There is no club in the bag that golfers take more seriously than their driver. Although they may hit it no more than 14 times a round, it is so deeply tied to their ego that they’re almost always willing to pay for a better one. And if that driver can mask the imperfections of their golf swing, even better.
That’s part of the promise of the new Titleist 915 D2 and D3 drivers, recently announced and set to hit retail in Canada on November 14th.
It has been two years since the 913 drivers were introduced by the company and loyalists are itching for an update. After testing the clubs, both on the range and over the course of the round, we think they’ll be pleased at what they deliver.
As you can normally expect from Titleist, the next iteration of product provides some subtle updates in the look and overall profile of the club heads. That is, except for the bottom of the club where the new “Active Recoil Channel (ARC)” resides. Although not radical looking compared to the driver market that currently exists, the technology is definitely a leap forward for one of the game’s top manufacturers, and when it come to actual performance, the result of its addition is certainly noticeable.
“The great thing is that the 915 is significantly better than the 913,” Titleist Vice President of Golf Club Marketing Chris McGinley said in an August interview, “That’s what is exciting.”
ARC is but one of three major technical features of the Titleist drivers but it is certainly the most significant. The high moment of inertia (MOI) design is intended to provided more stability and better performance on off-centre hits along with a “Radial Speed Face” – a forged face insert that helps on that aspect as well, but ARC is heart of the 915 advancement.
“The new 915 drivers are a game-changer for us,” said Dan Stone, Vice President of Research and Development, Titleist Golf Clubs. “We’ve increased speed and lowered spin without sacrificing MOI or forgiveness – and we’re the first to get that combination right.
“The Active Recoil Channel is a major technical leap in the area of spin reduction. In player testing, we’ve seen significant distance gains, up to 15 yards for players who need spin control.
“We began incorporating Active Recoil Channel in the prototype phase about four years ago, but this kind of technology requires a lot of fine-tuning if you’re going to do something that’s different, as opposed to making a cosmetic or marketing change. By adding significant technology for speed and spin without sacrificing MOI, we think we’ve done something very special that nobody’s done to this point.”
ARC is actually a long, wide and deep sole channel that actively flexes at impact and recoils. As a result it matches the flex of the crown, which reduces how much spin is imparted on the golf ball, especially on strikes near the lower part of the club head.
Which brings me back to the golfer itself, you know, the imperfect one. Also known as just about every golfer not playing on the PGA TOUR. And even they don’t hit it perfect every time.
In live testing one thing was clear, the 913D2 and D3 continue to be great drivers but the 915 models are a definite step up. Where we noticed it the most was on off-centre strikes, particularly low on the face and towards the heel, a common ball contact location for average golfers. The high MOI design still provided a lot of stability, but the hit that would normally produce a lot of extra distance-robbing backspin still resulted in overall distances not that far off of a clean, centred hit.
“With the Active Recoil Channel, the ball is compressing in a different manner and doesn’t have the chance to gather as much rotational energy so it departs the club face with less spin,” explains Dan Stone. “It also creates a greater recoil effect, which imparts more speed, particularly low on the face.”
It’s technical, for sure, but if the result is longer ball flights on less than perfect swings, golfers will definitely be happy with the upgrade.
The two 915 driver models are the 915D2, a full pear-shaped 460cc head design with a slight draw bias, and a the 915D3 that features a 440cc pear shape that is still forgiving but even further reduces spin over the D2 model, up to 250 RPM’s.
Previous Titleist driver owners will note that the 915 SureFit Hosel used (which offers up to 16 settings of loft and lie combinations) is compatible with the 913 and 910 driver models.
915D2 is available in 7.5º, 8.5º, 9.5º, 10.5º and 12º lofts. 915D3 is available in 7.5º, 8.5º, 9.5º, and 10.5º. (7.5º lofts are RH only.)
As always Titleist will offer plenty of fitting options through their authorized dealers. The stock shaft line-up includes the Aldila Rogue Black 70 (mid-launch) and Aldila Rogue Silver 60 (lower-mid launch); and the Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 70 (low launch), Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Blue 60 (mid launch), and Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Red 50 (high launch).