Golf Buzz

October 3, 2014 - 9:13am
Posted by:
Bob Denney
andrew.prezioso's picture
Gus Andreone
PGA of America
A statue of Gus Andreone overlooks the Gus Andreone Practice and Teaching Facility at the Palm Aire Country Club.

By Bob Denney
PGA of America

Pay a visit to Palm Aire Country Club in Sarasota, Florida, and you may bump into Gus Andreone, whose impact and charm continue to amaze both members and guests.

Andreone is the oldest and currently longest-serving PGA of America member, having marked his 103rd birthday on Sept. 30. He has served the Association for more than 75 years.

Palm Aire members marvel at Andreone, who plays three times a week, and provides golf tips while going out and breaking his age regularly on the course.

“Par for me is 90 now,” says Andreone.

Related: Find a PGA Professional in your area

There’s a wooden statue of Andreone, the creation of club member John Gray, which overlooks the Gus Andreone Practice and Teaching Facility. The statue, presented in 2011 to honor Andreone on his 100th birthday, symbolizes the humble man’s unpretentious affection for the game, his profession and what it means to wake up every day knowing that there’s more golf to be played.

A native of Bellaire, Ohio, Andreone says his personal formula for longevity is not complex. “It’s all about just being yourself, keeping your old regular pace,” he says. ”You just have habits you do every day. You don’t live outside of what you do every day.”

The man who served Edgewood Country Club in Pittsburgh for 30 years before retiring to Florida, counts himself blessed in many ways. “The fact that I am sitting and talking to you now is something special,” says Andreone, who served under General George S. Patton in World War II. Andreone was a member of the 10th Armored Tiger Division that helped liberate Europe.

“We were in the Ghost Division, guys that nobody knew who and where we were,” says Andreone. “I was commandeering a half-track in Germany, and as we made a left-hand turn, we took a direct hit from a mortar shell. We were carrying two 50-gallon tanks of gas. I’m here today.”

Video: PGA Professionals give you tips to improve your game

When Andreone retired in 1977, he spent about $20 a week on $1 scratch tickets. On Dec. 15, 1983, he won the Pennsylvania State Lottery. He earned $1,000 a week for the rest of his life. If that wasn’t enough good fortune, his move to Florida carried more instant karma. He won $18,000 and $21,000 in the state’s Fantasy Five Lottery game. “If you want to touch me, it’s OK with me,” joked Andreone.

There was more magic for Andreone on the course. He has made seven holes-in-one, but no more memorable scores than a pair in 1960, while playing St. Clair Country Club near Pittsburgh.

Andreone hit his tee shot out of bounds on a par-3 hole, then reloaded and knocked his second ball into the hole for a deuce. Later that year, he hit his shot out of bounds and on the same course on a par-4 hole, dropped his next ball and hit under a tree to the green and into the hole for a birdie-3.

Wait, there’s an explanation.

In 1960, the USGA Rule 29-1 (now Rule 27-1), Ball Lost or Out of Bounds, was introduced with the phrase, "For Trial in 1960, USGA," and the Rule stated, "If a ball be lost or out of bounds, the player shall incur a penalty of loss of distance." There was no penalty stroke assessed and the next stroke was made from the spot of the previous stroke.

All of the above should come naturally for a man who defies the odds. “I take a spoon of honey every morning in my coffee. Every morning,” says Andreone. “Before I get out of bed, I do a certain set of exercises that help my knees, back and hips. It works for me.”

Related: Fred Couples celebrates 55th birthday

A past secretary (1971-72) of the Tri-State PGA Section, Andreone also encouraged golf’s next generation of players and professionals. At his home club, he inspired nearly a dozen assistants who went on to become head professionals.

Andreone’s first wife, Henrietta, died of cancer in 1977. His second wife, Betty, who he married in 1985, had managed the golf shop at the former Rolling Hills Golf Club in Davie, Florida, where she landed a short part in “Caddyshack.” For movie fans, that’s Betty strolling the pool deck in a bathing suit just as caddies invade the club members’ pool.

Steve Yates, the PGA Director of Golf at Palm Aire Country Club, said Andreone “is a joy for all our members. I first met Gus when he was in his 80s and I was just getting my feet wet on the job. Gus challenged me to a game – betting that he would need only a stroke. I sized him up and thought it would be simple match.

“When we got to the tee, he said, ‘That one stroke I get will be divided up 18 ways. If we tie on a hole, I get 1/18 of a stroke against your score.’ Well, I knew I had been taken.”

 

October 3, 2014 - 8:53am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Fred Couples
USA Today Sports Images
Fred Couples turned 55 years old on October 3.

The king of cool, Fred Couples, turns 55 years old today.

Couples, whose lone major win came at the 1992 Masters, turned professional in 1980. Over his many years on the PGA Tour, Couples racked up 15 victories and continues to be an annual contender at the Masters.

