The AP1 and AP2 are part of a long line of acclaimed Titleist irons. Both sets received a gold rating in the 2013 "Golf Digest" Hot List for irons. As a rule, the more forgiving AP1 irons are better suited to mid-to-high handicap players, while the AP2s are preferred by accomplished amateurs and professionals because of their superior playability.
Traditionally, Titleist has produced simple, classical-looking irons with small heads and thin top edges. The AP1 and AP2 irons with their larger heads and more decorated cavity backs were a break from that tradition. While the AP2 irons are bulky by Titleist's standards, the AP1 heads are noticeably larger and the top edge is also broader. The cavity-back designs are similar, with both featuring a black and silver tungsten nickel plate. But the AP2 heads are black and silver only, while the AP1 cavity features a red line across the back and red writing in the AP1 logo.
The AP1 irons are Titleist's most forgiving irons. They feature a perimeter-weighted back flange that creates a larger sweet spot, while the tungsten nickel sole plate moves the center of gravity low on the face for greater stability and forgiveness. The AP1 irons also feature a thin face that creates faster ball speeds for increased distance. The AP2 irons are forgiving but to a lesser degree. They have the edge on the AP1 irons in terms of feel and playability. The heads are forged from soft carbon steel, which provides an improved feel, while the dual-cavity design adds a stability that aids shot shaping and control.
The AP1 irons come standard with the Nippon NS Pro 105T steel shaft. It is a slightly lighter shaft than traditional options and has a mid-low flex point that helps create a higher trajectory. The AP1 irons are also offered with the Aldila VS Proto-T 75 graphite shaft, which can be helpful for players with moderate and slower swing speeds. The AP2 irons come with the heavier Dynamic Gold shaft, which helps to provide a more penetrating trajectory, better feedback and is more suited to stronger players. Both sets also are available with other custom shafts.
Making the Choice
While the AP1 irons are primarily for less-accomplished golfers, some better ball strikers still enjoy the forgiveness they offer. Former Masters champion Zach Johnson uses a combination of the AP1 and AP2 irons, preferring the forgiveness of the AP1s in the long irons and the playability of the AP2s in the shorter irons. PGA Tour players using the AP2 irons, as of 2013, include Jason Dufner and Jordan Spieth. For most amateurs, the AP1 irons are a better choice as they will make the game easier tee to green, but it is worth getting custom fitted to find out which club best suits your swing.