Titleist as a brand has always done things their own way, and it has served them well in the eyes of consumers and PGA Club professionals. There are many reasons for their lofty place among industry OEMs. First, and perhaps most obvious is their standing as the industry leader of golf balls. The Pro V1 golf ball has become as iconic in the golf world as a Coca Cola is to citizens around the globe. In the golf club industry, it’s a bit more even handed in the battle for big stick supremacy. Acushnet, Titleist’s parent company has chosen to resist the trend of introducing new drivers and fairways each year like just about every other large OEM does. In fact, many introduce several different models each year. Titleist launches their new line every two years, this way as a consumer you are confident that the new gear IS a technology improvement over the previous line and hasn’t been rushed into retail for the sake of getting something into the marketplace. So when they contacted us about the new TSR line late last year, to say we were intrigued would be an understatement. Earlier this year, we sampled the product and discussed the new technology in Orlando at the PGA Show. In early spring, we began testing the TSR3 driver, TSR2 fairway and TSR2 hybrid (pictured above).
According to Titleist – TSR represents the deepest, most complete, most validated understanding of the tee shot ever held within our walls. Every aspect of impact has been considered, constructed, and optimized in service of our singular desire to produce more playable distance from every swing. A world of performance that explodes to life the instant the club begins to descend.
The TSR2 and TSR3 models cover the largest demographic of players, with TSR2 geared for max forgiveness for those players whose impact pattern is less consistent and also for those looking for higher trajectory; while the TSR3 targets players with more consistent center face impact and the desire to fine tune and influence shotshape through the use of technology options; TSR4 focuses on the lowest spin and a has more compact shape, fitting the smallest group of only the highest-speed/high-spin players. TSR1 is an ultralight aerodynamic model created for moderate swing players looking to maximize speed and distance.
Since they made their debut on worldwide tours late last year, TSR2 & TSR3 drivers have been leading just about every recent bag count on the PGA & DP World Tour.
During our in-depth visit with Titleist’s Luke Epp at the PGA Show, we went over each line of metalwoods from Driver to hybrid and chose a mix of models to review that may compare favorably with what was currently in my bag. Because I tend to be a low-spin player with mid-trajectory (in search of more carry distance at the top of the bag), he suggested I loft up with each model a bit to gain more spin/carry distance. Taking his recommendation into account, we opted for this setup: TSR3 driver in 11 degrees (adjusted to 10.25), 16.5 degree fairway (adjusted to 15.75), and 21 degree hybrid (adjusted to 20.25) .
Technology (TSR3 Driver)
Optimizing driver performance is the goal of nearly every avid golfer, so we focused most of our testing with the TSR3 (we’ll touch on our results with the TSR2 fairway and hybrid testing as well). So before we get into our experience with TSR3, lets just lay out the technology –
Titleist markets the TSR3 for the player with a consistent impact location for achieving maximum driving performance. The new Speed Ring Face Technology creates a focused point of pure speed that can be precision-tuned to match your point of contact.
- Precise Speed & Distance
- Exceptional Feel & Playability
- Player-Preferred Shaping
- Speed Ring Variable Face Thickness Technology
- Performance-Tuned Adjustability
- Aerospace Grade Titanium
- Improved Aerodynamics
- SureFit Adjustability
Aesthetics: The technology “under the hood” may change, but Titleist sticks to the formula when it comes to looks. Clean lines, black gloss crown, and classic shapes throughout the entire TSR line of metals.
Feel/Sound: Just what you’d expect from Titleist, a solid semi-muted thwack that’s just the right “melody of smash” at the moment of compression. No loud tinny clank here.
Adjustability: TSR3 is the most adjustable driver in the Titleist line. The option of dialing in the desired trajectory and shot shape is a no compromise feature demanded by those looking for a custom setup (include me in that group, it’s a fine line of trying to take the big miss left out of my game, while still being enamored with the baby push-draw ball flight). The loft sleeve (or Sure-Fit Hosel as Titleist refers to it) comes standard on all TSR metals, and is presently on the D1 setting on the driver, which translates to .75 less loft/standard lie angle.
Performance: Performance #’s exceeded any expectations after several sessions on Top Tracer and 15+ course rounds under my belt. Let’s focus on the TSR3 driver performance. Our previous gamer #’s : 144 ball speed/ 13.1 launch / 1701 backspin / 252 L sidespin / 241 carry / 262 total. Meh. I needed spin, and we did get some improvement in early testing of TSR3 with the stock Tensei Blue shaft, but it wasn’t not enough. We switched the Tensei out for the new BGT Brava shaft, and bingo – spin/launch and carry soared (gaining an average of 16 yards of carry). We also swapped the stock Tensei Blue in the TSR2 fairway for the new BGT Brava fairway offering, and also the stock Tensei Black in the hybrid for the slightly softer profile of the Mitsubishi OT hybrid shaft.
Once optimized, the TSR3 driver results were exactly what we had hoped to see : 154 ball speed / 15.3 launch / 2320 backspin / 62 R sidespin / 257 carry / 279 total. On-course testing validated the Toptracer results, and with each round and practice session, the sense of excitement only grew.
The Sure-Fit movable rear weight technology is a game changer. I set the weight on T1, which is just a bit into the toe side – influencing and neutralizing a slight toe strike. A significant factor in optimizing performance. *TSR3 comes stock with an 8-gram rear weight, but to accommodate swing weight preferences Titleist offers varying weights to switch out with a simple turn of a wrench. For example, I installed a 14-gram weight (+6) to offset the extra weight of the midsize grips that I play. This simple swap keeps my driver at the desired D6 swing weight I prefer.
TSR2 Fairway (16.5 degree) was an easy swap (since I had been gaming Titleist’s 917 fairway). The TSR2 fairway total distance #’s were virtually identical to the old 917 gamer, but with a couple of notable exceptions. The spin and carry improved dramatically from 221 yards of carry/2250 spin to 230 yards of carry/and 2690 spin. TSR2 fairway appears to sit a bit more square to slightly open at address (which I prefer), and produced a higher trajectory with very little dispersion due to the backspin that was badly needed.
The TSR2 Hybrid (21 degree) was a tougher change, I had really learned to rely on old faithful (Titleist’s 818h) from right around 200 yards out, but again needed more spin to hold long par 3 holes and short par 5’s. The TSR2 hybrid has a slightly larger profile and the weight is integrated at the bottom of the sole plate providing an easy launch off the deck. All you really want from these utility clubs is to be confident, knowing that the ball will fly the prescribed distance and stop quickly on the green. I gained a fair measure of launch/peak height, which has changed my long approach game significantly and solved a long-standing void in my game. Off the tee, the TSR2 hybrid provides me 205 carry/215 total, the fairway gets me 230 carry/245 total (off the deck, lie conditions, and quality of strike dictate variance in performance #’s).
The ideal result of any equipment product review is for those items to improve your performance and make their way into your bag or for them to be recommended as a suitable fit for others and their game. All three Titleist TSR metals are now residing in my bag, and it’s likely going to take something extraordinary to move any of them to the bench anytime soon.
TSR drivers MSRP $599, Fairways $349, Hybrids $299 – https://www.titleist.com/