Pros: Titleist adds CG adjustability, gives golfers the ability to control draw and fade bias. Sound and feel are less metallic than 915 drivers. Premium aftermarket shafts offered at no upcharge.

Cons: A forward-CG model like Titleist’s 915D4 is absent from the initial launch. Accomplished, high-spin players could struggle to lower spin rates to an optimal range.

Who they’re for: The 917 drivers target serious golfers with their expanded adjustability, but their balanced designs will suit the vast majority of golfers.

The Review

  • Models: 917D2 (8.5, 9.5, 10.5, 12), 917D3 (8.5, 9.5, 10.5)
  • Release Date: Oct. 21
  • Price: $499 (MAP)

Spend enough time with folks from Titleist — club designers, club builders, club fitters, marketers, etc. — and you get a true sense of how committed they are, as a company, to bringing the Tour experience to golfers. It shows in new initiatives such as Titleist Thursday’s, the vast amounts of grind offerings through WedgeWorks, and the new 917D2 and 917D3 drivers, too.

Related: See the results from the Ultimate Titleist Driver Fitting Experience

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With the neutral 12-gram weight, 917 head weighs have increased 1.5 grams over 915 drivers.

While there are 20 million-plus golfers in the U.S. who play at least one round in a given year; Titleist targets those who don’t just play golf, but would identify themselves as golfers, says Josh Talge, Vice President of Marketing for Titleist Golf Clubs. They’re for golfers who “really want to play better,” he says.

“More than 30 percent of Tour players were using hot melt to adjust CG 5-6 years ago,” Talge said. “And even with the 915 drivers, too.”

The biggest change to the 917 drivers is their adjustable center of gravity (CG), which is achieved through Titleist’s SureFit CG technology. It allows golfers to manipulate the draw and fade bias of the drivers. While CG adjustability is used widely in the industry, it’s something never before seen from Titleist in a full-scale release, so it’s a big deal.

The SureFit CG weights, which look like tubes, are easy to adjust and identify what setting they’re in. There’s an opening on one side of the weight housing, so you can see whether there’s a “+” or “-” sign, with the plus-sign being the heavier side (think of it like a battery). If you see the “+” sign it’s set to draw, and if you see a “-” sign it’s set to fade. If you see a solid red circle, that means you have the neutral weight installed.

You’ll notice the CG weight system is set at a slight angle on the rear portion of the driver sole. That’s to influence a lower-spinning fade and a higher-spinning draw than if the bar was parallel to the face, while also maintaining a high moment of inertia (MOI), a measure of forgiveness, regardless of what setting is used.

The 917 drivers also have the familiar 16-setting SureFit Hosel from Titleist, allowing face angle and lie angles to change independently. The combination of SureFit technologies will surely allow for more trajectory control than ever from the company.

Also new in the 917 drivers is the Active Recoil Channel 2.0 — now with variable thickness to reduce spin and increase speed where it’s needed — and Radial Speed Face 2.0, which is designed with eight regions that have different thicknesses to optimize ball speed in each location on the face.

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The 917D2 (right) measures 460 cubic centimeters, while the 917D3 measures 440 cubic centimeters and has a deeper face.

Titleist fans will also notice drastic differences in look, sound and feel from the 915 drivers — reminiscent of the company’s drivers from yesteryear. A new crown finish called “Liquid Slate” resembles fan favorites such as the 975D and 983K. Titleist also remedied the metallic sound of the 915 drivers by tuning the acoustics using ribs, structural stiffness and the curvature of the club heads.

Related: Our review of Titleist’s 915D2 and 915D3 drivers. 

The 917 drivers will be available on Oct. 21 and will sell for $499 (MAP). Stock shafts (which have a stock length of 45 inches) will include Mitsubishi Rayon’s Diamana Limited M+, S+ and D+ models, Aldila’s M-AX, and Fujikura’s Speeder Pro TS. Also with purchase, consumers get a neutral weight (options include 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16 gram weights, with 12 being stock) and a matching draw-fade weight. Additional weights can be purchased individually for $40, or golfers can purchase a full SureFit Weight Kit for $180.

