooth 4-iron that got up in the air with ease and shot towards the target.

As is true of all Titleist’s irons, they inspire confidence from the moment you pull them out of the bag, set them behind the ball, and look up at your shot as it soars against an azul sky.

I tested a set of stock chrome 735.CMs, and they haven’t left my bag since. I began the year with a 6.1 handicap index. That had only gone down to 5.8 when I first put the 735s in my bag. Two months later, I ended the year with a 3.8 index. Now, whether my game suddenly came around or whether the 735’s made that much of a difference, I can’t quite say. The truth is likely somewhere in the middle. But even one point on a 5 handicap is substantial!

Titleist 735.CM Spread Out
The progression from cavity-back to muscle-back can be seen here in the 3-, 6-, and 9-irons. I only wish the 7-iron was a muscleback as well!

After picking up a hybrid to relace my 2-iron earlier in the year, my Titleist 680 3-iron saw little use. I’d either baby a hybrid or hit a harder 4-iron, as the 3-iron had to be hit so well to perform that I simply never opted for it. Some days, even the 4-iron would remain in the bag. The 735.CMs gave my two longest irons back to me: I never worry about how I’ll hit them anymore – the ball will get up in the air, on-target, and with tremendous carry. The 7th hole at Tanglewood Country Club in Clemmons, NC was the site of the 1974 PGA Championship, where the hole played as the 16th. It’s a slightly downhill 210-yard par 3 with water all along the left-hand side and a large bunker front and right, guarding the pin that day. I hit a 4-iron just right of the flag to 10 feet. Months before, I’d have probably tried to hit an easy hybrid, bringing the water or the bunker into play.

I’ve long believed in the power of clubhead contact as a key ingredient in improving my golf game. I play muscle-back blades because they offer the most feedback and feel oh-so-good when they’re hit properly. The 735.CMs are some of the sweetest, smoothest, silkiest cavity/muscle-back irons I’ve ever hit. While offering gentle error correction in the long irons, I’m not robbed of the feelings that tell me where I caught the ball on the clubface. The feeling when I achieve pure contact is still there and just as sweet.

If you’ve liked Titleist irons in the past, I think you’ll love the 735.CM. I haven’t talked much about how the clubhead glides through the rough, how much spin I can get, how well I can control the trajectory, or how easy it is to shape the ball. If you have ever played with 695s, 962Bs, 680s/670s, or perhaps even the 704s, you probably understand, as these irons excel at all areas of the game. The 735s simply offer better, more consistent control throughout the set, from easier-to-hit long irons to easier-to-flight short irons.

Choices, Choices, Choices
As alluded to, the 735.CM is available in two finishes. Frankly, I’m not sure who would choose the Stainless Steel over the chrome – chrome is sexier and softer feeling. If your skill level deserves a set of 735s, then you deserve them in chrome, even if they sell for an extra $100.

As is typical of Titleist irons, a great deal of customization is possible, and Titleist encourages all of their players and customers to get custom fit. It makes a difference.

Available in both right- and left-handed models, the 735s retail for around $799 to $899 for a set. In addition to the grip, loft, and lie, Titleist offers a full range of custom shafts. The default – the time-tested True Temper Dynamic Gold – will serve a lot of people well, but should you want something a bit more exotic, you can choose from Aldila, Graphite Design, and Mitsubishi-made graphite shafts or the Nippon NS Pro 970, a full line of Royal Precision shafts including the Project X, and a full line of True Temper shafts, including those with SensiCore. Additional and even more exotic shafts are also available.

The Forged 735.cm was, again, worth the wait, and once you put them in your bag you won’t wait long to see the results. Your long irons will get in the air just a bit more easily. Your short irons will bore through the wind with a controlled trajectory. Your mid-irons will become scoring clubs.

If I had to find a nit to pick, it’s that the 7-iron has like a cavity back. I consider the 7-iron a short iron, despite its location in a series of nine irons, and wish it looked more like a muscleback. It still plays like a muscle-back iron, so that’s a “flaw” I’m willing to accept!

If you’re a fan of classic clubhead design, get yourself to a pro shop immediately to take a look at the 735s. If you are a fan of the “brick on a stick” variety (my own bias runs deep here), well, tag along with your friend when he visits the pro shop to see how the better half lives.

30 thoughts on “Titleist Forged 735.CM Irons Review”

  1. Awesome set of sticks. I have the chrome version. They are like hitting with a stick of butter.. Deadly accurate. Get a set and try for yourself.

  2. Very good review! I would like to test them right now…
    Have you tried also to make your combo with the 690’s in the past, i.e: 3-5: CB, 6-PW: MB?

  3. Hi, Like the article, I love titleist’s equipment, how about a review of the Powerbilt version of the same thing? A friend of mine has some old Powerbilt Levelume deluxe’s that he is deadly accurate with. This lead me to start reseaching them, and found that they have released the same sort of combo that you have shown here…
    what I like about them is the shape of the muscleback… I think that is what is making them so accurate.
    Interesting that titleist is following suit.

  4. From the Valley of the Sun!

    I just read the article and would have to agree completely. Previous set was Cleveland TA3 w/ X100’s. The Titlelist w/ X100’s were 1/2 a club longer on the first round out and the clubhead response was impressive.

    There should be no doubt that these clubs are a difference maker in improving a players game!

  5. I’m going to have to agree… the 735’s are awesome… but I have not had a chance to hit them on a course as of yet… because I live in Northen Ohio. I’m really looking forward to playing these clubs because I have had my 822 os’s since I was a 6th grader and now being a Junior in High School I am deserving of these clubs.

