50 Words or Less
The Titleist 718 AP3 irons are the long-desired blend of the AP1 and AP2. Disappointing. These irons don’t have the AP2 feel or the AP1 forgiveness.
In every equipment category, golfers want it all, but nowhere more than irons. We want thin top lines and minimal offset but huge distance and forgiveness. Titleist attempts to deliver that with the 718 AP3 irons but falls short of the goal.
The one area where the Titleist 718 AP3 does deliver is in the looks. The top line and sole are much thinner than the AP1, though still slightly larger than the AP2. It’s also much closer to the AP2 in terms of blade length.
One slightly jarring visual element is the offset. There’s noticeably more offset in the AP3 compared to the AP2, and that offset combined with the thin top line is unusual to my eye.
Sound & Feel
Where the 718 AP3 starts to fall off is in the feel. It does feel markedly softer and less clicky than the AP1, but it’s still well short of the AP2’s forged feel.
Mishits are easily identified and occasionally feel very harsh.
Titleist is calling the 718 AP3 “the player’s distance iron,” so let’s start with ball speed and smash factor. I tested it against some of the category leaders and found the AP3 to be lacking. The differences were not huge, but it was 3-4 MPH slower with lower smash factor.
That said, it ended up being nearly as long as some of the best players irons because it tended to launch the ball lower, with lower spin. This made up for the lower ball speed and created equal carry distance and longer total distance. The problem, of course, is that most players don’t want their irons to roll out 10+ yards.
Finally, we get to forgiveness. The AP3 is certainly more forgiving than the AP2, particularly when it comes to shots hit thin, but it’s not equal to the best players cavity backs. You can easily lose 10 yards of carry or more with a mishit on the toe or heel.
All of this adds up to an iron that is perfectly adequate, but not a category leader. It has some forgiveness, but not elite forgiveness. The distance is good, but could be much better with higher ball speed. Importantly, some players will struggle to hold greens with the low spin.
The Titleist 718 AP3 isn’t a bad iron, but it’s a victim of the hype. It is a good looking iron – if you can get past the offset – but it’s lacking in feel and forgiveness. In a crowded market of forgiving players iron, the AP3 doesn’t stand out.