I swing Titleist. Period.
Easter Sunday arrived a week or so ago and it was a glorious day here in DC. 75 degrees with a light breeze and not a cloud in the sky. It simply doesn’t get better than that. But wait, you say it can???
To my delight, I rolled into my favorite driving range at Falls Road Golf Course in Potomac, MD, and what to my wondering eyes did appear but a guy named Neil, with 6 golf bags full of Titleist and Cobra clubs and endless buckets of golf balls… It was a Titleist DEMO DAY!!!
Needless to say, I was beyond excited. A little known fact about me… I’m a one brand man when it comes to my golf clubs. I play Titleist. Period. Irons, Driver, 3W, wedges, putter, balls, gloves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a snob. I’m just a believer in playing what works for you. For me, that’s Titleist.
I do own a Ping Darby putter as well, which I love because my father’s name is Darby. In fact, I bought if for him some years ago and he has since stopped playing. It’s a great putter, but when I’m out on the course I’m swingin’ my Scotty. So when I walked into the range and saw the demo station set up in all its glory, I was pretty much in heaven.
After getting in the practice that I had come for (hour of putting and a bucket of wedges), I walked over and introduced myself to Neil Fleitell. Neil is a rep for Titleist and Cobra, and specializes in custom fitting. He is a very knowledgeable guy and I really like his relaxed style.
**PLUG FOR NEIL** Not only does he have me jonesing for a new set of sticks, but after the demo I saw him provide some pointers to a guy on the range after and he had his man striking it true within a few swings.
Neil’s info can be found at the bottom of this post, so drop him a line!
We haven’t talked about my current equipment at this point, so without too much detail here is where my bag is at these days…
Nick says: “Yes those are 15 year old clubs… Love ’em.”
Nick says: “Deadly.”
Nick says: “Incredibly reliable and workable.”
Nick says: “Served me well the past 7 years, but this is the next thing to be replaced.”
Nick says: “If you haven’t tried a Scotty, I dare you. Like butter.”
As you can see, I’m not a guy who makes these purchases all the time. I don’t like to switch out my equipment and I truly believe that the Titleist brand fits my game.
My last gush over Titleist as a company.. in 2008 I purchased a 906F4 Fairway Wood and played the remaining 3 months of the season with it, as well as the most of the 2009 season. During the late fall last year I was hitting balls on the range and the face of the club smashed in on impact, the club was toast. I was never much a 3W fan before, but that club was my baby and had finally convinced me to keep it in the bag permanently. To my absolute shock, the guys at Golf Galaxy in Rockville, MD sent it in and 6 weeks later I had a brand new 909F3 in my hands. That story has locked me in as a customer for life. A company that will stand behind its products like that has earned it.
Enough gushing.. onto the reviews. Over the past year, AP1 and AP2 Irons have been on my radar. I’ve hit them in tunnels enough to know they feel nice, but the opportunity to actually test them out on a range, as well the Cavity Backs and the Muscle Backs, is the only way to truly tell what they feel like.
Titleist AP1 Review: Going into the demos, I was of the opinion that I wanted to score a set of AP1s from 08 and have them custom fit. I was surprised when I wasn’t terribly happy with the feel of the AP1 on the range. The club is described as a “hotter” product, for the mid-handicap player. In comparison to the Ap2’s it lacked the weight (whether real or perceived) that AP2, CBs and MBs had. The AP1 also features a slightly greater offset, which I’m not a fan of. The claim behind the AP1 is that it sports increased forgiveness on your errant shots and greater feel delivered through its new thinner face. My experience hitting the irons doesn’t back that up, but I will say I wasn’t happy with the shaft, so that may have had some bearing on my experience. More than anything, I felt like I wasn’t able to get everything out of the contact I was making with the ball. Also, moving the ball from left to right and right to left wasn’t as enjoyable with the AP1. Overall, I think the AP1 are a good club with a solid feel and for those of you who have mid-high swing speeds with a matching handicap, I think you will find the AP1 a great fit.
Titleist AP2 Review: The AP2 were the winners for me. The look and feel of the CBs and MBs were lovely, but the AP2 really distinguished itself by showing a perfect blend of performance and forgiveness, given my own swing and ability. Where the AP1 didn’t relate the power and feel that I was looking for out of each swing, I got exactly what I was looking for out of each swing with the AP2, placing me more in control of my ball striking. This is most likely due to the perimeter weighting that is talked about on the Titleist website. Either way, drawing the ball or playing a high fade was pleasure. The look and design of the club head also inspires more confidence, sporting a high grade forged carbon steel body, along with a slightly more friendly sole and face (compared to the CBs and MBs). For those of you who are consistent and accomplished iron strikers and are looking to feel the ball off the face without the deadly miss hits that accompany true blades, I think you will find the AP2 to be in a class by themselves.
Titleist Cavity Back (CB) and Muscle Back (MB) Review: I am not going to spend a ton of time on these clubs. They are what they are, beautiful clubs for highly skilled ball strikers. If you find yourself in this category or if you find yourself saying “but I HAVE to have blades!” I have one bit of advice; try hitting them out of the rough or even an intermediate cut before you buy.
Hitting a blade like these off mats and perfect lies can leave you with a false sense of performance. With my swing, I have the consistency and club head speed to make either of these models work for me. In fact, they are CHEAPER than both the AP1 and AP2 models, so they appeal to my budget savvy side. However, taking either of theses clubs from the rough will most likely have you giving up far more than you would ever receive in return on the fairway.
Titleist 909D2 Review: Our guy Neil was kind enough to walk me through the three different types of 909 drivers that he had with him that day. The models are the 909D2, 909D3 and 909D Comp. it should be noted that any of these models would be a significant upgrade from my pre-Facebook era 983E driver that I’m currently toting around. I was able to swing both 10.5 and 9.5 degree loft clubs, both of which are higher than my current 8.5 degree. Another major adjustment for me was the size of the head. The 909D Comp comes in at only 440cc, as compared to the D2 and D3 models, both of which are full 460cc heads. Regardless, its a significant adjustment for those of us who prefer the look and feel of the smaller heads from yesteryear. All that aside, I have to say that all three clubs hit beautiful. They are both forgiving, while delivering the distance and feel that you would expect from the latest tee box toy. I personally found the 909D Comp to be the most appealing, as it mimicked the trajectory of my current club and the ever so slightly smaller head felt more manageable in my hands.
Finally, I’d like to also acknowledge Liz Valicenti (@lizzyval) from Titleist. She found me on Twitter while I was writing this up and encouraged me to register for Team Titleist on their website. If you like Titleist, I recommend joining.
As I’ve previously mentioned, I own a marketing firm (Y Business Development) and it is always interesting to see what brands are doing in the social media space to engage their customers. Team Titleist seems like a solid attempt at creating a place where loyalists such as myself can interact with the brand and its ambassadors. I’ll be interested to see how it takes off and how Titleist chooses to promote the concept through its marketing efforts. I haven’t seen much thus far, but if they have a team that “gets it” in their communications department, there is quite I bit they can do with the concept.
Here is Neil Fleitell’s contact info:
Thanks for the read and as always, drive for show and putt for $$$!