The new Titleist TSi range of drivers have now been gracing the shelves of pro-shops worldwide. During this time, they have also likely been occupying the top spot in terms of the price point, unless your pro shop is one of the small minority of PXG stockists.
With this launch, Titleist are keen to bring your attention to their new ATI 425 aerospace-grade titanium face that is supposed to generate more ball speed than ever before. When you are trying to improve performance in high-tech pieces of equipment, the aerospace industry seems a good place to turn. In fact, you might be surprised to learn there is precedence for this – Callaway having partnered with Boeing previously to enhance aerodynamics on their XR16 drivers.
So, let’s cut to the chase. Whilst the above is a cool selling point, as a consumer what we really want to know is:
- How good these new Titleist drivers are and whether they are going to help lower our scores.
- Whether they justify their hefty price tag so that once purchased, there isn’t going to be a whole lot of explaining to do when we get home.*
*We will do our utmost to give you lots of useful information, however, we can’t promise to fully mitigate against the latter – that’s over to you!
Table of Contents
As ever with Titleist, the new TSi drivers present a clean, simple and smart design that looks good behind the ball. There’s really nothing to divide opinion here. The jet black finish is slick and the small TSi logo alignment cue is minimalist but more than adequate to help us set up correctly.
On the sole, there are minor variations in design depending on the model you opt for, but all fit into Titleist’s traditional black, grey and red colour palette. The TSi3 stands out as the only model to incorporate a small sliding weight for ball flight adjustability. With the others, you’ve got what you’ve got.
In terms of head shape, the TSi1 and TSi3 heads presented a slightly more rounded head, whereas the TSi2 appears a little more elongated and pointed towards the back. Unfortunately, we did not have the TSi4 available to try.
Titleist say this new ATI face material is stronger than anything they or anyone else have used before and delivers greater ball speeds across the face. I would interpret that as minimising loss of ball speed on off-centre strikes. This viewpoint seems to be confirmed by Titleist’s own promotional video.
Let’s bear in mind that all clubheads have to conform to the strict regulations in terms of the clubface’s spring-like effect. This is a point I put to our brand rep, and didn’t really receive an answer. Incidentally, this ATI 425 face is not used in the fairway woods, apparently, the cost outweighed the performance benefits. Hmm.
To investigate this, I tested the TSi 1, 2 and 3 models against my own Ping G425 LST and the Callaway EPIC Max LS. For all Titleist models – I used the Tensei AV White 65 S shaft which was the closest of the available stock options to my shaft (Tensei AV Orange X) and that of the Callaway (MMT 70 X). Not a perfect match up, but the pretty close. All head models were set up at 10 deg neutral unless stated (except Tsi2 at 11deg)
If we start with total distance, all Titleist models came out shorter than both the Ping and Callaway. Ultimately this was due to spin rate being around 400+ rpms higher, so the ultra-low spin TSi 4 model may have helped bridge the gap if we had it for testing.
Ball speed averages were fairly consistent across all brands and head types (158.2 – 160.6mph), however club speed was noticeably a little lower with the TSi2 – perhaps the head shape here is geared more for forgiveness and accuracy than speed. Certainly, though, ball speed never dropped below 157mph, which does back up Titleist’s claim about performance on off-centre strikes.
This is where it gets interesting. Having hit a few with my own club first, I jumped straight into the TSi3 and proceeded to hit the first couple of shots way right. Normally when we hit a big push slice, we can sense the impending doom before making impact – these felt like good swings though. The data shows it was a real struggle to square the face enough in the A1 setting.
Thankfully the TSi3 comes with a sliding weight on the back, so I very quickly shifted this into the heel to see whether it would help me out. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much here as the shifter looks quite minimal. However, I did instantly hit straighter shots in this setting as illustrated below. (Purple represents shots with the weight in heel)
Moving on to the TSi2 in the A1 setting, still most balls finished slightly right of target (I’d expect this with my fade shot shape), however the grouping was better and not as destructive (blue dots). When I then moved this into A3 on the hosel (maximum draw) the results were astounding (red dots), and closely matched in consistency by the TSi1 head (yellow dots).
In terms of improving dispersion, I freely admit I am impressed by the adjustability effectiveness of the Titleist. It also waives my concern that head adjustability was limited in the Titleist compared to other competing brands. For example, when I tested the Callaway EPIC drivers, which have bigger sliding weights and a similar concept in the hosel, the effects seemed far less pronounced.
The only minor drawback here of using the A3 setting is that it increases loft and lie angle. Increased loft gives increased spin and for me at least, less total distance.
Finding the fairway consistently more than makes up for this though, and there is a simple solution – start with a lower head loft. As for the lie angle – well, I’m not the tallest and I didn’t find it too big of a difference if I’m honest.
With this new ATI 425 titanium metal face, I was curious to see if Titleist had managed to retain their signature soft but powerful feel from the face. It delights me to confirm they have indeed.
