Who says this is the slow season in golf? On Tuesday, TaylorMade unveiled its new RocketBladez irons. On Wednesday, we showed you the first look of the 2013 X Forged irons from Callaway. And to complete this week's titanic trifecta, here is a peek at Titleist's new prototype 712U utility iron, which Titleist Canada teased on its Twitter account.
“On the worldwide professional tours, some players prefer a utility iron over a hybrid club as an alternative to traditional long irons,” said Titleist on its tour blog. “The 712U delivers increased playability versus a traditional long iron while providing enhanced spin and trajectory control versus a hybrid.”
The prototype 712U clubs – from photos we’ve seen, there are 2-irons, 3-irons and 4-irons – are being sent out to Titleist’s tour staff for what the company is calling “performance validation and feedback.” Titleist is also planning to bring the clubs to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic at Disney World, the final event on the PGA Tour schedule, the week of Nov. 5-11, for their players to check out.
The 712U clubs are intended as a tour-only product for now. However, says Titleist, the feedback the company receives will influence the clubs’ final design as well as their place in Titleist lineup.
There are no guarantees, of course, but I suspect there’s a lesson to be learned from Callaway's recent introduction of its X Utility irons. Callaway seeded the clubs among its tour staff last summer, and players from Phil Mickelson to Branden Grace put them in their bags – and then Ernie Els won the British Open with three X Utility clubs in his bag. Not long after, Callaway announced that they would be sold to the public, and they're scheduled to be available at select retailers beginning in December.
Hybrids are great for a great many golfers. But many elite players prefer that precision that advanced utility irons can provide, and I’ll be surprised if the 712U irons are anything but a big success.