Bringing The Titleist Tour Van To Golfers
Titleist recently revealed their 917 drivers and fairway metals, a comprehensive tee and turf performance package for golfers of all levels. Already making waves on tour, the 917 line has met immediate acceptance and validation by many of the world’s best players, including Adam Scott, Bill Haas and Jimmy Walker. In fact, since the driver seeding and validation process began in late June at the PGA Tour’s Quicken Loans National, more than 150 players have trusted the new 917 drivers in competition across worldwide professional tours. The “complete performance” design strategy employed by Titleist, to deliver more distance and forgiveness with precise adjustability, makes the 917 the company’s most comprehensive and efficient driver and metals, both in form and function.
At first glance at the sole of the club head, the new drivers and fairways Tour-proven 917 models deliver more distance and forgiveness with precise adjustability and tour-validated looks, sound and feel Bringing The Titleist Tour Van To Golfers look understated with the Active Recoil Channel that was on its previous 915 line. But then you see the words “SureFit CG” stretched across the sole of the club head, at a precise but purposeful angle, one gets a hint that not all is as it seems. This is Titleist’s biggest change that brings the 917 line to a whole new level. This SureFit CG together with interchangeable shafts and Titleist’s proprietary 16-setting SureFit Hosel, which allows golfers to adjust loft and lie independently, allows their 917 clubs to bring the Titleist Tour Van to all golfers. Players will now be able to precisely adjust the clubs to optimize their ball flight for improved shot control, forgiveness and maximum distance.
Jimmy Walker began testing 917 prototypes as early as January 2016 at the Titleist Performance Institute in Oceanside, California. At his first opportunity, Walker put his new 8.5° 917D2 into play at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone in July. Less than a month later, Walker with the same 917D2, won his first major title at the PGA Championship at a waterlogged and muddy Baltusrol Golf Club.
“I put the 917D2 straight into play. It was definitely faster, had a better sound and feel, and I really loved the shape,” Walker said. “Performance-wise, we found a lower sweet spot and I was able to lower my spin rate to exactly where I wanted. The ball flight was also what I liked to see, which is not super high. I can fly the ball on a rope anywhere from 295-310 (yards) and then it just rolls out far and straight. I’ve also picked up a lot of confidence hitting it into the wind.” Also at the PGA Championship, Byeong Hun An won the event’s Long Drive Contest, blasting a 347-yard drive off Baltusrol’s first tee with his new 8.5°917D3 driver. “My misses seem to stay straight right on line and no doubt it’s longer than my 915D4,” An said. The Tour validation of Titleist’s new 917 drivers continued when in just his second start with his new 8.5° 917D2 driver, Greg Chalmers won the Barracuda Championship. His first PGA Tour victory in 386 starts, Chalmers told Golf Channel on the 18th green at Montreux Golf and Country Club, “Thanks to Titleist, I’ve got that new driver they’ve got, that 917, and I gained some yardage and started driving it straighter and I drove it beautifully…”
CG Stephanie Luttrell, Director, Titleist Metalwood Development said, “It’s taken more than five years of extensive research and iteration to perfect this system. First, it’s an exceptionally lean structure that allows us to preserve our high-MOI properties for forgiveness. Second, we’re delivering centre of gravity movement that is meaningful to the golfer. The way we’ve engineered the SureFit CG differentiates us from the competition, allowing us to moderate and control spin in the draw and fade positions for a more consistent trajectory and shot shape while maintaining our high-MOI properties for maximum ball-speed off centre.” In simple terms, the SureFit CG is an adjustable centre of gravity weight design that allows golfers to adjust the draw and fade bias settings of the 917 clubs. The SureFit CG interchangeable weights, which look like long slender tubular batteries, have been well labelled and is easily adjustable so that golfers can make any necessary tweaks themselves. The SureFit CG weights are also noticeably inserted at an angle deep on the sole of the club head. This unique orientation of the SureFit CG enables the centre of gravity to be moved from Neutral to a back, heel position (Draw) or forward, toe position (Fade). Each SureFit CG position affects dynamic face closure and gear-effect sidespin, enabling golfers to enhance their preferred ball flight and shot shape through more consistent impact and spin. For example, when moved into the fade position, the SureFit CG brings the spin rate down for the fade hence, not compromising distance. The streamlined design of the SureFit CG provides significant weight savings versus competitive “track” systems. This allows the CG to be manipulated while preserving 917’s high-MOI properties for distance with forgiveness. SureFit CG also provides the flexibility for head/swing weight adjustability of +/- 4 grams.
With that, Titleist can now offer precise adjustability through a highly efficient interchangeable weight system, optimizing spin and launch conditions for a more consistent trajectory and tighter shot dispersion. “The combined power of the SureFit hosel and SureFit CG takes us to another level in terms of optimizing spin and maximizing distance potential,” added Dan Stone, Vice President, Titleist Golf Club R&D. “We’ve seen through our extensive player testing that when you determine the appropriate CG for a player, the club squares up and times up more consistently for them. They hit the centre of the face more often, they gain club head speed and ball speed, and their shot dispersion tightens significantly. What’s also notable is that because of those results and that feeling of being dialled in, we’re seeing players gain more confidence and swing more aggressively, which creates even more ball speed and more distance.”
