It was over a decade ago when Titleist last debuted a brand-new lineup of irons. This article is an introduction to the T-Series irons, the latest evolution in the ultra-successful lineage of technology-packed performance irons from Titleist.
In this review I detail the key technologies incorporated in the Titleist T100, T200 and T300 irons, dive into some launch monitor data, and submit a few observations that will hopefully clarify the similarities and differences between the T-Series and 718 AP series irons.
A Little Advanced Performance History
In 2007, Titleist launched the AP1 and AP2 irons. Abbreviated AP, for “Advanced Performance”, the goal for Titleist was to offer premium irons suitable for players of all abilities. The AP2 irons were forged and designed for better ball strikers, while the high launch, cast AP1 irons were engineered with forgiveness and improving players in mind.
The original AP iron sets were built around Dual Cavity technology, a technology that continues to serve as the chassis for the T-Series irons today. Over the years, the addition of other features like high-density tungsten has helped to increase MOI and lower CG across the entire AP lineup.
Yes, the AP1 and AP2 irons underwent some tweaks and modifications to their builds and technology over time, but the formula has always remained relatively consistent. The only major evolution to the lineup came in 2017 with the addition of the distance-oriented 718 AP3 irons.
Titleist T-Series Irons
A commitment to high quality products and the advent of the Pro V1 golf ball in 2000 has meant that Titleist’s market share in the golf industry has never really been in jeopardy. However, in recent years they have been challenged to keep pace with the ever-evolving arms race in golf club design.
Titleist’s reputation has always been predicated on superior performance and feel over outlandish distance and ball speeds. The issue they as a brand face now is that today’s amateur golfers are programmed through marketing and watching the Tour pros to demand more distance in easier to hit clubs. Titleist recognized the shift in consumer wants and needs and responded by developing the TS woods and hybrids.
After the TS project, the next step for Titleist was to re-imagine their performance irons to match the paradigm shift in woods design; which makes their new ad slogan, Everything in the T-Series is strikingly new, so apropos.
Titleist also took this opportunity to re-sequence the models of their performance irons. The players irons are now T100, the distance-oriented irons for better ball strikers are the T200, and the forgiving, game improvement irons are the T300.
Max Impact Technology
In the spirit of speed, the T200 and T300 introduce what Titleist calls Max Impact technology. The goal for this technology is to create more consistent, faster ball speeds across the entire face.
More consistent speeds across the face is important for an inconsistent ball striker because less variance in ball speeds between on and off-center strikes equals more consistent yardages with a club overall.
Titleist achieved their goal by pairing a thin face with a polymer core that sits behind the face. The core was developed in conjunction with the Titleist Golf Ball R&D team and is included not just to boost ball speeds across the entire face, but to give the super thin face better feel and sound, too.
When Max Impact technology was first explained to me the Titleist rep put it this way, he said that it acts like a trampoline with a fully pumped up exercise ball underneath. At impact, Max Impact helps to spring the ball off the face, no matter where the strike occurs.
The alpha dog of the T-Series irons is the T100. Designed with a touch of forgiveness, they are a true players iron with less offset, a thin top-line and a pre-worn cambered sole capable of hitting all the shots.
T100 irons will be and already are being gamed by PGA Tour players. In fact, Brand Ambassador Jordan Spieth, who was an integral voice in the design and shaping process of these irons, has been playing a Tour Only set of T100 irons since the Open Championship.
More recently, Justin Thomas notably remarked that he liked the extra height he got with the T100 4 iron. He felt it gave him a better chance of holding greens from further out and incorporated the 4 iron into his bag before capturing the 2019 BMW Championship.
The only fully forged iron set in the T-Series, unlike its counterparts, the T100 irons are not designed for maximum distance. These irons are designed for players who demand the ability to manipulate the ball even from the toughest of lies and produce exacting distances shot after shot.
There is not a Max Impact core on the T100 irons, but they do feature a co-forged cavity construction with dual-density tungsten weighting in the heel and toe. Beyond re-engineering the dual cavity, much of the effort on the T100 irons was spent refining the sole, topline and offset.
