The new Titleist CNCPT irons (CP-01 and CP-02), despite their $4,000 price tag, really offer a simple premise: How much better could an iron be if money were no object?
We’ve seen the idea in recent years with the high-end, multi-thousand-dollar iron sets from PXG, pretty much the undisputed leader in price- unconscious golf equipment. Titleist began pursuing this “concept car” approach to exclusive, tech-rich products back in 2016 with the C16 irons and driver. Now, the company is launching two new irons that brand manager Kelly Moser Jr. calls “something very different that you can’t find in golf right now.”
That something different are two sets of hollow irons, a game-improvement CP-01 and a compact more blade-like CP-02, that the company’s R&D team believes create new opportunities for ballspeed, launch, landing angle, distance and forgiveness.
“We challenged our R&D team to go out and find new materials, go out and find new processes, to create something very different that you can’t find in golf right now,” Moser said. “This is just an exercise in what our R&D team is capable of.”
The first key to the Concept irons is an ultra-thin (less than two millimeters), uniform thickness face. The face is what the industry often calls “unsupported,” meaning that there is no foam or thermoplastic material or other backing structure filling the hollow iron to support the thin face design.
The face is forged and L-shaped, similar to that seen on the company’s T-MB and AP3 irons. But unlike those irons, which use high-strength SUP 10 steel or Carpenter 455 steel and are 2.1 millimeters thick, the CP-01 and CP-02 iron faces are thinner thanks to the use of a new steel alloy that Titleist is calling “Super Metal.” Titleist is not naming the actual alloy, but Moser said while it is the first time ever it’s been used in golf, it has been used in the aerospace industry.
The other element behind the unique hollow construction is the placement of significant amounts of highly dense tungsten in the heel and toe of each iron to improve forgiveness or stability on off-center hits (moment of inertia). The Concept irons use close to 50 percent of the head’s total weight in tungsten (an average of more than 110 grams) in the longer irons. That would be 22 percent more than the amount of tungsten used in the current T-MB irons.
“The high density tungsten allows us to manipulate the CG low and back for maximum forgiveness,” Moser said. Placed low in the heel and toe, the tungsten also helps shots launch higher with less spin.
“We’ve got a 7-iron that’s strong lofted with an extremely fast face but doesn’t fly through the air like a 5-iron,” Moser said. “It flies through the air like a 7-iron. We’ve strengthened the lofts to make sure the flight was where it should be, but the descent angle we’ve kept really steep.”
Moser said the CP-01, which is similar in size to T-MB and AP3, should launch the ball higher than the company’s most forgiving iron, AP1, with the same lofts, but with higher ball speeds for more distance. CP-02 features lofts similar to the T-MB in a compact head, but again with better ball speed thanks to the thin special alloy face.
“Our R&D team said it’s great to make this game-improvement cavity back style club, but we think we can make something for the better player, too, using the same technologies and the same face material,” Moser said. “So they packaged it all a little tighter and took all the playing benefits of our AP2 and AP3 and packaged them into an MB head.”
Similar to when Titleist first introduced products in this high-end categpory, Moser said these new Concept irons function just as much for Titleist’s internal audience as its external one. The dollar signs might grab your attention, but you’d be missing the point.
“This is not a cash grab for us,” Moser said. “This is a passion project that’s going to make all of our products in the future better.”
Titleist is offering the irons, which are available widely now after an initial launch earlier this year at Sun Belt locations, through a “dedicated CNCPT Concierge” to schedule fittings ($4,000 for a set of eight irons or $500 per individual iron).