Couples has 11 wins and counting on the 50+ circuit.

No one since Arnold Palmer in his heyday has epitomized "cool" quite the same way as Couples. His laid-back nature and effortless golf swing makes him the envy of many. It looks like he's not even trying (though we know that can't be the case, because no one could ever be as good as Couples for as long without a burning competitive fire).

Though he has just that lone major win on the PGA Tour, Couples has an impressive 26 top-10 finishes in the majors.

Happy birthday to a guy for the better part of 30 years we haven't been able to get enough of and has provided us with memories like this -- a hole-in-three -- at TPC Sawgrass:

 

October 2, 2014 - 4:18pm
andrew.prezioso's picture
Derek Holland
Derek Holland via Instagram
This looks like it will go down as another Derek Holland prank, much like his impersonations during the 2011 World Series.

Ah, the power of Instagram video. It's amazing what you can pretend to do with it. 

Take this video from Texas Rangers pitcher Derek Holland for instance. Holland, playing the par-4, 440-yard fifth hole at Cottonwood Valley in Dallas, slightly exaggerates his power on the course in this video. 

At least Holland fesses up at the end of the video that he didn't actually hit it that far. 

If there were a baseball player to actually drive a ball as far as Bubba Watson, Holland seems like a pretty good candidate. He didn't make his season debut until September after suffering a knee injury after tripping over his dog last winter, so he had plenty of time to work on his golf swing (because isn't that what all baseball players do when they're hurt?). Plus, his swing looks pretty good and he was posting from the golf course yesterday. 

Alas, this looks like it will go down as another classic Holland prank. 

Trevor Linden
Canucks TV via YouTube
Trevor Linden scored on his first try in the glass-break challenge – though not with a golf club and ball.
It's October, and that means hockey season is here. In fact, the National Hockey League teams have been in camp for a few weeks already, and the regular season begins next week.
 
Hockey players, as a group, are avid golfers, and many are quite good. I'm not sure how skilled former Vancouver Canucks star Trevor Linden – who is now president of the Canucks – is as a golfer, but he showed that he's still the master of the wrist shot on a recent Canucks golf outing.
 
 
Toward the end of this segment on Canucks TV, Linden hops out of his golf cart and tries his hand at the glass-break challenge that is a regular feature on the Golf Channel's "Big Break" shows. Instead of a golf club, though, Linden goes with a hockey stick and puck. 
 
And in the words of some famous hockey announcer whose name I don't know: "He shoots, he scores!"
 
Linden's big shot comes at the 1:30 mark of the video:
 
 
October 2, 2014 - 11:08am
andrew.prezioso's picture
Rory McIlory plays with dog
European Tour
It's a good thing Rory McIlroy has a dog headcover.

Rory McIlroy is one of the more popular players with golf fans, and apparently dogs, too. 

While waiting on the 18th tee at the Dunhill Links Championship at Carnoustie, a black labrador approached the No. 1-ranked golfer. The result was one of the best 16-second clips you'll see all day. 

What seals this as a great video is the fact that Rory uses his Saint Bernard headcover for his 3-wood to play with his new friend. 

Related: Peter Uihlein gets scared by a frog

It's clear by Rory's reaction that he enjoyed the visit, and it's good to see Rory's laid-back side on the course. After so many weeks of high-pressure, competitive golf, it's a nice change to see Rory enjoying moments like this while playing with his father, Gerry. 

McIlroy finished his first round with 1-over 73, and made just one birdie. 

October 2, 2014 - 8:14am
Posted by:
PGA.com
tj.auclair's picture
Titleist
Titleist
Titleist introduces new 915 drivers, fairways and hybrids.

FAIRHAVEN, Mass. -- New Titleist 915 drivers, built for distance without compromise, are designed using patented Active Recoil Channel technology to produce lower spin and higher speed for more distance – without sacrificing forgiveness.

Available in golf shops worldwide beginning Nov. 14, new Titleist 915D2 and 915D3 drivers benefit serious golfers of all swing speeds by delivering maximum distance while maintaining a high MOI for exceptional forgiveness. The improved performance of Titleist 915 drivers, underlining the Titleist Golf Club R&D team’s driver design strategy of “distance and forgiveness,” is the result of three key advancements:

-- The proprietary Active Recoil Channel, a long, wide and deep sole channel that actively flexes at impact and recoils to launch the ball off the face with higher speed and lower spin;

-- Radial Speed Face, a high-speed forged face insert with a radially thinner perimeter in the heel and toe, which works with the Active Recoil Channel to increase ball speed on off-center hits; and

-- A precise, high-MOI design with a low and deep center of gravity location that delivers stability and forgiveness by preserving off-center ball speed for more distance, more often.

Those technologies, combined with the fitting precision of Titleist’s industry-leading SureFit Tour hosel and tour-validated looks, sound and feel, make for the most complete, consistent driver performance in the game.

