Chez Reavie won the Canadian Open two weeks ago and Parker McLachlin won the following week using a prototype driver that's been getting a lot of buzz on the PGA Tour, in our forum, and around the golf rumor mills, websites, and 19th holes.
The drivers, which debuted shortly before the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, have even been talked about at Titleist's Tour Blog - a small but important step for the usually secretive Acushnet company.
A few weeks after the U.S. Open I was invited to Titleist's Oceanside facility to try out some of the new equipment - it's far more than just drivers - and I've come away with some information. Here, now, is what I learned.
Some have said the Titleist driver lineup has been lackluster for a few years. Not since the 905S/T models has the company truly offered two drivers that fit the vast majority of golfers. The 905R produced a little more spin than some players liked, and the 907D1 and 907D2 offered little change in the launch characteristics. A lower-spinning driver has been missing, and 907 sales have not met industry expectations. On the PGA Tour, several more players than Titleist wanted stuck with their trusty 905 driver (usually the R) because they saw little need to change to the more rounded 907D2.
Titleist's 2008/2009 metals plans should signal a return to form for the company, as three drivers - the 909 DComp, 909D2, and 909D3 will be launched to suit players with a wide variety of launch conditions. Titleist views this as their strongest lineup ever for the better player, with each of the three models clearly positioned to provide best-in-class performance for the targeted golfer.
The 909 drivers, like virtually all of Titleist's equipment, is targeted at the Tour golfer, better players, and "aspiring serious golfer." These golfers all have different swing speeds and angles of attack that require different performance characteristics - even on the PGA Tour. For example, Stack and Tilt golfers tend to hit down more with their drivers than conventional swingers, and they need a driver that works for them as well.
Golfers also have different preferences in terms of ball flight, trajectory, and playability, and demand more than just distance - a list that includes appearance, feel, sound, accuracy, quality, and consistency.
These requirements can't be met with a single driver, so Titleist is releasing three: the DComp, the D2, and the D3. Each offers distinct performance characteristics with a precisely positioned CG that should fit everyone from the Tour player up to the "aspiring" 10-15 handicapper. All three models feature a lower crown and profile, which moves the CG a bit further back and down, reducing spin and increasing MOI.
The 909 drivers all have several things in common.
- A SureFit swingweight screw, available in three weights (2 grams, 7 grams, and 12 grams) will allow the clubfitter to maintain the appropriate swingweight with different length and weight shafts.
- Optimal CG location low and deep in the clubhead.
- Shaped sole design with the primary tasks of tuning the acoustics and reducing vibration. Each model has a different "trim" color on the sole as well.
- Modern shapes with Tour-approved profiles - gone is the "triangle" found in the 907D1.
- A milled 6-4 formed titanium face insert that features variable thickness, including a thicker trapezoidal shape near the center surrounded by thinner material to maximize ball speed across the face.
- An integral Titanium blind bore hosel - gone is the bore-through design found on the 905 and 907 drivers. This saves internal weight, provides a solid feel, and allows for more shaft options.
All three driver heads will be available on Titleist's SureFit fitting cart system, which will be updated in the fall to include 10 iron heads and 15 shafts along with 7 driver heads and 16 shafts (for 112 combinations). Some of the included driver shafts will be the Aldila DVS, Voodoo, Diamana Blue 65, 55, GDI YSQ6, Graffaloy ProLaunch Red, Mitsubishi Javlnfx M7, Ozik XCon-5, -6, UST ProForce V2, and others.
The 909 DComp (for composite) is a 460cc, deep-faced driver with a full pear profile. It features - big surprise - composite carbon material in the crown and offers high launch angles with low to mid spin. 18 grams of Titanium were replaced with 10 grams of composite material, which allowed engineers to create a larger profile, a deeper CG for added stability, higher MOI, and good distance on off-center hits. MOI is around 5200 and Titleist guesses that about 20% of their golfers - from Tour players to aspiring golfers - will fit into this driver most comfortably.
The 909 DComp will be available to righties and lefties in 8.5, 9.5, and 10.5 degree models. Righties also get an 11.5° model. The lie angle is 59°, and the face is 0.5° open. Stock shafts include the Matrix Ozik XCon-5 (62g, 4.9° torque, medium-soft tip, mid-low flex point, med-high trajectory) and the XCon-6 (65g, 4.1° torque, stiff tip, med-high flex point, medium trajectory). The sole features red paint highlights on the high polish silver. The body is "black high gloss." Bulge and roll are 13" and 11" respectively, and the MAP is $499.
The 909D2 is a 460cc titanium driver with a full pear profile and mid launch characteristics with low to mid spin. MOI is 4800, allowing for a little more workability, and the face is less deep than the 909 DComp or D3, providing launch confidence and a preferred setup appearance for some.
