Titleist's R&D staff is constantly working on developing new technologies and new combinations of materials that can provide golfers with more advanced performance. However, due to a variety of issues including price and manufacturing challenges, among others, they can't always allow the average golfer to experience their envelope-pushing designs until sometime later in the product creation process. With the introduction of the limited run Concept C16 driver and irons, that's all about to change.
According to Steve Pelisek, President, Titleist Golf Clubs, this change is largely due to the fact that not only does the company have some legitimate technological breakthroughs to showcase but also a platform to launch them.
"In the past we didn't want to introduce these types of products because we didn't want golfers fitted incorrectly. Now we have tech reps that can do an expert job making sure the fittings are correct." And for those wondering about the high prices, he added, "This is a way to showcase our best technologies before they go to market, it's not about reformulating price points."
The products in question, the Concept C16 driver ($999) and C16 irons ($2699 steel, $2999 graphite) will be made available to the public on April 28th as part of the new Titleist Thursdays initiative (for more info visit www.titleist.com/thursdays) for which Titleist product experts will be available at facilities across the country to conduct clubfittings, golf ball fittings, and other services, free of charge (appointments and walk-ups are both welcome). The events will be conducted on consecutive Thursdays for two months for anyone interested.
The Titleist Concept C16 driver is built with a number of interesting design features including SureFit CG, which utilizes a pair of 10g weight bars that can be positioned in the clubhead to customize CG location. The neutral weight is equal on both ends while the bias weight has about 9g on one side. Players who benefit from a more forward CG can simply place the heavier side closer to the clubface (also toward the toe) while those who do better with a more rearward CG (also toward the heel) can flip it to the back position.
Dan Stone, VP of research and development for Titleist clubs, comments on the unique design, "it's about ball speed going up more than correcting shot shape. The toe position is closer to the face while the rear position is closer to the heel, which helps optimize spin rates for both players who draw or fade their shots."
Another interesting aspect of the design, according to Stone, is that players also seem to pick up distance due to increased confidence with a properly fitted CG.
"We found when the CG is in the right spot players swing harder and produce faster ball speed. It's partially a fitting issue but also a confidence issue that allows players to hit it longer. There's a definite preference almost immediately for the majority of players when it comes to CG location and our two weight system with one neutral option fulfills those preferences."
Other notable design features of the C16 driver include a thin and strong SP700 cup face that works in combination with the Active Recoil Channel in the sole of the club to increase face flex and ball speed, and an ultra-thin titanium crown that allows for a lower and deeper CG location and enhanced forgiveness on off center hits. SureFit adjustable hosel technology further allows for customized performance by allowing loft and lie to be moved independently while a new SureFit grip positions weight under the hands to promote a fade or draw, depending on individual preference.
So how much actual distance does all this new technology provide? According to Stone, the C16 produces about six more yards than the 915 D2 with the same specs and about 10 more yards when properly fitted. For players who want some extra zip on their drives, that's pretty impressive stuff.
The Concept C16 irons are also impressive, as Pelisek says, the 4-iron averages about 2 mph more ballspeed than the current AP1, which translates into 8 extra yards in carry distance. The C16 produces this increased performance by combining design characteristics of the AP1 and the T-MB irons but doesn't produce the added distance simply through stronger lofts. Instead the irons feature a cup face design in the longer irons (4-7) and high-strength steel face inserts in the shorter irons (8-PW) to produce more ballspeed. For the more technically minded players the face inserts are about 10g lighter than those in AP1 while the unsupported face area of the C16 is about 7% larger than that of AP1. More forgiveness is provided through extreme tungsten weighting that positions mass in a deep location in the clubhead as well as by adding even more weight in the heel and toe.
Other features of the C16 irons include the same SureFit grip as the driver, which places weight under the hands to promote a fade or draw depending on individual preference and Ascending Mass Concept shafts (both graphite and steel) that are about 20g lighter than previous AMT shafts.
The Concept C16 irons will be available in 4-W with a choice of Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Limited Edition AMC shafts or Nippon N.S. Pro 880 AMC steel shafts.