Wilson Staff. The Chicago, Illinois based brand that has claimed the most Major Championships in the history of golf. Established in 1914 their irons have claimed 61 Major Championships. The most of any golf manufacturer. A company that is rich in history and tradition. As far as I’m concerned in the last several years Wilson Staff has made the biggest strides when it has come to growing a brand. Wilson Staff went from rich history to becoming a brand that became synonymous with being a “box store brand” mostly because the average consumer didn’t realize the difference between Wilson and Wilson Staff. Unfortunately for Wilson Staff this was a stigma that was tough for them to break.
Over the last several years that I’ve attended and covered the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando I have noticed the brands attempt at growing and with that growth developing products that are classy yet groundbreaking. To this day I think that the FG Tour 100 (2014 release) irons are the prettiest in the land where a classic design met new technology. But then the brand really thought “outside of the box” and came up with a concept. A reality show that would air on Golf Channel where competitors would design their newest driver. That show was “Driver vs Driver”.
The concept was new, fresh and exciting. From week to week different designs were created and we watched the process evolve. From concept drawings, 3-D models and prototypes… watching the process was entertaining and interesting. In the end the winning designer was a former University of Cincinnati College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning student (Eric Sillies). As I watched the series finale I honestly felt that the better product lost and Wilson Staff made a huge mistake when selecting Triton as the winner. When Wilson Staff released the MSRP on the Triton driver I was concerned that their price point of $449.99 had them straying “out of their lane” forcing consumers to go with similarly priced drivers from other manufacturers. Getting a chance to swing this driver was on my “short list” of products that I had to swing at Demo Day. Was it worth the winning design?
For those that are unaware Triton is a driver that features some interesting adjustability options. The one feature that stands out is the interchangeable sole plate. Golfers have the option of having a sole plate that was either Carbon Fiber or Titanium. Reasons for these options was to give golfers the option of a higher launch (Titanium sole plate weighs 22 grams) or a lower spinning/low launching flight (Carbon Fiber 9 grams). Also of interest was the Fast Fit Hosel system which allowed golfers to change lofts without removing the shaft entirely from the head. The adjustability options of the Triton also featured “Movable Weight Technology” which allows golfer’s to fine-tune their launch conditions and ballflight through adjustments of 4 weight screws.
The time came for me to swing this club and when the time came I opted for a 9* head in the stock setting and the shaft used was one of ten shaft options available. I should add that there is no upcharge fees for shafts. In this case I went with an Aldila Rogue Tour Silver 125MSI in a stiff flex and started with the Titanium sole plate. There was a lot that I liked. The hosel blended nicely into the head, I liked the tasteful graphics on the sole. I loved the incorporation of the Wilson Staff logo on its face which brought some of the tradition of the old to the new. I even liked how the weights had contrasting colours between the black and “wine”. However what I did not like from an aesthetics point of view was the alignment aid on top of the crown. Part of the design by Mr. Sillies was the invention of “1:1 Visible Swing Active Technology”. This idea acts as both an alignment and swing plane guide to help golfers have more consistent ballstriking. The guide isn’t as intrusive as it looks but at the same time I felt that it never looked “quite right”. But the silver does contrast smartly with the gloss black crown.
So I got down to business not quite knowing what to expect. As I made the first pass I was extremely surprised by what happened. The ball just took off, the ballflight towering and long and the sound/feel was that of a solid “thwack”. I watched in awe and more importantly I stood there astonished by the feel… in a good way. While the FG Tour F5 was an improvement over the FG Tour M3 driver it’s the sound and feel of the latter that still remains in my head. Awful sound and feel… like a cheap aluminum baseball bat. In comparison, the Triton is a massive step forward in the acoustics/feel department where Wilson Staff drivers are concerned. I had no issue with hitting the golf ball straight and failed to hit one off to the right unless I purposely placed a “cut swing” on the golf ball. I ended up making 15 swings in total with the Titanium sole plate and my misses were a couple of high hooks (think of an overcooked draw).
Later I helped myself to the drivers and located a Triton with the same shaft and loft. The difference of course was that this head had the carbon fiber sole plate instead. I definitely preferred this set-up. Strikes were authoritative and dare I say the ballflight was aggressive and a little bit lower. Perhaps backing up the claims that this head was lower spinning in this configuration. Not one ball veered off course with only a couple of swings being struck a touch low on the face. While the flight was still straight the distance definitely dropped off. But a straight miss is the miss to have if you’re going to have a miss. But passes that were on the sweet spot were extremely well-rewarded. Out of all of the Wilson Staff drivers that I have made swings with to date this is the longest of the bunch.
In conclusion, the Triton driver that won the Driver vs Driver reality show is a solid performer. Good swings are rewarded with length and a solid feel. Poor swings see a slight drop-off in distance and the head of the Triton does offer plenty of feedback on those swings that are less than optimum. Either way, Triton delivers some punch with a plethora of adjustability and reliability. Wilson Staff has also dropped the price of the Triton from its original price tag of $449.99 to $149.99. If you’re looking for a late season change to newer technology give the Triton a look.
Until The Next Tee!!