“We define hybrids as scoring clubs, not rescue clubs,” said Josh Talge, Titleist’s Vice President of Marketing for Golf Clubs. “And that’s how our R&D group has been designing these clubs for years.”
Of course, in golf, when it comes to scoring, precision is king. And for that reason, Titleist has made it a priority to create hybrids that feature industry-leading customization.
That was a key component in the success of Titleist’s 816 hybrids, and the personalization features have only been enhanced in the new 818 hybrids.
“We’re really excited about the 818 H1 and H2 hybrids,” Talge said. “They’re the best hybrids we’ve ever made, and we’ve had the No. 1 hybrid on the PGA Tour for the last two or three years.”
“There’s really no one else that’s offering this level of customization and playability in hybrids, and these are our longest and most forgiving hybrids yet.”
From a customization standpoint, Titleist is again offering its SureFit hosel, which allows for 16 different settings and enables players to independently adjust loft and lie to achieve what they’re looking for in terms of distance and ball flight.
Additionally, Titleist has now incorporated SureFit CG Technology, which has been tremendously successful in the company’s 917 drivers and fairway woods, into the 818 hybrid design. The result is that players can choose how to position a weight cartridge in the clubhead to better control their spin rate for optimal performance, as well as create the exact shot shape bias that they prefer.
In consumer testing conducted by TGW, the SureFit CG proved to be a popular and valuable new feature.
“The SureFit CG gives you the ability to, on different golf courses, work balls right to left, left to right,” said Jay, a +4 handicapper. “It gives you that opportunity to hit it higher, lower, and it makes it easier to hit it different directions.”
Also new for the 818 hybrids is a modified Active Recoil Channel, which through an improved design and more flexible polymer insert is creating faster ball speeds for more distance. That distance, however, has not come at the expense of forgiveness. The 818 hybrids have a lower, deeper CG position than their 816 counterparts, with the result being an MOI increase of roughly 10 percent, which provides more stability at impact and improved results on mis-hits.
“The amount of technology we’ve engineered into 818 is unprecedented for the hybrid category and will give golfers at every level the confidence to take dead aim from distances they never have before,” Talge said.
One thing that hasn’t changed with the 818 hybrids when compared to the 816 models are the player types and swing characteristics that the H1 and H2 were designed to fit. The H1 model has a larger profile and was designed for players who tend to sweep the ball off of the turf in the same manner that they would typically hit a fairway wood.
The H2, meanwhile, was designed for more aggressive swingers who tend to hit down on the ball with a steeper angle of attack, much as they would when hitting an iron. That being the case, the H2 features a slight offset design, and the 818 H2 not only has a much smaller profile than the 818 H1 but it’s also significantly smaller than the 816 H2.
For the TGW customers who tested the 818 hybrids, they found that the two different models worked as intended for the type of player each was designed for.
“My preference would be for the H1,” said J.R., who plays to a 3-handicap. “I’m more of a sweeper, so I like that look and the appearance at address. The less offset on the H1 was something I really noticed. The launch angles were just incredible. You could get excited about hitting these into a green.”
Added Jay: “The H2, I was a big fan of this one. I love hitting longer irons. I kind of have that digging motion so this was perfect for me. The feel was fantastic and the performance was super consistent. And I could tell there was a little upgrade from the 816 as far as speed coming off the clubface.”
Titleist’s new 818 H1 hybrids are available in standard lofts of 19, 21, 23, 25, and 27 degrees, while the H2 models are available in standard lofts of 17, 19, 21, and 23 degrees. In terms of stock shafts, Titleist is offering new options from Mitsubishi in the Tensei Red, Blue, and White, as well as no upcharge, premium offerings Fujikura and Project X. The stock grip, meanwhile, for both the H1 and the H2 will be the Golf Pride Tour Velvet.