According to Titleist, there is a 50/50 split between the 917D2 and 917D3 on Tour, as opposed to a more heavily favored 915D3 in the 915 models. Also 30 percent of players have the SureFit CG weight in a non-neutral position, and there’s an “almost even split” between 8, 10 and 12 gram weights on Tour.

The Numbers

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To test the 917D2 and 917D3 drivers, I took them to the Launch Pad at Carl’s Golfland in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., where I tested them on Trackman with premium golf balls against the company’s 915D2 and 915D3 models. All four of the drivers were set to my specifications (C2 hosel setting, neutral weight in 917 models), and I hit them all with the same 45-inch Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana Limited D+ 70X shaft.

Testing Process: Shots were hit with each club — order was constantly rotated, and outliers deleted — until 10 shots with each club had been recorded.

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Observations

  • Swing speed increased by nearly 3 mph on average over both the 915D2 and 915D3.
  • Average ball speed increased over 915 models.
  • Average launch angle was lower in 917 models.
  • Average spin was lower in the 917D3, and slightly higher in the 917D2 compared to 915 equivalents.
  • Carry was lower (4-5 yards) with 917 models, while total distances were also slightly down.

The Takeaway

The 917 drivers are for golfers who place importance on fine-tuning trajectory and dialing in their ball flight. Some golfers will also find great benefit in eliminating a troublesome shot, like a slice or a hook, by using the SureFit CG system. Titleist fans who appreciate the silver, Liquid Slate finish will enjoy the look, and drastic sound and feel improvements have been made over the 915.

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If you have a 915 driver and plan on purchasing the 917 and keeping the club in neutral, do not expect any noteworthy performance benefits, although you will most likely enjoy the quieter sound and softer feel. Also, don’t purchase a 917D2 or 917D3 driver without getting fit; it would do both the club, and your game a disservice.

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Andrew Tursky is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team while earning a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

54 COMMENTS

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  1. Love titleist, but $180 or more than 1/3 cost of the complete driver for weights?…….that’s ridiculous!!…….idk how they can even remotely justify this, people aren’t stupid just because they’re buying a new driver for maybe a few yds…..even $ 50 seems excessive for weight kit…….. just include it with driver at slight upcharge, or design it that way from beginning…….

    China will make a killing providing these kits for fraction which is where original weights are made anyway…..kind of funay when you think about that

  2. For all the brilliant R&D minds at Titleist, and with a budget to match, I cannot grasp why Titleist would not address/incorporate other variables, benefits and features, (especially in a new launch) such as:
    1. The ability to adjust the CG from rear to face
    2. More loft adjustability
    3. Enhanced aerodynamics
    If they want to better compete with Ping, TaylorMade, and Callaway, et al, it would follow that these design concepts should come to fruition on the shelves.
    Customization is king, and this new line is an improvement, but has a long way to go.

  3. I have hit the new driver with the same exact shaft as my Ping G LS and it performed! I hit it essentially the same distance as my Ping which is a great thing because that is fitted perfectly. If I went through a whole shaft fitting there might be a good possibility that I hit the Titleist further, but I doubt it. You are coming down to looks and feel at that point. I will say that IMO I would throw a 915 in the trash for this new one. I am not a titleist lover at all. I have hated their drivers for years, but this is the best one they have come out with.

    So IMO the fact that he got basically the same numbers with his 915 and this 917 say a lot about the club as I would imagine he was fit to the 915.

  4. Congrats Titleist, you sending 2 free drivers to do this review has just hurt sales of the 917 by everyone who reads this because they don’t know how to properly fit.. I’ll probably upgrade my 915 to an M2 when their price drops next year

  5. Why not include the weight kit with the driver? If these companies are truly chasing previous profits with larger margins, then they are playing a losing game. We’ve seen it all before.

  6. Do the 917d2 & 917d3 come with the .75 degee or 1.0 degree increment Surefit hosel?
    Hope it’s the 1.0 degree.
    What are your total distance numbers with 60g X, 60g S, and 70g S shafts?
    Love the look of the face of these clubs.

