The need for speed is great across the spectrum of golfers but perhaps greatest among those whose swings are on the slower end of the scale
The need for speed is great across the spectrum of golfers but perhaps greatest among those whose swings are on the slower end of the scale. Titleist believes it has solved the problem by giving speed to the players that need it most with the ultralight TS1 driver.
The newest addition to Titleist’s TS line of drivers weighs a scant 275 grams and is designed for players whose swing speeds are 85 mph and lower and are averaging 220 yards or less off the tee. By comparison, Titleist’s TS2 is 45 grams heavier. The theory is that lighter means faster and faster means more distance, which seems to be what every golfer is after.
“We spent a lot of time listening to our partners – our staff partners and our retail partners and we listened to pros who said we have a lot of members who can’t play the TS driver,” said Josh Talge, vice president of Titleist golf club marketing. “We also read everything that gets published in the golf world, certainly everything the USGA and R&A publish with their distance reports. We pay a lot of attention to those.
The TS1 driver has a thin titanium crown, while the face is the fastest Titleist has ever made. Meanwhile, the aerodynamic design reduces drag, which helps create increased clubhead speed and distance. [Photo: Titleist]
“The Tour is what the media focuses on but we read the whole thing. Andit says that the average male club golfer in 2017 averaged 208 yards off the tee. Players with handicaps 6-12 only hit it 212 yards. They’re pretty good golfers. We realized that these dedicated golfers, let’s see if we can find a solution for them to get some more speed they might have lost through age or time or injury.”
The TS1 is not a miniature driver. It’s fully 45¾ inches long with a 460cc clubhead. Titleist engineers saved weight in every part of the club – 8 grams in the clubhead, two stock shafts that are 40 and 45 grams, 20 fewer grams in a lighter grip.
But this is not the first ultralight driver to hit the market. Others have tried and have been unsuccessful because with the loss in weight, there is also a corresponding loss in forgiveness. Titleist engineers worked to change that.
“We said, let’s make this thing as light as possible but let’s chase performance 100 percent,” Talge said. “You can make anything light for light’s sake. But if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t really matter. We wanted to make sure we could hit the gram weight target that would be beneficial to this player, which was increased swing speed and higher launch to get a lot more carry distance.”
The first order of business was to increase moment of inertia (MOI), which is the clubface’s resistance to twisting on off-center hits. Talge says that enough weight was distributed between the toe and heel, that made the TS1 as forgiving at the TS3. The company says the TS2 is the most forgiving driver in the TS line. And it’s fully adjustable with Titleist’s SureFit hosel, which can give players 16 independent loft and lie combinations.
Titleist first tested the TS1 in Japan, which is where the ultralight driver trend started and continues to flourish. “Could (the TS1) beat the other products in this category?” Talge said. Next, the company tested the driver in-house with its own employees. Mike Bradley, the director of marketing for Scotty Cameron, is the poster child for the TS1.
Bradley, in his early 40s and admittedly a slower swinger, saw his carry distance increase by 30 yards with the TS1 over the TS2 he’d been playing.
Admittedly, the TS1 is not for everyone. Players with faster swing speed hit the ball too high and with too much spin with the new driver. But for those who have been looking for distance and haven’t been able to find it, Talge says the TS1 gives them hope.
“It’s the most fun you can have hitting a driver,” he says. “It’s a blast.”
Mike Purkey has written about golf for more than 30 years for a number of publications, including Golf Magazine and Global Golf Post. He lives in Charlotte, N.C.