You’ve heard the saying a thousand times on the course: drive for show, putt for dough. Leave the big dog in the bag and worry about 100 yards and in.
But where’s the fun in that?
If you’re like me, you want to murder the tee shot. No one likes to be outdriven or to hear the inevitable barbs from your golfing buddies that follow. (My brother uncorked this gem a season or so ago: “My ball took a photo of your ball when it flew over.”)
Hitting the big stick well starts with the right driver. Pro and amateur alike have embraced the Titleist 917D2. Promoting distance with forgiveness, the $550 club has a massive sweet spot and considerable adjustability. The 917D2 also has an active recoil channel—a canyon of sorts that runs across the entire sole allowing the face of the driver to compress at impact and bounce back, boosting ball speed and cutting spin to increase distance. It’s the most forgiving of the company’s 917 series of drivers.
If you buy a Titleist driver, don’t buy one off the rack. You can be custom-fit at one of thousands of fitting centers around the world. Most shops include the fitting fee in the price, and Titleist itself offers complimentary fittings at Titleist Thursday locations.
You step up to the range with a Titleist team member and take a few warm-up swings. After answering some questions about your game (your handicap, typical ball flight, common problems you face) you try a driver. A TrackMan launch monitoring system analyzes your swing speed, spin rate, ball flight and a host of other factors, and the fitter makes adjustments, perhaps changing the shaft, the loft or shaft angle. What may seem like small changes on paper result in real changes in the flight of a ball, and you’ll watch as low shots are replaced by high shots and pulls and pushes are replaced by straighter, truer drives. The entire process takes 20 or 30 minutes.
You can still make further adjustments at home using the wrench and weights that come with the club, including changes to the loft, lie and head weight. Even if you think the only cure for your game is a sprinkling of holy water and a switch to tennis, you should notice a difference.
No club will make you hit the ball like a Justin Thomas, who swings the club to great effect (see the June Cigar Aficionado). But dialing in a 917D2 to your own personal specs should certainly help your game.