Titleist 2018 Review
SCOTTY CAMERON SELECT PUTTERS
Scotty Cameron Select putters are instantly recognizable on the golf course. The shapes are classic and the Tour-proven performance is unmistakable. In fact, Scotty Cameron called the 2016 family the best he’d ever made so his goal for 2018 was just “to not screw it up.”
The 2018 Select line focuses on three concepts: sight, sound, and sole. When you put those three together, you get an instant classic. We talked with Michael Bradley, Director of Marketing for Scotty Cameron putters from Titleist, to get the story.
Let’s begin with sight. The 2018 Select line has some refined looks across the entire line. The top line edges are beveled to appear thinner at address (a trend golfers on the professional tours wanted to see because it’s easy to align and looks clean with no distractions). Also new for this year is a single milled sightline. In the past, some of the larger putter heads had a pop-through alignment aid. This was a raised sightline that was popped up through the back of the putter to add more alignment features. That’s now changed. Every putter in the Scotty Cameron line features the classic, single alignment line. “All of these putters are milled in the USA and finished by hand. The attention to detail is incredible,” Bradley told us.
Next is sound, this year’s putters have 30% more vibration dampening material in the club heads across the line. Cameron liked the performance of the multi-material construction used in previous models and it was incredibly well received so he expanded on it for 2018. This material is included behind the face and body, filling up that space to reduce the amount the putter vibrates when the ball is struck. Bradley said, “You still have to maintain feedback so it’s not so soft that you can’t feel and diagnose your mis-hits but this has a softer sound.” Better feel equals better control.
Finally, there’s the sole of the Select putters. Sole is all about how the putter is designed. Bradley described the design process as a “Traditional design that draws up the putter head and balances it, then it’s all milled based on the head alone. Then, you add the shaft and grip during production. That weight offset can make the putter lean forward slightly and look closed at address.” Players are forced to compensate for the lean and that can lead to inconsistency. The 2018 line eliminates the need to compensate and leads to a more consistent set-up.For these putters, Cameron also reshaped the sole and shifted the balance point more toward the face than in previous models. These improvements account for the weight added by the shaft and grip, allowing you to align the putter more square so you make more putts. “With putters, a little bit open is okay, square is great, but even a touch closed is not good,” Bradley commented.
When it comes to the 2018 Select line, remember the three S’s. The combination of sight, sound, and sole creates the ideal performance on the greens. There are seven shapes in this family, from traditional blades to large mid-mallets, as well as the return of the Laguna design, so there's something to fit every stroke type and preferred look. These subtle changes have been well received on Tour and we’re sure you’ll love them too.
Vokey SM7 Golf Wedges
Two years ago, Bob Vokey’s SM6 wedges introduced the concept of progressive center of gravity. If anyone could follow up ground-breaking technology with an even better club, it’s Vokey. He said for SM7 to be considered a success, they would give golfers more versatility, added spin, and more control over trajectory. They’ve definitely accomplished that. We talked with Jeremy Stone of Titleist to get the story behind these wedges.
So what’s new with the SM7 wedges? It all starts with the progressive center of gravity. This feature has been refined for 2018. Center of gravity locations are even lower in the low lofts and even higher in the high lofts, dramatically improving the feel at impact. As the loft of the wedge goes up, the point on the face where you make contact moves farther up the face. “You want to align the center of gravity with the impact position to make more efficient energy transfer and give you more solid feel,” Stone told us.
The grinds have been updated as well. Vokey mostly made small refinements to the existing F, S, M, K, and L grinds. New for 2018 is the D grind. Titleist calls this their “player’s high bounce grind”, designed to fill a void for golfers who like the shape of the M grind but want more effective bounce for a steep angle of attack. Stone described it as “the crescent shape of the M with a higher effective bounce angle. It compliments the K grind by not having the big, wide sole. For the golfer who felt like the K wasn’t versatile enough, the D fits that void.”
So how does someone with the experience of Bob Vokey develop a new sole grind? “We say we have the best R&D department in the world: the PGA Tour. We got a lot of demand from guys saying they love their M but it doesn’t have enough bounce. That is the input that inspired Bob,” Stone commented.
Having six wedge grind options is important because there’s no one-size-fits-all concept for bounce and grind. In the simplest terms, bounce is a unit of measurement that allows a wedge to be fit properly to you. By matching these measurements to the way you swing, you can optimize impact and hit your best shots.
Finally, what would a new wedge be without more spin? The SM7 wedges feature Spin Milled grooves cut to even tighter tolerances, adding up to 100 rpm more spin on average. Titleist uses a process called 100% groove inspection. This means that every groove on every wedge is inspected at the manufacturing facility. There are two reasons for doing this. First is to make sure they conform to the rules of golf. Second, it allows Titleist to identify any inconsistencies in the machining process and take out any wedges that don’t meet the strict tolerances they set for their clubs.
When Titleist introduced SM7 to the professionals, it only took three weeks for them to become the most-used wedges on Tour. That’s a great way to sum up the performance of this year’s clubs. “It works for the best players in the world and they trust it. That shows us just how much of a success story this next generation of wedges is,” said Stone.
Titleist Tour Soft Golf Balls
The number one name in golf balls kicks off 2018 with a brand new ball. Titleist’s new Tour Soft is here and it’s different than any ball they’ve made before. The story behind the design is a major one. We talked with Michael Fish, Titleist product manager, to get all the details.
Tour Soft is driven by the largest core Titleist has ever put in a golf ball. Think of the core of a ball like an engine in a car. The bigger you can make it, the more speed you can put into it. It’s all about making the golf ball as fast as possible. There’s also more room to include soft materials in the core to make it feel better. When you have a bigger core, the club interacts with the core more when you hit it. “This is the largest core we’ve ever put in a golf ball. The Tour Soft golfer wants the longest distance they can find with the softest feel they can get. It’s got a large core and a thin, soft cover,” said Fish.
The cover on this ball is incredibly thin. It’s so thin that Titleist had to create a new process and technology in order to make it. Because the core is so large, it requires an extremely thin cover. The TCU Process Technology was developed in order to place such a thin cover uniformly around the core. As Fish described it, “Compression molding has to be done just right. It has to be done at the right temperature.”
Inside the Tour Soft is their largest core for maximum speed. Outside, there’s the thinnest cover for great feel as well as responsive control around the green. But that’s not all. Titleist also created a brand new aerodynamics package to place on the ball. “Every ball has a different flight. Each package is applied to each construction to optimize flight. We choose the best package to optimize distance for that golf ball,” Fish told us.
Tour Soft’s trajectory is more of a penetrating flight. “It’s similar to the Pro V1,” Fish said.
The end product is an all new construction golf ball from Titleist. With the combination of their largest core and ultra-thin cover, Titleist is after the golfer who prioritizes feel and distance together while keeping cost in mind. If that sounds like a fit for your game, give Tour Soft a try in 2018. You’ll come away impressed.