We caught up with Steve Pelisek Titleist's General Manager of Golf Clubs to talk tungsten, turf interaction and advanced engineering.
It takes about two years to make a genuinely better product in our opinion. Each time we introduce a new model we then know it's better. We’ve kept the AP1 and AP2 names because they are so well defined. But we don’t know how you can create a significantly better product in less than than years.
Golfers upgrading from the current AP1 or AP2 714 will see a difference in the new models. There are dramatic improvements in both heads, and we say it loud and proud the AP1 player is looking for maximum distance and maximum forgiveness. That’s not necessarily what the AP2 guy is looking for. With 56g of tungsten in the AP2s its our most advanced players iron ever and 11 of 18 Titleist players put it into play in the first week of being on tour.
The AP1 guy wants distance and forgiveness, but there’s certain trade offs he’s not willing to make. The non-negotiable trade offs in irons are usually blade length and size. There comes a point where a bigger blade length is tougher to hit out of the rough, this often distinguishes the choice which iron model players migrate toward.
By not changing the Iron chassis it leads us to use to some advanced engineering, advanced materials and advanced manufacturing techniques. The introduction of tungsten and increasing amounts of tungsten in each generation is a good example. Not just the amount of tungsten but where it’s being used, we are working with better manufacturing partners to get more weight around the perimeter of the golf club.
Tungsten is dense you can put a lot of weight in a tiny package in a specific area of the club. For a designer this is a big deal because managing the CG placement within an iron does a lot to determine ball speed, trajectory and the sound and feel. With the AP1 we’ve used tungsten really low so trajectories are higher, which means we can strengthen lofts without creating an unplayable trajectory.
Stronger lofts deliver greater ball speeds. A 21 degree loft generates more speed than a 24 degree loft because its more of a glancing blow. Our tungsten technology means you get more ball speed because of the low cg and lower loft but you also maintain a very playable trajectory.
One of the by products of using premium technology and advanced materials is that we didn’t need to lengthen the AP1s. Longer clubs are harder to hit consistently. We felt if we could deliver higher ball speeds and playable trajectories without lengthening it's overall a more playable iron.
Very few sets of irons are sold 3-PW anymore. 4-PW is more popular, 5-PW is just as popular and 6-PW is growing in popularity. Golfers and our fitters told us when they were being fitted for their irons it’s also a great time to prescribe a hybrid. When golfers come to get fit for irons the very nature of the process means when you get to the longer irons the hybrid is a natural discussion to have. Our new 816 hybrids come in two degree increments so they are very easy to match up with a set of irons.