“The new 915 drivers are a game-changer for us,” said Dan Stone, Vice President of Research and Development, Titleist Golf Clubs. “We’ve increased speed and lowered spin without sacrificing MOI or forgiveness – and we’re the first to get that combination right.

“The Active Recoil Channel is a major technical leap in the area of spin reduction. In player testing, we’ve seen significant distance gains, up to 15 yards for players who need spin control.

“We began incorporating Active Recoil Channel in the prototype phase about four years ago, but this kind of technology requires a lot of fine-tuning if you’re going to do something that’s different, as opposed to making a cosmetic or marketing change. By adding significant technology for speed and spin without sacrificing MOI, we think we’ve done something very special that nobody’s done to this point.”

The 915D2 driver is a 460cc full-pear shaped head designed for maximum forgiveness and a slight draw bias. The 915D3 features a 440cc pear shape that is forgiving and workable, and offers 250rpm less spin than 915D2 to produce a lower peak trajectory. Both models launch similar to their previous generation Titleist 913 models.

Eighteen players put new 915 drivers into play the first week they were available at the PGA Tour’s Quicken Loan Invitational in late June – including Geoff Ogilvy, who trusted his 915D2 9.5º driver to victory at the Barracuda Championship a few weeks later. Twenty-four players used 915 drivers in early August at the PGA Championship, as the momentum continued to build on the PGA Tour and across the worldwide professional tours.

“Titleist players demand the highest quality and performance from their driver. They want more distance, but not at the expense of forgiveness,” said Steve Pelisek, General Manager, Titleist Golf Clubs. “With 915 drivers, our R&D team has produced the best combination of high speed, low spin and high MOI the game has ever seen. It’s distance all the time – distance on center hits, distance on off-center hits, more distance more often. We know that players truly understand and value that distance consistency.”

LOWER SPIN, HIGHER SPEED THROUGH NEW ACTIVE RECOIL CHANNEL: The new Active Recoil Channel – a long, wide, deep channel, positioned along the sole of the clubhead, close to the leading edge – delivers more distance by actively flexing at impact to launch the ball with lower spin and higher speed.

The Active Recoil Channel (ARC™) allows the entire clubface, both crown and sole, to deflect at impact for high speed. (Clubs without ARC technology have a more rigid sole and deflect mostly in the face and crown at impact resulting in less speed and higher spin.)

“With the Active Recoil Channel, the ball is compressing in a different manner and doesn’t have the chance to gather as much rotational energy so it departs the club face with less spin,” Stone said. “It also creates a greater recoil effect, which imparts more speed, particularly low on the face.”

The effectiveness of the Active Recoil Channel is maximized by its efficient, proprietary construction. Relative to competitive drivers with slot technology, ARC is wider, deeper and longer, stretching across the entire sole from heel to toe.

“All of those aspects garner us more performance out of our channel design,” Stone said. “Properly managing spin benefits us through all levels of swing speeds and player types. High spin players get longer, straighter flight with more carry distance. Players that already manage spin well can further increase their distance by a slight loft increase. Even players on the PGA Tour, who are typically the best-fit players in the world, have increased their distance potential.

“It’s also important to remember that less spin across the face also means more consistent spin across the face. When we launched these drivers on tour, the most dominant point of feedback we received was that the spin and speed are very consistent across the face. And what that translates to for every golfer, not just PGA Tour players, is that you’re going to see better launch conditions and more distance even if the ball is hit off-center.”

INCREASED BALL SPEED THROUGH RADIAL SPEED FACE: Working in combination with the Active Recoil Channel, the Radial Speed Face increases ball speed on off-center hits for more distance and more consistent speeds across the clubface.

The high-speed, variable thickness face insert has a central thick portion, but is thinner and organically tapered as you move out from center. During the development of 915, Titleist R&D identified specific areas on the face insert, particularly in the heel and toe, which could be thinned further to increase performance on off-center hits.

“Active Recoil Channel and the Radial Speed Face are two technologies that really work well together,” Stone said. “ARC does an excellent job increasing ball speeds overall, however, its biggest effect happens low on the club face where the channel is positioned. As you move off center and mishit heel or toe, that’s where the Radial Speed Face insert kicks in –you’re getting more flex in those areas which helps generate more speed.

“The speed consistency on heel and toe hits is one of the first things Tour players are noticing. They don’t hit it off-center too often, but when they do it’s often a pressure situation when they need forgiveness the most.”

HIGH MOI DESIGN FOR DISTANCE AND FORGIVENESS: Distance gains from the Active Recoil Channel and Radial Speed Face are preserved by the 915’s precise, high-MOI design.

“Many golfers understand high MOI as straightness or accuracy, but high MOI is truly about speed and distance,” Stone said. “It’s about maintaining speed across the face for increased distance consistency. We’ve added great performance with the Active Recoil Channel and Radial Speed Face to lower spin and increase speed, and by having high MOI we don’t have to give any of it up.”

