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It's Official: Titleist Announces new 915 Drivers
14 Oct 2014
by AmateurGolf.com Staff

see also: Equipment Reviews

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FAIRHAVEN, Mass. (Oct. 1, 2014) – New Titleist 915 drivers, built for distance without compromise, are designed using patented Active Recoil Channel™ technology to produce lower spin and higher speed for more distance – without sacrificing forgiveness.

Available in golf shops worldwide beginning Nov. 14, new Titleist 915D2 and 915D3 drivers benefit serious golfers of all swing speeds by delivering maximum distance while maintaining a high MOI for exceptional forgiveness. The improved performance of Titleist 915 drivers, underlining the Titleist Golf Club R&D team’s driver design strategy of “distance and forgiveness,” is the result of three key advancements:

• The proprietary Active Recoil Channel, a long, wide and deep sole channel that actively flexes at impact and recoils to launch the ball off the face with higher speed and lower spin;

• Radial Speed Face, a high-speed forged face insert with a radially thinner perimeter in the heel and toe, which works with the Active Recoil Channel to increase ball speed on off-center hits; and

• A precise, high-MOI design with a low and deep center of gravity location that delivers stability and forgiveness by preserving off-center ball speed for more distance, more often.

Those technologies, combined with the fitting precision of Titleist’s industry-leading SureFit Tour hosel and tour-validated looks, sound and feel, make for the most complete, consistent driver performance in the game.

“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.”

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.

Eighteen players put new 915 drivers into play the first week they were available at the PGA Tour’s Quicken Loan Invitational in late June – including Geoff Ogilvy, who trusted his 915D2 9.5º driver to victory at the Barracuda Championship a few weeks later. Twenty-four players used 915 drivers in early August at the PGA Championship, as the momentum continued to build on the PGA Tour and across the worldwide professional tours.

“Titleist players demand the highest quality and performance from their driver. They want more distance, but not at the expense of forgiveness,” said Steve Pelisek, General Manager, Titleist Golf Clubs. “With 915 drivers, our R&D team has produced the best combination of high speed, low spin and high MOI the game has ever seen. It’s distance all the time – distance on center hits, distance on off-center hits, more distance more often. We know that players truly understand and value that distance consistency.”

LOWER SPIN, HIGHER SPEED THROUGH NEW ACTIVE RECOIL CHANNEL: The new Active Recoil Channel – a long, wide, deep channel, positioned along the sole of the clubhead, close to the leading edge – delivers more distance by actively flexing at impact to launch the ball with lower spin and higher speed.

The Active Recoil Channel (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 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,” Stone said. “It also creates a greater recoil effect, which imparts more speed, particularly low on the face.”

The effectiveness of the Active Recoil Channel 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 PGA 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 Active Recoil Channel, the Radial Speed Face 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.

“Active Recoil Channel 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 Active Recoil Channel 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 Active Recoil Channel 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 Active Recoil Channel 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 mm, 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 created discretionary mass, which was redistributed low and deep resulting in an ideal CG location and high MOI. “It’s easier to move your center of gravity low and forward, but if you choose to go low and back to preserve MOI it’s more of challenge,” Stone said. “Low and forward reduces spin, but what you give up by going forward is forgiveness and MOI, so there are some tradeoffs. There is a significant distance potential in terms of the consistency of our products versus competitive low-spin products.

“Our team is always looking at how we can engineer a structure gram by gram. It might not sound like a lot, but the attention to detail that we take with our designs and redistributing mass in the proper way allows us to implement a major technology like ARC without penalty.”

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 continues to be a significant competitive advantage for us,” Stone said. “Through our testing, we know that putting a golfer in the most precise fit unlocks the technology and distance potential in 915 even more.”

The SureFit Tour hosel features a sleeve and ring, each with four settings. The sleeve settings are numbered 1, 2, 3, 4 and the ring settings are lettered A, B, C, 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.

915D2 vs. 915D3: The 915D2 and 915D3 models are designed to provide distinct performance differences, particularly in spin and flight, for greater fitting flexibility.

The 915D2 driver features a larger (460cc), full pear profile for maximum distance and forgiveness. 915D2 produces a higher peak trajectory with 250rpm more spin than 915D3.

The 915D2 profile has been slightly elongated to help maintain inertia and a deep CG, resulting in increased stability with more dynamic face closure for a slight draw bias.

Workable and forgiving, the 915D3 offers a smaller (440cc) deep face pear profile that delivers distance with trajectory control. A result of tour feedback, the 915D3 has a 3mm deeper face than the prior generation, and delivers 250rpm less spin than 915D2. 915D3 produces a lower flight with no draw bias for tour-inspired workability.

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.)

PLAYER TESTING RESULTS: In player testing, golfers that had previously played a 913D2 experienced an average of 115rpm (and up to 300rpm) lower spin with the new 915D2 model – with an average of three yards (and up to 15 yards) more carry distance.

