FIRST LOOK: Titleist’s new T100, T100S, T200 and T300 irons
The general assumption is most professional golfers play muscleback blades that offer little in the way of forgiveness but ample workability and control. In actuality, the number of players using a full set of blades is around 25 to 30 percent, which isn’t anywhere close to a majority. As iron technology has continued to improve, equipment manufacturers are now able to pack muscleback feel and game-improvement benefits (launch, forgiveness, ball speed) into a slightly more playable profile that appeals to the better player.
“I joke around, ‘I’m not good enough to play the blades,’ but in reality, I think we’re just being smarter,” said major winner Jordan Spieth. “I think we’re just like, ‘Oh, we can actually hit every shot that a blade can hit.’ But that chance that we mishit them – which we’re going to mishit a few shots in a round, even in a great round, the idea that it does carry that bunker and you make birdie on a hole where someone has to get up and down for par – I mean, it could be the difference in a tournament.”
Spieth possesses one of the best iron games on the PGA Tour and was one of the first to employ the new cavity-back T100 iron ($186 per club; 3-GW), which has held the title of being the most played model on Tour since it was introduced at the 2019 U.S. Open.
The latest version of the T100 in Spieth’s bag features some refinements that came directly from feedback provided by the three-time major winner, as well as a collaborative effort between Titleist engineers and Vokey’s wedge team. The new sole offers less bounce in the heel and more in the toe for improved turf interaction.
“The sole just glides through the ground so nicely,” Spieth said. “With the added bounce off the toe and the reduced bounce in the heel similar to the wedges that we have on those grinds, it just allows for some consistency when you get a little bit off. The idea that you can be on uneven lies and have it kind of make up for that, and then if you get in the rough and have it not drag as much, but instead slide through just as easily, that’s where we see the improvement in these irons.”
While the new sole geometry is a visual technology, denser tungsten (D18) — roughly 80 grams on average per iron — housed inside a milled cavity in the lower portion of 3- through 7-iron is purposely concealed with a back bar that gives the iron a minimalist look and increases the head’s overall stability and feel. Milling the back cavity also made it possible to preserve the leading edge during the creation process, something that was difficult to do with the previous version.
The end result is a face that’s much more consistent in terms of overall spin consistency.
“We had elite players who were telling us they were seeing small differences in spin,” said Dan Stone, Titleist’s vice president of research and design. “It was only a couple hundred RPMs at most, but it matters at that level, and they can detect these things. So we reduced the compliance of the iron. We wanted to make sure we had a consistent distance spread and ball speeds across the face.”
The Sup-10 stainless steel faceplate continues to enhance ball speed, but it now imparts slightly more spin as well for better shot-shaping and control. Unlike the multi-piece design found in the 3- through 7-iron, the 8-iron through pitching wedge is one-piece forged 1025 carbon steel.
The updated T100S ($186 per club; 3-PW) is designed to look and feel like the standard version with lofts that are 2 degrees stronger across the board. Bending an iron 2 degrees in either direction isn’t advisable, which is why Titleist engineered the sole to match the stronger lofts, thereby allowing the head to go through the turf with similar interaction.
To generate an even higher launch and lower center of gravity location designers removed roughly 3 grams of mass from the back bar and replaced it with a polymer material that blends in with the overall look. With an average of 90 grams of tungsten per head, T100S is able to create more distance with a higher launch angle.
A redesigned look is what catches your eye the first time you lay eyes on T200 ($186 per club; 2-GW). The visible technology is now concealed behind an engineered polymer muscle plate that works in tandem with an internal polymer core and forged Sup-10 L-Face insert to improve off-center speed while tuning sound at the same time.
Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Adam Scott and Garrick Higgo have all added T200 2-iron this season. The significant uptick in usage on Tour can be attributed to a shorter blade length, less offset (same as T100), narrower topline and thinner sole design, which appeals to players on the better end of the handicap spectrum.
An abundance of tungsten (100 grams on average) is also situated in the head, lowering the center of gravity for a higher launch, particularly in the long irons, with mishit protection on heel and toe strikes.
In addition to offering T200 as a set (4-GW), 2, 3 and 4 irons can also be purchased with a Project X HZRDUS graphite shaft ($249) for those who need a secondary option off the tee.
While the T200 shifted towards a more streamlined look and feel, the T300 ($143 per club; 4-iron through 53-degree wedge) remains a pure game-improvement iron with ample offset and a generous blade length to catch even the most wayward approach shot.
Cast from 17-4 stainless steel, the iron will once again feature Titleist’s Max Impact Technology that was initially introduced with the original T300. When the ball impacts the variable-thickness face, a polymer material, along with a steel cantilever, situated behind the impact area act as a trampoline for the ball, increasing speed as the ball exits the face.
“The T300 is the ultimate Titleist game improvement iron. It is for the golfer who wants high launch, long distance and forgiveness, and wants to see the technology they are using,” said Josh Talge, Titleist’s VP of golf club marketing.
Titleist also used historical data to shape the overall design of the face structure, thinning out the heel in the long and mid irons to improve what has traditionally been an inefficient strike location. The same brazing process used to fit more tungsten in the heel and toe of the T100 head is also used in T300 to cram upwards of 40 percent more tungsten into each head to assist with launch and mishits.
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