With 915 drivers, Titleist R&D targeted a low and deep center of gravity (CG) position in order to maintain stability and forgiveness. The new Active Recoil Channel construction, however, added mass low and forward in the sole – which, in general, is counter to maintaining inertia and a low and deep CG.

To help offset that weight, Titleist engineers cast the 915’s ultra-thin crown and body from 8-1-1 titanium, which provides the same resiliency and properties as the 6-4 titanium used in prior generation 913 models but has a lighter density. (At 0.5 mm, it is also the thinnest consistent crown thickness in the industry.) R&D saved additional weight by tapering the top line and leading edge, and adding thin pockets in areas of low stress toward the front of the head. All these measures created discretionary mass, which was redistributed low and deep resulting in an ideal CG location and high MOI.

“It’s easier to move your center of gravity low and forward, but if you choose to go low and back to preserve MOI it’s more of challenge,” Stone said. “Low and forward reduces spin, but what you give up by going forward is forgiveness and MOI, so there are some tradeoffs. There is a significant distance potential in terms of the consistency of our products versus competitive low-spin products.

“Our team is always looking at how we can engineer a structure gram by gram. It might not sound like a lot, but the attention to detail that we take with our designs and redistributing mass in the proper way allows us to implement a major technology like ARC without penalty.”

INDUSTRY-LEADING ADJUSTABILITY WITH SUREFIT TOUR HOSEL: The distance potential and complete performance of Titleist 915 drivers can be further refined through precision fitting using Titleist’s patented, industry-leading SureFit Tour adjustable hosel technology.

The dual-angle SureFit Tour hosel, inspired by the customization previously available only on a tour van, allows golfers to set loft and lie independently to optimize ball flight – higher or lower, and for more draw or fade for improved shot control and maximum distance.

“The SureFit Tour hosel continues to be a significant competitive advantage for us,” Stone said. “Through our testing, we know that putting a golfer in the most precise fit unlocks the technology and distance potential in 915 even more.”

The SureFit Tour hosel features a sleeve and ring, each with four settings. The sleeve settings are numbered 1, 2, 3, 4 and the ring settings are lettered A, B, C, D. In total there are 16 settings, each creating a unique loft and lie combination.

A Titleist authorized fitter will utilize the SureFit Tour hosel, coupled with interchangeable shafts and SureFit Tour weights, to determine a player’s optimal setup so they are playing a 915 driver fit precisely to their game.

The Titleist 915 driver hosel is compatible with 913 and 910 model shafts.

915D2 vs. 915D3: The 915D2 and 915D3 models are designed to provide distinct performance differences, particularly in spin and flight, for greater fitting flexibility.

The 915D2 driver features a larger (460cc), full pear profile for maximum distance and forgiveness. 915D2 produces a higher peak trajectory with 250rpm more spin than 915D3.

The 915D2 profile has been slightly elongated to help maintain inertia and a deep CG, resulting in increased stability with more dynamic face closure for a slight draw bias.

Workable and forgiving, the 915D3 offers a smaller (440cc) deep face pear profile that delivers distance with trajectory control. A result of tour feedback, the 915D3 has a 3mm deeper face than the prior generation, and delivers 250rpm less spin than 915D2. 915D3 produces a lower flight with no draw bias for tour-inspired workability.

915D2 is available in 7.5º, 8.5º, 9.5º, 10.5º and 12º lofts. 915D3 is available in 7.5º, 8.5º, 9.5º, and 10.5º. (7.5º lofts are RH only.)

PLAYER TESTING RESULTS: In player testing, golfers that had previously played a 913D2 experienced an average of 115rpm (and up to 300rpm) lower spin with the new 915D2 model – with an average of three yards (and up to 15 yards) more carry distance.

Golfers who previously played a 913D3 saw an average of 250rpm (and up to 500 rpm) lower spin with the new 915D3 – with an average of nine yards (and up to 20 yards) more carry distance.

With both 915 models, players experienced more consistent speeds and lower spin across the face than their 913 drivers.

915 DRIVERS ON TOUR: More than 25 players on the PGA Tour have relied upon new 915 drivers in competition since the tour seeding and validation process began in late June, as well as nearly 100 players across the worldwide professional tours – including Adam Scott (915D3 10.5º), Zach Johnson (915D2 8.5º), Jimmy Walker (915D2 9.5º), Bill Haas (915D2 8.5º) and Graham DeLaet (915D3/7.5).

Geoff Ogilvy was one of 18 players to put a new 915 driver in play the first week it was available at the Quicken Loans Invitational at Congressional Country Club. A few weeks later, Ogilvy played his 915D2 9.5º model in winning the Barracuda Championship for his first PGA Tour title in four years. He also finished tied for second at the Deutsche Bank Championship in September.

