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Opinion & Analysis

GolfWRXer gets fit for 913’s at TPI



Buying new golf gear is fun, but buying a new driver is like buying a new car. Golfers look forward to seeing which ones look good to their eye and test-driving them. Then they find out which ones perform the best and tune them to their personal preferences.

This year’s crop of drivers, with their great looks and updated technology, make the decision of which new driver to purchase even tougher than in years past.

I’ve played the Titleist 910D3 (8.5 degrees) since it was released in 2010. I figured 2013 would be a good time to re-evaluate my long-game equipment and possibly upgrade. The driver spot in my bag has been a back-and-forth battle between my Titleist gamer with a UST VTS Black shaft and my TaylorMade SuperFast 2.0 with a Fujikura Speeder 6.2 shaft.

I have always hit the 910 better, but was losing about 10 yards to the 2.0. I was immediately attracted to the classy, subtle look and black head of the 913 driver, and was pretty much convinced that I needed the 913 line in my bag as long as it could outperform my current clubs.

After a ton of research on GolfWRX and other sources, I came to the conclusion that all driver heads are relatively created equal to extent of max distance. The underlying factor that can help us achieve greater distance and dispersion is being properly fit. What better place to be fit than where the Titleist staff goes, TPI in Oceanside, Calif.?

From Titleist:

Golf is all about confidence, in your game and your equipment. That’s why Titleist designs the highest performing equipment and offers the most precise club fitting experience in the game. Titleist’s approach to fitting begins with a unique understanding of players’ performance needs born from working with PGA Tour players, PGA Professionals and amateurs serious about getting better. Our highly skilled team of fitters utilizes the most advanced tools to help players optimize driver performance, make iron play more precise, dial in their wedges and fine-tune set compositions. 

Many people are not aware that TPI as actually open to the public and a regular chop like myself can experience the same Tour Level fitting that guys like Steve Stricker, Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson did just a day prior to my arrival (note: I paid, they didn’t). The facility was built about 15 years ago and has a staff of about 25. TPI was initially built for Titleist R&D, golf ball and equipment testing, and as a place to give staffers a place to practice and be fit. At one time, TPI actually created and operated their own fitting equipment, but that was long before the days of golf radar systems. The place looks like Fort Knox from the outside, but it’s actually extremely easy to set an appointment and gain access.

Currently the facility is still used for R&D, and as the studio for Golf Fitness Academy that is entering season nine on Golf Channel.

Once inside TPI, you’re hit with visions of golf heaven. The driving range has perfectly cut fairways, manicured greens and multiple bunkers with different types of sand. It is paradise for practice and testing equipment.

Before you even put your car in park there is someone there to greet you, grab your bag and escort you inside. They first took me on a tour of the facility, showing me the Academy Studio, 3D Fitting and practice areas. After the tour, I was shown the locker room where I changed into my shoes and was off to my fitter to get started.

My fitter had just completed a ball fitting the day prior with Jason Dufner for the new Pro V1 that will be coming to retail soon. He told me he spent 22 weeks on the PGA Tour last year, so I knew that I was in good hands and that he would help me get the most out of my equipment.

He asked a few basic questions about my game, ball flight, what I like about my current clubs, what I didn’t like. He also asked me what shafts or heads interested me and what ball I currently played. I explained to him that basically I wanted the distance of my Superfast 2.0 but with the same consistency I got with my 910.

All testing was completed with essentially brand new 2011 Pro V1Xs, and five shots were hit with each driver combination before moving on to the next.

The range is in effect a fairway with trees down each side and bunkers that you can work the ball off. It’s not like hitting on a normal range and it really gives you the perspective of playing on a course.

Fitting the driver

We started by hitting both of my current drivers (yes, I brought a TaylorMade driver on Titleist turf).

The first club he handed me was a 9.5 913 D3 with the stock Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 72X (standard tipping). Next he changed to the 8.5 head and the same shaft but tipped one inch. He stopped me every now and then to make an adjustment on the SureFit hosel or change the swing weight. He was taking notes the entire time, evaluating my tendencies, ball flight and asking questions about “how something felt.” We probably went through 15 to 20 head and shaft combinations before he had me dialed into an 8.5 D3 with a Fujikura Speeder TS 6.2X shaft (tipped 1 inch) at 44.5 inches.

