If you’ve been keeping track of Titleist’s last nine months’ worth of metalwoods, a collection that includes the TS2, TS3, and the recently announced TS4, and especially if you’re a fan of logical order, you may find yourself asking “Where the hell is the TS1?”
It’s right here.
All But Forgotten
Before TS, there was the D-Series, and for the majority of Titleist D-series history, there wasn’t a D1. The one exception was the 907 D1. It, along with its complement, the 907D2, are the only drivers in semi-modern Titleist history not listed on the company’s previous model page.
It’s as if Titleist would prefer everyone – itself included – forget it existed at all. We haven’t
The 907 D1 was Titleist’s triangular answer to the brief plaque of square drivers from Callaway, Nike, and a few smaller brands that infested the market about a decade ago. Squat, with something other than a tour-inspired shape, the D1 was decidedly un-Titleist. If nothing else, that bit alone makes it fitting that a new “1” would reemerge in the TS line as something, once again, unlike anything else in the current (or any recent) Titleist lineup.
How far do you think the average club golfer hits the ball?
According to a 2018 USGA report, the answer is an astonishing 208 yards. Let’s table the discussion on a ball rollback while we take a closer look at better golfers – guys in the 6-12 handicap range. Surely those guys must be longer, right? They are. They hit their drivers an average of 212 yards.
Can I get a Kaboom, baby!?
Didn’t think so.
When Titleist looked more closely at those guys, or more specifically, at their bags, what they found was a good amount of Vokey wedges, plenty of Pro V1 balls, lots of Cameron putters, some Titleist irons here and there, but not a lot of Titleist drivers.
That’s partially attributable to the strength of other brands in the driver category. It’s true that TaylorMade and Callaway have owned the lion’s share of the driver market for more than a decade, but it’s also true that this group of golfers includes plenty who might otherwise be Titleist guys if not for the perception – arguably the reality – that there hasn’t been a Titleist driver that’s right for them in quite some time, if ever.
We’re talking about the group of golfers that the industry charitably labels as moderate swing speed. Semantics and demographic sensitivity aside, it’s what we more bluntly categorize as slow swing speed golfers. Sorry, not sorry.
With swing speeds below 85 MPH, it includes a good portion of the aging population of male golfers, as well as the majority of female and junior golfers. Within the larger picturing, a driver designed specifically for this group would provide Titleist fitters, particularly those who work heavily in country club environments, with an opportunity to fit more members.
The TS1 Design
The answer to how Titleist designed that better fitting driver isn’t particularly ground-breaking, though Titleist’s approach isn’t without some unique nuance. The simple answer – as it usually does – centers around saving weight.
If you can make the club lighter, golfers (almost all of them) will swing it faster. And if you can dial-in the mass properties (launch and spin) for the target golfer – in this case, a guy who needs higher launch and a bit more spin – you’re going to create more distance.
The ripple here is that you can steal but so much weight from the head before reaching a point where whatever speed you’re getting comes at the expensive of forgiveness and playability. What you often find within the light/ultralight driver category is that enough mass has been taken out of the head to qualify the design as an MOI liability, and the shafts are so long and light that they’re difficult to control.
Ultralight designs are longer, but they’re often unforgiving and not exactly straight.
To put some numbers on all of this; the MOI of the previously ultralight designs we’ve measured and tested has been as low as 4250. Shafts have measured as long as 46.25”. The point is that while there are plenty of options designers can leverage to help moderate swing speed players generate more speed, not all of them are good.
Titleist’s goal for the TS1 driver was to save weight while maintaining excellent mass properties. Lighter and faster, but still forgiving and playable; that’s the objective here.
Like everyone else looking to make a driver lighter, Titleist started with the head. The TS1 head is about 8-grams lighter than other TS offerings. That’s not a massive amount by any means. It’s roughly the difference between the light end and heavy end of the mainstream market – and that’s the point. A light head is invariably an unforgiving head. The challenge for Titleist was to save weight without saving too much weight.
Given that fact, it’s not surprising that a significant percentage of TS1’s weight savings come from lighter stock shaft offerings. The Fubuki MV is a 45-gram offering (39g in ladies flex), while the Fujikura Air Speeder weighs only 40g (35g in R3 flex).
Even more weight was saved through the use of Golf Pride’s Tour Velvet Superlight as the stock grip. At only 32-grams (26g women’s), it weighs 20g less than the standard version, but it still looks and feels like a Tour Velvet.
Typical driver builds tip the scales at around 320-grams total weight. The svelte TS1 weighs-in at a significantly lighter 275g. It’s notable that while ultralight designs routinely leverage excessively long shafts, the stock TS1 build is only 45.75”. It’s long enough to create more speed, but not so long that it becomes overly difficult to control and causes accuracy to suffer significantly.
With 8-grams taken out of the head, MOI for the TS1 is far from maxed out, but according to Titleist, it’s on par with the TS3. Based on our measurements, that would put it in the 4550 range – solidly average. Perhaps more importantly to those who haven’t forgotten, unlike the D1, the TS1 maintains what Titleist describes as a tour-inspired look and feel. “We didn’t want this to feel like a training wheels driver,” said Josh Talge, Titleist’s VP of Marketing for Golf Clubs. “This is a Titleist.”
Part of being a Titleist means not compromising on features. To that end, the TS1 offers a redesigned SureFit weight port that allows for swing weighting capabilities without sacrificing CG location. The TS1 is also the only current lightweight driver on the market to offer an adjustable hosel. That’s usually the first feature cast by the wayside when saving weight (or money) is the objective.
The TS1 also provided Titleist with an opportunity to add a bit of inherent draw bias, an anti-slice feature that the company hasn’t offered in its drivers in several years.
Something for Everyone
With the release of the TS1, Titleist believes it has a driver to fit every golfer. The TS2 and TS3 are still expected to fit the bulk of players, while a much smaller percentage will likely fit into TS4. For the rest, TS1 offers something Titleist hasn’t had in its lineup before, and if you swing less than 85 MPH, that may be reason enough to give it a try.
Specs, Pricing, and Availability
The Titleist TS1 driver is available in lofts of 9.5° (RH only), 10.5°, and 12.5° (RH only). Retail availability for the TS1 (and TS4) begins 6/27. Like the rest of the TS driver family, it will be priced at $499.