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Thread: Decisions.. decisions... AP1 or AP3 (Tale of 2 fittings)

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    Decisions.. decisions... AP1 or AP3 (Tale of 2 fittings)

    Dear THPers

    Have been reading a lot on the THP community but 1st time posting. Hoping I can get some help here in deciding between these 2 clubs.


    First, a little introduction for my game. I am a 20 handicapper, 52 year old. Have been playing the game for a while, now that I have a bit more free time, want to get the right club for hopefully my next step in improvement. I am 5"7, 130 lbs, 6 iron swing speed is about 70-75 mph. I am currently playing a Mizuno JPX800HD, and it was not fitted when I bought this set. A major reason for a new set was that I am hoping to get more distance out of my irons.

    Taking the advice from the community here, I had been fitted by two different people. One in Club Champion (indoor) and the other at a Titleist fitting day (outdoor on grass).

    So at CC, I was fitted for an AP1 with SteelFiber i80, -0.5 inch and -1 or -2 degrees on loft depending on the iron. Following the CC fitting methodology, I was first fitted with the i80, it was the shaft that worked best for me across different shaft weights. Then with the i80, I hit a number of different heads, including AP3 and AP1. AP1 came out to be better, mostly because of a higher smash factor and longer distance. The CC fitter suggested me to weaken the lofts because my don't have enough height on my shots. After all set and done, I am solidly 1 club longer than my JPX.

    This all makes sense, until I went to the Titleist event, thinking that I want to hit the AP1 outdoor before I put in the order.

    At the Titleist event, I told the fitter about my story, but he doesn't have the i80 in his truck. Since I was already there, he gave me another fitting based on what he had available. We started with AP1 and tried out different shafts, and we landed on the Kuro Kage TiNi 85 shaft (-0.5 inch also). This makes sense to me because the TiNi and i80 is in the same weight category. Then he made a comment about me being more of a sweeper and don't take enough divot. He then handed me the AP3, according to him, has less bounce and allows me to take more divot and hence compress the ball better. In the next 2 balls, I was hitting the ball higher with a few more yards in carry. Unfortunately, the fitter didn't share the Trackman data and I couldn't really quantify the difference in a statistically meaningful way. As for lofts, he said that weakening the lofts will add bounce, and suggest me to stick with the factory lofts. So the spec that he recommended me was: AP3 with Kuro Kage 85, standard loft. I did not get the final data from AP3, but from the conversations, it sounded like I am about 3/4 to 1 club longer than my gamer.

    So here comes the challenge, I think both fitters had logical arguments on their recommendations, but for obvious reasons I can only go with one. I like the looks of the AP3, but am concerned that I don't get max distance improvement on my average golf days. I feel a bit more confidence with the AP1 because of its forgiveness, but if the Titleist guys is saying I am better with AP3...

    What would you do? Thanks for helping.

  2. #2
    Club Pro noodle3872's Avatar
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    Off days are just that; off days. Go with what you hit best during your demos. I don’t think you can lose on either iron however I would go AP3 for their higher peak height.

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    Firstly I wouldn’t be chasing distance on your irons unless you are a real short knocker. Consistency is far more important. Secondly, I wouldn’t go chasing numbers on the launch monitor, especially the smash factor. Last time I did that, I went from a set of Titleist DCI 762s (small cavity back) to a set of TM tour burners (a lump of metal on the end of a stick). From what you have written, you seem to prefer the AP3’s. That to me would seem to be your answer.


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    Remember to smile leftshot's Avatar
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    Pacman, here's my story. I went to a full bag fitting at Club Champion June of last year. I was shocked at how much improvement CC's fitting gave me in iron dispersion (and distance) compared to my gamers. You see my gamers were recently bought after a manufacturer's fitting outdoors similar to your second fitting. I ended up buying new custom irons to the CC specs. and am THRILLED with the results. My observations for your consideration.

    1. Dispersion is the name of the game when selecting irons. They are your scoring clubs. The clubs you'll use for most approach shots where getting it close to the pin is what it's all about. Even the pros will sink a lot more putts inside of 10 feet than putts 20 feet or more away. You have the dispersion information from CC and they focus on that. You don't, unfortunately, have that info. from the Titleist manufacturer fitting to make that most important comparison.

    2. As you already pointed out, a manufacturer isn't going to have nearly as many options as Club Champion. CC literally has over 10,000 head/shaft combinations. 5-7 shafts and 2-3 heads is pretty typical for a manufacturer's fitting. Now you might get lucky and find the optimal combination at a manufacturer's fitting, but the odds are definitely against you.

    3. When I went to CC they literally adjusted clubs (things like loft, lie, and length) right then and there having me hit balls after each adjustment to get the specs. just right. Did they do all that at the Titleist fitting? My experience is they generally do things like hit a strike plate and based on what they see 'predict' how much it needs to be adjusted. Based on my experiences over the years, these 'predictions' don't always get it right. Close, but not necessarily optimal.

