Iron performance can best be measured, not only by the quality of shots produced by well-executed swings, but also by the quality of shots when less-than-ideal contact is made with the ball. From an engineering standpoint, the key to maximizing shot quality on off-center hits is weight distribution. Club designers learned that by placing more weight around the perimeter of the club they could reduce the amount that the club twists on off-center hits. When the clubhead is more stable, off-center hits still fly relatively straight and far. However, perimeter-weighted irons had an intrinsic drawback. In order to redistribute enough weight to exact a measurable performance advantage, the clubhead shape had to change. The typically larger heads of these irons with their wider soles and thicker toplines were visually unappealing to many serious golfers whose concept of an ideal iron is represented by the compact profile and sharper lines of a traditional forged blade iron.
The rules changed when Titleist introduced Advance Performance (AP) technology. By successfully integrating new materials in a new dual cavity, multi-component construction, Titleist not only launched an iron that delivered modern performance and playability, but one that would also satisfy the sensibilities of even the most ardent iron traditionalist.
"The original AP irons changed the way golfers thought about irons," said Dan Stone, Vice President, Research and Development, Titleist Golf Clubs. "AP technology opened up a host of new possibilities in which design aesthetics and performance no longer had to be mutually exclusive propositions. That original technology paved the way for the new advances that we've made with the new 712 line."