The next generation of Titleist Drivers - the TS2 and the TS3 - will make their debut this week at the US Open.
A few weeks back, Golf Channel cameras caught Jimmy Walker testing out one of the new drivers, and with the new drivers hitting the USGA Conforming Clubs list, it looks like at least a couple will make into play this week at Shinnecock Hills.
Put a new driver in play at a Major? Sure, why not. The pics we have suggest that both Justin Thomas and Jimmy Walker may do just that. In fact, sources are telling us that the majority of tour guys will put it in the bag almost immediately. The switch will be much quicker than year's past.
Beyond acknowledging the obvious - yes, the new drivers exist - Titleist isn't saying much of anything about the TS line. The company is billing the US Open as the start of the rigorous validation process, but the likelihood is that what you see here is what you're going to get later this summer or early fall when the TS makes its way to retail.
What We Know
The photos don't provide any indication of whether or not the TS3 (the apparent choice of Titleist's PGA Tour Staff) will be undersized like the previous D3 models, but what we can say is that it will offer Titleist's SureFit CG Technology, while the TS2 won't. SureFit hosel adjustability will be available in both.
Notable in both models; the Active Recoil Channel is gone.
Not to get too far ahead of ourselves here, but this #TSProject is a massively important release for Titleist. Woods sales have declined in recent years, and an honest assessment is that 917 drivers underperformed at retail, and some would say that's because they underperform on the launch monitor. For better or worse the majority of driver buying decisions come down a simplistic analysis of a launch monitor battle. The Titleist stuff performs well when your metric is something like Strokes Gained, but the average guy in a hitting bay is looking at one number and one number only. Let's be real; raw distance hasn't been Titleist's strength in recent years.
Rumor has it the company will be offering a longer shaft option (gotta compete on the launch monitor), but I'm most looking forward to finding out what Titleist has done from a mass properties standpoint. At one point not too long ago, Titleist offered among the most forgiving drivers in golf, but SureFit CG aside, 917 wasn't much different from the 915, which arguably wasn't radically different from the 913. While the industry pushed CG's low and back, Titleist has been more or less stagnant. That's left Titleist with drivers that are, by comparison, spinny and moderately forgiving at best. As I said, that's not entirely bad if you're calculating strokes gained and measuring dispersion ellipses, but for the average golfer hyper-focused on total distance (likely on his one or two best drives), it's a tough sell.
As it almost always does, time will tell, but here's hoping that the change in name from 91x to TSx brings with it a shift in design philosophy. A faster, lower spinning, longer, more forgiving Titleist? It might just happen. If nothing else, you can be assured of a solid selection of real deal, aftermarket equivalent shafts as part of the stock package.
Retail price hasn't been announced, by I'm expecting $500, though $450 is a possibility.
More info as it becomes available.