- The Titleist TSi1 is an ultralight offering that promotes distance through increased head speed.
- A complementary TSi1 fairway wood is designed for moderate swing speed players.
- The TSi4 driver is a compact, 430-cc head designed to be ultra-low spin.
- Priced at $549 (drivers) and $299 (fairways), available Feb. 26
As part of its spring launches, Titleist is releasing the TSi1 driver and TSi1 fairway wood along with the TSi4 driver. All of the new models feature much of the same tech as last summer’s TSi2 and TSi3 (including the ATI face), but the new releases – the drivers in particular – should rightfully be considered niche alternatives to the more mainstream TSi2 and TSi3.
Titleist TSi1 Driver
Here’s today’s fun fact: Nearly a third of golfers swing their driver below 90 mph.
If you fall into that group, the Titleist TSi1 driver might be for you. If you don’t, don’t sweat it. Titleist still has three other options that could work.
The Titleist TSi1 driver is designed to address the needs of golfers that the industry labels “moderate swing speed players.” At 90 mph, you’re probably on the higher end of the TSi1 range. At 80-85, you’re in its wheelhouse.
By using weight (or more accurately, a lack of weight), the TSi1 seeks to use head speed to increase ball speed. That can be a particularly compelling proposition for aging golfers who may have dropped an mph or two over the years.
The fundamental math is sound but to make it work Titleist needed to trim from the TSi1 driver’s head, shaft and grip. In total, Titleist shaved roughly 40 grams over a conventionally weighted driver.
Paired with some reengineering to push the TSi1’s center of gravity deeper than the previous model’s, all things being equal, golfers – especially moderate swing speed golfers – should expect more ball speed compared to the prior version.
Titleist TSi1 Driver – Player Testing
Prefaced with “within the target demographic …”
In testing the TSi1 driver against the standard-weight drivers golfers had in their bag, players saw an increase of just under two mph of head speed, an additional one mile per hour of ball speed and roughly a 300-rpm increase in spin.
That last one is notable. Increased spin on anything other than a wedge is seldom viewed as a positive but as the industry has trended towards low-spin drivers, some players, especially those in the TSi1 demographic, have been left behind to hit knuckleballs. Sure, I’d wager that fitters encounter more golfers who need to mitigate high spin but there remains a healthy percentage of golfers who actually need more spin.
The discerning and dedicated golfers looking for help generating speed and spin are exactly for whom Titleist designed the TSi1 driver.
What the Titleist TSi1 isn’t
Now that we know what the Titleist TSi1 driver is and who it’s for, I want to be clear about what it isn’t.
After the release of the TS1, I saw a fair amount of bad information floating around the interwebs. As part of a team that prides itself on helping golfers make informed decisions, I found it frustrating. This time around, I want to try and get ahead of it and explain what the TSi1 isn’t.
The TSi1 is Not Titleist’s Most Forgiving Driver
The TSi1 is not the most forgiving driver in the TSi lineup (though forgiveness has improved over the TS1). That distinction belongs to the TSi2 which Titleist considers its entry in the MAX (or at least high MOI) category.
Weight and MOI are closely correlated so anytime you hear a story about trimming weight from a driver, particularly from the head – where Titleist pulled eight grams relative to other TSi drivers – understand that some measure of forgiveness is invariably sacrificed. To many, eight grams reads like a small number but, within the driver design world, it has a big impact on performance.
The Titleist TSi1 driver design prioritizes speed over forgiveness. That may sound like a dicey proposition but Titleist believes the target player already hits a healthy percentage of fairways and ultimately has more to gain through a bump in speed than he does to lose by a modest decrease in MOI.
None of this should suggest that the TSi1 driver is unforgiving but the point is that if maximizing forgiveness is your objective, the TSi2 may be the better option.
The Titleist TSi1 Probably Won’t Fix Your Slice
The TSi1 also isn’t designed for shot shape (e.g., slice correction) in the same way as something like a PING G425 SFT, TaylorMade SIM MAX D or COBRA RADSPEED XD is. It offers what you might call a Titleist draw bias. That is to say there’s a hint of corrective help there but it’s definitely not intended to put a big banana slice back into the fairway.
For the right audience, there is inarguably a benefit in those types of designs but that’s not a category in which Titleist has any serious designs on competing.
It’s also worth mentioning that creating draw bias requires shifting weight towards the heel. The greater the amount of mass pushed to the heel, the greater the correction. So again, if your primary design objective involves pulling weight from the head, you’re limited in what you can do using weight to tweak shot shape.
Sure, you can still leverage upright lie angles or close the face but, again, Titleist prefers to live in the conventional design space. The idea is to create a purposeful design (speed) that doesn’t compromise the reasonably traditional address profile that’s been part of basically every Titleist driver other than the 907 D1.