Compared to the 718 AP irons, T100 is most like…AP2
One look at the T100 iron and it is obvious to see that it most closely resembles the AP2. Both iron sets are designed for the best players and feature a co-forged head that incorporates tungsten into the heel and toe for greater stability.
Where the T100 irons differ from the 718 AP2 irons is in the cambering of the pre-worn sole, the amount of offset and the topline.
A faster sole creates better turf interaction which leads to more forgiveness on off-center hits. It also makes it easier to keep the club face square through impact which will keep your shots straighter through gnarly roughs.
Testing & Results
I tested the T100 and 718 AP2 7 irons head to head, pairing both with a Project X 6.5 shaft. My expectation heading into testing was that if Titleist did their job properly the distance numbers would be very close between irons, but I’d see variances in ball speed, apex height and descent angle.
The results were exactly as I expected. On average, I gained about 2 yards of carry distance, 2 miles per hour ball speed, 1-degree steeper descent angle and an apex height that was about 2 yards higher than the AP2 irons.
When designing a club for better players the objectives are different than clubs designed for beginners. Less emphasis is placed on expanding the sweet spot as large as possible, and more focus is placed on feel and consistency.
I found the T100 irons have a sleek design and set up wonderfully at address. The feel is responsive and smooth, everything you’re looking for in a players iron. I liked the compact blade and the thin topline. I find that sometimes technology-laden players irons tend to get a little thick on top, but these are right on point.
During my testing I hit high shots and flighted down shots without any trouble. When intentionally hitting some shots off-center I did lose distance, but not as much as I expected. Even without Max Impact, Titleist expanded the sweet spot on the T100 irons.
A great evolution of the AP2 irons, the Titleist T100 irons are another homerun from Titleist.
Consistent with current sales trends and manufacturing objectives in the golf industry, players distance irons are quickly growing into the most popular category of irons on the market. Combining the forgiveness of a game improvement iron with the look and feel of a players iron has been a win-win for manufacturers and players alike.
Typically, these irons will feature a forged face or fully forged construction and modern lofting. Many of the players who will game this category of irons are still consistently solid ball strikers, they simply need either a bit of forgiveness or help with distance.
Though, these irons aren’t just for the retiree who gets in 4-5 rounds a week but doesn’t hit it as far as they used to, or the improving player that has advanced their game beyond the limitations of game improvement irons, some players on professional tours also game the T200 irons. The Tour-inspired look of the T200 irons makes them a viable option for even the best players in the world.
The T200 irons are loaded with tech and built around speed! Max Impact technology is included in the mid and long irons and works in harmony with the ultra-thin forged SUP-10 steel L-shaped Face Insert to increase distance and ball speeds across the entire face without sacrificing looks, feel, trajectory or the ability to stop the ball.
In order to utilize Max Impact technology to its fullest effect, the T200 irons integrate high-density tungsten into the heel and toe. Surrounding the sweet spot with weight increases the MOI and stability and drops the CG in the longer irons.
The progressive set design features variable offset, blade and hosel lengths, a moderately thin topline and enhanced cambered sole widths designed to improve turf interaction.
Compared to the 718 AP irons, T200 is most like…AP3
Like its predecessor, the T200 irons have a forged face that promotes better feel and stronger standard lofts wrapped up in a confidence inspiring head that will suit the eye of better players.
Aside from the forged L-shaped face, the design build is drastically different. Your eye will instantly be drawn to the Max Impact port on the back of the clubhead and the completely redesigned shape. The T200 irons have a slightly squarer toe and a flatter topline from toe to heel.
Testing & Results
Once again, I tested the T200 7 iron against its AP counterpart, using a Project X 6.5 shaft. I found both clubs looked very similar at address, and while the topline is thicker than the T100’s, it didn’t feel like it encroaches on a game improvement topline thickness.
The first thing I noticed when I reviewed the data from GC Quad was a 1 mph dip in ball speed, but 2 yards longer carry than the AP3. After hearing the stories of players gaining 2-4 mph ball speed, I was surprised to see mine decrease.