“I just unscrewed my 913 shaft and put it in the 915, and after two shots I was sold,” Ogilvy said. “This one is a really big bump forward in performance. The whole face is hotter, so the shots lower on the face perform way better, which for me is great because I love to tee the ball down a little bit.

“It’s just been a great driver for me. I’m equally happy hitting a draw or a fade. When I won in Reno, that’s a course that you need to move it both ways off the tee. And I was so happy with my driver all week. I hit it miles in the altitude and it went forever. And there are a few holes where you have your little bunts, draws and fades and I could do that as well. It just did everything I wanted it to. Driving it so well was a big part of winning it.”

Among other players who have put 915 drivers into play with early success include: Kevin Na (915D3 9.5º), Bernd Weisberger (915D3 7.5º), Cameron Tringale (915D3 9.5º), Jason Bohn (915D3/10.5), Erik Compton (915D3/9.5), Ben Crane (915D2/9.5), Matt Jones (915D2/9.5) and Scott Stallings (915D2/9.5).

WHAT PLAYERS ARE SAYING…

Adam Scott: “Some things are gimmicks and Active Recoil Channel is not. The fact is it’s producing more miles per hour off the club for my ball speed. That’s massive. … Picking up 10 to 15 yards carry is a big deal. It makes a huge difference if I’m hitting a wedge in instead of maybe an 8-iron or if I’m hitting a 5-iron instead of a 3-iron.

“Not only by adding ARC are you gaining the miles per hour, but with the other innovations and redistribution of weight throughout the head the sweet spot gets bigger as well. … I certainly feel like my mishits – if you can even call them that, because you’ve almost got the whole face to play with – have been very good. The carry distance of what I’d call a mishit has been negligible to the ones flushed out of the middle.”

Jimmy Walker: “The golf ball comes off more consistent. We don’t always hit it in the center of the club, and I think mishits are coming off with a lot more control than they used to. When you mishit shots the ball is still coming off with ample amount of speed whereas before in previous driver versions, if you hit one off the center of the clubface a little bit, you were seeing a dramatic drop in speeds and increases in spin. This new driver, the 915, if you’re just off-center a little bit, it’s really keeping the speed up, keeping the spin down, and allowing you to hit better shots more consistently.”

Bill Haas: “It’s hard to find the higher launch and yet not get more spin. With 915, it’s launching a little higher for me but I didn’t gain more spin, which is important. If you have too much spin, you lose distance.”

Zach Johnson: “The new 915 certainly is more forgiving. A mishit still goes properly. My ball speed has gone up and I feel like I’m putting the same swing on.”

Graham DeLaet: “The new 915 driver is awesome. It comes off super hot. My spin rate has come down just a little bit, which I always battled a little bit, and it’s just optimal ball flight. With the spin, you can just see it. The ball is launching nice and flat, especially the into-the wind-shots I was noticing a big increase in distance.”

TOUR-PROVEN STOCK SHAFT MATRIX: The 915’s high-performance stock shaft matrix features five new aftermarket options from the most played driver shaft families on the PGA Tour to fit a wide range of players and swing speeds.

The stock lineup includes the Aldila Rogue Black 70 (mid-launch) and Aldila Rogue Silver 60 (lower-mid launch); and the Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 70 (low launch), Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Blue 60 (mid launch), and Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Red 50 (high launch).

In addition, Titleist offers an industry-leading number of custom shaft choices.

PLAYER BENEFITS:

• LONGER DISTANCE through low spin and high speed from the Active Recoil Channel™.

• HIGHER SPEED on off-center hits from the Radial Speed Face.

• LOWER SPIN across the face improves distance and direction on off-center hits.

• EXCEPTIONAL FORGIVENESS from the stable, low and deep CG, High MOI Design.

• PRECISION FIT through our industry leading SureFit® Tour Hosel technology.

• PREMIUM SHAFTS provide high performance options to maximize your speed and timing.

• SOLID FEEL and sound from the higher standard of acoustic engineering.

• GREAT LOOKS from the pear profile and rich appearance.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY: The new 915D2 and 915D3 drivers will be available in golf shops worldwide beginning Nov. 14 with an MAP of $449 (MSRP $499).

FAIRWAYS AND HYBRIDS:

New Titleist 915 fairway metals and hybrids, designed using new Active Recoil Channel™ technology to produce lower spin and higher speed, deliver longer distance with exceptional forgiveness from both the tee and turf.

The fastest fairway and hybrid designs Titleist has ever developed, the new 915F, 915Fd 915H and 915Hd models significantly increase distance for serious golfers of all swing speeds while maintaining high MOI for forgiveness.

