- Titleist has announced the TSR2, TSR3, and TSR4 drivers
- Each offers unique improvements over the previous TSi model
- Retail price is $599. Available starting 9/23
The Titleist TSR driver family is off to a good start. The Tour seeding and validation process went smoothly. Adoption at the professional level has been swift.
In its first four weeks in play, the PGA TOUR leader in Strokes Gained off the tee had a TSR in his bag. Four of the first eight events since the Tour launch of the new driver were won with TSR.
Impressive for sure but none of that helps to answer the most pressing question about the new lineup:
What does the “R” stand for?
It’s definitely not code for ridiculously spinny. I think it’s time to close the book on that.
Semi-officially, the “R” in TSR is for refined. It speaks to the collection of often subtle under-the-hood stuff that makes TSR better. If you’re feeling slightly edgier, I suppose revamped or even reloaded would work too.
It could also speak to the fact that Ridonkulong was already taken.
About the Titleist TSR Driver Family
Your quick overview is this: Titleist is launching the TSR driver family with three models. The TSR2 and TSR3 will be familiar. The same is true of the TSR4, albeit with a fun little tweak to expand its fitting capabilities.
As for the lightweight TSR1, it’s coming but not until next spring.
While much of the industry uses carbon crowns and TaylorMade has moved on to carbon faces, Titleist is sticking with all-titanium construction. The most notable bit in that is the inclusion of what now is the second generation of Titleist’s ATI face technology.
ATI was a significant piece of the TSi driver story. With an additional two years to work with the material, Titleist was able to evolve its use from simple problem solving (preventing deformation and CT creep over time) to performance enhancement and optimization.
The material is the same but Titleist continues to learn how to squeeze more out of it.
A small cosmetic tweak common across the TSR driver lineup: Titleist extended the high-contrast etching to the perimeter and expanded the center face section. It’s a little detail that makes the face look bigger at address while the high-contrast look helps golfers see the loft and curvature.
When all of Titleist’s refinements (both cosmetic- and performance-related) come together, golfers should experience a bigger leap in performance between TSi and TSR than we saw in the jump from TS to TSi.
That’s a bold assertion.
Summing up what you should expect in three words (ironically none of which start with R)—a driver that’s longer faster, longer, straighter.
Basically, everyone who makes golf equipment tells that story.
R – also for Repeat.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a deeper dive into the three models that make up the Titleist TSR driver family.
Titleist TSR2 Driver – Reborn
With the reminder that we’re talking about refinements and often subtle ones at that, the most visible differences between TSi2 and the TSR2 driver can be found in the shaping.
As with most sensible changes, the redesign was almost entirely about enhancing performance.
The back story is that when the TSi driver family launched, Titleist expected there would be a near-even split between the TSi2 and TSi3 on Tour. That didn’t prove to be the case and, when it went digging further, it found that for a segment of players, TSi2 was quantifiably slower than TSi3.
With that in mind, a good bit of the design objective for TSR2 was to narrow, if not eliminate, the speed gap between the 2 and the 3.
To do that, Titleist looked at a couple of different areas
Improved Aerodynamics and Shaping
As I mentioned, the updated shaping is something golfers may notice. especially if they compare TSi2 and TSR2 side by side. The shape of the crown has been modified to reduce drag with the most notable enhancement being a blunted trailing edge, what Titleist refers to as the “boat tail.”
It’s not an entirely original design as you’ll find similar features in several other drivers on the market right now—and with good reason. The boat tail design allows the airflow to stay attached to the crown longer as the club is moving through space.
It’s your basic turbulence reduction story. It helps create a bit more head speed during the swing.
The requisite caveat: As we’ve noted previously, golf is a percentage game so aerodynamic improvements invariably disproportionately benefit faster players. With that said, players in the 100-mph neighborhood gain upwards of 1/2 mph which is good for roughly ¾ mph of ball speed.
Also with an eye towards aerodynamic improvements, Titleist simplified the sole design. Some may find the result less visually interesting. The retail market loves its bling but performance should come first.
The comparatively minimalist design is a classic case of form following function. By reworking the sole—eliminating unnecessary features (decorative pockets, cutouts and ridges), reducing the size of the opening for your wrench and moving the flat weight from the sole to the boat tail—Titleist got another small aerodynamic boost.