Golfers who previously played a 913D3 saw an average of 250rpm (and up to 500 rpm) lower spin with the new 915D3 – with an average of nine yards (and up to 20 yards) more carry distance.

With both 915 models, players experienced more consistent speeds and lower spin across the face than their 913 drivers.

915 DRIVERS ON TOUR: More than 25 players on the PGA Tour have relied upon new 915 drivers in competition since the tour seeding and validation process began in late June, as well as nearly 100 players across the worldwide professional tours – including Adam Scott (915D3 10.5º), Zach Johnson (915D2 8.5º), Jimmy Walker (915D2 9.5º), Bill Haas (915D2 8.5º) and Graham DeLaet (915D3/7.5).

Geoff Ogilvy was one of 18 players to put a new 915 driver in play the first week it was available at the Quicken Loans Invitational at Congressional Country Club. A few weeks later, Ogilvy played his 915D2 9.5º model in winning the Barracuda Championship for his first PGA Tour title in four years. He also finished tied for second at the Deutsche Bank Championship in September.

“I just unscrewed my 913 shaft and put it in the 915, and after two shots I was sold,” Ogilvy said. “This one is a really big bump forward in performance. The whole face is hotter, so the shots lower on the face perform way better, which for me is great because I love to tee the ball down a little bit.

“It’s just been a great driver for me. I’m equally happy hitting a draw or a fade. When I won in Reno, that’s a course that you need to move it both ways off the tee. And I was so happy with my driver all week. I hit it miles in the altitude and it went forever. And there are a few holes where you have your little bunts, draws and fades and I could do that as well. It just did everything I wanted it to. Driving it so well was a big part of winning it.”

Among other players who have put 915 drivers into play with early success include: Kevin Na (915D3 9.5º), Bernd Weisberger (915D3 7.5º), Cameron Tringale (915D3 9.5º), Jason Bohn (915D3/10.5), Erik Compton (915D3/9.5), Ben Crane (915D2/9.5), Matt Jones (915D2/9.5) and Scott Stallings (915D2/9.5).

WHAT TOUR PLAYERS ARE SAYING

Adam Scott: “Some things are gimmicks and Active Recoil Channel is not. The fact is it’s producing more miles per hour off the club for my ball speed. That’s massive. … Picking up 10 to 15 yards carry is a big deal. It makes a huge difference if I’m hitting a wedge in instead of maybe an 8-iron or if I’m hitting a 5-iron instead of a 3-iron.

“Not only by adding ARC are you gaining the miles per hour, but with the other innovations and redistribution of weight throughout the head the sweet spot gets bigger as well. … I certainly feel like my mishits – if you can even call them that, because you’ve almost got the whole face to play with – have been very good. The carry distance of what I’d call a mishit has been negligible to the ones flushed out of the middle.”

Jimmy Walker: “The golf ball comes off more consistent. We don’t always hit it in the center of the club, and I think mishits are coming off with a lot more control than they used to. When you mishit shots the ball is still coming off with ample amount of speed whereas before in previous driver versions, if you hit one off the center of the clubface a little bit, you were seeing a dramatic drop in speeds and increases in spin. This new driver, the 915, if you’re just off-center a little bit, it’s really keeping the speed up, keeping the spin down, and allowing you to hit better shots more consistently.”

Bill Haas: “It’s hard to find the higher launch and yet not get more spin. With 915, it’s launching a little higher for me but I didn’t gain more spin, which is important. If you have too much spin, you lose distance.”

Zach Johnson: “The new 915 certainly is more forgiving. A mishit still goes properly. My ball speed has gone up and I feel like I’m putting the same swing on.”

Graham DeLaet: “The new 915 driver is awesome. It comes off super hot. My spin rate has come down just a little bit, which I always battled a little bit, and it’s just optimal ball flight. With the spin, you can just see it. The ball is launching nice and flat, especially the into-the wind-shots I was noticing a big increase in distance.”

TOUR-PROVEN STOCK SHAFT MATRIX: The 915’s high-performance stock shaft matrix features five new aftermarket options from the most played driver shaft families on the PGA Tour to fit a wide range of players and swing speeds.

The stock lineup 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).

In addition, Titleist offers an industry-leading number of custom shaft choices.

PLAYER BENEFITS:

• LONGER DISTANCE through low spin and high speed from the Active Recoil Channel™.

• HIGHER SPEED on off-center hits from the Radial Speed Face.

• LOWER SPIN across the face improves distance and direction on off-center hits.

• EXCEPTIONAL FORGIVENESS from the stable, low and deep CG, High MOI Design.

• PRECISION FIT through our industry leading SureFit® Tour Hosel technology.

• PREMIUM SHAFTS provide high performance options to maximize your speed and timing.

• SOLID FEEL and sound from the higher standard of acoustic engineering.

• GREAT LOOKS from the pear profile and rich appearance.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY: The new 915D2 and 915D3 drivers will be available in golf shops worldwide beginning Nov. 14 with an MAP of $449 (MSRP $499).

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