A bit puzzled, I reached out to an industry veteran to help make sense of the numbers. He explained to me that my ball striking as a low, single digit handicap player is more consistent and on-center than most, and therefore, it was reasonable to see little to no difference in ball speeds.
This seemed in line with the rest of my testing. The disparity in distance between shots I intentionally hit off the toe and flushed swings was narrower for the T200 irons than in the AP3. I think players with slower, more inconsistent swings will notice that their off-center strikes produce greater ball speeds and carry distances compared to their current gamers, and that is where Max Impact technology will make its biggest mark.
The T200 irons are another knock out. In the ever-expanding category of players distance irons, the T200 irons set the standard. Incorporating a forged face allows the club to retain solid feel and feedback, while at the same time expanding the sweet spot. Better players who are looking for a little bit of help will appreciate both.
The Max Impact port is wild. It looks like a combination of a screw head and a Hot Wheels wheel, but it seemed to do its job. The forged face produced a pleasant sound at impact and the feel was fairly crisp.
Overall, the T200 irons have a very modern appearance. The square shape to the irons is pleasing at address and promotes confidence during the swing.
If you are a player who does not struggle too much with consistent ball-striking, give the Titleist T200 irons a go.
Too often game improvement irons end up looking like you’re swinging a club as big as a Cadillac and with as many bells and whistles on it as a space shuttle dashboard. Sure, you’re probably not going to miss the ball, but good luck trying to manipulate it.
In the age of technology stuffed super irons, it is refreshing to see a company use some restraint and premium materials when designing their game improvement irons. The Titleist T300 irons are the game improvement offering of the T Series, and they are about three things: high launch, long distance and dependable forgiveness.
The midsize T300 irons are a game improvement iron set. They feature a fast cavity-back design that incorporates Max Impact technology, high-density tungsten and progressive set design that mirrors the technology in the T200 iron.
This set features a higher MOI than the previous game improvement iron from Titleist, which will make it even easier to elevate the ball, even on mishits. The low CG and progressive offset also help to increase distance and forgiveness through faster ball speeds.
Compared to the 718 AP irons, T300 is most like…AP1
As I said above, too often manufacturers get carried away creating game improvement irons. I think a lot of players can play more compact irons and through practice and acclimatization would find they’ll become better ball strikers quicker when their clubs demand more precise swings.
Titleist has always done a great job shaping the AP1 irons to have the look of a better players club, while retaining the confidence inspiring size game improvement irons possess.
And, while the T300 irons have the largest footprint of all the T Series irons, it magnificently continues the tradition of a game improvement iron looking more like a high-performance iron. The Titleist T300 irons are amongst some of the overall best looking irons in the game improvement category.
Testing & Results
I completed my testing with the T300 7 iron paired up against the AP1 7 iron, this time using the stock AMT Red shaft. Once again, I noticed the ball speed wasn’t faster, but the real eye opening data came from peak height and total spin.
On average, I hit the T300 irons a whopping 6 yd higher than the AP1 irons and with about 500 RPM less spin. The combination of a slightly higher launch angle, less backspin and higher apex resulted in about two yards further carry on average.
At first look, the T300 irons seemed like something out of a science fiction movie. The Max Impact port on the back almost looks like the saucer of the Starship Enterprise. However, it all seems to fit in place with the premium, modern design.
For a game improvement iron, the T300 irons had great sound and feel. Even with aggressive lofts, it was immediately apparent that these irons launch higher than either the T100 or T200 irons.
As expected, the T300 irons have the largest overall size and with the thickest topline; however, I quite enjoyed the look and shape. Titleist has shown once again that a lot of technology can be packed into a midsized package. In a category where irons often look cheap or built with non-premium materials, the T300 irons look every bit the part of a performance iron as its T Series colleagues.
While these aren’t irons that I would personally play because they don’t fit my game, if I were in the market for some game improvement irons I would give the T300 irons a serious look.
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