While the more discerning eye may notice the TSi1 doesn’t have the open look at address of the other TSi drivers, it doesn’t look overly shut either. The idea is to keep TSi1 within the realm of what most serious golfers want to see when they look down at their driver.
Titleist TSi 1 – Specs, Pricing and Availability
The Titleist TSi1 Driver is available in nine degrees (RH only), 10.5 and 12 (RH only). The stock shaft is the Aldila Ascent 40g in S, R and R2 Flex. A 35-gram version is available in R3. Stock length is 45.75 inches.
The stock grip is the Golf Pride Tour Velvet 350 Flat Cap Lite. The men’s version is 31 grams while the ladies model is 26 grams.
Retail price is $549. Presale begins Feb. 17. Full retail availability starts Feb. 26.
Titleist TSi1 Fairway Wood
A new addition to the Titleist lineup is a lightweight TSi1 fairway designed to complement the driver.
By the numbers, the TSi1 fairway wood is 50 grams lighter than Titleist’s other fairway wood models with a full 10 grams of that coming out of the head. What’s impressive is that Titleist was able to keep MOI on the same level as the TSi2 fairway woods. That’s largely due to the flatter shape of the TSi1.
Titleist describes the TSi1 fairway wood as having a “pancake” profile. Effectively that means it’s shallow top to bottom, longer from front to back, with a leading edge that sits close to the turf in a general sort of way.
Beyond the “for moderate swing speed players” descriptor, the TSi1 is well suited for golfers who tend to sweep their fairway woods rather than come into the ball a bit more steeply.
As with the TSi1 driver, golfers should expect a bit more head and ball speed (Titleist puts the numbers at one mph and just under one mph, respectively), along with increased launch and mid-spin performance.
Titleist TSi1 Fairway Wood – Specs, Pricing and Availability
The company believes a significant number of golfers will benefit from a lightweight, easy-launching fairway wood. To that end, the TSi1 fairway wood is available in an extensive range of lofts. It’s available in 3-wood (15 degrees), 5-wood (18), 7-wood (20) and 9-wood (23). I’d be remiss not to point out that the 9-wood is custom order only and left-handed options are limited to the 3- and 5-woods.
Stock shaft and grip options mirror that of the TSi1 Driver (above).
The retail price is $299. Presale begins Feb. 17. Full retail availability starts Feb. 26.
Titleist TSi4 Driver
Given its compact, 430-cc profile, many will assume the Titleist TSi4 is for better or at least faster swing speed players. Certainly, either description could apply but the bottom line is that the TSi4 is for any golfer who struggles with excessive spin.
I’ve seen more than a few slower swingers dial-up driver spin in excess of 4000 RPM.
The Last of Its Kind
It wasn’t that long ago that several major manufactures offered some form of compact “Tour” head within their lineup. In recent years, as mainstream designs have shifted more into the low-spin space, most – all but Titleist – have replaced their smaller drivers with max-MOI or anti-slice models.
It makes sense. Not only is it what the market wants, it’s what a greater percentage of the market needs.
So why does Titleist continue to offer a 430-cc head?
“We believe in fitting,” says Josh Talge, VP of Marketing for Titleist Golf Clubs. “All of our top fitters have those guys.” Those guys are golfers for whom conventionally sized designs don’t drop spin quite low enough.
I imagine there’s a fitter reading this right now who’s nodding in agreement.
The TSi4 isn’t for everybody. In fact, it’s not for most golfers but there is a market for it. Narrow as it may be, Titleist believes it’s still worth pursuing.
Titleist TSi4 Performance
To put some numbers to the performance: at equivalent lofts, the Titleist TSi4 driver should spin around 250 rpm lower than the TSi3 and 130 rpm or so less than the already low-spin TS4. In the case of the latter, the TSi4 should launch about half a degree higher, too.
Toss in some aerodynamic improvements and you’ve got something that should help the spiniest spinners among us gain more distance.
What About Forgiveness?
As you’d expect, the MOI is going to be a bit lower than other TSi models but, for the target golfer, the distance gained through spin reduction (and greater spin consistency from the more forward center of gravity location) should help offset what’s lost to on-paper forgiveness.
It’s not a TSi2 but, then again, it’s not supposed to be.
Titleist TSi4 Driver – Specs, Pricing and Availability
The retail price for the mid-launch, ultra-low spin Titleist TSi4 driver is $549.
It’s available in eight, nine and 10.5 degrees. Only the nine-degree is available in left-handed.
Stock shafts include the Tensei AV White RAW and the HZRDUS Smoke Yellow.
The stock grip is a Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360.
Pre-sale begins Feb. 17. Full retail availability begins Feb. 26.
For more information visit Titleist.com.