Time to try a new driver?

August 4, 2017

The middle of the golf season is a good time to try out new golf clubs. 

Your swing is probably as stable as it can be, and it should be a good indicator of whether a new driver or iron can really help your game. Despite some shrinkage in the market, there are still plenty of club options out there. 

Last fall, The Golf Channel ran a new reality show series called “Driver v. Driver.” Would-be club designers competed for Wilson Golf to select their club for actual production and sales.

I thought this series was a genius move by the folks at Wilson. When I said the same thing at the 2017 PGA Merchandise Show to Rich Hulock, the Wilson manager for metal woods, he quickly laughed and agreed. 

The competition ran from Feb. 1 to the day after Thanksgiving, according to Hulock. That covered the time needed to review the submissions, select which contestants to stay and which to drop, make the prototypes, and reach a final decision in time for production and shipping for the upcoming 2016 holiday season - which just happened to coincide with the grand finale on The Golf Channel.

The winning entry, the Triton, uses a combination of adjustable features. Hulock said the design was “unique from an engineering perspective.” In addition to screw-in weight ports of 2 or 6 grams, the Triton offers two types of sole plates, shaped a bit like a skate or stingray.  

The titanium plate weighs 22 grams, and the carbon fiber plate weighs 9 grams. The interchangeable plates are secured into the driver with the weights. The Fast Fit Hosel system also gives players the ability to dial in a loft setting of plus or minus 1 degree. On the top of the club head, an alignment guide the same width as a golf ball extends for the head’s full length. 

Hulock said one of the most challenging engineering elements of the Triton design was to figure out how to withstand the different forces the two soleplates would create, while also providing a safe method to secure the plates to the head. 

The new driver comes with a wrench, the two soleplates, and a fitting guide. Buyers who work with their club pros have a choice of 10 different shafts in ordering the club, with no upcharge.

I tested three Wilson drivers at the show - the two Triton versions, and the new Wilson Staff D300.  

I could really feel the weight difference in the Tritons, and that variation also showed up in the launch monitor. I did not hit the titanium Triton very well, however. There was some improvement with the carbon fiber Triton, but I still couldn’t match its launch monitor results with my Ping G30. 

Once I tried the D300, however, which felt much lighter than either Triton design, my monitor numbers matched what I can do with my Ping. 

Your results may vary, of course. 

As my experiment shows, it’s important to test any new driver against your current swing before making the investment. Your club pro can help you with that process.

RBCC Men’s Member-Guest 

Rehoboth Beach Country Club held its 63rd annual Men’s Member-Guest Tournament July 14-15. Brothers Ben and Michael Shriner won the overall champions net category with a 20-under par performance. They also won the Shinnecock flight.

Jay Whitby and David Hodges won best low gross with a two-round 132 total.

The flight winners for the popular event also included the following:

Augusta: Dave Spartin and Gary Hann

Baltusrol: Joe Fragomele Jr. and Trippe Wayman

Congressional: Chase McAllister and Kevin Gillis

Double Eagle: Pete Moran and Brad Mitchell

Harbour Town: Penn Emerson and Joe Chippie 

Merion: Mike Meoli and George Buchwald

Oakmont: Larry McAllister and Scott Donaway

Pine Valley: Alan Weeth and Matt Baumbusch

Winged Foot: Paul Collins and Douglas Wright. 

RBCC Ladies’ President’s Cup

Britny Whitby won the net division of the Rehoboth Beach Country Club 18 Hole Ladies’ President’s Cup July 19, in a sudden-death playoff with Gayle Truitt. Sheila Halfpenny took third net.

Daisey Hudson won first-place gross. 

Local club competition results

The Kings Creek Country Club Ladies 9-Hole group played an individual T & F game July 26. Only net scores for holes beginning with a T or F (two, three, four and five) counted toward the total.   

Carolyn Horn won the first flight, with Sue Nardo in second and Jeanne Drake in third.

Gail Petren won the second flight, with Rosemarie Schmidt in second and Susan Gaughan in third.  

The Sussex Pines Ladies golf group played a 2-best balls of 3 or 4 team game July 25.

Joann Foster, Retta Rose Frampton and Kathy Hudak won first place, with Sandy Harrison, Simone Harrison and Hazel Pusey in second.

The same group played its Criers Tournament July 18. 

Brenda Lewis won first-place gross, with Frampton in second and Foster in third.

Debbie Quinn won first-place net, with Hudak in second and Susan Shockley in third.