Ask the expert: Dan Stone
Dan Stone, vice president of research and development
Titleist Golf Clubs
Golfweek: Why did Titleist decide to introduce three models in the new 909 driver family?
Dan Stone: There were two main reasons for the D2, D3 and DComp models. In our studies, our audience (professionals and amateurs with single-digit handicaps) exhibited enormous differences in ball speed and attack angle. To fit all these golfers in the best possible way, we created three different heads.
GW: What did you learn about attack angles from your studies of touring pros?
DS: The results were eye-opening.
When we combined the PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour in our research, we came up with a plus or minus 5-degree attack-angle difference. In other words, the attack angles were all over the place, which means that (ball) spin can vary tremendously from golfer to golfer.
GW: What type of golfer is best suited to each of the three models?
DS: With all the ball speeds and attack angles, there are four basic categories that golfers fall into. High-launch/low-spin golfers should try the D2 or DComp. High-launch/high-spin golfers are best suited for the D3. Low-launch/high-spin golfers could use any of the three. Low-launch/low-spin golfers are candidates for the D2 or DComp.
GW: How did you choose shafts to complement the driver heads?
DS: We sell a lot of after-market shafts because our target audience is very knowledgeable about shafts.
Our stock shafts, though, go back to ball speed. The median ball speed on the PGA Tour is 165 mph . . . . For scratch to 4 handicappers, the speed is about 155 mph. For players with handicaps of 5 to 9, the speed is roughly 145 mph.
We can’t offer the same shaft setup for all those players, so we have multiple stock shafts. We have to make the shafts playable for all the golfers interested in our drivers.