Next he wanted me to hit the same setup, but in the D2 head. In the past, I was never able to play a D2 because it spun too much and launched too high. He explained the changes that were made to the 913 D2, asked me how I thought it looked at address and told me to hit a few balls. Immediately, I gained extra confidence from the bigger head and face. My best shots were as good as anything with the D3, and my misses were not nearly as punishing.

I don’t play or practice nearly as much as I would like, and having the extra forgiveness for off days is something that could really assist me. After deciding on the combo, I then asked if we could test a few more shafts in the 8.5-degree D2 and again in 7.5 degrees. After going back through and hitting about four more combos in Round 2, it was pretty clear that we found a winner. At this point we had spent about an hour and half and probably hit close to 100 balls with different drivers.

I spent a little bit of time comparing the D2 and D3, setting them next to the ball and taking a close look at the appearances. To me, the D2 inspires more confidence without looking too bulky. I think the 913 D3 is a definite upgrade over the 910 D3 – it’s far less punishing on mishits and has a more explosive feel. But I think the 913 D2 is a head that will surprise a lot of people, and years from now it will be the one that golfers remember. It’s very low spinning, yet workable and forgiving.

One noticeable difference between the D2 and D3 (besides appearance) is the sound. The D2 sounds explosive, but has a much lower pitch than the louder D3. This has something to do with the way the acoustics vibrate in the larger 460cc head versus the smaller 445cc head. They have been fitting more and more staffers into the D2 this year, although most players haven’t changed yet. My fitter told me that many players are expected to change as they get more comfortable with the new head.

Here are my final numbers with the driver:

  • Head: 2013 Titleist 913 D2 (8.5 degrees in B1 setting)
  • Shaft: Speeder TS 6.2X (tipped 1 inch)

Stats (Averages):

  • Ball Speed: 158 mph
  • Launch: 12.6 degrees
  • Spin: 2256 rpms
  • Smash: 1.49
  • Carry: 265 yards
  • Land Angle: 40.4 degrees

Click here for more discussion in the “Equipment” forum. 

Fitting the 3 Wood:

We both knew that fitting the 3 wood would be much quicker since we had already seen what worked in the driver and knew what I liked. Again, my fitter had me hit my current setup to get a base line. He gave me a 913 FD (15 degree) with a Fujikura Speeder TS 7.2X shaft. I hit one ball and almost immediately after the ball left the club I said, “Man, that felt good.” The numbers from the first combo were almost ideal and I asked if we even needed to hit anything else? He chuckled, took the club from my hands and changed the shaft to an 8.2X. He also changed the setting to B1 and told me to hit some more balls.

The new fairways are pretty much perfect on every level — sound, feel, flight and distance. The new FD is far easier to hit off the deck than the prior model. Even so, I also hit the F version with a few different shafts. Although we found some good combos and smooth shafts, the clear-cut winner was the 913 FD (15 degrees) with a Speeder TS 8.2X shaft (tipped 1 inch) in the B1 setting.

Here are my final numbers with the 3 wood:

  • Head: 2013 Titleist 913 FD (15 Degree in the B1 setting)
  • Shaft: Fujikura Speeder TS 8.2X (tipped 1 inch)

Stats (Average):

  • Ball Speed: 151 mph
  • Launch: 9.7 degrees
  • Spin: 3426 rpms
  • Smash: 1.48
  • Carry: 240 wards
  • Land Angle: 49.3 degrees

Click here for more discussion in the “Equipment” forum. 


Before we got started on hybrids, I was thinking to myself that there was no way they would get me out of my current Adams A12 18-degree hybrid with a Fujikura Speeder HB90 Tour Issue shaft. I saw him dig into the bottom of his case into some sort of hidden compartment and out came the Titleist 913 HD (your welcome). The closest thing he had to the Fujikura Speeder TS was Fujikura’s Motore F3 95, and he recommended that I stay in the same family of shafts for all three clubs to keep the feel consistent throughout the set.

