It was only a matter of time before Titleist came to the rescue! Their 503H utility club has been months in development and ironically emerged simultaneously with Callaway’s similar dip in the iron-wood market with Heavenwood Hybrid.
Available initially in 19 and 22 degree loft versions, The Titleist 503H is already used on the US Tour, by Zach Johnson, Brad Faxon and Mark O’Meara but will it muscle in on the already established TaylorMade monopoly?
We asked father and son golfers Peter and Ben Stephens, respective seven and five handicappers, for their assessment.
Said Peter: "I compared the Titleist to my 22-degree TaylorMade rescue club and discovered it had a smaller head and sweet spot and with its graphite stiff shaft was less easy to control than my own club, which has a stiff ‘lite’ steel shaft. Unless you find that sweet spot, the feel is less forgiving.
He added that distances of 160-190 yards compared favourably to his 19-degree TaylorMade, which cost him £90, and accuracy was better than his own club which tended to produce a fading ball flight.
Ben commented: "The Titleist 503H is an excellent addition to the utility club market and is aesthetically pleasing at address with a futuristic head shape which is a cross between a metal-wood and iron. The carbon fibre insert at the back of the head also adds support to the thin clubface.
"This club, which for me would replace a 2- or 3- iron is aimed at the advanced player market but the shaft in the test club - an Aldila Hybrid stiff 85 graphite - is equivalent to only a regular steel shaft which was too light and flexible for my game. My own rescue club has a stronger, heavier steel shaft," said Ben.
"There’s a high density tungsten sole screw to position the centre of gravity in the face low and deep which Titleist claims provides launch and trajectory benefits – more control compared to a high loft fairway metal and more playability compared to a long iron. I think it’s a technological gimmick to impress prospective buyers."
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