Every little bit helps.
As an extension of the shape story that’s not related to aerodynamics, Titleist brought over the swept-toe look from the TSi/TSR3.
The swept toe is a bit of visual trickery that makes the straight topline of the TSR2 look like it sits a little open. Titleist thinks it will make the TSR2 more appealing to players who would benefit from the performance features of the TSR2 but otherwise might prefer the look of the TSR3 at address.
TSR2 – Multi-Plateau VFT Face
As you would reasonably expect, a good bit of the refinements Titleist made to the TSR2 can be found under the hood.
The most notable perhaps is a change to the topology of the ATI face. The TSR2 features what Titleist calls Multi-plateau VFT face.
Skipping ahead to the good parts, Multi-plateau VFT is designed to create consistent (as consistent as possible, anyway) speed across the face.
To that end, Multi-plateau VFT starts with an exceptionally thin face perimeter. From there, different areas of the face are strategically thickened (creating multiple plateaus). The design allows the driver to be fast at face center while still allowing for a significant amount of deflection across the entire face.
In technical terms, it’s about achieving consistent CT across the face. More simply, instead of a few hot spots, Multi-plateau VFT gives you a large exceptionally warm area.
The result is increased ball speed consistency across the face.
More Forward CG
As part of the TSR2 driver speed equation, Titleist shifted the driver’s center of gravity forward (relative to the TSi2). By the numbers, it’s two millimeters (.08 of an inch) more forward. That doesn’t sound like much but, in the world of mass properties, it’s significant.
The benefit here is twofold.
First, as the center of gravity comes forward, it almost invariably moves closer to the neutral axis. Functionally, we’re talking about moving the sweet spot closer to the true center of the face where the clubhead will deflect less at impact (more speed).
The change is about more than ball speed gains, however. Titleist’s research has shown that some players lose clubhead speed as the center of gravity moves back, as it does with higher MOI designs.
I experienced this a few years ago while testing drivers. Using the same shaft and rotating frequently, my swing speed dropped by more than 3 mph with a pair of back-CG designs.
The point is that, while maximum forgiveness looks good on paper, it doesn’t work well for everybody.
The MOI Penalty
To be clear, there is a small MOI (a basic measurement of forgiveness) hit that comes with moving the center of gravity forward. Titleist says the TSR2 will measure out in the high 4,000s (the TSi2 was in the low 5,000s) but, because of the new face design, Titleist doesn’t think golfers will experience much of a real-world distance penalty.
Chalk all of that up to Titleist’s driver design philosophy. The company is among those that believe there is a point of diminishing returns with MOI and so pushing closer to the limit of 5,900 isn’t likely to ever be one of its design objectives.
Titleist is comfortable playing in the 5,000 ballpark. That’s where it thinks the best balance of speed, optimized launch conditions and forgiveness exists for most players.
Bottom line: If you’re looking to maximize MOI above everything else, Titleist is never going to be your best option.
The Titleist TSR2 driver is available in 8, 9, 10 and 11 degrees. Sorry, lefties. No 8-degree head for you.
Titleist TSR3 Driver
While we’ll stick with our theme of refinement, one could argue that, as it relates to the TSR3, the R represents the carryover of reliability from the TSi3.
The TSi3 has been the most-played driver on the PGA TOUR for the better part of two seasons. In terms of shaping, some—even outside of Titleist—have called it the best-looking driver ever made.
Treading deeper into the opinion space, I’d rate the sound and feel as among the absolute best on the market.
The bottom line is that, if you played TSi3, there wasn’t much not to like and that left Titleist engineers in the classic pickle of trying to make TSR better without changing anything.
To that end, if you liked (or maybe even loved) the TSi3, I’d wager you’ll feel much the same about the TSR3. In my experience (and reportedly in the experience of more than a few others), the TSR is familiar but faster. Perhaps Titleist should have dropped the R and called it the TSF32.
If there’s a challenge with that, it’s that, at a cursory glance, TSR3 doesn’t look much different than TSi3. As with the TSR2, Titleist removed unnecessary sole features and tweaked that hosel entry point but otherwise TSR3 closely resembles TSi3.
