Like the inevitable deflation a balloon with a microscopic pinhole, the long slow leak of the next generation of Titleist irons continues. Last week it was the T100 hitting the tour (with a few making it into play at the US Open1). This week at TPC River Highlands, the T200 and T300 irons will be on display.
Officially the tour debut gives Titleist’s Tour Reps the opportunity to work with players and fit them into the new irons, utilities, and hybrids. Unofficially, it’s an opportunity for Titleist to tease us about what’s coming while making sure the photo quality positively represents the product in a way USGA photos seldom do.
As some of you may know, a less than flattering image of the T300 for real leaked a couple of weeks back. The initial response to the iron has been less than favorable with one MyGolfSpy Community member commenting that he had to check his calendar to make sure it wasn’t April Fools day.
Yikes. How about now?
Initial reactions to new designs typically slant contrary, but with higher quality images now in play, we should have a better idea of the prevailing sentiment over what is inarguably a significant overhaul, and perhaps an over-modernization of what was, until last week, Titleist’s signature AP lineup.
While Titleist hasn’t shared technical details or even where each of the new irons fits in the lineup, we’ve been told that the T100 replaces the AP2, the T200 is the new AP3, while the T300 is the amalgamated love child (my words) of the T-MB and the AP1.
Notably, the T200 features what appears to be a cavity weight labeled MAX IMPACT. The visible portion of the T300’s unique back cavity design also features a stylized version of Mi, which I’m going to crawl out on the world’s shortest limb and assume also stands for Maximum Impact. Bottom line, expect some sort of speed story compelling enough that you’ll immediately want to take any minimal or even moderate impact irons out of your bag. If you’ve got high impact irons in the bag already, it’s a judgment call.
Kidding aside, I’ll leave the door cracked for the possibility that Titleist will take a radically different approach and not push speed, but rather the idea that its new irons will have the maximum (positive) impact on your scores. Perhaps maximum impact describes the collision with the green as the ball descends at an effective landing angle with playable spin rates. Wouldn’t that be something?
Still under wraps, for now, is a T400. While details are vague, I suspect it will prove to be the most forgiving offerings we’ve seen from Titleist in…well…forever.
I’m just short of obligated to point out that Titleist is the number 1 played iron on the PGA Tour (it has been for five straight years and 14 of the last 15 seasons. Toss in #1 driver (most weeks), #1 Hybrid, #1 Wedge, and of course, #1 Ball, and while there’s always an element of pay for play in tour counts, it’s an impressive level of domination. The challenge for Titleist, as I’ve mentioned before, is translating that tour success to the retail environment where market share numbers for its iron offerings have dipped in recent years.
As was the case with the TS metalwoods line, it stands to reason the rebranding is an effort to put something fresh, different, and quantifiably better on the shelf, and with a little luck, generate some interest from golfers who’ve strayed to Titleist’s competitors in recent years.
Do you think it will work?
1 After publication, Titleist reached out to let us know that at the US Open, Charles Howell III played a mixed set of T100 and 620 CBs along with a TS3 hybrid, Cameron Smith played T100 in his 4-9 irons along with a U-500 3-Iron, and Justin Thomas played a T100 4-iron.