Active Recoil Channel
That’s not all that’s under the hood of the new 917s. Titleist has also refined their Active Recoil Channel (“ARC”). The ARC is a long, wide, deep sole channel across the bottom of the club head that actively flexes and recoils at impact to launch the ball off the face with higher speed and lower spin for more distance. ARC version 2.0 has now refined thickness areas throughout the channel, which includes thinner heel and toe regions. This produces greater face flexibility for a more consistent deflection that reduces spin and increases speed across the face for mishits off the toe and heel. In the 917 fairways, ARC 2.0 will feature a unique elastomer insert with a hollow core. The added bonus of this is that there will be no grass debris that will get trapped in the channel, unlike the previous 915 fairways. For the 917 drivers, Titleist has also revamped its Radial Speed Face to version 2.0. This is a high-speed forged face insert, and is tuned with ARC 2.0 to promote greater off-centre ball speed for more overall distance. Titleist is seeking to deliver stability and forgiveness by preserving off-centre ball speed for more distance more often with all these features plus precise high-MOI, optimized head shape designs with low and deep centre of gravity locations. Through this also, Titleist has designed the heads to produce specific acoustic frequencies to deliver a tour-inspired sound and feel that the world’s best players demand. With SureFit CG, by aligning the centre of gravity with the impact position, the clubs seem to have a more solid feel. Titleist loyalists will also notice a look reminiscent of the company’s drivers from yesteryear in a new crown finish called “Liquid Slate” that resemble fan favourites such as the 975D and 983K.
17 Fairway Metals
Much consideration has also been given to easy-to-hit fairway metals according to Stephanie Luttrell who said, “Traditionally, fairway woods have been some of the most difficult clubs to hit. With 917 fairways, we’re giving players a more playable, easier-to-hit fairway wood with increased speed performance – and that’s a great package. Our previous generation 915 models took us to a new level in terms of launch and spin performance with fairway metals, and we knew that we didn’t want to take 917 off the cliff in terms of further lowering spin. We’ve optimized 917 fairway spin through a deeper CG position that drives up our MOI and via our loft setting. What golfers can expect are products that launch higher with the same spin, products that are easier to get up in the air with more speed and more distance potential.” Like its 917 drivers, Titleist’s 917 fairway metals have also earned overwhelming validation and success with tour players around the world. Since the fairways seeding and validation process began at the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic in early August, more than 75 new 917 fairway models have been put into play across worldwide professional tours. “I think the new 917 fairway metal is Titleist’s best yet,” said Jimmy Walker, who has new 917F2 15° and 917F2 18° models in the bag. “I played with the 3-wood at home after the PGA Championship and loved it. I then confirmed my numbers on Trackman on the range at Firestone, where I put it the bag the first chance I got.” “The 917F is the newest club in my bag and I absolutely love it,” echoed Justin Thomas of his new 917F3 15°. “I gained significant ball speed and had to go up in loft from 14.25° to 15°. I now carry it from 270-280 and it can roll out to 290-300, depending on conditions. It also has a great feel to it.” The takeaway of all the changes and new technology in the 917 line is that players will then be able to swing more confidently through the ball. This translates to better and more consistent contact, which equals more ball speed and hence, more distance.
The 917 line for both drivers and fairways are offered in two models with two distinct performance choices particularly in spin and trajectory, for greater fitting flexibility and precise flight/shot shape optimization:
- 917D2 provides distance and forgiveness in a large 460cc full pear profile. 917D2 offers more forgiveness and produces a higher peak trajectory with 250rpm more spin versus 917D3. (Available in 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° and 12° lofts.)
- 917D3 provides distance with workability in a traditional, tour-inspired 440cc pear profile. 917D3 offers more workability and 250rpm less spin versus 917D2. (Available in 8.5°, 9.5°, and 10.5° lofts.)
- 917F2 provides all-around playability with forgiveness and more distance in a larger profile fairway. 917F2 offers more spin and higher launch versus 917F3 for a higher trajectory. (Available in 13.5°, 15°, 16.5°, 18° and 21° lofts.)
- 917F3 provides versatility with shot control and more distance in a compact profile fairway. 917F3 offers less spin versus 917F2 for a more boring trajectory.
(Available in 13.5° and 15° lofts.)
Before rushing out to buy a 917, be sure not to do a disservice to the clubs and to short-change yourself by not getting custom fit for your 917 driver or fairway metal. In player testing, golfers properly fit for a 917 driver experienced an average of 0.5 to 1 mph additional ball speed and 100 to 200 rpm lower spin over the previous 915 models – translating to an average of three to five yards more carry distance. When it came to fairway metals, golfers properly fit experienced an average of 0.3 to 0.5mph additional ball speed and 0.25 to 0.5° higher launch with the new fairway models over the previous 915 models – for an average of 3 to 7 yards more carry distance. With both 917 driver models, players experienced more consistent speeds and lower spin across the face than their 915 drivers. Whilst with both 917 fairway models, players experienced more consistent speeds and higher launch than their 915 fairways. With respect to SureFit CG position preferences, it was noted that all players were fairly evenly fitted into Neutral, Draw and Fade positions.
As for shaft options, to fit a wide range of players and swing speeds, Titleist will again be offering high performance aftermarket shaft options as stock from the two most played driver and three most played fairway shaft families on the PGA Tour. You can also pick other custom shaft options available from Titleist. A point to note is that your 915 driver shafts can also fit into the new 917 drivers.
Driver Stock Shaft Options (standard length at 45 inches)
- Aldila Rogue M*AX 65 (low-mid launch)
- Mitsubishi Diamana Limited D+ White 70 (low launch)
- Mitsubishi Diamana Limited S+ Blue 60 (mid launch)
- Mitsubishi Diamana Limited M+ Red 50 (high launch)
Fairway Stock Shaft Options
- Aldila Rogue M*AX 75 (mid-launch)
- Fujikura Speeder Pro TS 84 (mid-launch
- Mitsubishi Diamana Limited D+ White 80 (low launch)
- Mitsubishi Diamana Limited S+ Blue 70 (mid launch)
- Mitsubishi Diamana Limited M+ Red 60 (high launch)
For Custom Fitting appointments across Titleist’s South East Asia Club Fitting Network please visit: http://www.titleist.com.sg/ club-fitting-network.