That could be a problem at retail where golfers expect a new driver to look distinctively different from the old one. I understand that but I’d argue that beauty is timeless and TSi3 was near flawless visually.
Tour players were happy. Existing TSi3 players were happy. Why mess that up?
It’s also worth noting that Titleist sells a higher percentage of its clubs through fittings than anyone else in the industry. Wooing the off-the-rack buyer with shiny stuff that doesn’t do much isn’t high on their priority list.
Aerodynamically, the TSi3 was already in a good place as well so, again, there wasn’t any reason to mess with a good thing.
Speed Ring Face
With the TSR3 driver, Titleist took a different approach to its face topology, leveraging what it calls Speed Ring Face.
It’s an approach that is, in some respects, the opposite of Multi-plateau VFT. Speed Ring starts with a thickened perimeter. Combined with a thinner face, the resulting design creates more localized face deflection.
Speed Ring isn’t designed to level ball speed across the face like Multi-plateau VFT is. It’s optimized for (and rewards) center face contact.
With TSR3, Titleist was willing to tolerate a bit more of a speed drop-off towards the perimeter in exchange for higher ball speed at face center.
Is the TSR3 Less Forgiving?
In one respect, the Speed Ring design suggests a less forgiving driver but there is some nuance to that part of the conversation.
In an apples-to-apples comparison, on center hits, Titleist’s testing shows a .4 to .5 mph gain in ball speed with TSR3 over TSi3. The percentage of speed drop lost on off-center hits is a bit higher than it was with TSi3 but since you’re starting with more speed, actual speed and distance lost to bad strikes should be no worse than it is with TSi3.
More Forward Center of Gravity
As with TSR2, Titleist has bumped TSR3’s center of gravity forward by 1-1.5 millimeters. That’s good for a 100-150 rpm reduction in spin.
That works out to an additional two to three yards (stock versus stock) over TSi3 though Titleist thinks bigger gains are possible through fitting.
One Last TSR3 Refinement
Finally, in refining the TSR3’s four-position weight track, Titleist borrowed elements from TSi3 fairway wood’s “weight elevator design.” As you unscrew the track, the weight rides up with it. It’s a small thing but it makes swapping weight positions a bit faster.
Letting the weight ride all the way up allows it to be swapped for an alternative weight. That’s not something Titleist expects most consumers will engage in but the company wants its fitters to experiment with different head weights during the fitting process, so the aim is to make it as accessible as possible.
The Titleist TSR3 driver is available in 8, 9 and 10 degrees. An 11-degree option is available through custom. Left-handed options are available at 8 and 9 degrees. The 10-degree head is available through custom.
Titleist TSR4 Driver
First, let’s set expectations. The TSR4 probably isn’t for you. Titleist describes it as a specialty product for golfers who need ultra-low spin. It’s not a broad audience but those guys exist.
Hell, I used to be one of them. Some days I still am.
For TSR4’s intended audience, the biggest refinement is arguably the addition of a front-to-back flip weight. Spin adjustability is something Titleist fitters have requested for a while and the R&D team felt like the TSR4 was the right platform to bring it to market.
As an aside, it’s remarkable to think that while Titleist has leveraged movable weights for shot shape correction and to align the center of gravity with impact, it has never offered front-to-back adjustable weighting in a driver.
Anyway, flip weights aren’t anything new to the market but it gives Titleist fitters a new tool in the toolbox.
Who doesn’t like new tools? Am I the only one waiting for the Milwaukee Track Saw?
TSR4 Stock Weights
The stock configuration offers an 11-gram front weight paired with a three-gram rear weight. It’s a configuration that provides launch and spin characteristics similar to TSi4.
With the heavier weight back, the center of gravity position is more similar to the TSR3. It’s why Titleist has taken to calling the configuration the TSR3.5.
It should go without saying that the TSR4 is the least forgiving driver in the TSR lineup. MOI hovers around 4,100. Low? Perhaps. But if that makes you a little red in the face, just know that it’s roughly the same as some other popular low-spin drivers.
Realistically, MOI shouldn’t be a concern here. For the target golfer, the low spin benefits of the TSR4 driver will outweigh the relative lack of forgiveness.
As with the TSR2, Titleist is using a Multi-plateau VFT face. To match the performance spec of the TSR4, the underlying face geometry is different but the primary objective of the design—putting a bit of forgiveness back into the head—is similar.