Available in golf shops worldwide beginning Nov. 14, Titleist 915 fairways and hybrids provide improved performance through three key advancements:

-- The proprietary Active Recoil Channel, a long, deep, forward-positioned sole channel that actively flexes at impact and recoils to launch the ball off the face with higher speed and lower spin;

-- An Ultra Thin Face, a high-strength, uniformly thin high-speed face insert that increases ball speed across the face; and

-- A precise, high-MOI design with a low center of gravity (CG) location that delivers stability and forgiveness by preserving ball speed across the face for more distance, more often.

Those technologies, combined with the fitting precision of Titleist’s industry-leading SureFit Tour hosel and tour-validated looks, sound and feel, make for the most complete, consistent metals performance in the game.

“The new 915 fairways and hybrids really bring us to another level from a distance perspective,” said Dan Stone, Vice President of Research and Development, Titleist Golf Clubs. “The combination of the Active Recoil Channel and Ultra Thin Face is powerful in creating more speed with spin reduction for maximum distance. And with our high-MOI design strategy we’re able to provide golfers with the best combination of distance and forgiveness.”

Titleist R&D designed 915 fairways and hybrids to maximize their low-spin, high-speed potential, with the SureFit Tour weight placed in a low, central position behind the Active Recoil Channel on each model to help create ideal CG properties. Golfers can select their models – 915F or 915Fd, 915H or 915 Hd – based on head shape, forgiveness or ball flight. 915F and 915H feature larger profiles for all-around performance with maximum forgiveness; 915Fd and 915Hd offer smaller head shapes for workability and forgiveness, with slightly lower launch and spin and therefore lower flight than F and H.

The first week they were available on the PGA Tour, 15 new 915 fairway metals and nine new 915 hybrids were put in play at the World Golf Championships event at Firestone. The following week at the PGA Championship, there were 29 new 915 fairways and 13 new 915 hybrids in players’ bags, including Jordan Spieth, Bill Haas, Victor Dubuisson, Jason Dufner and Webb Simpson.

“The new 915 fairways and hybrids, just like our new 915 drivers, really exemplify our R&D team’s design strategy of ‘distance with forgiveness’, ” said Steve Pelisek, General Manager, Titleist Golf Clubs. “And from our player testing on tour and with amateurs, we know that these products are longer, more consistent and more playable than ever.”

LOWER SPIN, HIGHER SPEED THROUGH NEW ACTIVE RECOIL CHANNEL: The Active Recoil Channel – a long, deep channel, positioned along the sole of the clubhead, close to the leading edge – delivers more distance by actively flexing at impact to launch the ball with lower spin and higher speed.

The Active Recoil Channel (ARC™) allows the entire clubface, both crown and sole, to deflect at impact for high speed. (Clubs without ARC technology have a more rigid sole and deflect mostly in the face and crown at impact resulting in less speed and higher spin.)

“With the Active Recoil Channel, the ball is compressing in a different manner and doesn’t have the chance to gather as much rotational energy so it departs the club face with less spin,” Stone said. “It also creates a greater recoil effect, which imparts more speed, particularly low on the face.

“With fairways and hybrids, because you’re often hitting those clubs off the ground, you tend to hit them lower on the face and when you hit lower on the face you generally get more spin. That’s when the Active Recoil Channel really kicks in to help reduce spin.”

On 915 fairway metals and hybrids, ARC is narrower, deeper and positioned further forward than on 915 drivers in order to optimize the performance of the fairway and hybrid heads.

“Fairways and hybrids have a lot more loft than drivers, and more loft can cause more spin. Hitting it off the turf, lower on the clubface, also creates spin. So in order to have maximum effectiveness in terms of spin reduction, we had to make some adjustments by making ARC deeper and positioning it further forward,” Stone said.

INCREASED BALL SPEED FROM ULTRA THIN FACE: Titleist 915 fairway metals and hybrids feature a new Ultra Thin Face that works in combination with the Active Recoil Channel to deliver increased ball speed across the entire face. The high-speed, constant thickness face insert, made of high-strength Carpenter steel, is the thinnest face insert Titleist R&D has ever developed.

“If you think about how the Active Recoil Channel works, with its flexibility it actually takes some load off the face. We found through our testing that we could thin the face further without compromising durability. And because we’re not at C.O.R. limits like with drivers, we were able to make the insert thinner. Those two improvements have allowed us to maximize ball speed across the entire face to make these clubs longer. You get more speed off the turf from ARC, and more speed when you hit it off the tee with the Ultra Thin Face,” Stone said.

MORE DISTANCE FROM FORGIVING HIGH-MOI DESIGN: Titleist 915 fairways and hybrids feature a low CG, high-MOI design for stability and ball-speed preserving forgiveness.

“When you add new technologies like Active Recoil Channel and the Ultra Thin Face, the last thing you want to do is counteract their effectiveness,” Stone said. “The high-MOI construction assures we don’t give any performance back. High MOI isn’t only about accuracy. It’s about distance consistency. It’s about maintaining speed across the face.

