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Review: Titleist 917F2 and 917F3 Fairway Woods

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Pros: Dialing in trajectory and spin is more in the hands of the player than ever with SureFit CG adjustability. Feel and sound have improved, and 915 users will likely see a jump in distance.

Cons: If you preferred the black finish, you’re out of luck with the return of silver.

Who they’re for: Everyone who plays a fairway wood should give the Titleist 917F2 and 917F3 fairway woods a shot. They provide everything most golfers want from a fairway wood.

The Review

  • Models: 917F2 (13.5, 15, 16.5, 18, 21 degrees), 917F3 (13.5, 15 degrees)
  • Release Date: Oct. 21
  • Price: $319 (MAP)

Right off the bat, you’ll notice a number of changes to Titleist’s new fairway woods: name, color, center of gravity (CG) adjustability, and if you’re really attentive a change in the Active Recoil Channel. I break down each of the major changes below.

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

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What’s in a name?

In its most recent fairway wood releases — the 913 and 915 models — Titleist used the F and Fd naming system. “F” was a larger, more forgiving fairway wood that launched higher and spun more, while “Fd” was a smaller, deeper-faced, lower-launching fairway wood that reduced spin. It was a bit confusing, and didn’t mesh well with the D2 and D3 naming system the drivers were using, so Titleist went to F2 and F3, which is what Titleist used in previous models such as the 909.

If you’re confused: F = F2, Fd = F3 (easy to remember since this rhymes).

Now, the F2 (179 cubic centimeters) is the larger, higher-launching and more forgiving model, while the F3 (169 cubic centimeters) is smaller, deeper and more workable. The relationship hasn’t changed, just the names.

Sure thing

As with the 917 drivers, the 917 fairway woods have SureFit CG technology to give golfers the ability to tweak the draw/fade bias of the clubs. In the fairway woods, the SureFit CG system is also positioned slightly crooked, as seen in the driver, which has the same purpose; lower-spinning fades and higher-spinning draws. When in the draw position, the weight system will add spin to keep the ball in the air longer, and will decrease spin in the fade setting to keep shots from ballooning. The design also maintains the moment of inertia (MOI) of the fairway woods, keeping forgiveness high regardless of the weight setting.

In the SureFit CG system, weight is changed using interchangeable weights* or tubes, made of a mixture of different materials. The neutral weights have a uniform weight throughout, while the draw-fade tubes have a heavier side.

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A Peek Inside: A 14-gram, neutral SureFit CG fairway wood weight.

When adjusting the system, golfers should look for the “+” sign, which indicates a fade setting, while a “-” sign indicates the draw setting. Note that this is opposite of the 917 drivers, as the entry port is on the opposite side (toe side) of the club head in the 917 fairway woods. A solid red circle indicates a neutral setting. Like the 917 drivers, the 917 fairway woods also have Titleist’s 16-way adjustable SureFit hosel, which offers independent adjust loft and lie settings.

*Note: SureFit CG driver weights cannot be used in fairway woods, and vice versa, due to their different sizes. 

Active Recoil Channel 2.0

While the 915 fairway woods had an Active Recoil Channel behind their faces, designed for higher ball speeds on off-center hits, the area was hollow. The channel in the 917 fairway woods is filled with elastomer, helping produce more ball speed across the face and lower spin, according to Titleist. There’s is also a face insert with variable thickness for increased speed on off-center hits.

Another change for the better is the sound and feel of the 917 fairway woods. They have more of a muted sound and softer feel at impact, which is no doubt helped by filling the Active Recoil Channel. Another benefit is that golfers won’t need to frequently clean the dirt out of the channel, as they needed to do with 915 models.

Color

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Titleist’s 917F2 (right) and 917F3 fairway woods at address.

The “liquid slate” finish on the crown is a throwback to Titleist woods of yesteryear, which is something Titleist fans may very much appreciate. Some of the classic Titleist fairway woods, such as the 980F, had a similar gray finish.

Overall performance

So what’s to be expected of the 917F2 and 917F3 in terms of performance? According to Titleist, golfers hitting the 917 versus a 915 should expect higher ball speeds, a higher launch, slightly lower spin and 4-7 yards in increased distance. It just so happens I hit the 917F2 and 917F3 versus the 915F and 915Fd, and you can see the numbers below.

The Numbers

2017TitleistFairway

I took the 917F2 and 917F3 fairway woods to the Launch Pad at Carl’s Golfland in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., where I tested them against Titleist’s 915F and 915Fd models on Trackman with premium golf balls. The fairway woods were set to my specifications (C2 hosel setting, neutral weight setting in the 917 models) with the same Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana Limited D+ 80X shaft. Shots were hit with each club — order was constantly rotated, and outliers deleted — until 10 shots with each club had been recorded.

