Clubs: Titleist 818H1, 818H2
Price: $280 each with Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei, Fujikura ATMOS and Project X Even Flow graphite shafts
Specs: Cast 17-4 stainless steel body, Carpenter 455 stainless steel face insert. Available in 19, 21, 23, 25, 27 degrees for the H1 or 17, 19, 21, 23 degrees for the H2.
In-store date: Sept. 29
Titleist aims to increase ball speed and launch angle while maximizing playability with its newest hybrids.
Titleist considers hybrid clubs to be scoring clubs, like irons, so when new irons are released – such as the 718 AP1, AP2, AP3, T-MB, CB and MB recently were – new hybrids are sure to follow. That philosophy explains why the company’s designers and engineers updated the 818H1’s and 818H2’s bodies and expanded their adjustability.
Stephanie Luttrell, Titleist’s director of metalwood development, said the goal was not to generate significantly more distance but to help players develop better distance control across a larger area of the face to enhance consistency on approach shots.
“Like our fairway woods, these hybrids have our second-edition Active Recoil Channel,” Luttrell said. “It’s a through-slot into the head that allows the face to flex more, which increases ball speed and lowers spin. However, we didn’t want to lower the spin of these hybrids, so what we did was increase the CG (center of gravity) depth.”
Pushing the CG lower, which adds spin, offset the decrease created by the updated channel, which is covered by an elastomer. As a result, the spin remains the same compared to the 816 hybrids, but the stability is 7 percent greater in the 818H1 and 13 percent greater in the 818H2.
Like the 917 fairway woods and drivers, the 818H hybrids now have SureFit CG. Each club comes with a 14-gram weight inside the head that looks like a AAA battery. It is neutrally weighted, but golfers can remove it using a torque wrench and insert a 14-gram weight that is heavier on one end. When the heavy side is inserted first and positioned near the heel, it creates a draw bias. Affixing the weight so the heavy end is near the toe creates a fade bias.
Titleist also gave the 818 hybrids a 16-position SureFit adjustable hosel, which allows golfers and fitters to decrease the stated loft by up to .75 degrees or increase it by as much as 1.5 degrees. The lie angle also can be made more upright or more flat.
“These hybrids are available in 2-degree loft increments, so with our SureFit hosel system we’re able to create overlapping positions that allow you to build them at different lengths, different face angles and really customize the performance for each player’s needs,” Luttrell said.
The 818H1 is ideal for golfers who have a shallow angle of attack on the downswing or who prefer the look of a fairway wood-style hybrid. It creates a higher ball flight than the 818H2 and is slightly more forgiving. At address, the 818H1 looks more rounded and is larger from heel to toe and from face to back.
The 818H2 is designed to appeal to golfers who like iron-style hybrids and who hit down aggressively on their shots. It creates a lower launch angle and slightly less spin.