June 20, 2016
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
- The new Titleist 917D3 that tour players will have the opportunity to test out this week at Congressional. (Jonathan Wall/PGA TOUR)
BETHESDA, Md. — Armed with new 917D2 and 917D3 prototypes, Titleist began its Tour seeding and validation process for the TOUR-only drivers on Monday at Congressional Country Club.
The seeding and validation process gives players in the field an opportunity to test the product for the first time and potentially put it in play. A handful of players were on site testing both models, including Blayne Barber (917D2) and Robert Streb (917D3).
Keeping with the way Titleist does TOUR launches, it wouldn't comment on the design or performance characteristics behind either club.
Just looking at both heads, there are a number of differences between 917 and its predecessor. The most noticeable is a SureFit CG cartridge that's featured prominently in the heel and toe of the sole, similar to what was recently introduced with the high-end C16 driver.
During a recent interview with Steve Pelisek, Titleist’s president of golf clubs, he hinted that technology from the C16 driver and iron could make its way into retail products down the road.
"It's very possible that technology you see in some of these concept products could appear in future retail options," Pelisek told PGATOUR.COM. "We're always pushing ourselves to see if we can come up with something better."
Assuming 917D has the same SureFit CG, it allows the center of gravity to be altered to produce a fade or draw, via a cylindrical cartridge that's inserted diagonally from the low-heel area and high-toe section to help with shot-shaping and spin characteristics.
During testing on Monday, Titleist Tour reps had a handful of cartridges nearby for players to try out during the fitting process.
Another new addition is a new high-gloss, metallic grey paint on the crown that appears to be a throwback to previous Titleist driver models like the 905R. The crown on the 915 was a dark black color.
One carryover from the 915D driver is Titleist's Active Recoil Channel (ARC) in the bottom of the sole that runs from the heel to the toe — just behind the leading edge — allowing the top and bottom of the face to deflect, increasing ball speeds across the entire face and reducing spin.
Titleist's SureFit adjustable hosel also returns, along with the recently updated triangle crown alignment logo that debuted two years ago.
The 917F fairway woods will be introduced on TOUR in the coming weeks. The hybrid launch was altered last season and now runs on the same schedule as the irons.