The Titleist T-series irons (T100, T200, T300) break new ground for the company for their use of multiple materials and thinner face constructions. It’s the first complete overhaul of the Titleist iron family since the original AP irons were introduced eleven years ago. That’s in part a result of the company’s club R&D team numbering in the 70s today compared to the teens back then. But what these new designs really reflect is three distinct ways to enhance the games of players ranging from those seeking their tour cards to those just trying to break 90.
It means different specific solutions (tour players might need less intense distance technologies, for example), but some very similar governing principles, said Marni Ines, director of Titleist irons development.
“There are three key elements to hitting a great iron shot: distance, dispersion and angle of descent,” he said. “T-Series technology helps players carry the ball longer and hit their number more consistently, even when they don’t make a perfect strike. Dispersion is tighter, so the ball stays on target. And trajectory is optimized, so the ball not only lands on the green, but stays there. Length means nothing if you don’t have control.”
At the most basic level, Ines said, the forged dual-cavity design T100 is built to be all things tour players were asking for in terms of shape, feel and control, while the players-distance T200 and game-improvement T300 focus on building ball speed with thin faces and a unique construction that got its genesis from the company’s golf ball division. (For those familiar with past Titleist irons, the T100 would be the next generation of AP2, while the T200 is similar to the most recent AP3 and the T300 is aimed at players who previously considered the AP1.)
The T200 and T300 easily stand as the company’s most inventive iron designs in history. The key to both designs is a spherical structure made of a lightweight silicone polymer that sits directly behind the face’s impact area. Called Max Impact, it allows for a thin face, but the centralized support works to improve the way the face gives across a broader area. The silicone polymer came from work between Titleist’s club R&D team and its ball R&D team. While not exactly a material found in the company’s golf balls, the ball team’s knowledge base was instrumental in finding the right polymer, Ines said.
“It spreads speed across the face and allows us to get the faces thin but still produce consistency,” he said. Both the faces on the T200 and T300 are at or below two millimeters thick, but, Ines said, “this material gives us a better feel than a typical polymer.”
The T200 utilizes an L-shaped face made of high-strength SUP10 steel and adds forgiveness to a relatively compact shape through the use of tungsten. An average of 90 grams of high-density tungsten in the heel and toe of the 4- through 7-iron creates a higher moment of inertia for an iron with a compact players shape. The tungsten also lowers the center of gravity for higher launch with less spin.
The more game-improvement T300 uses a larger cavity back design with the silicone polymer core backing the center of the impact area. That provides the same benefit of stretching the hottest area of the face. Like both the T100 and T200, it also utilizes tungsten in the heel and toe for more stability (an average of 52 grams in the mid- and long irons).
“Having such high MOI properties at our blade lengths allows the iron face to return more energy to the golf ball on off center shots and produce more consistent distances,” Ines said. “If you don’t have a high MOI, you’re not going to get the full benefits out of your face design.”
While at first glance the placement of the Max Impact silicone polymer core looks to be slightly toward the toe, Ines said it’s actually in the geometric center of the clubface. That allows for the face to flex more uniformly. Its placement and light weight also allows the T200 and T300 to maintain ideal center of gravity positions.
Both the T200 and T300 use progressive blade lengths, sole widths and hosel lengths for a more natural flow through the set, the T200 offers the compact look and thinner topline better players gravitate to, while the T300 boasts a higher MOI than its most similar predecessor the AP1 (718). With its wider sole and lower center of gravity, the T300 features slightly stronger mid-iorn lofts than the T200 (29 degrees on the T300 7-iron vs. 30 degrees on the T200).
The T100 might be focused on the game’s best players, but it still incorporates a thinner face design (just 1.8 millimeters thick on the 3- through 6-iron) and loads of tungsten in the middle and long irons to provide more forgiveness and higher launch. A combined 66 grams is co-forged into the heel and toe for increased stability in a shape that should provide broader appeal among the better player segment that might have been between muscleback blades and the company’s popular tour-played iron, the AP2, Ines said.
“This uses more tungsten than AP2, and when you put this down next to a 718 AP2, you can see right away that this is a different animal,” Ines said, citing the heavy input of the company’s collection of staff players including Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, the latter of whom put the T100 in play at last month’s Open Championship for the first time. The new shape seen on the T100 includes reduced offset and a thinner topline compared to the most recent AP2. “When we showed the finished set to players, we could see that they were seeing right away the things they had asked for were put right into it—whether it was the offset or the topline or the sole that lets them get the club faster through the turf. Even the classic MB players were saying, ‘I’ve got to try this.’”
While much of Titleist’s iron business results in custom specs, the stock shafts are also geared to providing specific solutions for the target player in each of the three new designs. That includes True Temper’s AMT White in steel and Mitsubishi’s MCA Tensei White AM2 in graphite for low launch and low spin in the T100; the True Temper AMT Black in steel and the Mitsubishi MCA Tensei Blue AM2 in graphite for mid launch and mid spin in the T200; and the True Temper AMT Red and the Mitsubishi MCA Tensei Red AM2 in graphite for high launch and mid-spin in the T300.
The T-series irons will be available for fittings starting Aug. 8 and will be at retail Aug. 30. The T100 and T200 will retail for $175 per club in steel ($1,400 for a set of eight) and $188 per club in graphite ($1,500 for eight). The T300 irons start at $125 per club in steel ($1,000 for eight) or $138 per club in graphite ($1,100 for eight).