917F2 v. 915F:

  • The 917F2 generated slightly less spin (-60 rpm) and a slightly higher launch angle (+0.7 degrees) than the 915F.
  • The 917F2 offered more ball speed (+1.5 mph), more carry distance (+1.6 yards), and more total distance (+3.6 yards) than the 915F.

917F3 v. 915Fd:

  • The 917F3 offered slightly less ball speed (-0.8 mph), a slightly higher launch (+0.3 degrees), and a little more spin (+74 rpm) than the 915Fd.
  • The 917F3 increase carry distance (+4.3 yards) and offered more total distance (+6.3 yards) than the 915Fd.

Specs, pricing, availability

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Titleist 917F2 and 917F3 fairway woods ($319 MAP) will be available on Oct. 21 with the following stock shafts: Aldila Rogue M-AX, Fujikura Speeder Pro Tour Spec and Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana Limited D+, S+ and M+.

With the purchase, consumers will receive either a 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18-gram neutral weight (the 12-gram is stock) and a matching draw-fade weight. Additional weights can be purchased for $40, or SureFit weight kits are available for $180 with every weight.

The Takeaway

Titleist_917_fairway_woods_review_917D2_917D3

Any golfer with an older version of a Titleist fairway wood, especially one with a silver finish, will find the switch to a 917 fairway wood an easy and valuable transition.

Not only do the fairway woods offer CG adjustability for fine tuning trajectory, but they also have a softer feel and more muted sound than the 915 versions while providing more carry distance and more total distance. You’d be hard pressed to show me an all-around better fairway wood in the current market.

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Alex

    Sep 21, 2016 at 1:52 am

    correction: in the 913 series the Fd was LARGER than the 913f, correct?

  2. rymail00

    Sep 10, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    Whoops meant the head size of 915F/FD?

  3. rymail00

    Sep 10, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    Anyone know the head sizes of 916 F/FD?

  4. kdunn

    Sep 10, 2016 at 12:51 am

    I love titleist but their really isn’t anything over previous generations…….you can alter those numbers easily by just where you hit it on face……pretty clubs for sure but to redo my woods for over 1k, not a chance…….I understand that it’s tough being in their shoes trying to sell new product without being able to really do anything significant as per USGA rules…….I have all titleist woods now but not gna change to newer stuff….

    • COGolfer

      Sep 10, 2016 at 11:46 pm

      Agree with you on that. I love the 915F, but don’t see a reason to upgrade. Especially at that price point.

  5. kdunn

    Sep 10, 2016 at 12:49 am

    And $180 for weight kit is ridiculous……..truly insane, almost half cost of top tier driver…..you have to be kidding me

  6. kdunn

    Sep 10, 2016 at 12:47 am

    I love titleist but their really isn’t anything over previous generations…….you can alter those numbers easily by just where you hit it on face……pretty clubs for sure but to redo my woods for over 1k, not a chance…….I understand that it’s tough being in their shoes trying to sell new product without being able to really do anything significant as per USGA rules…….I have all titleist woods now but not gna change to newer stuff……….and you be pretty hardpressed to find any fairway wood that doesn’t perform these days……they all have same tech that does same thing……gna be a tough sell to current 915 users, I had a 910,913 and think my 915 sounds and feels fine…….couple of rpms, and couple of yds isn’t gonna change someone’s game and would be unoticeable on course…..

  7. Sake

    Sep 8, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    Looks good but I still prefer my 913 FD 13.5*

    • Jeffrey Purtell

      Sep 9, 2016 at 4:30 am

      I have the 13.5* too. Love it. Ive nicknamed it my mini driver.

  8. Uncle Buck

    Sep 8, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    $180 for whaaaat?!! I’ll stick with me $5.99 packet of lead tape!

  9. Dj

    Sep 8, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Bahahaha $180 for a weight kit. Also, please keep that horrid color in the 90s. Losing more and more respect for titleist nowadays

  10. OH

    Sep 8, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Looks fantastic and I love that Titleist continues to fine tune a quality product rather than market their stuff with ridiculous claims and gimmicks.

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Equipment

Titleist Vokey SM8 wedges: Leading with performance

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Say “Vokey” to any golfer and they will instantaneously know you are talking about wedges. The name Vokey, along with Titleist, is synonymous with performance. In 2020, Vokey is introducing its most performance-driven line yet, the Vokey SM8 wedges.

Built on the foundation of what were already the number one wedges on the PGA Tour, Vokey SM8’s take precision and control to the next level thanks to refined shapes, cosmetics, sole grinds, and for the first time, multi-material technology to improve performance.

