Titleist C16 Irons Review
05 May 2016
by Golfweek

see also: Equipment Reviews

The Titleist C16 irons are long. Really long.
The Titleist C16 irons are long. Really long.

by David Dusek - Golfweek

Modern golf equipment, like most products sold at retail, is constrained by factors such as price and manufacturing abilities.

But according to Steve Pelisek, Titleist’s president of golf clubs, the Fairhaven, Mass., company wanted to give its designers a chance to go wild. With no worry about anything except function, what would they make? Dream it up now, worry about how to make it later. From such directives, the Concept Initiative was born.

“The new Concept products are products that were advanced research, and we believe they are breakthroughs that will eventually work their way into our global product line,” Pelisek said. “We wanted to create a way, a platform, between those two steps in time.”

Pelisek was quick to point out that Concept items are not experiments, but clubs that use new materials, processes and technologies. They will not be considered “in-line” products and Pelisek said the Concept products will not change Titleist’s two-year product cycles.

They probably won’t ever be seen in the bag of a PGA Tour player either, and because Concept clubs are going to be sold in such small quantities, they are not going to make a meaningful contribution to Titleist’s bottom line, either.

In reality, the Concept creations can be compared to an automaker’s concept cars: They give an idea of what engineers are dreaming the future might hold.


The C16 irons are made with four materials and a goal to increase carry distance. On the 4-iron through 7-iron, a cast 17-4 stainless steel body is fitted with a forged K301 stainless steel cup face that is only 2 millimeters thick. The face is lighter than normal, and because the body is hollow, it can flex more easily at impact to boost ball speed and distance. 

“We’ve been making forged irons for years and years, but we’ve never had a hosel-face cup construction like this before,” Stone said. “This is a first for us, and quite frankly, we don’t know of anyone who has done it quite this way before.”

The 8-iron through pitching wedge are made with 1RK95 stainless steel.

Pelisek said the unsupported face area is 7 percent larger on the C16 4-iron than on the716 AP1 4-iron.

Inside the 4- through 7-irons, Titleist added 98- grams of weight in the form of a pair of tungsten pieces. Stone said that’s more than double the amount of tungsten found in the 716 AP1 irons.

Most of that weight is in the toe, but there is a small piece in the heel, too. All that weight makes the C16 irons extremely stable without making the heads too large. From a size perspective, the C16 irons are larger than the 716 AP2 but smaller than the 716 AP1.

Stone said that compared to the 716 AP1, which had been Titleist’s longest-hitting iron to date, the C16 irons averaged 7.8 more yards carry distance with a 4-iron.

“We’re on our fifth generation of the AP1,” Stone said. “We’ve incrementally improved the AP1, but this is a giant leap. It’s a completely different leap for the iron category.”

Just 1,000 sets will be made, and they will be sold exclusively at the Titleist Performance Institute, the Manchester Lane Test Facility and at Titleist Fitting Days. Numerous shaft opinions will be available. A set of eight irons (4-gap wedge) will cost $2,699 in steel and $2,999 in graphite.

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