TSR4 Driver Size and Shaping
Titleist is keeping the TSR4 at an undersized 430cc but, otherwise, the shape mirrors the TSi3. In that respect, it’s TSR3’s Mini Me. That makes sense given the popularity and the intended audience.
Swapping between TSR3 and TSR4 during my fitting, I didn’t notice much of anything different at address. At one point, I mistook the 3 for the 4. To my eye, the TSR4 looks a bit bigger than the TSi4 but, by volume, it’s identical.
Regardless, it looks good. I’d call it call it sexy but then at least one of you would post a full-on manifesto about calling golf gear sexy and, frankly, it’s just not worth it.
Lighten up, Francis.
When the collection of refinements comes together, Titleist says golfers are seeing roughly .8 mph higher ball speeds with TSR4 than TSi4.
Flipping the weights to the back should produce a spin increase to the tune of 200-300 rpm.
The Titleist TSR4 driver is available in 8, 9 and 10 degrees. Left-handed options are limited to the 9-degree head.
One Last R
Whether your best fit is a TSR2, TSR3 or TS4, there’s one thing Josh Talge, Titleist VP of Marketing, Golf Clubs, says you can expect: “Results.”
Talge doesn’t expect you to take him at his word.
“Don’t listen to the head of marketing tell you this is the best driver,” he says. “Go try it. Bring your own gamer in and try it against TSR.”
Safe to say that Titleist likes its chances.
Before we move on to the stock shaft offerings, I wanted to touch on Titleist’s Surefit hosel. It’s been around long enough that the benefits might be starting to get overlooked. And, to be sure, it’s among the least intuitive tip adapters on the market.
I consider myself well versed in driver adjustability but I struggle to make targeted adjustments without first Googling the chart.
That said, the mix of lie and loft adjustments makes Surefit among the most versatile hosel adapters on the market and it’s something that your fitter (and DIY-ers) should absolutely be using to dial in ball flight.
I find it particularly useful with fairway woods which reminds me: don’t assume that all your woods should be in the same position. I have four TSi woods in the bag with three different hosel settings.
As is typically the case with the Titleist, the company has a robust stock shaft lineup to complement the TSR4 lineup.
HZRDUS Red CB – In addition to being the highest-launching shaft in the TSR matrix, the Red CB is also the lightest. The stock weight is 50 grams but 40- and 60-gram options are available.
The counterbalanced design allows for heavier head weights. Some golfers benefit from that anyway and it’s a reasonably simple way of boosting MOI.
Tensei AV Blue – The classic (and requisite) mid-launch, mid-spin shaft in the lineup, the Tensei runs slightly light at 55 grams (65- and 75-gram options are available).
HZRDUS Black – The low-mid stock offering, the new HZRDUS Black is available comes stock at 60 grams (70- and 80-gram options available). A new “Dual Torsion Design” reportedly increases torsional stability for tighter dispersion.
Tesnsei 1K Black – The low-launch, low-spin offering in the TSR lineup, the Tensei 1K Black will be best suited for higher swing speed players looking to cut spin. It offers the firmest tip section of any stock offering from Titleist to date. The 1k Carbon fiber weave is intended to enhance both stability and feel.
Premium Stock Shafts
Titleist is continuing its partnership with Graphite Design and will offer three Graphite Design Tour AD models as Premium Stock offerings.
The Tour AD DI (mid-high launch/low spin) and Tour AD IZ (high launch/with low spin—these are relative descriptions) carry over from the TSi lineup.
The TOUR AD UB (released last fall) replaces the Tour AD XC as the low-launch offering in the premium lineup. The stock weight is 60 grams but it’s also available in 50, 70 and 80 grams.
It should go without saying that Titleist offers a robust selection of shafts through custom.
The stock grip is a Golf Pride TV 360 No Fill Flat Cap 58R. Again, other options are available through custom.
TSR Drivers – Pricing and Availability
Retail price for all Titleist TSR drivers is $599 ($799 /Premium Graphite Design shaft). All models are 45.5 inches stock.
You can get fit for a Titleist TSR driver now. Full retail availability begins Sept. 23.
For more information, visit Titleist.com.
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