Wilson unveils D-100 family

The new Wilson Staff D-100 6-iron.

The new Wilson Staff D-100 6-iron.

Wilson’s new family of Staff D-100 golf clubs includes irons, drivers, fairway woods and hybrids for both men and women. It has been years since Wilson staged an introduction this comprehensive.

So what’s the story on the D-100 line, which will be available Jan. 1 in retail stores and golf shops?

A collection of slogans from Wilson’s global director of research and development, Michael Vrska, provides an outline to at least part of the story:

• “The right light,” (meaning there is a right way and a wrong way to design lightweight golf clubs).

• “We didn’t want to be involved in a race to the bottom,” (meaning the goal was to design and manufacture the best-performing lightweight clubs in golf, not clubs that simply were lighter than everyone else’s).

• “Robots don’t buy golf clubs,” (meaning these clubs were tested extensively with human beings of all sizes, shapes and abilities).

• “Ball speed, launch angle and spin rate don’t lie,” (meaning Wilson won’t shy away from telling consumers to test the D-100 family on a launch monitor).

The Staff D-100 clubs are aimed at the super-game-improvement category. Their theme is straightforward: They were conceived to enable everyday golfers to swing faster with less effort.

Vrska, who came to Wilson Golf from Adams Golf in November 2011, may utter a few slogans, but he remains a no-nonsense guy with a scientific mind. He demanded that all elements of the D-100 line be scrutinized from every conceivable perspective.

The result: The mass (or weight) has been optimized throughout the set. Vrska and his team even spent considerable time with grips of various weights, testing to find the best grips for each club.

So it should come as no surprise that the drivers and fairway woods are outfitted with 25-gram grips (the Tour 25 from Golf Pride) while the irons and hybrids have standard 50-gram grips. It’s all about performance.

Lightweight components are part of the D-100 mission statement, and Vrska reflected on lightweight clubs in general: “Even the best players in the world, the guys who play on the PGA Tour, are going to lighter and lighter clubs. Significantly lighter, actually. So our philosophy on the D-100 fits nicely into this overall trend.”

Iron development, according to Vrska, “is where we hang our hat. Our irons have won more major championships than any other brand.”

The D-100 irons are made of stainless steel. Thanks to modern technology, the faces are the thinnest ever produced by Wilson. “It really is, if you will, a trampoline in irons,” Vrska said. “The area that can flex is three times larger (than many irons).”

According to Vrska, the top line on the D-100 has been widened without adding weight. Why widen the top line? It’s part of the “powerful and strong” motto that is intended to describe the appearance as well as the performance of these clubs.

The stock D-100 driver weighs 269 grams with a 45-gram Matrix graphite shaft. All the men’s graphite shafts are from Matrix, and the graphite iron shafts for women are made by UST Mamiya.

The crown of the driver (and the fairway woods, too) is chemically etched for precision and lightness. A cup-face design helps maximize speed off the face.

The 3-wood, Vrska added, is “the hottest we’ve ever produced in a super-game-improvement design.” This reflects another trend: 3-woods that produce higher and longer shots for many amateurs. In the past most design improvements required a relatively high swing speed to realize substantial benefits. Now modern design and construction are combined to help ordinary golfers catch up.

D-100 hybrids have rounded soles to help players confront virtually any type of lie. These hybrids are numbered from 2 through 7 -- the equivalent of a 2-iron through 7-iron -- meaning golfers could replace most of their irons with hybrids if desired.

Retail prices for Staff D-100 clubs:

Irons (4-PW, GW, SW): $799.99 with Half-and-Half shafts, $699.00 with graphite shafts, $599.99 with steel shafts.

Driver (9, 10.5, 12 degrees): $299.99.

Fairway woods (3, 5, 7): $179.99.

Hybrids (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7): $149.99

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