Titleist aficionados will know that the company realigned its hybrids from the metal wood to the iron launch cycle with the previous generation 816 H1 and H2 hybrids.
It's no surprise therefore that following the launch of the extensive range of Titleist 718 irons, Titleist has also added new 818 H1 and 818 H2 hybrids to the options for the long end of your bag.
I caught up with Steve Pelisek, President of Titleist Golf Clubs to find out what changes they have made to this category of club.
Hi Steve. With the new 818 hybrids we still have two models with the H1 and H2, but I see that the H2 has a slightly different shape this time round. Why have you gone down that route?
We make really good hybrids. We looked up a few years ago and realised that we were the number one hybrid on Tour. That wasn’t an objective, it was a result and it has not been that way for several years. I think the reason we are is because we offer really good choices and all of the choices are really good.
The hybrids are long, they are really high ball speed, but we do believe in having a couple of different shapes. There are players who prefer a little bigger head with a more sweeping style golf club and then there are players who prefer a more compact squared off club who have a steeper angle of attack and want to hit it more like an iron.
So we looked at both of those shapes, as we do each time we design a hybrid. This generation we just felt like we wanted to make the new H1 a little more pear like and a little more sleek, it is just slightly changed, the volume of the head is the same, but we think the more pear shaped head is better looking. With the 818 H2 we squared it off a little to make it a bit more iron like in its look.
With its squarer toe is the H2 really more of an iron hybrid?
Yes it is and it is funny when you look at all the different levels of players. On Tour there are a few more H2’s than H1’s, but we sell more H1’s than H2’s.
H1 is a bigger head, it is more forgiving and it is a little easier to hit, especially if you are a sweeper instead of a digger but they are both very popular and they are both excellent choices.
We take that seriously – hybrids are a big deal. We don’t look at them as trouble clubs, you know, get me out of trouble. We look at them as long end gaps where you are hitting to a flag and so again similar to irons we are conscious of making sure that the basic trajectory is high with the appropriate spin and the ball is going to land soft and it is going to stop where it lands. If it doesn’t stop within 15 to 20 feet of where it lands it is not a good shot.
You’ve put the SureFit CG weight in the bottom of the club that people can adjust. Was that a big decision to put that into the hybrid with it having been in the 917 driver and 917 fairway previously?
It is a big decision. What we found, even more so than in the driver, being able to move CG heel-toe in fairway woods and hybrids is a big deal. You can do some of it with lie angle, you can move right to left trajectory, but it is cleaner doing it with SureFit CG.
Also moving that CG for different players. Again, if you go and get fit by a specialist fitter, the pattern for where a player makes impact usually moves from low heel to higher toe. Being able to move the CG to wherever you impact location generally is a huge deal because the more you can align the CG with point of impact the better in terms of consistent ball speed.
Being able to vary the weights by 12, 14, 16, 18 grams obviously changes the Moment of Inertia of the club as well and how it feels to the individual player. It seems to me that is the greater benefit rather than the shot shaping. Is that how you see it?
I don’t know if it is greater, but they are both significant. We do see the ability to adjust total weight as a huge deal. If you are going to change shaft lengths you need the ability to deal in a swing weight that feels right and a total weight that feels right.
For some players if you give them a 4g lighter club they are going to swing it faster, some players you give a 4g lighter club and they will feel that they have just lost control. We believe absolutely that if you give a fitter the ability to move CG and adjust total weight, with the adjustability also offered by the hosel that allows you to adjust lie angle without changing face angle and change loft without impacting on lie angle, then you will get the best fit for each player.
Also we design our hybrids at two degree increments from 17° up to 27°, but when you add in the SureFit hosel that allows for a 1° change in loft, it means we effectively offer hybrids from 16° to 29° in one degree increments with that line up.
The whole point of that is so that you can match them to your gaps at the long end of your set to really dial in what you need to go and attack the golf course. That is why we think of the 818 hybrids more as scoring clubs than just trouble clubs.
Thank you Steve and good luck with the 818 hybrids.
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