I could clearly see the group of five balls from my current hybrid in the middle of the fairway about 225 yards away. All five of my shots with the first combo were landing well past my current setup and with a much more playable flight. I was literally hitting the hybrid too far, and thought that there would be too much of a gap with my irons. That’s why we tried the 20-degree hybrid with the same shaft, but we ended up going back to the 18 degree, adding 0.75 degrees of loft to it with the D3 setting on the SureFit hosel.

(Note: The HD hybrids will be available through custom order in February 2013 and will offer a smaller shape, more offset and lower spin than the 913 H hybrids).

Here’s are my final numbers for the hybrid:

  • Head: Titleist 913 HD (18 degrees in the D4 setting)
  • Shaft: Fujikura F3 Motore 95

Stats (Average):

  • Ball Speed: 144 mph
  • Launch: 12.3 degrees
  • Spin: 3589 rpms
  • Carry: 226 yards
  • Land Angle: 42.3 degrees

The most beneficial aspect of myTPI experience was the knowledge gained during the process. The fitters there are open encyclopedias, eager to answer any question and ready to share their knowledge.

I have gone twice now (last time for irons and wedges), and have learned more about equipment there than I have learned from any other fitting. The fitters are extremely patient and will let you hit any combo or club that you desire, even when they know it won’t work for you, just so you can see for yourself. Everyone that works at the facility went out of his or her way to make me feel welcome. Other employees will come out to check in on the fitting, bring you water and just make you feel welcomed and important. I hope that this review can be as helpful for the members interested as I did my best to share as much of the information and experience as I could. I will do my best to answer any questions.

Click here for more discussion in the “Equipment” forum. 

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GolfWRX is the world's largest and best online golf community. Expert editorial reviews, breaking golf tour and industry news, what to play, how to play and where to play. GolfWRX surrounds consumers throughout the buying, learning and enrichment process from original photographic and video content, to peer to peer advice and camaraderie, to technical how-tos, and more. As the largest online golf community we continue to protect the purity of our members opinions and the platform to voice them. We want to protect the interests of golfers by providing an unbiased platform to feel proud to contribute to for years to come. You can follow GolfWRX on Twitter @GolfWRX and on Facebook.

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  1. Ritch

    Dec 19, 2012 at 10:58 am

    I was living in Oceanside when this facility first opened. I visited several times as a club tester. The author is absolutely correct when he describes the place as golf heaven. It is an amazing facility and the conditions are never less than spectacular. Only problem is you probably won’t find playing conditions to match at the courses most of us usually play. I believe the costs for fitting can be found on the Titleist website.

  2. Tom from NE Ohio

    Dec 14, 2012 at 10:23 am

    1. of course they treated you like a Norse God–don’t you think you might have gotten special red carpet treatment as a lead writer for GolfWrx? And how is it that you have suddenly fallen in love with the look and shape of the 913’s but seem to have overlooked the fact that the 910’s with revolutionary Tour Fit hosels look nearly indistinguishable and are great clubs in their own right!
    2. No. 1 notwithstanding, I love the new Titleist products, just got fit by an area pro and upgraded my 910 D2 with Ilima R to a 913 D3 with a Bassara W 50S…dropped my xs spin by nearly 1000 and added 10 yards

  3. Nick

    Dec 12, 2012 at 10:44 am

    You said you paid, how much did it cost?

    • Ben

      Dec 26, 2012 at 3:24 pm

      I did it back in 2010 and it cost $250. Got a full set fitted but had to order through Golfsmith.

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Coming Up: A Big Golf Adventure



My name is Jacob Sjöman, and I’m a 35-year-old golf photographer who also enjoys the game we all love. I will be sharing some experiences here on a big golf trip that we are doing. With me I’ve got my friend Johan. I will introduce him properly later, but he is quite a funny character. According to Johan, he is the best golf photo assistant in the world, and we will see about that since this is probably his biggest test yet doing this trip. Previously on our trips, Johan almost got us killed in Dubai with a lack of driving skills. He also missed a recent evening photo shoot in Bulgaria while having a few beers to many… and that’s not all.

