Titleist's newest generation of drivers and fairway woods, the 917 Series, would best be described as a marriage of cutting edge tech, and well, nostalgia.
The new series is a bit of a gamble for Titleist, as this is their first driver and fairway woods with a fully adjustable center-of-gravity (CG) adapter. Along with the new tech, both clubs have gone back to the metallic grey paint that was on the ever popular 975 series. The amount of adjustable options that these new clubs possess is endless and makes it a tinkerer's dream.
917 D2 & D3 drivers
What's new: The biggest change to the drivers from the 915 generation is the addition of the SureFit CG adapter, which changes the the draw and fade bias of the club without adjusting the SureFit hosel settings.
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The driver comes with two, stock 12-gram weights which are in two configurations, either draw/ fade or neutral. Adjusting the CG location is as simple as unscrewing the cap and replacing or adjusting the SureFit insert in the adapter. There will be an insert kit available which will come in a series of weights, ranging from 8-16 grams. The kit will include both the draw/fade and neutral versions of the weights.
The Active Recoil Channel and the Radial Speed Face have been slightly modified from the 915 series and been given the 2.0 designation.
The new shafts are essentially an updated lineup carried over from the previous generation. They include the Aldila Rogue M*AX 65, Fujikura Speeder Pro Tour Spec 74, Mitsubishi Diamana Ltd. White 70, Blue 60, Red 50 as well as the Red 40 version in the women's model.
What's the same: The SureFit hosel adapter remains unchanged, allowing 915 (and 913) users to use their current shafts if so desired. The stock Golf Pride Tour Velvet grip is also carried over to the new model. The lofts for the 917 drivers are 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 with a 12-degree option being available in the larger D2. The stock 45-inch length and D2 swing weight remains as well.
After hitting the drivers, the biggest difference I observed was the higher ballspeeds on off- center hits compared to the 915. This can be attributed to not only the improved Active Recoil Channel and Radial Speed Face, but to the improved CG location with the addition of the SureFit CG insert. The sound at impact was more muted and didn't feel like I was hitting a tin can either. Even though I am a high-spin player, the D2 kept spin in check nicely and I didn't have any drives balloon on me. I tested several shafts with different weight configurations.
What makes the system pretty cool is that you can essentially keep the same swing weight when changing shafts by swapping out the SureFit CG insert. The amount that the driver can be modified to suit the player is silly. While I was going through the fitting, we didn't even hit 10 percent of the available configurations.
I've previously gamed the 915 D2 and really liked the fact that I can put the driver 1.5 degrees more upright, which helps me when playing a finished length of 44.25-44.5 inches. That the same adjustability feature is still found on the 917 should not be overlooked. It is one of the most under appreciated aspects of the Titleist hosel adapter.
The Titleist 917 drivers carry sell for $500 and are available Oct. 21.
917 F2 & F3 fairway woods
What's new: For starters, the names have been changed. Just slightly. In keeping with the throwback theme, the F and FD monikers have been replaced with the F2 and F3 label that was last on the 909 series. And just like the drivers, the fairway woods get the SureFit CG adapter and the same metallic grey paint job on the crown.
The SureFit CG weights are slightly smaller and will not be interchangeable with the drivers. The SureFit CG adapter has been placed closer to the face lowering the CG location, which in turn helps get the ball airborne more easily. The stock weight will be slightly heavier at 14 grams and the club will come with two inserts as well. There will also be a kit available with the different inserts, with the weights ranging from 10-18 grams.
The new models get the same Active Recoil Channel 2.0 upgrade as the drivers. However, Titleist engineers have wisely put an elastomer insert into the channel to improve feel at impact and prevent debris from getting in the channel from turf interaction.
The shaft selection has also been upgraded to include the Aldila Rogue M*AX 75, Fujikura Speeder Pro Tour Spec 84, Mitsubishi Diamana LTD White 80, Blue 70, Red 60 and Red 50 in the women's model.
What's the same: The SureFit hosel adapter is carried over from the 915 series and the stock length of 43 inches with a lie angle of 56.5 degrees also remains the same. The 917 F2 is offered in 13.5 (right-handed only), 15, 16.5, 18 and 21 (right-handed only) degree lofts while the F3 is available in 13.5- and 15-degree lofts.
After testing them, the F2 & F3 definitely feel better then the previous generation and I absolutely love the metallic grey crown. I didn't notice any substantial distance gains, however the forgiveness element of the club is much better and the ball speeds seem to be slightly higher on off center strikes. While I can't pin it on the elastomer insert in the Active Recoil Channel, the club goes through the turf quite nicely and didn't want to dig in. For those who prefer to use a fairway metal off of the tee, the 13.5-degree F3 might be the best option. The head can be lofted down to 12.75 degrees, and the deeper profile provides slightly lower spin over it's F2 counterpart.
The new fairways are being released at the same as the drivers and will cost $325 each.
After hitting the new 917 lineup, Titleist definitely has done well with this release. They have been able to provide cutting edge technology in a throwback package that will stir memories to many golfers of their first titanium driver, the 975D. To be able to increase forgiveness, overall ball speed all while keeping spin in check is no easy feat.