  7. How many weights are available? I remember the Adams weight kits with weights of many different sizes. You could adjust draw-fade bias as well as swingweight. Is that possible with these new Titleist heads?
    I would think getting the weight distribution right to produce straight shots would more than make up for the slight carry distance loss. Also, as others have mentioned, changing the settings so the launch angle is right should eliminate the carry distance loss as well.

  8. Just learned that the fairways and drivers don’t use the same weight kits. So, doing math: $40 per weight (two cylinders) or $180 for each weight kit. $360 for both weight kits fairways and drivers. So a driver and fw wood with weight kits is $1160…

    Great job Titleist…. smh

    • Thinking the same thing. It’s a joke to say the least. Their parent company is going public, so they need huge margins, large profits to keep stock prices going up

    • Weight kits – bite me. Only the truly stupid would buy them & then spend hrs at the range (even those with 7/10 decent swings) and try n fit themselves WITHOUT a launch monitor…

      ALEX, I’ll take “A bonded 10 neutral face Epon, Miura or Tour Edge with an Oban or M.R. shaft and a little lead tape” for 700, please…

    • Why on earth would you buy all of the weights???? Get fitted, order the driver with the best weight from your fitting and you will get the alternative one too in the same weight (fitted for draw, neutral comes loose packed with the club, vice versa). The only reason you would have for getting all of the weights is to be able to change swingweight, they have no influence on the shot shape, and there are cheaper ways of increasing the swingweight should you need to….

  9. I have a 913D3 in my bag that works great for me. I tried the 915D3 and it did not feel or sound as good to me. There was no reason for me to get that one. This one only peaks my interest due to the new adjustment capability and the sound possibly being like my 913.

    • IF you look at the pictures in the “Tour and Pre-release” section, you will see that most of strikes on the faces of the two drivers were low on the face. That would certainly decrease ball speed, and also account for the fact that the launch angles were lower, leading to no increase in overall distance.

      The head/shaft combination was not working for this tester.

  10. “While CG adjustability is used widely in the industry, it’s something never before seen from Titleist in a full-scale release, so it’s a big deal.” – Welcome to 2005 Titleist.

  11. in summary, “If you have a 915 driver and plan on purchasing the 917 do not expect any noteworthy performance benefits, although you will most likely enjoy the quieter sound and softer feel.”

  12. “Some golfers will also find great benefit in eliminating a troublesome shot, like a slice or a draw, by using the SureFit CG system”

    This will not help a bad swing. How many times do we have to hear this?

  13. Higher ball speed and swing speed yet less distance? You need to get refit into a new shaft for the new head, to get that launch up and watch your distance improve with the 917.

    • Or change the other settings! Bad job fitting it! Swing speed up – distance down? Who’s doin’ the adjustments?!?

      …better have a reeaaally good product training video on ‘Titleist U’ – or this will be a tough sell during fittings when compared to their current one. NO ONE swinging <105 wants to hit it shorter

      • He mentioned that he set the club to the same setup he uses in his 91, using his own shaft from his 915 as well. Obviously, he’ll want get “re-fit,” maybe with new club settings, perhaps with a different shaft. Would have been nice if he fiddled with it at the Titleist center, making adjustments to try to recover the few yards he was losing, and displayed the results.

    • ….no ‘Air flow’ HAMMER holes? I asked same thing – with a 70gr X shaft, a heavier head will get the shaft to ‘kick’ more through impact zone where ‘swing speed’ is measured.

      We’ve been seeing this result for several years now. “Lighter” isn’t always better….3-10 mph ball speed between heads / shafts with avg ‘decent’ players all the time – but rare to see swing speed jump that much…

  14. I play a lot of Golf and hit the Pro V with a 913 set up with a draw bias. I just Love the driver results and will look into the 917 in Oct at Carl’s. I gotta say Titlelist has always been a leader with clubs and balls. Great article and I hope to get more information on the different shafts as that is where the mystery still is.

    • I think Titleist is a leader with the adjustable hosel and premium shafts, but as its clubheads, since the 983, it’s gone the conservative route. It doesn’t take risks, and look at this line – no real performance benefits in terms of yardage – don’t know about forgivness, but you’d think from its tour use, Titleist would have a handle on spin, but no for those who want less (and that’s not me).

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