Titleist and TaylorMade are two of the top golf equipment providers in the game. If you are a player that enjoys a great feel but still needs a bit of forgiveness in the clubs that you play, the AP3 or the P790 could be the best choice to go with.
However, when you have to decide which of these two is the better choice, you may struggle with the similarity between the two options.
Although the manufacturers are different and there are some performance discrepancies, overall, these irons will have similar characteristics. If you decide between the AP3 and the P790, we have all the information you will need to make the best decision possible.
Titleist is known for their clubs that help lower handicapped players. However, as time has gone on, Titleist has started to add more forgiveness to their golf clubs. It can be tough to add forgiveness without sacrificing feel, but Titleist is starting to get really good at it.
Combination of Ap1 and AP2
With the Titleist AP 718 series, there were three options to choose from; they are the AP1, Ap2, and AP3 golf irons. The Ap1 is known for forgiveness, Ap2 has more of a player’s feel, and then the Ap3 perfectly combines the three styles.
The result of the Ap3 is essentially a player’s distance iron. With a pitching wedge loft of 43 degrees, these clubs will give a mid handicap golfer the distance they need from their golf shots. The idea of this combination of clubs is the fastest and longest golf iron that you have seen on the market.
Hollow Blade Construction
Hollow construction technology allows for high ball speed, plenty of spin, and a lightweight feel. You can get the distance you need from longer irons but allow the shorter irons to stop on the green where you need them to.
A higher MOI or moment of inertia allows golfers to get lots of ball speed. High ball speed is the best way to get distance out of your golf irons shots. Without the high MOI, you will feel almost as if the irons are dead at impact.
Typically speaking, better players enjoy a thinner topline on their golf irons. The Titleist Ap3 has a thinner topline than the other game improvement irons from Titleist. Although this won’t look exactly like a tour blade, it is an iron set built to look more like a player’s golf club.
PGA Tour Presence
Whenever a golf iron is used on the PGA Tour, it brings quite a bit of attention to the club. The AP3 irons were used by golfers like Jimmy Walker and Jason Korkak. This says quite about the look and the performance of the golf club. If you want a club that is tour-proven, this is a brand that is worth considering.
Loft & Lie
The TaylorMade P790 iron sets have been on the market for several years. However, they keep getting upgraded. The most recent upgrade was done in 2021, and the irons are just now ready for preorder. Many things will stay the same from one release to the next, but there are always some improvements in distance, feel speed, or similar.
TaylorMade P790 irons have always been hollow construction golf clubs. This hollow construction left room for the Speedfoam technology to help dampen the feel at impact. With the most recent release in P790 irons, the Speedfoam Air technology hits the market.
The newer Speedfoam Air saves 3.5 grams of weight and much better launch conditions than previous models. For golfers that have struggled to get the ball flight they want, this is a club that can help without sacrificing feel or distance.
Thin Wall Construction
The thinner a clubface wall can get, the better the chance of getting high ball speed and distance from your irons. Golf manufacturers have been working for years to use different materials in their golf irons in order to promote faster ball speed and thinner face technology.
The new 8629 carbon steel construction reduced the thickness of the head by about 40%. The result is a very responsive clubface that helps both with long-distance and feel.
Thru Slot Speed Pocket
The speed pocket technology has been in every release of the P790, and it likely won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Speed Pocket technology in any of the TaylorMade irons helps improve forgiveness and increase overall ball speed.
Large Sweet Spot
Even clubs with a great feel can have a large sweet spot. The TaylorMade P790 irons have a 60% large sweet spot when compared to the original P790 irons.
This is quite a bit of room to hit the golf ball. Of course, if you miss the center, your shot may be a little shorter or a little to the left or right, but for the most part, it is not going to ruin a golf hole for you.
The fact that the P790 irons have this larger sweet spot makes them a good choice for the slightly higher handicap player, even though many lower handicaps also have put this club into play.
Loft & Lie
Related: P790 VS P770 Related: Best Irons From Taylormade
TaylorMade P790 vs. Titleist AP3 Irons
Now that you have a better understanding of what these iron set options have to offer let’s take a look at the differences between the two so that you can narrow down which is better for you.
The technology in both the P790 irons and the Ap3 irons is considered to be premium technology. However, the 2021 TaylorMade P790 irons are going to have some premium advantages over the Ap3.
The thin face, Speed Pocket Air, and overall larger sweet spot will make the P790 irons slightly more technologically advanced.
