When you’re on a two-year product cycle and it’s your off year, it’s easy to get lost in the new product release shuffle – even if you’re Titleist.

Yeah, the new drivers came out last fall, and yeah, we’re expecting new Pro V1s and Scottys, but irons are on the back burner. And what do you do to boost interest in your year-old offering?

Make like the Stones and Paint It Black.

AP2, AP3: Back in Black

Yep, Titleist is joining the black finish craze as a way of breathing a little life into its year-old AP2 and AP3 irons. It’s symptomatic of the two-year product cycle: sales always taper off after that first year, especially when competitors release their new stuff. This is standard operating procedure for Callaway, which has offered black versions of the Apex and Steelhead. TaylorMade joined in the fun with its black P790’s, and even Hogan gave its Ft. Worth 15’s a black makeover.

So Titleist is essentially going black as a way of raising its hand and saying don’t you forget about me! The official story is Titleist tour pros and Team Titleist members have been clamoring for black irons to go with their Jet Black Vokey SM7 wedges. For the record, that’s essentially the same reason Hogan gave for offering black Equalizer wedges: customers are asking for matching companion clubs.

Regardless, it’s a cost-effective way to bring something different and fresh (sort of) to the table without actually releasing a new product. It doesn’t upset the two-year product cycle, but it keeps you in the conversation.

Black from Head to Toe

Titleist is offering the refreshed AP2 and AP3 in high-polish black PVD coating. PVD tends to be on the low end of the spectrum when it comes to durability, but Titleist insists the finish will wear similarly to the finish used in the Vokey SM7 lineup. Titleist tells MyGolfSpy it put the PVD coating through its durability testing, which we can attest is one of the most extensive in the game, and the coating lives up to Titleist standards.

If you game Jet Black Vokey’s and are interested in black AP2’s or AP3’s, Titleist suggests you can expect similar wear. I guess we’ll see.

Titleist is also using the True Temper AMT shafts in a matte black onyx finish along with an all-black Tour Velvet 360 grip to complete the monochromatic look. AMT stands for Ascending Mass Technology: long iron shafts are lighter for easier launch, short iron shafts are heavier for more control. The AP2’s feature the AMT Tour White – it’s Tour weighted (106- to 130 grams) for lower launch and spin. The AP3’s come with the AMT Tour black, which is lighter (94- to 116-grams) for mid launch and spin.

Both iron sets are available in 4-iron through Gap Wedge. Because the sets are lofted differently, the AP2 gap wedge is 50-degrees, while the AP3 gap wedge is 48-degrees.

Both sets will be available starting March 1st. They’ll sell for $1,499 for an eight-club set, or $187.50 per club.

For more information, visit Titleist.com.