Need To Know
Titleist new 816 H hybrids possess greater precision, power, performance and pizzazz over its former 915 H range.
The key features behind the new 816 H1 and H2 hybrids are a revamped Active Recoil Channel (ARC) and Ultra Thin Face technology that combine to generate high speed and low spin for longer distances, alongside a new crown design that inspires confidence at address.
Trusted by tour pros around the world including Jordan Spieth, Titleist claims its 816 H hybrids offer a high performance choice over long irons by providing more speed, higher launch and a steeper landing angle to help players hold the green better and stop the ball closer to the pin.
And after an in-depth first look, we cannot disagree.
First Look: Titleist 816 H hybrids
The most noticeable difference with the 816 H hybrids compared to the former 915 H is a new eye-catching grey crown against a black PVD face and sole.
This cosmetic change - made to differentiate the 816 hybrids in their own category - aids plenty of confidence standing over the ball. While there are no alignment markings as such on the crown, the clear white scorelines on the face more than make up for it.
Other improvements come with an enhanced hosel masking and a flatter bulge to present a much squarer appearance at address.
The H1 features a larger, more confidence-inspiring profile that will likely appeal to the higher handicap player, while the H2 will likely appeal to better players who crave a more traditional, smaller pear profile appearance.
One slight niggle on the former 915 H was that plenty of grass got trapped in the Active Recoil Channel (ARC) on the sole, and while the issue has not completely been resolved with the 816 H, Titleist has at least improved the shape of the channel to ensure less debris gets stuck in there.
The acoustics of the 816 H hybrids are up there with the best in its category. Centre hits were greeted with sweet, hearty cracks at impact and good feedback was noted on squiffy hits.
While balls appeared to zip quickly off the face at impact, and certainly on a higher trajectory than the former 915 H, the H1 certainly felt the more powerful offering of the two new models.
Titleist offers a plethora of shafts in the 816 H hybrid range, but we favoured the Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Blue 70 as it aided more of the mid launch we were after.
The slight face progression to the H1 made this one of the easiest hybrids to get airborne. Despite its bulky fairway wood appearance, the H1 launched on a nice mid-high trajectory.
If you struggle to get your long irons or hybrids in the air, or even want an alternative to the fairway wood, look no further than the H1 hybrid - particularly as Titleist has simplified long-game yardage gapping with loft choices every two degrees from 19 to 27 degrees.
Average carry distance with the H1 in 19 degree was up six yards on the former 915 H (212 yards) and total distance was up four yards (233 yards), which is bordering fairway wood distance.
The forgiveness of this club was also very strong, much to do with the MOI being 7% higher than the 915 H.
While the H2 hybrid did not feel quite as powerful or forgiving as the H1, we still received a two-yard gain in both carry distance and total distance in comparison to the 915 H, and shots were not veering too far of our target line.
There was certainly more of a flatter ball flight about the H2 hybrid, however, and approximately 150 RPM less spin on average.
The H2 also appeared much more versatile and was easier to manufacture shots with out the intermediate rough and first cut of rough.
But while there was improved shot data with both H1 and H2 hybrids, the biggest improvement against the 915 H was improved turf interaction. The new bevelled edges on the Active Recoil Channel, in addition to a relieved leading edge, helped both H1 and H2 glide through the turf cleanly and effortlessly.
Another improvement comes with the new SureFit Tour hosel that adjusts loft and lie independently in one-degree increments rather than 0.75-degree like before.
Titleist is catering for players of all abilities with its new 816 H1 and H2 hybrids and that is great to see.
The looks, feel and performance of these hybrids outshine the former 915 H in our book, with a nicer crown design, a more pleasing feel and sound at impact and improved shot data.
The H1 is certainly the more powerful hybrid and the easiest to get airborne, so if you struggle to obtain height with your long irons, look no further than this one. It also happens to be one of the most forgiving hybrids we have tested this year.
Better players will likely fall in love with the H2, however. Although not as forgiving as the H1, this club in the hands of a capable player will offer much more versatility and improved distance control. It will also generate a slightly flatter ball flight and trim that backspin.
By no means cheap at £205, but there is something for everyone with either of the 816 H hybrids.