TITLEIST 816H1 AND 816H2
CATEGORY: Better Player Hybrids
WE TESTED: 19° (adjusts 18° to 21°), 21° (adjusts 20° to 23°), 23° (adjusts 22° to 25°), 25° (adjusts 24° to 27°) with Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 90, Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Blue 70, Mitsubishi Diamana M+ Red 60 and Fujikura Motore Speeder HB 8.8 Tour Spec graphite shafts
KEY TECHNOLOGIES: The woodlike 816H1 is built for sweepers, as opposed to those with steeper swings. The iron-like 816H2 produces a flatter ball flight than the H1.
PLAYABILITY: The H2 may be the most versatile Titleist hybrid yet -- it's just plain fun, with a driving trajectory and a stiff upper lip in adverse lies; defaults to a mild, repeatable draw that you can hit straight or fade as needed; tight steering -- hard, high-speed turns are there if you want them; the H1 flies a little higher, but you can still flight it down and move it around whenever necessary.
ACCURACY/FORGIVENESS: The easy-going H1 is simple to hit straight, while the H2 has a surprisingly big sweet spot for its size; misses maintain tons of integrity off both clubs; the H1 takes dead aim, while the H2 is more likely to sling one in there, but both will get you to the same place: next to the pin.
DISTANCE: Top-tier length -- both models flex comparable muscle; the H1 offers more carry and tends to be more consistent overall; these don't lose much out of rough; this year's expanded loft options and fine-grain adjustability make putting it in your bag an easy call.
FEEL: As good as Titleist has been in the past, these might be even better; the H2 offers a Goldilocks balance between feel and feedback -- lots of positive reinforcement; the H1 provides a softer, quieter sensation at impact; both are hefty but not in a bothersome way; kudos for the range of shafts, including some heavier models.
LOOK: The larger, low-profile 816H1 and the slimmer 816H2 give golfers two sterling setups; both versions are well-proportioned with a symmetrical, no-hook look; black is out -- the new clubs are battleship gray.
A majority of testers want Titleist to go back to black heads; the H2 can take a few testers for a ride; requires some tweaking to get these set up just right.
BOTTOM LINE: Titleist nailed it with the 816s -- the woody H1 gives you a larger safety net, while the iron-style H2 plays with more swagger. You can't go wrong either way: Both 816s rank among the best Better Player hybrids on the market today.