Not many of us will buy a driver based purely on feel, after all, there are more pressing matters at hand when spending this kind of money. That being said, these TSi models feel and sound fantastic regardless of the strike quality. A big thumbs up.
When we consider the product value, we must bear in mind it’s price point relative to competitors. There are lots of good things in these new TSi metals as discussed above, they have the look and feel of a truly premium product. The excellent, if understated, adjustability features are effective and help produce a controllable flight to help find fairways.
There is a major issue here though. When you promise me an aerospace-grade material face delivering greater ball speeds, I expect to hit the ball further, instead I hit it shorter.
Now as discussed above – for me personally, the TSi4 head may have had a say in this with reduced spin rate – but ball speeds were not any better than their lower-priced competitors (PIng and Callaway).
The same is true for clubhead speed – I was able to swing the Callaway EPIC Max LS faster with a shaft that was 10g heavier. Maybe Callaway targeted the right department in the aerospace industry to seek performance enhancement.
Therefore, if we are ranking based on value alone – it doesn’t stack up terribly well I’m afraid.
Golf Insider Verdict
Let’s make no bones about it. This is a sophisticated piece of equipment, exuding quality of design and innovation. The adjustability is effective and the feel unsurpassed. It’s also not lacking in appearance – even the quality of the headcover is unrivalled.
If the above factors are important to you, and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be, you should have no qualms putting the new TSi range into your bag. What the Titleist TSi drivers are not is, unfortunately, what they have set out to be – a distance merchant.
Therefore if greater distance is your primary reason for upgrading, I’d recommend you to keep an open mind and consider looking at the Ping G425 and Callaway EPIC models also.
Here, we’ll focus on the main stock shaft offerings that you’ll likely be able to try in your local pro shop.
Those with more aggressive swings will possibly be familiar with the Project X HZRDUS Smoke shafts that typically offer low launch and spin characteristics. Whilst there are a plethora of options in the full Smoke range – the two selected as stock shafts for the TSi are the Smoke Yellow 60 (Stiff = 64g) and Smoke Black RDX 60 (Stiff = 58g). The latter of those being a little lighter in shaft weight, and I personally think a little softer too.
Another low launch and spin option is provided in the form of the Mitsubishi Tensei AV White 65, which may be just about the heaviest of the stock shafts available (Stiff = 66g).
You’ll find mid launch and spin catered for by the Tensei AV Blue 55, which is a great option for those with too much left to right curvature, as it features Mitsubishi’s proprietary straight flight weighting, which we’ve found to be highly effective in squaring the face during custom fittings.
Those with lower swing speeds may look towards the Kurokage shaft options which are designed to help promote higher launch and spin, keeping the ball in the air for longer to optimise carry distance. Alternatively, the TSi1 head offers the ultra lightweight Aldila Ascent 40 shaft, the name rather giving away it’s intended purpose.
Ultimately, a professional custom fitter should have no problem in finding the right balance of head and shaft to optimise your ball flight. You may consider looking out for a facility utilising Trackman 4, which has the built-in optimiser feature to help dial your flight in. An example can be found in the image below. Ideally you would like to get each parameter in the blue section.
Similar to their predecessor (TS models), the TSi range of drivers come with 4 head options, aptly and conveniently named 1, 2, 3 and 4. The concept across these is broadly similar, however whereas previously the spin rate was supposed to decrease through each model from 1-4, here models 2 and 3 actually provide similar spin, whilst 3 offers greater CG adjustability.
In a nutshell, if you are a slower swing speed player, looking for increased carry distance, your first port of call would be the TSi1. Conversely those who hit the ball harder and have a tough time with the ball ballooning, may look first at the TSi4 to help reduce spin and optimise their ball flight.
The TSi2 and TSi3 sit in the middle in terms of spin rate, however are differentiated in head shape and design. The TSi2 offers a deeper head with greater MOI and stability, whereas TSi3 gives additional adjustability in the form of a movable back weight.
As touched on above, with the exception of the TSi3 head, all adjustability on these drivers is tuned through the SureFit hosel, which offers a full 16 settings comprising letters (A-D) and numbers (1-4)
A handy chart has been produced by Titleist (see below) however, be mindful that it varies from right-handed to left-handed golfers, so make sure you are looking at the right one before making adjustments.
To give a basic description of the concept, increasing loft also closes the face, as does selecting a more upright lie angle setting. The opposite is true of reducing loft (only 1 step lower available) and flattening the lie angle.
Finally, as discussed in a previous section, the sliding back weight on the TSi3 head is small but mightily impressive. There are 5 settings available allowing you to move weight into the heel (draw-biased) or toe (heel biased) to tune your preferred shot shape.
Which Titleist TSi driver is most forgiving?
The Titleist TSi2 driver head is geared for maximum forgiveness out of the new TSi range. However, Titleist claims the entire TSi range is designed to optimise ball speed across the face.
Summary – Titleist TSi driver review
That concludes our review of the Titleist TSi drivers. A big thanks to Ali for his detailed testing and expert insight. If you have any further questions feel free to leave a comment below as we’ll get back to you.
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