Wilson have a growing group of Tour players in their stable which includes the likes of Gary Woodland, Padraig Harrington and Brendan Steele.
Whilst these players happily will put Wilson's latest and greatest irons in the bag every year, (with many of them choosing to add wedges more recently too) it's still very rare to see a Wilson driver out on tour these days.
Why? Well, over the past few years the brand that has more major wins than any other has struggled to keep up with the monumental marketing and R&D spend of the likes of TaylorMade, Callaway, Ping and Titleist.
Enough about the pros though, because the real question is whether you, the amateur, should or could be benefitting from using a Wilson driver? Golfalot have got our hands on the brand new Wilson D9 to see just how good it really is.
What's It All About?
If you've read our D9 iron review, you'll know all about the new generative design process that Wilson are using, with computer modelling software running through lots of different design variations to find the one which produces the most effective results.
The driver features a peak kinetic response club face (PKR), which Wilson says is the most technologically advanced that they have produced. Basically it divides the face into different fractural zones so that each section can be fine-tuned to provide optimal distance and performance even if you don't catch it right out of the middle.
The three-layer composite crown is designed to neutralise vibration and save weight, keeping the centre of gravity lower in the head to promote an easy, improved ball flight.
There are both 10 gram or 3 gram weights options for the back of the club head, which can be used to fine tune ball flight and forgiveness levels.
The driver is complete with a premium Mistubishi Tensei CK Blue shaft and Lamkin grip. As it is a fixed head with no adjustability, there are three different lofts available: 9, 10.5 and 13 degrees. The price for all of this? A very reasonable and somewhat refreshing, £299.
"Utilising 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."
Jon Pergande, Manager of Wilson Golf Club Innovation
Wilson D9 Driver Review
Looks and Feel
The D9 presents what some golfers would call a slightly offset look at address, but it's nothing to worry about in my opinion. Most people lose their driver to the right so this may help to straighten things up a little, and unless you really struggle with hitting the ball left then I can't see it being an issue really - it's minimal.
Looks-wise it is modern, clean and smart. Everything we've come to expect from a driver these days really. It reminded me of the Callaway Rogue Driver from a few years ago with the visible carbon on the crown, along with the black, grey and blue colourway. That was a great, modern looking driver and this is too.
The driver is very straight forward to align thanks to the V on the crown, and it feels easy and balanced to swing. One thing I did notice is that it produces quite a noisy ting from the face. I much preferred the duller thud made by my current driver, the Callaway Epic Speed, although of course this is just preference.
If you struggle with generating club speed then you might enjoy a bit of extra feedback each time you strike the ball and it reminds me of the noise made by drivers ten years ago as brands seem to be trying making things a little more understated in the volume department these days.
The numbers produced during my session on Trackman were very impressive, with a carry distance of 245 yards just a couple of yards shy of my existing Callaway Epic Speed Driver.
The extra loft produced a peak height of 98 feet with a launch angle of 15 degrees, compared to 86 feet and 14.1 degrees
with the Epic Speed which was probably where the extra distance was gained.
The little bit of draw-bias that I mentioned earlier meant that the majority of my tee shots tended to finish to the left hand side of the target line, although only by around 10 yards so it was still manageable and probably in the fairway.
If you're someone who struggles with over-draws then this is probably worth bearing in mind as it could exaggerate this tendency, but for plenty of golfers who are fighting the over-fade (a kind way of saying 'slice') then it may help to calm this down without you even realising.
The first thing that instantly struck me when I got this driver out on to the golf course was the high ball flight. This driver is designed for high launch and forgiveness with all of the weight at the back of the club head but this seemed much more evident out on the course when you can actually watch the full flight of the ball.
I was testing a 10.5 degree driver but even so I was surprised by just how high the ball did launch. This is something to bear in mind when playing on windy golf courses or if you do already struggle to keep the ball down anyway due to high dynamic loft.
You may want to consider looking at the weight in the back of the head to try and alter CG - swapping the 10g weight for the 3g option - this should help to calm this down a little bit and it's nice to have the option.
Like with the indoor testing the ball seemed to favour the left side of the fairway on most tee shots, producing a soft draw that still went a decent distance albeit without much roll.
On a number of holes I hit tee shots with both the D9 and my own driver, and the D9 was coming up around 5-10 yards shorter on average.
Throughout my round the driver felt really easy to swing and be consistent with. It sets up nicely, feels really nice and balanced during the swing and the noise and ball flight combine to actually make the D9 good fun to use.
The Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue shaft was a really solid all-round shaft which felt well balanced and is designed to promote a mid-launch and mid-spin so it should suit plenty of golfers out there.
Despite the fact that this driver is as much as £200 cheaper than other manufacturers' drivers, it's good to see that Wilson are still giving you premium shaft options.
The driver can be an Achilles heel for so many players, so if you can find a model which can give you more consistent results and more predictable misses it makes things so much easier when you're trying to plot your way around the course.
There's no adjustability on the hosel but in some ways that's a nice thing as it makes sure things are uncomplicated so that you can just step up to the tee, grip it and rip it. All I'd say is that it makes a testing/club fitting more important before you purchase so that you know you've got the right model for you.
Carry Distance: 244.6 yards
Total Distance: 269.1 yards
Ball Speed: 146.1 mph
Peak Height: 98 feet
Launch Angle: 15.1 degrees
Spin Rate: 2334 rpm
Dynamic Loft: 16.8 degrees
Wilson D9 Driver Verdict
Earlier in this review I included a quote from Wilson's Jon Pergande where he claimed that the D9 was Wilson's best driver yet, and I have to agree that it is certainly the best Wilson driver that I have seen.
In recent years the likes of Cobra and Mizuno have taken the crown for making the best 'underdog' drivers outside of the big four, but for me the Wilson D9's smart looks, simple, solid performance and attractive price point mean that it might just be the new leader in this category for 2021.
Who Is It Aimed At?
I used to think that Wilson's D range was aimed a higher handicappers who struggled to create any clubhead speed or strike it consistently as the drivers were very lightweight and the irons certainly fell into the 'game-improvement' category.
I think that this whole D9 range has shifted the focus more towards the middle of the pack for Wilson so that you'd be just as likely to see a high single figures golfer using the driver as you would a beginner or high handicapper.
The investment made into the new technology means that this driver now looks and performs like a premium driver which can compete to the big boys, and if it went head to head with the likes of the TaylorMade SIM2 Max, Ping G425 or Callaway Epic Speed I'd be confident that it would hold it's own.
Would I Use It?
I'd be very interested in doing some further testing with this driver and giving the 9 degree head a go, as I feel that the high- launching characteristics of the driver and the 10.5 degrees of loft could end up costing me some yardage, particularly in cold and windy conditions.
As far as forgiveness, ease of use, looks and therefore value for money go though, there was really very little in it compared to my existing Callaway Epic Speed Driver so I would definitely consider putting this in the bag if I ever fancied a change.
- Fantastic value for money
- Wilson's best looking driver to date
- Very easy to launch with great forgiveness
- Kept up with the most popular models on the market distance-wise
- Lack of adjustability means that testing is vital prior to buying
- Would've preferred more of a muted sound
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