2020 Vokey SM8 wedges: How did we get here?

Vokey wedges are the standard by which wedges are judged by most golfers, similar to the way new golf balls are often compared to the Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x. Dating all the way back to the original Spin Milled wedges, Titleist has lead the way with spin performance and quality club after club. This comes from the fact that each and every single wedge manufactured is tested for groove dimensions before ever being built.

Titleist believes that there are three key performance factors that golfers should consider when choosing new wedges

  • Distance and trajectory control
  • Shot versatility, in varying conditions
  • Spin depreciation and groove wear over time

Distance control is important for reasons I probably shouldn’t have to explain, and as golfers get into their wedges, the old mindset of just getting 52, 56, and 60-degree wedges to make sure you have all the shots is out the window. Golfers now have to consider where they transition from their irons to wedges and the lofts are of those clubs, which means if you have a 44 to 45-degree pitching wedge, grabbing that conventional 52 might not be the best idea. This is exactly why Titleist decided to put the lofts of its pitching wedges on the bottom of the T-Series irons: to better help golfers make good gapping decisions.

Loft decisions also rely on the type of shots players hit with each club, because if you are only taking full swings with your gap wedge and sand wedges, then those lofts need to reflect those shot choices and the desired distance goals. The shortest wedge can then become a specialty club built for versatility, and this is where grinds come in.

Wedges need to be the most versatile clubs in any golfer’s bag because of the variety of shots hit with them; from full swings to short touch shots around greens, they have to offer absolute control to help players not only score but also recover under diverse conditions.

This is why player dynamics, shot choice, and conditions play such a big role in selecting the proper short game tools, and as far as options go, Vokey wedges offer the most off-the-shelf options in the game.

Spin equals stopping power. As mentioned earlier, not only do Vokey grooves get pushed to the limit, but thanks to extremely high-quality control standards all the way up the manufacturing chain, you can be assured that you are going to get spin control shot after, which also leads to improved trajectory control. Less traction leads to less spin and higher launch, and as much as that might be helpful with a driver, it’s the last thing you want in a wedge.

What’s new with Vokey SM8 wedges

For the new Vokey SM8 wedges, performance is about creating better short game tools for golfers of all skill levels, shot after shot. It’s not about chasing an elusive spin number or building a wedge designed with a single task in mind, it’s about offering state-of-the-art technology alongside tour-proven consistency to give golfers more control than ever before.

“Out of head” center of gravity and multi-material construction

This is the biggest overhaul to Vokey wedge design since the introduction of Spin Milled grooves. For the first time in North America (there have been multi-material wedges made for the Japan market), the 58 to 62-degree wedges will have tungsten placed in the toe to push Center of Gravity more forward and out of the head into a space beyond the face of the club to offer more rotational control. When asked why the tungsten is kept hidden and is not a visible technology in the wedge, we were told: “it’s to keep with the classic styling associated with Vokey Designs.”

It might seem counterproductive to put tungsten in the toe of a wedge when a higher center of gravity has been proven to offer more trajectory control in higher lofted clubs, but the engineers at Titleist balanced out this toe mass by increasing hosel length to raise CG and MOI. These design tweaks create a seven-percent higher MOI than SM7 with even great vertical stability, too.

The rest of the Vokey line beyond the highest lofts still feature the proven center of gravity shifting to aid in trajectory control but now in a more subtle looks package.

The face and grooves

The Vokey Spin Milled groove design has not changed since Vokey began offering variable depth and width designs depending on loft. Tolerances continue to get pushed, but since the design was already at the limit, it’s now more about being able to replicate rather than search for an elusive few hundred RPM.

When talking about those extra RPMs gained by potential tool and radius changes, Titleist likes to use the analogy of a pencil. You can sharpen a pencil to an absolute point, but the first thing you are going to notice when you start to use that pencil is how quickly that extremely sharp point dulls back to a “standard” sharpness. This relates directly to groove radius and Titleist’s philosophy to offer maximum spin for the life of the wedge, not just those first five rounds of golf, because unlike PGA Tour players, regular golfers can’t just wander into a tour van and ask for a new lob wedge every week.

vokey-sm8-wedge-face-2

Titleist also extends the life of the grooves with a centralized heat treatment to the face of all the wedges to harden the metal without negatively affecting feel.

Grind, finish, and custom options

titleist-vokey-sm8-wedges

Constant refinement is the name of game, and the SM8’s featured Vokey’s six tour-proven sole grinds—F, S, M, K, L, and D—to allow golfers of all skill levels to be expertly fit for their swing types, shot-making preferences, and course conditions. The wedge bounce matrix has changed too, with Titleist eliminating the 58-degree L grind, adding 54 and 56-degree D grind options for more higher bounce versatility.