    I would highly recommend these clubs to someone who has a handicap of 10 or less… because they are simply amazing.

  6. i have just today taken the 7-iron out of this set from my pro shop as a demo club and i absolutly loved it. my birthday is april 30th and tomorrow i think i know what are getting ordered! :->

    So much spin, so little effort. this is what makes the 735.cm’s well worth the wait.

  7. I picked up a set in satin when they first came out. After seeing them being pitted by larger sand particles at the practice range, I got rid of them and replaced them with the chrome set. As I have had the chrome 690 cbs, they did not pit. These irons give back good feed back and if you can shape a shot, they do perform!

  8. I have had a set of chrome 735s with Rifle shafts since last fall. They are great clubs, no doubt. But coming from a set of 1984 Hogan PC blades, I do miss the ability to knock the ball down and generally control the trajectory I had with the Hogans. I may just be me, but I have yet to master these shots with the 735s – the 3 and 4 irons hit moon shots by comparison with the Hogans. This is not all bad, but on windy days, I miss the ability to hit a nice tight low draw into the wind.

    You do get great feedback and they are more forgiving than you’d think. Saturday, I hit a 7-iron a little thin to a par three and ended up 10 feet short of the hole; the same hit with a Hogan would have been short of the green.

  9. The 735’s r great clubs
    i had just switched from a set of graphite to these and found them to b excellent. There a little tough to hit but if ur under a 10 handicap buy them. They are very forgiving and feel great when hit from newhere.

  10. these clubs are incredible.im a 7 handicap at 14 years old these clubs fit me perfectly.you better not miss hit a shot with these clubs or your done.i like the transition between the scoring clubs and the long irons.but beware these clubs arnt for the hackjob the play once a month.but overall the club are amazing

  11. i just love these irons i…i have shot even par 18 times and my first round out with the i shot 3 under…i was hitting it so close i couldnt miss the put … great feel and countrol

  12. i am currently playing a crappy set of spaldings that i have had since i started playing 6 years ago. after years of duffing, my game has improved by about 40 strokes lol, and break 90 on new courses and can play as low as 84 on some regular ones. am i ready for a forged blade like these pretty babies, or should i stick with game improvement. the reason i ask is because i feel myself improving every day and i want a set of irons i can grow with.

  13. scuse my english im french but…i have the 735 series and i recomment it for 8 or lower handicap peoples.It is a series for good player.I’m 17 and have 4 of handicap…Also a good set of club but if you want titeist, i recomment the 755

  14. I play off 14, and can shoot in the mid 70’s when my driving and putting comes together – I’ve been playing these 735’s for the last 18 months and would recommend to anyone who can strike a golf ball cleanly, who would like more feedback from their shots. I took a 4 iron big bertha ’06 the other day to see what a game improvement felt like and it felt like hitting the ball with a piece of wood in comparison to the 735’s. Sure, they are not going to be as forgiving as a game improvement cavity, but if you are already an accomplished player or are aspiring, have a decent swing and want to improve your ball striking then take a few out for a test drive..

  15. I have been playing the 735cm’s for 3 years and recently traded then for the Callaway x20 tour irons. I returned the Callaways within 1 week and got my 735’s back. The 735’s have wonderful feel, distance and workability. I will think hard before giving up a set of irons I have enjoyed for a long time. I am a 10 to 12 handicap and would still recommend these irons.

  16. I love my 735’s. As long as you can hit the ball consistently and do not try to show off, then anyone with a handicap less than 12 would enjoy these clubs. I’ve been a scratch golfer since basic training in the 1990’s. The 2 and 3-irons are something to revel. I replaced the entire set shafts with Project X. A good solid swing with the 2-iron yields 245yds now. I agree totally that these irons allow you to work the ball nicely. Depending on the course and weather conditions, however, I do switch out the 2-iron and 3-iron with the new 909H 17-degree and 19-degree (respectively).

  17. Hi, I’ve been following this article for years now. I completely agree with the original comments in 2005, hard to think that was 5 years ago. I purchased my set in December of 2006 after picking up the game in 2004.

    I had only owned 2 previous sets of irons both Cleveland (TA6 and CG4). My wife suggested that I buy a good set that would grow with me as my game improves. That was the best golf advice I have ever received. I’m now a 6 handicap thanks to the consistency of my 735’s.I can honestly say I can hit 4-PW with extreme confidence, I recently hit my 5 iron 210 yards up hill and stuck it 3 feet from the pin. I would say that is unusual but anyone who has owned these irons know that is normal, no matter your skill level.

    I recently tried switching to Muzino MP 30’s but quickly found out that nothing plays as good thru the entire set as the 735’s. Needless to say they are back in the bag after a 4 month break. So until Titleist can make something that will out perform the 735’s, they are all I will play.


    Wish I was a Scratch Player 🙂

  18. RE Choices, choices choices….

    In their review of the 735 cm at forgedgolfirons.com they say that of the two choices, carbon steel or stainless steel, the stainless steel can be customized. Does this mean for a tall golfer looking to get shafts lengthened 1″ and lie adjusted to 2 degrees upright, I need to stick with the stainless steel?

    I’m unclear if chrome is just the finish, or I need to determine when searching for a used set if it’s a stainless steel set? How can I tell?

  19. I would like to re-shaft my 735 cm but can not find any where what tapper they have can any body please help me

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