“Our main focus was to get that CG low, not too far forward or too far back. Since fairways and hybrids have higher lofts, when you start to push the CG too far back, your spin goes up drastically which hurts the overall performance. And we’re not interested in going supremely low and forward because, similar to drivers, you are giving up a lot of forgiveness. It’s a balance.”

Titleist engineers made several improvements to each chassis that allowed them to redistribute mass low to maintain MOI. The ultra-thin crown is cast thinner to .55mm, just .05mm thicker than 915 drivers. Thicknesses were reduced in the topline (fairways only) and face flange. The addition of the Active Recoil Channel also benefited CG by adding mass low on the head. Furthermore, the SureFit Tour weight was placed low in the center of the sole of each model.

INDUSTRY-LEADING ADJUSTABILITY WITH SUREFIT TOUR HOSEL: The distance potential and complete performance of Titleist 915 fairways and hybrids can be maximized through the precision fitting of Titleist’s patented, industry-leading SureFit Tour adjustable hosel technology.

The dual-angle SureFit Tour hosel, inspired by the customization previously available only on a tour van, allows golfers to set loft and lie independently to optimize ball flight – higher or lower, and for more draw or fade for improved shot control and maximum distance.

“The SureFit Tour hosel continues to be a significant competitive advantage for us,” Stone said. “Through our testing, we know that putting a golfer in the most precise fit unlocks the technology and distance potential in 915 even further.”

The SureFit Tour hosel features a sleeve and ring, each with four settings. The sleeve settings are numbered 1, 2, 3, 4 and the ring settings are lettered A, B, C, D. In total there are 16 settings, each creating a unique loft and lie combination.

A Titleist authorized fitter will utilize the SureFit Tour hosel, coupled with interchangeable shafts and SureFit Tour weights, to determine a player’s optimal setup so they are playing 915 fairways and hybrids fit precisely to their game.

Titleist 915 fairways and hybrids are compatible with 913 model shafts.

915F VS. 915Fd FAIRWAY METALS: The new 915F and 915Fd fairway metals provide golfers with low-spin, high-speed performance in two distinct chassis options.

915F features a full pear profile (175cc) for maximum forgiveness. The large profile provides confidence and produces a slightly higher flight versus the 915Fd. It is offered in five lofts (13.5º, 15º, 16.5º, 18º and 21º), including a new high-lofted 16.5º 3-metal and new 18º 5-metal.

915Fd, with its traditional pear profile (160cc), is workable and forgiving. The compact profile delivers slightly lower launch and spin versus 915F. 915Fd is available in 13.5º and 15º lofts.

Neither model promotes a draw bias.

“In previous generations, Fd was a significantly lower-spinning product than F,” Stone said. “So we saw an opportunity to bring them both to a more optimal CG position. Now players can make their decision based on shape, trajectory and amount of workability or forgiveness – not solely on the fact that one spins more than the other.”

915H VS. 915Hd HYBRIDS: Like their fairway counterparts, 915H and 915Hd hybrids offer low-spin, high-speed performance in two different shapes and sizes.

915H has a subtle pear profile (118cc) that provides confidence at address. The fuller, rounder profile delivers maximum forgiveness and slightly higher launch and spin versus Hd. 915H is available in 18º, 21º, 24º and 27º lofts.

915Hd is a slightly offset, small pear (107cc) that delivers distance with shot control through a flatter trajectory and less spin (about 120 rpm) versus the H. 915Hd is offered in 17.5º, 20.5º and 23.5º lofts.

“If you’re a sweeper who likes to play your hybrids more like a fairway wood, you’re probably better suited in H,” Stone said. “Hd has a little more offset in it, so if you’re a more aggressive player who likes to engage the turf, that’s probably the better choice.”

PLAYER TESTING RESULTS: In player testing, golfers who had previously played a 913F experienced up to 3.5 mph more ball speed with an average of 200rpm (and up to 750rpm) lower spin with the new 915F model, resulting in an average of 3 yards (and up to 11 yards) more carry distance.

Golfers who previously played a 913Fd saw up to 3.2 mph more speed with an average of 150rpm (and up to 500rpm) lower spin with the 915Fd model, resulting in an average of 3 yards (and up to 9 yards) more carry distance.

With the 915H, players experienced up to 4 mph more speed with an average of 250 mph (and up to 330 mph) less spin than the 913H, resulting in an average of 6 yards (and up to 16 yards) more carry distance.

With the 915Hd, players saw up to 3.3 mph more speed and an average of 150rpm (and up to 290 rpm) lower spin than 913Hd for an average of 8 yards (and up to 16 yards) more carry distance.

In general, every additional 1 mph of speed results in 2 to 3 yards additional carry distance.

