WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: As they have in the past, Titleist’s biennial iron launch includes four models in ascending order of how much help they provide the user, but this time with a renewed emphasis on improved feel.
The compact tour-focused models, T100 and T150, use internal heel and toe weights made of super-dense D18 tungsten to provide extra stability for a typical players iron to improve forgiveness and feel. The T150 is hotter thanks to its stronger lofts and a channel behind the face that helps add some spring.
The versions for more regular types are the T200 and T350, both also with healthy chunks of super-dense tungsten in the heel and toe to provide stability on off-centre hits. The T200 still slightly favours the compact end of the spectrum, while the wider-sole and larger blade on the T350 make for the most forgiving option. Both use a variably thick face insert for more ball speed and a redesigned polymer backed structure that’s closer to the face for a softer feel while enhancing ball speed and launch.
PRICE: $329 SRP/club (Steel); $354/club (Graphite), available for fittings now, in stores August 25.
3 COOL THINGS
1. The tour iron you can play. The new T100 is expected to be the most played iron model on tour (more than most companies’ entire lines of tour-played irons), and while it continues to incorporate forgiveness in a compact shape, the version most regular good golfers should lean towards is the T150.
T150 supplants the previous T100•S with a gentler lean to added forgiveness and power. It also makes the T150 work as a blended set with T100 short irons, a theme Titleist is emphasising across all four new irons.
But first a word about forgiveness for the entire lineup, of which the T100 and T150 are very similar in size and shape, including a softened chamfer in the trailing edge of the sole for improved turf interaction. As with past Titleist T-Series irons and the AP irons before them, tungsten in the heel and toe creates a stable frame for the iron’s overall structure. Not just run of the mill tungsten, these again use super-dense D18 tungsten, which for perspective weighs more than one-and-a-half times as much as if the same sections were made of lead.
That stability breeds consistent distance and ballflights on slight mis-hits (for their size Titleist irons do not compromise on stability on off-centre strikes, or what’s known as moment of inertia). But that kind of super-charged stability also is the backbone of better feel. Even the lower portion of the face on the T150 is a shade thicker to enhance feel.
What makes the T150 a more exciting option for most better recreational players (single digits only, we believe) are the slightly thicker topline, weightier sole and most importantly a revised channel cut in a bar across the back of the face.
On the T100, it stays solid and marginally thicker to provide more meat at impact, but in the T150 it’s cut with a slot that’s now closer to the face than in previous versions. That gives the face a little more spring, which combined with the stronger lofts yields more ball speed for the T150 all without sacrificing trajectory, said Marni Ines, Titleist’s director or irons development.
“There was a shift when we went to T100 that this was going to be the ultimate tour iron, and that’s when we started to get more feedback on that specific model to where we changed the blade-length progression and the topline thickness especially in the shorter irons,” he said.
“That’s what T100 is now.
“In T150, you’re increasing the compliance in the face but not so much that it’s going to negatively affect feel. This is a very targeted iron that’s closer to T100 on purpose.”
2. A completely retooled players distance iron with a renewed emphasis on feel. The T200 offers more ball speed and forgiveness with its multipiece construction, but all that horsepower comes in a blade length (and offset) identical to the T100 and T150.
While again there’s super-dense tungsten slugs brazed internally in the heel and toe sections and framed by the back muscle plate to make it a hollow-body design, the face is a separate piece that wraps around the sole for extra flex at impact.
The dual-tapered face design improves deflection and also helps shots stray less offline, aided by a more stable frame and the latest version of the company’s polymer core and support bar structure behind the face. It improves ball speed consistency across the face.
That polymer core, known as Max Impact, is now closer to the face for improved feel, a recurring point of emphasis in the T-Series lineup. Even the inside of the back plate features a ribbing pattern to damp unwanted vibrations. The sole’s variable bounce, as developed for the T100 line, makes the T200 play smoother through the turf thanks to a newly chamfered trailing edge.
“Everything about this iron is changed,” Ines said. “While many of the components are similar, each one has been reengineered. But the thicknesses in the face, the polymer core in the middle of the face, and how the muscle plate is engineered, as well, they’re all working to create the right feel with the increased speed.”
3. A more refined game improvement iron. The T350, a transformational upgrade of the previous T300, takes an even more aggressive approach to forgiveness and ball speed through its larger size and wider sole compared to the T200. But it still adapts much of the platform of T200’s technology and structure in enough of a subtle way to allow players to mix T350 long irons with T200 short irons for a blended set.
Included are similar elements of the back plate hollow design that houses the polymer core structure, now moving it closer to the face for better performance and feel. Also, the heel and toe super-dense tungsten weights are there, something that wasn’t the case on the previous T300.
Along with the larger blade length, that breeds even more stability, which enhances both ball speed and maintains feel. Finally, the high-strength steel face features that same alloy and L-shape that overlaps into the sole for extra rebound at impact.
“This really is the one that has the largest change from the previous version because of the shift to this [hollow-body] platform from the undercut cavity of the prior generation,” Ines said. “The construction of the main chassis has similar aspects to the T200.”
“With all these changes, we’ve created a platform that is all-around better performing versus the old model. It’s faster across the face, it flies higher, and it has tighter dispersion,” he said.
For more information, check out titleist.com.au