IN the past, Titleist metals were known for their beauty, workability and stability. But absent from these endearing qualities was one that was sought after by many—distance. For most amateur golfers, that’s a disqualifying trait. Golf courses are getting longer and players stronger and more athletic so distance has become more important to the recreational golfer than ever before. To date, Titleist’s core market is the better golfer for whom distance is not such a big concern. The 915 family of metals manages to straddle these divergent markets without compromising its core strengths. This is a big deal.
The new Titleist 915 drivers, built for distance without compromise, are designed using patented ARC (ARC) technology to produce lower spin and higher speed for more distance—without sacrificing forgiveness.
“The new 915 drivers are a game changer for us,” said Dan Stone, vice president of Research and Development (R&D), 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 ARC 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 ARC 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.”
The 915D2 driver is a 460cc full-pear shaped head designed for maximum forgiveness and a slight draw bias. The 915D3 features a 440cc pear shape that is forgiving and workable, and offers 250rpm less spin than 915D2 to produce a lower peak trajectory. Both models launch similar to their previous generation Titleist 913 models.
The new ARC—a long, wide, deep channel, positioned along the sole of the club head, close to the leading edge—delivers more distance by actively flexing at impact to launch the ball with lower spin and higher speed.
The ARC allows the entire clubface, both crown and sole, to deflect at impact for high speed. (Clubs without ARC technology have a more rigid sole and deflect mostly in the face and crown at impact resulting in less speed and higher spin.)
“With the ARC, 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,” Stone said. “It also creates a greater recoil effect, which imparts more speed, particularly low on the face.”
The effectiveness of the ARC is maximized by its efficient, proprietary construction. Relative to competitive drivers with slot technology, ARC is wider, deeper and longer, stretching across the entire sole from heel to toe.
“All of those aspects garner us more performance out of our channel design,” Stone said. “Properly managing spin benefits us through all levels of swing speeds and player types. High-spin players get longer, straighter flight with more carry distance. Players that already manage spin well can further increase their distance by a slight loft increase. Even players on the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour, who are typically the best fit players in the world, have increased their distance potential.
“It’s also important to remember that less spin across the face also means more consistent spin across the face. When we launched these drivers on tour, the most dominant point of feedback we received was that the spin and speed are very consistent across the face. And what that translates to for every golfer, not just PGA Tour players, is that you’re going to see better launch conditions and more distance even if the ball is hit off-center.”
INCREASED BALL SPEED THROUGH RADIAL SPEED FACE
Working in combination with the ARC, the Radial Speed Face insert increases ball speed on off-center hits for more distance and more consistent speeds across the clubface.
The high-speed, variable thickness face insert has a central thick portion, but is thinner and organically tapered as you move out from center. During the development of 915, Titleist R&D identified specific areas on the face insert, particularly in the heel and toe, which could be thinned further to increase performance on off-center hits.
“ARC and the Radial Speed Face are two technologies that really work well together,” Stone said. “ARC does an excellent job increasing ball speeds overall, however, its biggest effect happens low on the club face where the channel is positioned. As you move off center and mishit heel or toe, that’s where the Radial Speed Face insert kicks in—you’re getting more flex in those areas which helps generate more speed.
“The speed consistency on heel and toe hits is one of the first things Tour players are noticing. They don’t hit it off-center too often, but when they do it’s often a pressure situation when they need forgiveness the most.”
HIGH MOI DESIGN FOR DISTANCE AND FORGIVENESS
Distance gains from the ARC and Radial Speed Face are preserved by the 915’s precise, high-MOI design.
“Many golfers understand high MOI as straightness or accuracy, but high MOI is truly about speed and distance,” Stone said. “It’s about maintaining speed across the face for increased distance consistency. We’ve added great performance with the ARC and Radial Speed Face to lower spin and increase speed, and by having high MOI we don’t have to give any of it up.”
With 915 drivers, Titleist R&D targeted a low and deep center of gravity (CG) position in order to maintain stability and forgiveness. The new ARC construction, however, added mass low and forward in the sole—which, in general, is counter to maintaining inertia and a low and deep CG.
To help offset that weight, Titleist engineers cast the 915’s ultra-thin crown and body from 8-1-1 titanium, which provides the same resiliency and properties as the 6-4 titanium used in prior generation 913 models but has a lighter density. (At 0.5 millimeter, it is also the thinnest consistent crown thickness in the industry.) R&D saved additional weight by tapering the top line and leading edge, and adding thin pockets in areas of low stress toward the front of the head. All these measures create discretionary mass, which was redistributed low and deep resulting in an ideal CG location and high MOI.
INDUSTRY-LEADING ADJUSTABILITY WITH SUREFIT TOUR HOSEL
The distance potential and complete performance of Titleist 915 drivers can be further refined through precision fitting using Titleist’s patented, industry-leading SureFit Tour adjustable hosel technology.
The dual-angle SureFit Tour hosel, inspired by the customization previously available only on a tour van, allows golfers to set loft and lie independently to optimize ball flight—higher or lower, and for more draw or fade for improved shot control and maximum distance.
The SureFit Tour hosel features a sleeve and ring, each with four settings. The sleeve settings are numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4, and the ring settings are lettered A, B, C and D. In total there are 16 settings, each creating a unique loft and lie combination.
A Titleist authorized fitter will utilize the SureFit Tour hosel, coupled with interchangeable shafts and SureFit Tour weights, to determine a player’s optimal setup so they are playing a 915 driver fit precisely to their game.
The Titleist 915 driver hosel is compatible with 913 and 910 model shafts.
Complementing the new drivers are the full line of fairways and hybrids that use the same core technologies except for the technology of the clubface. Because fairways and hybrids are smaller, a different technology is used for the clubface.
INCREASED BALL SPEED FROM ULTRA THIN FACE
Titleist 915 fairway metals and hybrids feature a new Ultra-Thin Face that works in combination with the ARC to deliver increased ball speed across the entire face. The high-speed, constant thickness face insert, made of high-strength Carpenter steel, is the thinnest face insert Titleist R&D has ever developed.
“If you think about how the ARC works, with its flexibility it actually takes some load off the face. We found through our testing that we could thin the face further without compromising durability. And because we’re not at COR limits like with drivers, we were able to make the insert thinner. Those two improvements have allowed us to maximize ball speed across the entire face to make these clubs longer. You get more speed off the turf from ARC, and more speed when you hit it off the tee with the Ultra-Thin Face,” Stone said.
The new Titleist 915 Metals will be in Empire Golf Shops by mid-December, just in time for Santa to stuff into your stockings for Christmas.