What we say...
Wilson Golf CEO Tim Clarke set his team a challenge for the new D9 driver... build a club that gets in play on Tour.
Wilson Golf's D family has been built on the foundation of lightweight speed since 2013. Simply by reducing weight, it’s a range that promised to help everyday golfers boost club and ball speeds, which of course means more distance.
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The theory has hit home with decent numbers of price-conscious ‘distance driven’ players, who will continue to be targeted with the D9 range, but Wilson want to open their new driver to a much wider audience.
They’ve taken a new approach to the development process and have worked closely with Major champion and Wilson staffer Gary Woodland to develop the D9 and hit Clarke's brief. But has it worked? We'll find out for sure in the coming weeks, but we’re told the new driver will be on Tour in 2021.
Wilson have invested heavily in a generative computer design process to produce the new range. It uses computer modelling software to evolve a design by simulating several club head variations to produce the most effective design possible comparing data across hundreds of versions.
Wilson D9 driver review
Lofts: 9°/ 10.5°/13°
Stock shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue A (50g), R (50g), S (60g)
Stock grip: Lamkin Genesis Crossline
Adjustable hosel: No
Left-handed: Yes, 10.5º only
Wilson D9 driver tech
We’re talking tiny amounts, but following input from Wilson’s Tour staff, the D9 driver head is slightly bigger than the D7. The new shape helps drag the centre of gravity lower and further back, which helps nudge up MOI and forgiveness. There's a three-layer composite crown, which neutralises vibration, while the face is also marginally bigger.
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More than 120 computers running seven days a week calculated the best pattern for the D9’s PKR (Peak Kinetic Response) face, and the final design is so complex Wilson say there are no flat surfaces or constant thicknesses. They also say it is the most technologically-advanced face they have ever produced.
It means centre strikes are now 2.5mph faster than the D7, and an average of 1.6mph faster across nine points on the face. It has already been tested on the PGA Tour by Wilson staffers Gary Woodland and Brendan Steele.
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A lightweight construction has been the focus of previous Wilson D drivers, but thanks to targeting a wider audience, designers have shifted overall weight up from 280g in the D7 to 310g in the D9.
The standard D9 comes with a 10g sole weight, but golfers who want a super-light set up can switch to a 3g option.
Shafts and grip: Wilson D9 driver
The new Wilson Staff D9 driver is completed with the MRC Tensei CK Blue shaft in stock A(50g), R(50g), S(60g) flex options and the new Lamkin Genesis Crossline grip.
What Wilson say about the D9 driver
“The process we used required over 100 processor cores of computing power and it helped us as an engineering team get to a final design quicker than ever before,” said Jon Pergande, Manager of Wilson Golf Club Innovation.
“We had 120 computers running for seven days a week to create the overall design and we’re delighted with the result in creating an aesthetically-pleasing range with more distance and control than ever before.
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“Utilizing our proprietary software, alongside Wilson Labs and our Wilson Advisory Staff members, the D9 driver is our best driver offering yet
“The face construction, head-shape, crown technology and PKR face all received Tour player feedback and allowed us to improve the performance at every stage and the end product is perfect for players looking for extra yards and forgiveness off the tee.”
Wilson D9 driver: Our verdict
Starting with the intention of getting a driver in play on tour – then dialling it back to what club golfers need – means the D9 is a very different proposition to the popular D7. The head weight jumps from 280g to 310g and there’s a heavier shaft, so it starts to feel more like a players driver.
It feels like a driver that will perform better for neutral and upward angles of attack, rather than our test pro’s slightly downward motion.
How the Wilson D9 driver performed on test
We asked the leading brands to send us their 2021 drivers in our TG Test Pro Neil Wain’s specs.
We created an indoor test lab at Keele Golf Centre to ensure a controlled environment, which meant we could use Callaway Chrome Soft X balls and a Foresight GC Quad launch monitor to create the most reliable data possible.
We rejected major misses, but recorded how shots launched, span, peaked out and dropped out of the air. Here are the results.
We get lots of questions about why we don’t show dispersion data when testing drivers, and our answer is simple. Dispersion stats can be very misleading,
as they’re only relevant on the day they’re created. Hit the same driver a week later and golfers won’t hit shots into a similar sized area. What we look at instead is the difference between our test pro’s best and worst shots with each club.
We analyse how much speed difference there is between on- and off-centre hits, how much back and sidespin is created and how much carry is given up on mishits. Below you can see the top-10 2021 drivers for protecting distance.
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