The 909D2 will be offered in the same lofts (8.5-11.5 for righties, 8.5-10.5 for lefties), comes with a lie angle of 58°, and also a 0.5° open face. The stock shaft will be the Aldila Voodoo (69g, 3.3° torque, med-stiff tip, mid-high flex point, medium trajectory) and the Diamana Blue 65 (65g, 4.3° torque, medium tip, mid flex point, medium trajectory). The high polish silver sole features silver paint highlights and the body is, again, "black high gloss." Bulge and roll are 12" and 11" and the MAP is $399.
The 909D3 is the smallest of the 909s, at 440cc. It is a titanium driver with a deep face, a classic pear profile, and mid launch, low spin launch characteristics and an MOI of 4600. Many will recognize that this model is an extension of the cult hit 907D4 model that was never released to the public.
The 909D3 will be offered 8.5, 9.5, and 10.5 degree lofts for righties and lefties. 909D2 comes with a lie angle of 58° and a 0.5° open face. The stock shaft will be the Aldila Voodoo and the Diamana Blue 65. Sole paint highlights are black. Bulge, roll, and MAP are the same as 909D2.
The 906F has been a relatively successful fairway metal for Titleist. Though the "second model" (the 906F4) wasn't released until a year after the 906F2, the two combine to cover the vast majority of good golfers wishes. The 906F2 offers a deeper face for those who don't have trouble getting the ball airborn from the fairway or for those who hit their fairway woods from the tees more frequently, and the 906F4 features an extra half degree of loft and a shallower face to aid players who need a little help getting the ball off the fairway.
The 2008/2009 fairway metal lineup pretty much matches the 906F lineup with the 909F2 and the 909F3. These fairway woods offer two shapes with Tour proven profiles, while each offers a distinct CG location for specific launch conditions and ball flights.
The 909F2 (successor to 906F4) features a shallow, extended face, a round profile, and a mid to high launch with mid spin. It too has a half degree higher loft and a lower CG for higher launch without increased spin. The deeper CG adds to the stability, increases MOI, and increases distance on mishits. The larger, longer face profile provides more confidence and forgiveness.
The 909F2 is made of a 17-4 stainless steel body with a 275 carpenter steel face. Righties and lefties both can pick up a 909F2 in October in 13.5, 15.5, and 18.5 degree models (lie angles of 57, 57, and 57.5°, all with a 0.5° open face). The sole features silver paint highlights and the stock shafts are the Aldila Voodo and the Diamana Blue 65.
The 909F3 (successor to 906F2) features a deep face and a full pear profile with mid launch and low spin. The half degree lower loft (vs 909F2) and deeper face promote a boring trajectory from both tee and turf, while the deeper CG adds to stability, MOI, and distance on mishits. The 909F3's deeper face and smaller, pear profile clubhead will provide more confidence to players that prefer a compact looking fairway wood.
The 909F3 is also made of 17-4 stainless steel and 275 carpenter steel. Righties and lefties can choose from lofts of 13, 15, and 18 degrees (lie angles of 57, 57, and 57.5°, all with a 0.5° open face). The sole of the 909F3 features black paint highlights and the stock shafts are the Aldila Voodo and the Diamana Blue 75.
Both models have an MAP of $199.
Though the 503.H had a limited following, Titleist gained a lot of ground despite coming late to the hybrid game with the 585.H. The 909 hybrids tweak and improve on the proven 585.H to create an even better hybrid for better players.
The 909H features progressive head sizes, shapes, and offset moves the CG progressively to produce optimum launch, spin, playability, workability, and trajectory control. Lower lofted hybrids have a larger profile and less offset to match fairway metals, while higher lofted hybrids have a smaller profile and a bit more offset to more closely match irons. All 909H models feature a deeper CG for added stability and increased MOI, and the overall size of the head is a bit larger with a longer face and a squarer, Tour-approved profile for a more confident appearance at setup and more forgiveness.
Made of a 17-4 cast stainless steel body and 455 carpenter steel face, much effort was put into tweaking the feel of the clubs to make the ball stay on the clubface longer (or feel like it, at least). Righties and lefties can pick up 909H in October in lofts of 15, 17, 19, 21, and 24 degrees (lie angles 58, 58.25, 58.5, 59, and 59.5 degrees). All have a 0.5° open face and silver paint highlights. Stock shafts include the Aldila Voodoo Hybrid and the Diamana Blue 85 Hybrid. MAP is $189.
2008 is a big year for Titleist. They replaced their entire iron collection in the spring, and the fall will see their entire metals (drivers, fairways, hybrids) replaced. The Vokey wedge collection is being replaced as well, and Scotty Cameron is releasing new putters (see a later Bag Drop for information on those).
As usual, look for our reviews of the Titleist equipment shortly after they ship to retailers in October, 2008.