915 FAIRWAYS AND HYBRIDS ON TOUR: 915 fairway metals and hybrids have found instant acceptance and success since the seeding and validation process began on the worldwide professional tours. The new models made their debut in August at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where 15 new 915 fairway metals and nine new hybrids were immediately put in play. At the following week’s PGA Championship, 29 new 915 fairways and 13 new 915 hybrids were in players’ bags – including Adam Scott (915F 15º), Jordan Spieth (915F 15º, 915Hd 20.5º), Jimmy Walker (915F 15º & 18º), Steve Stricker (915H 18º), Bill Haas (913F/13.5), Victor Dubuisson (915F 13.5º) and Webb Simpson (915Fd 15º).

Most recently, Justin Thomas played a new Titleist 915Fd 15º fairway metal on his way to a playoff victory at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Open, his first-career win on the Web.com Tour, virtually securing Thomas a PGA Tour card for the 2014-15 season. (Thomas also had a new 915D3 8.5º driver in the bag.)

Player counts have continued to climb, with several players carrying multiple models. Among the more than 50 players with 915 fairways and hybrids in their bags are: Kevin Na (915F 15º & 18, 915H 21º), Geoff Ogilvy (915F 16.5º), Scott Piercy (915F 16.5º), Scott Stallings (915Fd 15º, 915Hd 17.5º), Cameron Tringale (915F 13.5º), Chesson Hadley (915F 16.5º), Charley Hoffman (915 13.5º), Matt Jones (915F 16.5º), Brooks Koepka (915F 13.5º, 915Hd 20.5º), Ben Martin (915Fd 13.5º), Jason Bohn (915Fd 15º, 915Hd 20.5º), Greg Chalmers (915Hd 20.5º), Tim Clark (915F 16.5º), Erik Compton (915Fd 15º, 915Hd 20.5º & 23.5º), Ben Crane (915F 15º & 18º) and Ben Curtis (915F 13.5º, 915Hd 17.5º & 20.5º).

WHAT PLAYERS ARE SAYING…

Jordan Spieth: “The Active Recoil Channel on the 915 really feels like the ball shoots forward even faster… You can see the ball jumping a little more and spinning less. … I’m able to adjust my 3-wood to an A•4 (SureFit Tour hosel) position to where it’s knocked up a degree in loft so when I’m hitting off the fairway it just looks like it’s easier to get it up in the air. The ball sticks on the face and shoots off harder and higher. And from there, I feel like I have every shot that I want. I can use it off a tee and it’s going to stay in the air longer. I’ve hit it further than ever off a tee and then into the green I’m able to still stop it on par-5 greens if I need to hit them in two.”

Geoff Ogilvy: “I’ve always used a 15-degree 3-wood, but (with 915) I’ve gone up to a 16.5-degree loft and I’m hitting it further than my 15-degree, which is a massive advantage. Loft is your friend and it makes it easier to hit it straight. It looks easier to hit and it is easier to hit. … It’s really that perfect blend between one that you can really get hot and hit hard and one that you can try to feel into the green as well. It’s got a consistent, great face with the channel taking a lot of spin off the ones you hit hard.”

Kevin Na: “The mishits are coming off the face just as hot, and even for a tour player, I do mishit it. I’ll hit it off the toe a little bit, off the heel, sometimes a little thin. It’s very minor, but knowing that even though you mishit a little bit it’s not going to affect it as much is a nice feeling…. I put the fairway wood in play the first day. The previous fairway wood I was playing with, I’d been playing it for seven years.”

TOUR-PROVEN STOCK SHAFT MATRIX: 915 fairways and hybrids have a high-performance stock shaft matrix featuring four new aftermarket options from the most played shaft families on the PGA Tour to fit a wide range of players and swing speeds.

The stock fairway lineup includes the Aldila Rogue Black 80 (mid-launch) and Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 80 (low launch), Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Blue 70 (mid launch), Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Red 60 (high launch).

The stock hybrid lineup includes the Aldila Rogue Black 85 (mid-launch) and Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 90 (low launch), Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Blue 70 (mid launch), Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Red 60 (high launch).

Titleist offers an industry-leading number of custom shaft choices.

PLAYER BENEFITS:

• LONGER DISTANCE through high speed and low spin from both tee and turf.

• HIGHER SPEED across the face from the Ultra Thin Face and ARC.

• LOWER SPIN from the forward-positioned ARC for trajectory control.

• FORGIVENESS from the low CG, high MOI Design

• PRECISION FIT through our industry leading SureFit® Tour Hosel technology.

• PREMIUM SHAFTS provide high performance options to maximize your speed and timing.

• SOLID FEEL and sound from the higher standard of acoustic engineering.

• GREAT LOOKS from the pear profile and rich appearance.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY: The new 915F and 915Fd fairways will be available in golf shops worldwide beginning Nov. 14 with MAP of $279 (MSRP $299). The new 915H and 915Hd fairways will be available in golf shops worldwide beginning Nov. 14 with a MAP of $249 ($269 MSRP).