Titleist introduces 913 hybrid, fairway wood

OCEANSIDE, Calif. -- They first surfaced at the AT&T National in late June.

That’s when the much-anticipated Titleist 913 drivers made their debut. Almost two months later, at The Barclays, PGA Tour players were given the green light to use 913 fairway woods and hybrids.

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The Titleist 913D2 driver.

There is a strategy behind the staggered unveilings. Titleist wanted initial exposure to focus on its drivers. When it comes to golf club visibility for any manufacturer, the driver is often considered the face of the franchise. Furthermore, 913 drivers will be available to consumers almost three months earlier than the fairway woods and hybrids.

For the record, the due date for the 913 drivers to make their appearance at retail is Nov. 9. The street price will be $399.

The fairways and hybrids cannot be purchased until Feb. 8. The cost will be $249 for the fairways and $229 for the hybrids.

Two versions of the 913 driver will be available. The 913D2 features a 460cc clubhead, while the 913D3 has a 445cc head.

Dozens of touring pros already are using the 913 drivers, but let’s take a look at two who quickly made the switch and reaped immediate benefits. Rory McIlroy captured the PGA Championship with a 913D3 (8.5 degree), and Nick Watney won The Barclays with a higher-lofted 913D3 (10.5 degree).

McIlroy is not known as a club switcher, so his decision to use the new driver was particularly significant. Not only that, but McIlroy elected to play a new 913Fd 3-wood (13.5 degree) and 913F 5-wood (18.5 degree) at The Barclays.

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The Titleist 913 D3 driver.

McIlroy won the PGA Championship by eight strokes and lead the field in driving distance with a 311.5-yard average.

Here are some thumbnail facts about the new 913 metalwoods:

• The adjustable SureFit hosel system for the 913 drivers remains the same as the adjustable setup for the previous 910 drivers. This means, of course, that all driver shafts with the adjustable Titleist hosel configuration can be transferred between 910 and 913 drivers.

• However, the adjustable hosel system for the fairway woods and hybrids has been changed. The hosel on the 913 fairways and hybrids is shorter than it was on the 910 models. Consequently, a new hosel asssembly for 913 shafts (fairways and hybrids only) is required. Shafts are not interchangeable between the 910 and 913 models, although Titleist will update the older 910 shafts through its custom department.

• On all 913 clubs, the 4-by-4 adjustable grid remains the same as it was for the 910 models. Any 910 setting (for example, A3 for maximum draw) will produce an identical result with a 913 club.

• The design of the 913D2 driver has undergone some dramatic changes. The center of gravity has been moved, creating lower spin for the 913D2 than the 910D2. According to Titleist, the 913D2 and 913D3 have the same launch and spin characteristics. The 913D2, called by Titleist as the “more forgiving” of the two drivers, has a slight draw bias. The 913D3 has no draw bias.

• The titanium face insert in the 913 drivers is new. It is thinner and lighter, with a variable taper. Titleist says testing results show an increase in ball speed for off-center hits.

• Titleist has compared test results between the 910 and 913 drivers. Citing “better launch conditions” for the 913, Titleist says “player perception” was that the 913 “produced more distance” and also “felt better.”

Chris McGinley, Titleist’s vice president of golf club marketing, said: “This is a story of distance. The 913 is longer on off-center hits.”

• Titleist driver length remains 45 inches. This is somewhat shorter than most other drivers, but Titleist maintains that 45 inches produces the best combination of length and accuracy. Based on an informal Golfweek poll of all major manufacturers, the average driver length on the PGA Tour actually remains slightly less than 45 inches.

• Driver shafts available at no upcharge include three from Mitsubishi (Diamana Plus White, Diamana Plus Blue, Bassara W) and two from Aldila (RIP Phenom, RIP Alpha).

• Driver lofts are 7.5 (right-hand only), 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12 (913D2 only). The color of the 913 heads is somewhat darker than the color of the 910 heads, making the 913 family immediately recognizable.

It appears that golf club competition among manufacturers will be centered on drivers for 2013. Ping already has released its new low-spin Anser driver, and other clubmakers will join the driver parade before the PGA Merchandise Show in late January.

Despite a collection of restrictions and limitations – coming from the U.S. Golf Association and R&A – there is little doubt that today’s clubs are better than ever before. This reflects the triumph of innovative design, refined materials and improved construction techniques. Welcome to modern golf.

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