The DCI line was the flagship series of irons from Titleist from 1990 to 2003. DCI is short for Direct Central Impact. The design of golf clubs is high tech. This is not surprising, since top golf manufacturers have regularly recruited from the engineering ranks of the military and aerospace industries for cutting-edge club designers.
Original DCI Models
All DCI models were cast from stainless steel. From 1991 to 1995, the DCI Gold and DCI Black models were introduced. The Black model was less offset than the Gold, which meant that better players would be more inclined to purchase the Black. It was shaped more like a traditional blade iron, which gives skilled players better feel and makes it easier to shape shots, but doesn't provide as much help on your mishits. The DCI-B -- the B stands for blade -- was introduced in 1994 and was even closer to a blade, with the weight on the back of the club similar to that of a forged muscleback iron, the tool of choice for many professional golfers. The DCI-B was a custom-made club that had to be specially ordered.
Titleist entered the game-improvement market in a major way when it introduced the DCI Oversize clubs in Senior, Lady Oversize and Oversize Plus designs. Oversize clubs are geared to golfers of lesser skill who need as much help as possible with shots that miss the center of the clubface. Oversize irons are called game-improvement or super game-improvement clubs, designed to enlarge the sweet spot on the club to help the ball fly straighter and farther on your mishits. Since there are many more less-skilled golfers, club manufacturers sell far more game-improvement and super game-improvement clubs than those for skilled golfers. In 1996, Titleist introduced the DCI 96 model, an update on the DCI Black. This club was designed to look and feel even more like a traditional forged blade, with more weight distributed to the heel and bottom of the clubface.
Late 1990s and Early 2000s
More updates to the lines of players clubs, for more accomplished golfers, and game-improvement clubs marked the end of the DCI era. The DCI 981, introduced in 1998, was one of the last updates of the DCI line of oversize clubs. The apex of the player club models came from 2001 to 2003, when Phil Mickelson used and helped design a brand of DCI irons, the blade-like 762, that focused weight of the long irons nearer the bottom of the toe to help get the ball in the air more easily, and weight higher in the toe for the short irons to hit shots with a flatter trajectory and more backspin.
There is still a lively market for used DCI clubs. The DCI irons were ultra pricey in their day, close to $1,000 with steel shafts and about $1,200 for graphite shafts. However, you can buy a set of DCI 990 irons, a players club, in top condition for $275 or less, as of May 2011. And you can find a virtually new set of the Mickelson-designed 762 irons for about $600.