Anyway, the last couple of days I’ve been packing my bags over and over. I came home from the Canary Islands this Sunday and I’ve been constantly checking and rechecking that we’ve got all the required equipment, batteries, and that the cameras are 100 percent functional and good to go for this golf trip. I’m still not sure, but in a couple of minutes I will be sitting in a taxi to the airport and there will be no turning back.

Where are we going then? We are going to visit some of the very best golf courses in New Zealand and Australia. There will be breathtaking golf on cliffsides, jaw-dropping scenic courses, and some hidden gems. And probably a big amount of lost balls with a lot of material produced in the end.

I couldn’t be more excited for a golf journey like this one. Flying around the globe to these special golf courses I’ve only dreamed about visiting before gives me a big kick and I feel almost feel like a Indiana Jones. The only thing we’ve got in common, though, is that we don’t like snakes. Australia seems to be one of the worst destinations to visit in that purpose, but all the upsides are massive in this.

First, we will take off from a cold Stockholm (it’s raining heavily outside at the moment) and then we will do our first stop at Doha in Quatar. Then after two more hours, we are finally heading off to Auckland on the north island of New Zealand, a mega-flight of 16 hours. I believe that could very well be one of the longest flights available for a ordinary airplane. I need to check that.

Flights for me usually mean work, editing photos from different golf courses I’ve visited, writing some texts, editing some films, and planning for the future. Last time, though, I finally managed to sleep a little, which is a welcome progress for a guy that was deadly scared of flying until 2008.

Now, I am perfectly fine with flying. A few rocky flights over the Atlantic Sea to Detroit helped me a lot, and my motto is now, “If those flights got me down on the ground safely, it takes a lot of failures to bring down a plane.”

Anyway, I hope you will join me on this golf trip. Stay tuned!

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Opinion & Analysis

Be Curious, Not Critical, of Tour Player Swings



After a foul ball by a tour player, the talking heads on TV are often quick to analyze the “problem” with that swing. Fair enough, I suppose. Even the best players are human and our game has more failure than success. But I’d like to offer a different take on swings of the best players in the world.

First, let’s remember how good these guys and gals really are. If you met up with the lowest ranked player on any professional tour at a public course one day, I’ll bet that golfer would be the best golfer most of you have ever played with. You’d be telling your buddies in the 19th hole about him or her for a very long time. These players have reached a level of ball striking most people only dream about. That’s why I’m more curious than critical when it comes to a tour player’s swing. I’m not thinking about what he/she needs to do better; I’m thinking, “How do they do it so well?” In other words, I want to know how they put their successful move together. What part goes with the other parts? How did their pattern evolve? What are the compatible components of their swing?

Let’s use Jim Furyk as an example. Furyk has what we might call an “unconventional” move. It’s also a swing that has won nearly $70 million and shot 58 one day. But I’ll offer him as an example because his swing illustrates the point I’m making. From a double-overlapping grip, Furyk picks the golf club up to what might be the most vertical position one would ever see from a professional. Then in transition, he flattens the club and drops it well behind him. Now the club is so flat and inside, he has to open his body as quickly as he can to keep the club from getting “stuck.” Let’s call it an “up-and-under loop.”

Let’s take Matt Kuchar as a counter example. Kuchar’s signature hands-in, flat and very deep takeaway is pretty much the total opposite of Furyk. But he comes over that takeaway and gets the club back into a great position into impact. We’ll call that an “in-and-over” loop.

Both are two of the best and most consistent golfers in the world. Is one right and the other wrong? Of course not. They do have one thing in common, however, and it’s that they both balanced their golf swing equation.

What would happen if Kuchar did what Furyk does coming down? Well, he wouldn’t be on TV on the weekend. If he did, he’d be hitting drop kicks several inches behind. That doesn’t win The Players Championship. The point is that the Furyk downswing is incompatible with the Kuchar backswing, and vice versa, but I’m guessing they both know that.

How can this help you? My own personal belief and the basis of my teaching is this: your backswing is an option, but your downswing is a requirement. I had one student today dropping the arms and club well inside and another coming over the top, and they both felt better impact at the end of the lesson. I showed them how to balance their equation.

