When they were introduced in 2018, the Tour Speed (TS) drivers by Titleist represented a shift for the company. Constraints were laid aside in the favour of maximum performance. Was it a success? By many metrics it was, including a increased presence on professional tours and a greater acceptance by low handicap golfers.
Now, Titleist is following up those drivers with the next generation of ‘Tour Speed” project drivers – the TSi2 and TSi3. Fittings begin today and retail arrival is set for November 12.
Reaction to them has already been positive on the professional tours with dozens of them in play almost as soon as they were available.
We recently spent some time at the Titleist National Fitting Centre in Vaughan, Ontario putting the drivers (and three woods) through the paces with fitter Nick Keeler. We left impressed, but not for the reasons you’d expect.
It’s a driver, so distance claims are always at the forefront for most golfers when they hear about a new model.
Is it faster? On centre strikes we didn’t find that to necessarily be the case but remember, that’s based on the impact conditions of two players.. I cruised along at my normal 171 MPH ball speed pace (measured outdoors on TrackMan 4 with ProV1 balls) with an occasional shift up into the 175 range. Another tester who average closer to 150mph ball speed and did find a boost. What WAS noticeable was less drop-off in speed away from centre strikes, some help that is always appreciated. TS drivers did a good job on this already but even more so in the TSi products. That likely contributed to the gains by the lower speed player, who is a higher single digit handicap.
My own instincts, backed by assertions from the company, is that this ability to maintain more ball speed away from a precise hit is due to what is likely the most notable new addition to these drivers, the “ATI 425 Aerospace Titanium face”.
The keenly observant will recognize the material name from the prototype Titleist C16 driver of a few years ago – it was used in the crown of that club.
Now it comes to centre-stage with the TSi models, with traits that include a “denser” sound at impact that many better players prefer. The acoustics are phenomenal.
So what’s in the secret sauce of this amalgam?
“ATI 425 is an amazing alloy that leads to a lot of performance benefits,” said Dan Stone, Senior Vice President, Titleist Golf Club R&D. “It’s incredibly strong and maintains elongation under high stress. It let us optimize the thickness of the entire face to a degree that was never possible before and generate our highest ball speeds ever at points all over the face – not just heel and toe but also high and low. This is not an easy material to obtain, but the benefits to the golfer are beyond anything we’ve ever seen.”
He’s not kidding when he’s talking about lack of availability. Just one foundry in Pennsylvania makes the alloy, which was developed for use in ballistic armour and subsequently creeped into the aerospace industry, including NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander.
But, as we found out immediately upon seeing the new drivers in person, there is more to them than the face material and ball speeds.
Not everyone consumer changes up their driver strictly for performance and sound.
While the TSi2 retains a shape that is congruent with a model designed to be more stable and provide a higher launch (more elongated) you’ll find the biggest surprise in the look of the TSi3.
The model targeted at players with a better ball-striking ability and looking to “work” the shot shape, will find something very familiar in the look at address. the TSi3 harkens back to the head shape of the very popular Titleist 975 driver. Most notable is a softer toe profile that also makes the head appear more open at address.
Enhancing the TSi3 is a new way to affect shot shape. Replacing the previously used weight cartridge is a new 5-position “SureFit CG” located on a track at the back of the head for fine-tuning launch conditions.
Each 460cc head is 15% more aerodynamic than TS models, opts for a new “TSi” graphic for alignment, and has Titleist’s patented SureFit hosel with 16 independent loft and lie settings, plus headweight adjustability (in two-gram increments, ranging from -4g to 4g) to help dial in the fit and flight.
As with the TS models, Titleist assures that each new driver head is CT tested to be at the maximum speed allowed.
A wide variety of shafts will be available for the TSi drivers at the retail price of $749 (CAD), with a trio of Graphite Design premium shafts available for an additional $300.
For full specs and more details see www.titleist.ca
Look for another post soon on the matching TSi Fairways that we also tested.