Titleist’s new TS4 driver, an extension of the TS drivers the company introduced last fall and frequently the most played models at PGA Tour events ever since, continues a theme unveiled with the originals.
At the time, the TS drivers reflected a technological redirection at Titleist, what director of metalwoods development Stephanie Luttrell called, “taking it to another level.” The TS drivers showed new efforts to build ball speed as a vital key to distance with two distinct models, a higher moment of inertia, larger-profile TS2 and a center-of-gravity adjustable TS3. The TS4 expands the audience for the company's family of drivers by expressly concentrating on another crucial component of distance, spin reduction. The TS4 will be the extreme low-spin option, targeted mainly (but not exclusively) toward that small segment of generally higher swing speed players looking to control spin to increase distance.
“We feel we’ve got a really great product with our TS drivers,” said Titleist’s Josh Talge. “What we’ve known all along as we’ve developed those is that there’s a subset of players, maybe 10 percent of golfers, who just require an ultra-low spin product, something that would increase their distance consistency.”
The TS4, which appears this week on the USGA's list of conforming driver heads and will also debut this week on the PGA Tour, will take on much of the better-player, high-swing speed attributes. That includes a more compact, pear shape at 430 cubic centimeters, and most notably a shift of the internal weighting more forward compared to the TS2 model, for example. Like the TS2, the TS4 will not feature the movable weight cartridge found in the TS3 driver, staying true to its mission to focus on low spin.
The weight shift is apparent when comparing TS4 with TS2. While the nine-gram flat weight on TS2 is at the extreme rear of the sole, on TS4 it is well within the front third of the sole. Talge said the CG on TS4 is approximately five millimeters closer to the face than on TS2. The smaller size of the overall head, as well as a deeper face, also helps with the CG playing more forward on TS4 compared to TS2.
Like the TS2 and TS3, the TS4 benefits from a 20-percent thinner crown construction compared to Titleist’s 917 drivers, getting as thin as 0.4 millimeters. There’s also the same thinner face construction, getting as much as 0.35 millimeters thinner in sections, which is further enhanced by Titleist’s “100 percent inspection” of faces to get up to the USGA limit for flexibility. Says Luttrell, “It allows us to for sure push it, and we get an even tighter tolerance.”
But while the TS4 will likely attract most attention among players with faster swing speed, Talge said, it should not be limited to players with parking spaces at PGA Tour events.
“Even with an R-flex type player, we still run into guys who are swinging it at 85-90 miles per hour but are generating over 3,000 rpm of spin with a good launch angle,” he said. “So those guys do exist, and the ability to knock off 300-400 rpm of spin is going to give that player significantly more consistent distance and help them play better golf.”
Talge stressed, though, that the key determining factor is spin when thinking about TS4 in comparison to TS2 or TS3, both of which feature a higher moment of inertia (a measure of twisting on off-center hits) compared to TS4. “If they don’t need really significant spin reduction, then probably TS2 is going to win more often for them because they can benefit from more forgiveness on off-center hits,” he said. “But we know that there are golfers who know they need an extremely low-spin product, and we want them to think of us in that space more often.”
The TS4, which will feature Titleist’s 16-way adjustable hosel, will be offered in the same four standard shaft model options as TS2 and TS3: Even Flow T1100 White 65, HZRDUS Smoke Black 60, Tensei AV Series Blue 55 and Kuro Kage Black Dual Core 50. The TS4 ($500, 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5 degrees) is expected to be at retail in late June. Click here to shop the TS2 and TS3 metalwoods at Golf Galaxy.