In this Titleist TSi3 Driver Review, Joel Tadman tests his fitted sample up against the outgoing TS3 to if there are performance gains to be had
Titleist TSi3 Driver Review
The Titleist TSi3 in particular has seen a rapid take up on tour, even among non-contracted players like Tommy Fleetwood and Matthew Fitzpatrick, so clearly there is something of note in the new technology found in this model.
We were custom fitted for it at the Belfry, where we got a chance to test it against our current gamer and the outgoing TS3 driver, which was also custom fitted albeit nearly two and a half years ago.
At address, you’ll immediately notice the smaller, more pear shaped profile of the TSi3 with a more rounded toe which we much prefer. The TS3 looks almost square in the front by comparison and there’s a new TSi alignment mark too, which does a good job of helping position the ball centrally.
The feel and sound of the TSi3 driver has changed considerably. Where the TS3 had quite a loud, metallic sound at impact, the TSi3 has a quieter thud sound to it while still feeling explosive, closer to what you might experience with carbon fibre drivers like TaylorMade SIM and Callaway Mavrik.
We also like how the sole weight setting is now visible – with the TS3 you had to unscrew and remove the weight to see what it was, which was time consuming.
Straight away, the TSi3 gave us an immediate increase in clubhead speed, albeit with a different shaft and with us becoming looser as the fitting progressed.
As a drawer of the ball, the T2 SureFit CG Track setting was not only able to straighten out our ball flight but also position more weight behind our most common high toe strike point miss. As a result, we experienced more ball speed and a straighter, more consistent flight with TSi3 over TS3. A flatter lie angle B1 hosel setting further encouraged a more neutral flight.
The spin also wasn’t jumping around as much too and as a result the carry distances were also longer but more consistent.
The numbers improved considerably with TSi3 over TS3, which I think partly demonstrates how much your swing can change in over two years but also the impressive performance of the new driver and shaft options.
We found with TS3 I wasn’t spinning the ball enough, so through shaft and loft we were able to increase the spin from 1550 rpm to just over 1900 which increased the carry.
We did try one of the premium featured (aftermarket) Graphite Design shafts Titleist offer and while the performance at times was marginally better than the Tensei AV, it wasn’t enough to justify the £170 upcharge. Of course, you may have a more positive experience, which will require a difficult conversation with yourself!
With the multitude of settings and shafts available with TSi3, a custom fitting is a must to get the most out of it. Gains over the previous model will vary from player to player but we certainly got much more out of the TSi3 than we were expecting.
Hitting shots at the end of the fitting with Pro V1 balls rather than range balls, we achieved some really optimal numbers but where we also felt in total control of where the ball was going. Our sunday best with TSi3 was about five yards longer than our current Ping G410 driver.
The TSi2 driver just popped the ball up a little bit higher and produced a more stable, straighter flight but both can be configured similarly if your ball flight is quite neutral.
Testing our fitted TSi3 out on the course, we were able to swing hard with commitment and a free release of the clubhead knowing it was set up to reduce the amount it turned over. As a result, we were able to find more fairways without losing distance.
Most importantly, it instilled a sense of confidence over the ball when you know roughly where the ball is going to go, and you can’t put a price on that.
Titleist has made significant improvements in many different areas to improve the appeal of the TSi3 driver to lots of different player types. The compact look will suit the eye of the better player, but many more abilities have the potential to benefit from the more varied adjustability and extra forgiveness on offer. Our testing, after being custom fitted, showed it was longer and straighter than the TS equivalent, producing longer but more playable distance. A fitting is crucial to experiencing this, and the premium price tag may be a stumbling block, but if you haven’t upgraded your driver in a few years perhaps a greater investment in your game will produce a sharper gain in results.