However, both sets of irons are made will hollow club head technology. This helps the irons to be more forgiving and a better game improvement iron overall. The hollow club head technology gives players the confidence they need to succeed with an iron in their hand.
The TaylorMade P790 Irons and the Ap3 irons are built to give players more distance without sacrificing feel.
The distance that you can get from these clubs will be about the same. Even though the AP3 has slightly lower lofts, the P790 has new technology that helps improve the overall distance that you can achieve.
When it comes to forgiveness, the TaylorMade P790 is going to win out by just a bit. The fact that the sweet spot on this iron is so large really helps to make this one of the more forgiving iron choices in this category.
When comparing these two irons and hitting both clubs, we can’t say that the AP3 is more difficult to hit. To be honest, it has plenty of forgiveness built-in. It just so happens that the large sweet spot on the P790 gave us some more help when the shots were low on the face.
The players that will enjoy these irons are mid to low handicap. The very low handicappers may want something that looks more like a blade, but the quality and control of these irons are sometimes enough for even the most demanding players.
If you want our recommendation for exactly who will prefer each iron, the P790 are great for the 10-20 handicap range; the AP3 tends to be best for a 7-15 range. As you can see, there is quite a bit of overlap here and feel, and sound will, without a doubt, come into play.
The Titleist AP3 irons are no longer available as new golf clubs. Since they are mostly sold used, you will find a much better deal on these clubs. As far as game improvement irons are concerned, the TaylorMade P790 irons are known for being some of the most expensive on the market.
In fact, many people will choose companies like Ping and Callaway over TaylorMade simply because they tend to charge quite a bit for these golf irons. The Titleist AP3 will likely be cheaper, but we find that it is often a good idea to choose golf clubs based on performance and not pricing.
If you really love the TaylorMade P790, try and find them used or maybe purchase a few more wedges and hybrids so that you only need to put a few irons in your bag. Many golfers don’t use their long irons, and it can make sense to put a hybrid in instead.
Pros & Cons
- Technology improvements to increase ball speed
- Spin control and performance in shorter irons
- A large, forgiving sweet spot in the long irons
- New SpeedFoam air technology
- Thinner and smaller look than previous releases
- Much better feel than a traditional cavity back
- High MOI
- It similar look to blades but has much more forgiveness
- More traditional lofts for better ball flight
- Priced considerably higher than the Titleist AP3 irons
- A top-down look is still not thin enough for some better players
- Great sound and feel of a Titleist iron
- Golf pride tour grip comes standard
- Great for high swing speed players
- Easy to work the ball
- Thinner top-down look than other Titleist irons
- Combines the Ap1 and Ap2 technology
- Lots of accuracy in the shorter golf irons
- No longer being produced by Titleist, replaced with new series
- It can be hard to find in the specifications that you need for your game
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few questions that we are asked quite often about the Ap3 and the P790. When choosing the best golf gear for your game, don’t be afraid to ask questions and find something that is perfect for your skill level.
Are P790 Irons Good For High Handicappers?
P790 irons can be great for high handicappers. It really depends on the goals of the higher handicapper. If you are a player that is interested in taking your game to the next level and lowering your handicap, then feel, and sound is essential. The TaylorMade P790 irons offer some of the best sound and feel on the market.
However, if you are a higher handicapper that is struggling with keeping the ball straight and getting distance, you may want to consider something like the TaylorMade SIM 2 Max OS. This club will have more offset, a lighter shaft, and be tailored more towards the higher handicap player.
Are P790 Forged?
The P790 irons are forged, and they combine that with the SpeedFoam technology to help promote an even better feel. Golfers tend to be very impressed with the type of performance they can get from an iron intended to be forgiving and easy to hit.
Can Higher Handicappers Use Titleist Irons?
Higher handicappers can absolutely play with Titleist irons. For years the Titleist golf clubs were known for the lowest handicap players with the perfect golf swing. However, things have changed quite a bit from the past. Today Titleist makes golf clubs for all handicaps and all player types.
If your last round of golf took 72 shots or 115 shots, there is a Titleist iron on the market for you. the key is to find the one that matches your abilities as a player.
Conclusion: Which Is Better, AP3 or P790?
Hopefully, you now feel confident as to which golf iron on the market will be the best for your game. It’s hard to say that one of these two clubs is better than another. However, after our comparison and the time we took, the P790 seems to be the better buy.
The way the technology and data have improved on these clubs through the years makes them really stand out from other options on the market.
Even when looking at these new P790 clubs, it’s easy to see that they are great-looking and impressive. If 2021 is your year for a new set of irons, take advantage of some of this impressive technology.