Driver Test: Titleist TS1 v TS4
These two new models added to the TS driver range brings the total up to four, making it one of the most expansive offerings on the market.
The TS2 and TS3, launched together back in late September last year, will do the job for 95 per cent of golfers. But there were a small minority that perhaps weren’t catered for as well as they could have been by Titleist. Until now…
The first demographic is anyone looking to significantly reduce their spin – this is where the TS4 comes in. This doesn’t necessarily mean just tour players with very high swing speeds. It could be anyone who hits down on the ball, although the smaller 430cc size naturally makes the TS4 less forgiving and therefore better suited to elite ball strikers.
The second demographic is slower swing speed golfers that want a light, draw-biased, high launching and spinning driver to help increase club speed and keep the ball in the air for longer. Step up the TS1.
We spent some time with Titleist Product Specialist James Robinson, testing the various drivers before taking them away to Foresight Sports HQ to test in our usual indoor environment on the GCQuad launch monitor.
With TS1, you instantly notice the lightweight feel. While we didn’t swing it any faster, this may not be the case for you. In fact, we swung the TS4 just as fast – possibly because of the more streamlined smaller chassis.
The TS1 has a stretched out look from front-to-back, while the TS4 is much more compact, seemingly promoting workability and the need to be very precise with the strike.
The TS4 also has a much shorter, quieter, more muted sound at impact than all the other TS models, including TS2 and TS3, which we definitely prefer.
When it came to the performance, the TS1 and TS4 are poles apart. Depending on the choice of shaft, the TS1 spun at over 1000 rpm more for us, but other golfers may experience an even greater difference.
Even compared to TS3 when using the same shaft and a similar loft setting, the TS1 spun at over 2600 (700rpm more than TS3), which with the higher launch, affected carry distance.
Conversely, the TS4 was proven to be the lowest spinning of the TS drivers, although we were expecting it to be lower than it was. We only experienced a drop of around 40 rpm compared to TS3.
Ball speeds with the TS4 were faster than TS3 and TS1, but slightly less efficient because of the lower forgiveness on offer, meaning carry distances compared with TS3 were similar.
Shots from the high toe of the TS4 did see a big drop in spin, which is normally a concern of low-spin heads, although we noticed that accuracy and distance wasn’t as negatively affected as we expected.
The TS1 clearly delivers the extra launch and spin slow swing speed players, for example lady, senior and junior golfers, need to maximize distance and the extra draw bias will also help negate a slice. It comes down to fine tuning the shaft and loft combination, as well as testing against TS2, to see if the lighter feel has a positive effect on club and ball speed without sacrificing accuracy.
The TS4 could well become the tour player’s top choice. Although it doesn’t have the adjustability of TS3, consistent ball strikers may well enjoy looking down at the deeper-faced head and prefer the workability on offer. With some extra loft, the spin reduction could increase the overall distance achieved, although off-centre strikes will likely be more adversely affected than on TS3 and the SureFit CG is efficient at managing common misses.
The TS2 and TS3 models will still be the best option for the majority of players, but the TS1 and TS4 make sure that Titleist has every box ticked when it comes to driver fitting and maximising distance for every type of golfer.