You can't go a short par 3 without seeing a Titleist. Their equipment -- particularly golf balls and accessories -- is ubiquitous.
So why is Titleist coming out with a high-end offering that will be available to only a few thousand people?
Well, the idea behind the company's Concept line is simple. It's the result of the company challenging its engineers and designers to create the best-performing equipment without regard to price. The result is the C16 driver and irons.
STORY CONTINUES BELOW
The C16 driver appeared on the USGA conforming driver head list on April 4, so we had a sense of what the club looked like and its design specs. However, we didn't know price, which will be $999 -- and they're only making 1,500 of them.
The club features three different types of titanium. The 811 titanium body has a channel on the sole near the face for compression, improving MOI and forgiveness. The cup face is made of forged SP700 titanium to offer improved flex at impact. On the thinned-out (just .35 mm) ATI-425 titanium crown, which is laser welded to the head, there's a C16 alignment marker.
All of the weight savings from using those materials allowed Titleist to make its first foray into center-of-gravity adjustment. There's a 10-gram weight which runs across the body sole and is slightly diagonal toward the heel. Each club comes with two weights, one evenly distributed and another off-balance so a player could create a draw or fade bias depending on how the weight is placed in the slot. Place the heavy end toward the heel, the CG moves back a little and promotes a higher draw. Move the heavy end to the toe side and get a lower-flying control fade.
The C16 driver will be available in 9- and 10.5-degree models on April 28.
The C16 irons are somewhat inspired by the company's successful T-MB utility irons. It's a hollow forged iron designed to fly high and far in a body that is more like that of a player's iron.
Three varieties of steel and a whole lot of tungsten -- as much as 100 grams -- were used to build the irons. In the 4- through 7-irons, the forged face and hosel are created from a welded piece of 1025 carbon steel and K301 steel, commonly found in high-end cars. The 2 mm thick cup face is made from the K301 and has the largest unsupported face area Titleist has produced. On the remaining irons, there's a 1RK95 steel face insert. The backs of each iron are made from cast 17-4 stainless steel.
The clubs also have SureFit grips, which allow the player to add up to 20 grams of weight either at the butt end of the club or below the shaft.
A golfer can get the C16 irons starting on April 28, which have the same lofts as the current AP1 irons, with whatever shafts they choose, but the company is promoting two shaft options with weights which increase down to the scoring irons. For $2,700, the company will put in Nippon N.S. Pro 880 steel shafts, while Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Limited Edition graphite shafts are available for another $300.
You won't be able to just show up to your local pro shop or golf store and grab some C16 clubs off the rack. Besides, if you're paying almost $4,000 for a driver and irons, you should be fit perfectly. So, golfers interested in buying the clubs will have to be fit at the company's headquarters in either Massachusetts or California, or getting fit at one of more than 80 locations where fitters will be on site every Thursday through the end of June.