Titleist gets a lot of smack talk when it comes to their drivers. Most people agree that they have not had one of the longest drivers on the market for a long time. While they always look great over the ball and offer great playability they have lacked the distance and speed numbers compared to Taylormade and Callaway. Imagine a Titleist driver that looks great and actually performs as good as the competition. That was Titleist’s goal for their all new TS line of drivers.
Currently I am gaming a Taylormade driver and to be honest I am pretty happy with it. So I was a bit hesitant to even try the new Titleist offerings but I game their irons, wedges and balls so it might make the bag a bit more uniform. Plus I am always looking for added distance. In the past I have played models from their D series and loved the feel and sound more than any driver I have hit. I only made the switch to the TM driver to gain some yardage off the tee.
TS2 vs TS3: Looks
The TS2 and TS3 look pretty similar over the ball with the classic alignment aid that Titleist has used since I’ve been playing golf. That being said both models seem to have less of the traditional pear shape that Titleist is known for. This might be a way to shift more weight to the bottom and further back which other manufacturers have been doing for quite some time now.
As you can see the TS2 has a longer and more elongated head while the TS3 has a deeper face and more traditional shaping. According to Titleist the TS2 is aimed at forgiveness while the TS3 still allows for more workability. This seems to make sense and be true based on the two head designs. Overall, they look great and I would not have a hesitation putting either one of them in the bag just based on looks.
Like most people I ran down to the local golf shop on the release date and jumped into a simulator to see if all the tour rumors and hype was true. While I do appreciate on-course testing for most clubs I have to admit I usually just go by the numbers for drivers. On-course testing just leaves too much guess work. Seeing actual spin rates and smash factor readings really gives me more confidence than an on-course string of good/bad luck and good/bad shots.
These things are pretty but not in a traditional Titleist way. I would say they look more like a newer Callaway model but still with the Titleist alignment aid. The TS3 looks more similar to a typical Titleist driver and that is probably why I had more confidence over it at address compared to the TS2. If Titleist is going to change the look it better perform. Let’s skip the beauty pageant talk and get to some numbers on these bad boys.
Titleist TS2 Simulator Results:
Forgiveness: I really wanted to like the TS2. My game off the tee lately has been screaming for more forgiveness and that is what this model promised. I hit a few off the toe and heel to compare to dead center hits and the numbers just didn’t hold up. There was at least a 30% drop on both heel and toe shots. With my current TM driver I would say it is closer to 10%.
Distance: I could live with a less forgiving head if the driver came through distance wise. Well, again this was not as long as many of the drivers on the market. I was carrying my TM driver a good 15 yards further with way less spin. My spin rates for the TS2 were frankly shocking. Coming in at over 4500 rpms on average. My TM is around 2500!!
Shaft: We all know the shaft can play a huge role in the spin and distance numbers so I switched out the stock EvenFlow for a Smoke Hzrdus shaft. While I did like the shaft way better the results were barely better. Overall, this TS2 won’t be going in the bag anytime soon and I’m not really sure I would recommend it for any specific player or reason.
Is the TS2 longer than previous models?
So most of the hype around the release of the TS2 was centered around the increased distance. I honestly do not remember the exact numbers for the 917 I tested but I do remember it being closer to my gamer than the TS2. So to answer the question I would say… no.
Titleist TS3 Simulator Results:
Looks: So with the stellar stats from the TS2 I was hesitant to even try its sister out. Well, I powered through the urge to try other clubs that caught my eye (more on that later) and tried it out for you. First off the TS3 looks waaaaay better than the TS2. Maybe I am a traditionalist but the TS2 was too bulbous and hard to align. The TS3 just sets up beautifully. There, I said something nice so this article won’t be all negative.
Distance: Maybe it was the looks that inspired the extra distance from the TS3 or the specific TS2 I tested was just a dud. The TS3 went waaay further. I mean 15 yards at least! Spin was still a little higher than I would like so if I had the time and the money to dial it in I could probably get it to match or even beat my current gamer.
Feel: The feel was spectacular! I would not go as far and say that it was as good as the old 9 series or the D but it was still up there with some of the best I have ever hit. I could feel exactly where the ball was on the face and it was way more workable than the TS2.
I’m a Titleist fan so it hurts me to say this but WTF is with this club? I just didn’t get it from the start. The feel and distance just is not there compared to the competition. I may give it another shot because I almost think the TS2 I tested was a dud. Either way, I wouldn’t spend $500 to find out the hard way.
This thing is pretty sweet. I don’t think I’ve ever tested two models in the same lineup and had such differing results. The M3 and M4 resulted in pretty much the same numbers for me. Same with other models lineups. The TS3 is head and shoulders above the TS2 and even competes with other manufacturers in terms of distance. Still at $500 I would rather buy a used M1 and hit it further with more money in my pocket 🙂
Other random notes:
So remember when I said some other clubs were catching my eye? Damn, the TS fairway woods were so sexy. I hit one (can’t remember which model) with the Smoke shaft and it was a beast. Off the deck I was getting close to driver distance with way more control. Even the spin rates were lower. Maybe I should just game a 3 wood like Ariya?