    If you'd have gotten a report from the Titleist fitting, I'd be steering you to look at the results, starting with dispersion. Since you don't that complicates things. One thing you could try is telling the CC fitter your dilemma and see if he'll give you a side by side in order to make a final decision. He should be willing to do this at a discounted rate since it's just one more combination. Heck, maybe he won't charge you at all to try to get the sale. You never know unless you ask.
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    Call me Mr. 24 dazeedmonds's Avatar
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    Dispersion is king in your irons, distance is good, but dispersion is more important IMO.

    Not having the numbers from the AP3s makes it harder to know what set is better.

    Did you feel more comfortable or confident with one set or the other?
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    First.. Welcome to THP! As far as the irons are concerned, I have found that I play better better when I have confidence standing over the ball. Which set gives YOU more confidence? That's the one I would purchase especially since the performance between the two doesn't seem to be all that different.
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    Frosty treacherous wretch thommo.sx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dazeedmonds View Post
    Dispersion is king in your irons, distance is good, but dispersion is more important IMO.
    Longitudinal dispersion as well as lateral, though. If 2 similar shots are different front to back by 15 yards, that's as bad as left and right. Agree that consistent distance is good.
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    I'm sure the difference in distance is probably nominal between the AP1 & AP3. I would choose whichever fits your "eye" better. The more you like the club behind the ball, the more confidence you have that it's right for you & the better swing you are going to put on it. (at least for me) I know that when I put the AP3 down behind the ball, it's going to do what I want it to (when I put the right swing on it).

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    Quote Originally Posted by leftshot View Post

    ...One thing you could try is telling the CC fitter your dilemma and see if he'll give you a side by side in order to make a final decision. He should be willing to do this at a discounted rate since it's just one more combination. Heck, maybe he won't charge you at all to try to get the sale. You never know unless you ask.
    Very solid advice from everyone in here pacman66 but ^this^ was my initial thought as I read through your dilema. You put in the effort and the $$ to really figure this out. I'd hate for you to have doubts after your purchase so see if your fitter can/will erase those doubts beforehand. Fill him/her in on what you were told and experienced at the demo. IDK how the bounce on AP3 and AP1 compare but maybe the -1 or -2 loft recommendation make up for some/most of that difference? ... and welcome to THP
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    Welcome to THP!

    Honestly, being a certified fitter, I would NEVER recommend bending the lofts weak to increase launch unless ALL other options have been explored. It effects bounce and turf interaction and there could be even more, unintended consequences. I do not feel like the I80 are the highest launching iron shafts out there, so consider the UST Recoils as well if wanting to stick with graphite. Numbers on your shots would help to see where you are at with launch/spin/peak height, but this is a good start.
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    It sounds like you could go either way and not suffer. Go with what suits your eye at address, what feels go to you on good and bad swings and what suits your eye from a ball flight. Having watched a few guys hit both models I don’t think you will much distance loss between the two on bad days.
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    Side note, I just did a Titleist fitting and the guy emailed me the numbers after the fact once he had wifi again, don't know if you can reach out to the regional/local titleist rep that did the fitting, but maybe he could get you that stuff afterwards, did he put your name in there before he started the fitting?
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    Hi pacman66, welcome to THP!

    You've got excellent advice above in regards to dispersion, possible shaft changes and what meets you eye. I'm going to ask, where do you want your game to go? You stated you're currently a 20 handicap. If you have a desire and a plan, going for instruction and practice to improve then maybe the AP3s with the proper shaft would be a better choice long term. When we played with Austin from Titleist in FL he told me the AP3s have been measured as forgiving as the 714 AP1s. If you are looking just for improvement through a club choice I would say go with AP1's with a proper shaft choice as tpluff suggested above. Both of these irons are solid choices and I don't believe you can go wrong. Let us know what you decide. Good luck!
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    Quote Originally Posted by emart2173 View Post
    It sounds like you could go either way and not suffer. Go with what suits your eye at address, what feels go to you on good and bad swings and what suits your eye from a ball flight. Having watched a few guys hit both models I don’t think you will much distance loss between the two on bad days.
    as is so often the case, i am with my man @emart.

    i had a very similar experience to yours. high end 3rd party fitting put me in ap2, titleist thursday fitting put me in t-mb. both had different logic behind their recommendations. i went with the titleist fitter's advice. i love the clubs, but will probably always wonder whether i made the right decision. like emart says, go with the irons you're going to be happiest with. logic and reason are great, but we also have emotional attachments to our clubs that shouldn't be overlooked. golf is fun, make the decision that you think will be the most fun!
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    It sounds like there could be a 3rd choice, AP1's with Kuro Kage 85. In a head to head comparison between the AP1 and AP3, the AP1's are bigger, more forgiving, and, higher launching, than, the AP3's. I just switched from the 716 AP1 with Kuro Kage 85 to 718 AP3 Recoil 95. The AP1's in general are a high launch head. The Steelfiber shafts are likely the reason for the lower height. If cost is a factor, the KK85 is std graphite upcharge, while the Steelfiber, is a bit more. The AP1 set offers 2 gap wedges vs 1 for the AP3, I highly recommend getting at least 1 gap wedge from either set. Good luck, and, enjoy the process.

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