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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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 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.
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.
- See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the 917 drivers in our forum.
- Our review of Titleist’s 917F2 and 917F3 fairway woods.