Titleist's newest generation of drivers significantly improves aerodynamic efficiency. The difference maker, though, may be a lightweight alloy found in the clubface that had been primarily used to build NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander
The race for speed in drivers takes a lot of curves and turns on the way to the finish line. But Titleist believes it is moving faster down the straightaway with its TSi line.
The TSi is the next generation of the Titleist Speed Project, which debuted two years ago with the TS line of drivers that vaulted the company into legitimate competition with the top equipment manufacturers known best for their drivers.
“It put us on a whole new path for drivers,” said Josh Talge, vice president of Titleist Golf Club Marketing. “We saw it in the marketplace and saw it on the professional tours. It really bolstered out position in the driver category. The TSi is another huge leap.”
Titleist designers took the next step by making the new drivers aerodynamically more efficient, reducing drag by 15 percent from the TS models. The TSi is faster all over the face due to a titanium alloy called ATI 425. And the center of gravity in the TSi is lower and deeper, increasing its forgiveness.
“We knew if we could make that combination come to life, it would be a huge step forward,” Talge said.
The big story is the clubface and ATI 425. One of Titleist’s R&D team has a PhD in metallurgy and found ATI 425, which is Aerospace Titanium, when the alloy was no longer classified. Manufactured by one foundry in Pittsburgh, it was used for military armor, jet engines and primarily to build NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander because it was light and exceptionally strong.
Titleist used ATI 425 in the crown of the C16 driver, which was part of its highly experimental Concept project in 2016. Titleist is the only golf company to use the alloy and found that the alloy produced the biggest gains when used in the face insert of the TSi.
“ATI 425 is an amazing alloy that leads to a lot of performance benefits,” said Dan Stone, senior vice president, Titleist Golf Club Research and Development. “It’s incredibly strong and maintains elongation under high stress. It let us optimize the thickness of the entire face to a degree that was never possible before and generate our highest ball speeds ever at points all over the face — not just heel and toe but also high and low. This is not an easy material to obtain, but the benefits to the golfer are beyond anything we’ve ever seen.”
The TSi has been in play on the professional tours since September and players immediately noticed desirable properties of the face. “It makes this a very stable driver at impact,” Talge said. “So, our touring pros are seeing that when they get out on the toe or low in the heel, they get speed and spin consistency that they haven’t had in the past.”
Two models comprise the TSi line at present — the TSi2 and TSi3. The TSi2 is built to be the more forgiving of the pair, with a modern shape that delivers speed with high launch and low spin. It also features a weight in the bottom of the clubhead that can adjust the weight from minus-4 grams to plus-4 grams.
The TSi3 is for the player who creates more consistent contact and wants to dial in his center of gravity (CG) with a new SureFit CG track that features five positions — two in the heel, two in the toe and one neutral. Both models have Titleist’s SureFit hosel, which creates 16 unique loft and lie positions.
An underrated aspect of metalwoods is the sound they make at impact. Some are too loud, some are too muted. Titleist strives to get it just right.
“Our team takes sound seriously,” Talge said. “There are three variables — how loud, how high or low is the pitch, how long. We take those three markers to find the sound we want that the better player is looking for.”
Talge estimates that 35-40 percent of Titleist’s tour players are gaming the TSi2 and the rest the TSi3. At the U.S. Open, TSi was the most played driver model, according to the company.
For everyone else, the TSi2 comes in lofts of 9, 10 and 11 degrees, while the TSi3 is offered at 8, 9 and 10 degrees.
Stock shafts include Mitsubishi’s Kuro Kage Black Dual-Core 5G (high launch and spin), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Raw Blue (mid launch and spin), HZRDUS Smoke Black RDX (low to mid launch and spin) and Mitsubishi Tensei AV Raw White (low launch and spin).
Moderate swing speed players will benefit from Titleist’s Straight Flight Weighting technology, which promotes straight flight in lightweight driver shaft options (Kuro Kage Black Dual Core 50 and Tensei AV Raw Blue 55).
For the TSi, Titleist is offering Graphite Design’s premium models that are used extensively on the professional tours — Tour AD DI, Tour AD IZ and Tour AD XC (Xtra Carry). These shafts, along with other custom shaft options, are available at an upcharge.
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