My job is solving swing puzzles, a new one very hour, and I’m glad it is. It would be mind-numbing boredom if I asked every golfer to do the same thing. It’s the teaching professional’s job to solve your puzzle, and I assure you that with the right guidance you can make your golf swing parts match. Are there universal truths, things that every golfer MUST do?  Yes, they are the following:

  1. Square the club face
  2. Come into the ball at a good angle
  3. Swing in the intended direction
  4. Hit the ball in the center of the face (method be damned!)

But here’s the funny part: Let Kuchar or Furyk get off base and watch every swing critic in the world blame some part of the quirkiness of their move that has led to their greatness. When players at their level get off their game, it’s generally due to poor timing or that they lost the sync/rhythm that connected their individual parts. The same holds true for all of us. We have to find the matching parts and the timing to connect them. You might not need new parts.

After all, weren’t those same parts doing the job when you shot your career low round?

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Opinion & Analysis

The numbers behind “full scholarships” in NCAA men’s college golf



If you are in the world of junior golf, you’ve probably heard about a young man you know who’s getting that coveted full ride to college, maybe even to a Power-5 school. With all the talk in junior golf about full scholarships, and a lot of rumors about how many are available, we decided to poll coaches and gather some real data about “full scholarships.”

So, what did we find out? In total, we got responses to a voluntary online survey from 61 men’s D1 coaches, 19 men’s D2 coaches and 3 NAIA coaches (83 total). On average, the coaches in the survey had 11.8 years of coaching experience. Of the coaches that responded, 58 of the 83 coaches reported having zero players on full ride. Another 15 coaches surveyed reported having one player on full ride. This means that 69 percent of the coaches surveyed reported zero players on full scholarship and 18 percent reported one player on full scholarship, while another four coaches reported that 20 percent of their team was on full ride and six coaches reported between 2-3 players on full ride.

We then asked coaches, “what percent of golfers in Division 1 do you think have full scholarships based on your best guess?” Here’s what the responses looked like: 25 coaches said 5 percent and 36 coaches said 10 percent. This means that 73 percent of respondents suggested that, in their opinion, in men’s Division 1, Division 2 and NAIA, there are less than 10 percent of players on full ride.

Next, we asked coaches, “what was a fair scholarship percentage to offer a player likely to play in your top 5?” The average of the 83 responses was 62.5 percent scholarship with 38 coaches (46 percent) suggesting they would give 30-50 percent and 43 coaches (52 percent) suggesting 50-75 percent. Only two coaches mentioned full scholarship.

The last question we asked coaches, was “what would you need to do to earn a full scholarship?”

  • Top-100 in NJGS/Top-250 in WAGR – 41 coaches (49 percent)
  • 250-700 in WAGR – 19 coaches (23 percent)
  • Most interesting, 17 coaches (20 percent) noted that they either did not give full rides or did not have the funding to give full rides.

The findings demonstrate that full rides among players at the men’s Division 1, Division 2 and NAIA levels are rare, likely making up less than 10 percent of total players. It also suggests that if you are a junior player looking for a full ride, you need to be exceptional; among the very best in your class.

Please note that the survey has limitations because it does not differentiate between athletic and academic money. The fact is several institutions have a distinct advantage of being able to “stack” academic and athletic aid to create the best financial packages. My intuition suggests that the coaches who responded suggesting they have several players on “full rides” are likely at places where they are easily able to package money. For example, a private institution like Mercer might give a student $12,000 for a certain GPA and SAT. This might amount to approximately 25 percent, but under the NCAA rules it does not count toward the coach’s 4.5 scholarships. Now for 75 percent athletic, the coach can give a player a full ride.

Maybe the most interesting finding of the data collection is the idea that many programs are not funded enough to offer full rides. The NCAA allows fully funded men’s Division 1 programs to have 4.5 scholarships, while Division 2 programs are allowed 3.6. My best guess suggests that a little more than 60 percent of men’s Division 1 programs have this full allotment of scholarship. In Division 2, my guess is that this number is a lot closer to 30 percent.

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19th Hole