If you live in the USA you will be familiar with the backstory to the Wilson Staff Triton driver and how it was created via a reality TV contest on the Golf Channel.
For those in the rest of the world who missed out, you can read my interview with the Driver vs Driver winner Eric Sillies here.
However what Eric has created is now in the market for real and it is my job to see if what he has created in conjunction with the Wilson Labs team is worthy of your cash.
Named after the Greek god who was the messenger of the sea, there are two keys features on the Wilson Staff Triton driver and the first is very obvious when you put it down at address. Of course what looks like a silver line has to have a three word title ending in technology and so Wilson has christened it Swing Active Technology.
This was one of Eric's gems and it is a few millimetres narrower than a golf ball so that you can align the ball with the centre of the face and then the face with the target.
The 'SAT' gets narrower as it goes back and almost seems to indicate the takeaway path and reminds me of a similar feature on the old Scotty Cameron Detour putter.
Whilst the crown looks like it has been scalped, the SAT does the alignment job well, particularly as the head seems to sit a little closed, as most Wilson drivers tend to do.
The other three word feature is the Moveable Weight Technology, or more accurately, the moveable sole plate, as the Triton driver comes with a 22g titanium sole plate and a 9g red-bordered carbon fibre version that can be interchanged.
Each one is held in place by three weight screws that are chosen from the supplied pair of black 2g screws or the red 6g screws.
This is all clever stuff as the different sole plates allow the CG to be moved vertically whereas the screws will move it horizontally through a range of 12 possible options.
To show you how this works I took the Triton driver on the SkyTrak launch monitor with the 10.5° head in the standard setting with the 6g weight in the back and the 2g weights in the heel and toe.
Starting off with the lighter carbon sole plate, the Triton felt very good with a slightly more hollow sound than the titanium version below.
The performance distance was pretty similar, but you can see that with the titanium sole plate I got an extra 150rpm of spin and a slightly higher launch angle. This is because the heavier sole plate lowers the CG in the head to give this effect, so if you need more launch then this would be the sole plate to go for.
However spinning at over 3000rpm is way too high for a driver so I used the other adjustable options to bring this down. I went back to the carbon sole plate to raise the CG and then delofted the face 1° to 9.5° using the adjustable hosel.
This had the desired effect of increasing ball speed from the straighter face as well as dropping the spin to around 2600rpm with a slightly higher launch.
The higher launch with lower spin saw a longer overall total distance and equal longest carry from a slightly slower club head speed, so I would expect this to give me the longest drive all things being equal.
So as you can see, getting the correct loft will be the biggest factor in setting up the Triton driver, whilst the sole plate will have a reasonable effect on spin.
The screw weights are more for fine tuning and putting the two heavy red weights in the heel and toe and the lighter black weight at the back added some of the weight back into the head to offset the lighter carbon soleplate without increasing the spin as much.
Moving the weights around will also change the sound and feel of the head as you swing it so using the two red or two black weights in the heel/toe positions could give similar MOI performance and you can then choose the setting that gives you the feel you prefer.
Distance wise in its optimum setting it was up there with the longest drivers I have tested this year, so then some of the more touchy-feely factors come into play.
As mentioned it does sit quite closed, even in a delofted open setting and the rear of the head features a straight section, like the back of it has been clipped off like a fine cigar.
It's quite a tall face and unusually there are no pretend groove lines on the face, not that it really needs them as hardly any drivers have actual grooves now.
There is a wide choice of 10 shafts available at no extra charge, with the stock Aldila Rogue giving a high quality option that is very stable and suits the slightly lighter feeling than average 203g Triton head very well. Unfortunately it is 45.75 inches as standard which is really too long for most players, so see if getting it shortened benefits you, which it probably will.
As I found it when I interviewed Wilson Global Director of Golf R&D Michael Vrska the first version of the Triton driver was ruled non-comforming becuase the sole plate had too big a rear edge by a couple of milimetres so that the USGA did not feel it was 'plain in shape'. All they had to do was swap these and the sole plates marked DvD for 'Driver vs Driver' are the conforming ones.
The original model also had a 12g weight screw option, which when put in a set up with the two 6 gram weights and the titanium sole plate made the ball come off too fast. Wilson say that the E5 swingweight of this setting would be too heavy and create a huge fade, but they removed that weight option anyway.
However it just goes to show what is possible with the Triton driver and how close to the limits it is. The non-comforming story may seem like a black mark, but in some ways it has been a marketing benefit too.
Overall I do like the Triton driver because it is distinctive, innovative and comes with a different take on the adjustable weight story. The soleplates give decent vertical CG movement which is probably more beneficial to performance than horizontal movement.
The components are all top drawer and this is a very well put together club. It could maybe sound better and the SAT line is more function than form, so with only a £50 price advantage it could struggle for attention when going head to head with top of the range models from the leading driver brands.
However if you like the price, visuals and the acoustics then the Wilson Staff Triton driver will be a worthy contender and will live up to its name by giving the ball the message.