The new SM8’s will come stock in Jet Black, Brushed Steel, and Tour Chrome, with the option for Raw available through custom order. Raw is the biggest news since it is normally reserved exclusively for tour and Wedge Works—and at an upcharge.

Last but not least, the most obvious design change is the overall aesthetics of the SM8 versus any previous Vokey design. The top half of the back of the wedge is entirely blank, and except for small script on the hosel, the name Titleist has been left off.

Call it modern minimalism mixed with the respect that Titleist has for Bob Vokey and the product that bears his name. What this canvas comprised of soft steel also allows is even more customization. Titleist hasn’t given any further details on what this could mean from a consumer standpoint, but it’s likely to be revealed through the Wedge Works program. For the artisan and at-home wedge stampers alike, this means, now more than ever before, you can customize too.

New Vokey SM8’s will retail for $159.99 in all finishes with custom upgrades available through Titleist Custom order.

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Equipment

Adidas launch new CODECHAOS footwear range

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New for 2020, Adidas Golf has unveiled its CODECHAOS footwear series which features three new golf shoes for both men and women.

The CODECHAOS ($150) shoe is designed to blur the lines by giving a connected look with the ground and features a spikeless outsole that blends a soft, yet durable, rubber outsole with a first-of-its-kind TPU insert.

2020 Nike CODECHAOS

The shoe’s outsole contains a proprietary traction system – Twistgrip – which was developed by evaluating heat maps in swing studies, specifically focusing on the way golfers distribute and shift their weight throughout the swing. Through this process, Adidas was then able to determine precisely where traction was needed most and what lug shapes would provide the best grip, regardless of conditions.

2020 Nike CODECHAOS

The CODECHAOS golf shoe also features an all-new upper which is made of multi-layer mesh, and is designed to give the shoe a unique texture while enhancing durability and breathability, but also keeping it extremely lightweight. By encasing these layers in film, Adidas ensured the CODECHAOS shoe provides golfers with a waterproof shoe for all conditions.

2020 Nike CODECHAOS

Also included in the new addition from Adidas is full-length Boost cushioning. The Boost cushioning aims to give players all-around comfort and energy return during their round, while a Torsion X stability bar is also included in a bid to ensure that all players are given tour-level support for every swing.

2020 Nike CODECHAOS

Designed to push the boundaries of what a stereotypical golf shoe looks like, the CODECHAOS lineup is aimed at golfers of all levels. Speaking on the new 2020 series, Masun Denison, global footwear director, Adidas Golf stated

“Golf continues to evolve and is in an exciting phase right now where the traditions of the game and how it can be played are all being challenged. We’re excited about this movement which has inspired us to break down barriers and create unique footwear and apparel for anyone that picks up a club. CODECHAOS is meant to challenge what a golf shoe can look and feel like while still delivering top-notch performance to all golfers whenever or wherever they play.”

2020 Nike CODECHAOS

Also featured in the new line is the CODECHAOS Boa ($180) which is a waterproof shoe designed to offer a clean look featuring a hydrophobic stretch-knit collar, and a lightweight slip-on construction.

2020 Nike CODECHAOS

The shoe features the L6 Boa Fit System designed to provide a customized and locked-in feel, while also making it an easy on-and-off option.

2020 Nike CODECHAOS

Completing the new series from Adidas is the CODECHAOS Sport ($130). The shoe is built on a spikeless rubber outsole, and the silhouette is designed to provide players with an even lighter construction for maximum versatility.

2020 Nike CODECHAOS

The CODECHAOS Sport is another waterproof addition and includes a mixture of both Boost and Bounce cushioning for excellent comfort.

2020 Nike CODECHAOS

The CODECHAOS, CODECHAOS Boa and CODECHAOS Sport shoes come in a variety of colors for both men and women and are available starting Jan. 31, 2020 on adidas.com and at select retailers worldwide.

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Whats in the Bag

Rory McIlroy WITB: 2020 Farmers Insurance Open

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Driver: TaylorMade SIM (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 70 X

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 80 TX

5-wood: TaylorMade SIM (19 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 90 TX

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max (19 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Yellow Hybrid

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (2), TaylorMade P750 (3, 4), TaylorMade P730 (5-PW)
Shafts: Project X Rifle 7.0

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind 2 (52, 56, 60 degrees)
Shafts: Project X Rifle 6.5

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Copper

Ball: 2019 TaylorMade TP5 (#22)

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord

*Obviously, McIlroy has more than 14 clubs in the bag in practice and will reduce the number prior to competition. 

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19th Hole

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