Titleist refer to the TSR4 as "the ultimate low spin driver".
Only 8% of Titleist's overall driver sales were the TSi4 and very few tour players actually used it. Jessica Korda is the only full-time user of the driver head that I am aware of, as the likes of Zalatoris, Thomas, Spieth and Cam Smith using the TSi3.
If they can't hit the TSi4 consistently, does that give any hope for us mere mortals? Or is it more due to head size and spin rates that caused these golfers to pick the TSi3?
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This is the third and final generation of Titleist's Speed Project, and the company have seemingly done what they set out to do - make themselves the tour preferred driver. This was accomplished by the TSi an they are hoping it will be cemented by TSR.
The TSR range was launched on the PGA Tour in July and managed to win in four of its first six outings, including at The Open Championship.
Titleist say that the R has four core meanings:
- Refined - this is the conclusion of the Speed Project, so the looks and technology are only changing slightly.
- Repeatable - a club which performs over and over again on the range and on the golf course.
- Reputation - the TS drivers have been number one on tour in the last three seasons, and nearly 50% of elite amateur males use it.
- Right - the right driver for a greater number of golfers.
The TSR4 is aimed at players seeking to dramatically drop their spin rate, as well as those who enjoy the look and feel of a smaller headed driver.
The Multi-Plateau Variable Face Technology is the same technology that features on the TSR2 face. This variable thickness spreads across the face from the centre outwards.
The entire hitting surface is fast and it is more forgiving, producing the maximum ball speed at centre impact but also keeping the speed high for off centre hits.
That's right, a '4' head from Titleist which is easier to hit than ever before!
The aerodynamics have been improved again thanks to a new boat-tail shape on the rear of the head, whilst the design has also taken into account the feel of the club as it moves through the air as well as the sound it makes at impact.
There are both 'fore' and 'aft' weighting options in the head which can be shifted from front to back, making the head higher or lower launching whilst also affecting spin rates.
The forward setting produces maximum spin retention, and the aft setting is more moderate and Titleist say that this is more like a 'TSR 3.5'.
Titleist TSR4 Driver Review
Looks and Feel
As you'd expect from a low-launching, low-spinning better player driver, the TSR4 was much smaller and more compact than any of the other drivers in the TSR range.
Some golfers may immediately be put off by this look, but I actually find that it really concentrates my mind into hitting the ball in the middle of the face. The colour scheme and finish is exactly the same the other drivers in the family - shiny black and sleek.
The TSR4 launched lower than any of the other drivers that I had tested that day, but the fact that I had been told that the face technology was the same as in the TSR2 head did help to provide me with a little more confidence in the club's forgiveness as I felt that I wouldn't have to hit it perfectly every single time.
The sound at impact was powerful, whilst the head felt really stable through the hitting zone which immediately made me feel as if I could get some good numbers if I hit it well.
I visited the Titleist Performance Centre at Woburn GC to undergo a full day of TSR driver testing, hitting hundreds of shots with the Trackman launch monitor and Pro V1x balls to work out which of the new models was best for me and if they could beat my current TSi3.
All in all, I was surprised with the performance that the TSR4 gave me as it was better than I was expecting. I haven't played as much golf as I would have liked this summer so I was a little nervous to be hitting a club which is known to be hard to hit.
My good shots were long: out at 215 yards carry with plenty of run-out after landing, but due to mis-strikes my average spin rate was close to 3000rpm.
This brought my average carry distance down to 206 yards, making it on average the shortest driver of the whole TSR range. This is still a bit of an inconsistent club for me, but nowhere near what it used to be, and it can still provide my longest drives when hit pure.
I was very conscious of over-committing in this testing. Yes I did hit it pretty well, but I had to be realistic too.
The weather was great, it was over 30 degrees, I was completely warmed up having already hit the other TSR drivers and this added to my overall confidence when standing over the ball.
With no consequence, these driver numbers were impressive and it was easier to hit than the TSi4. However I am not a robot and so I do miss the middle of the face from time to time, whilst my swing speed is lower than the target market that this driver is aimed at.
When I did mis-hit it my carry numbers were as much as 15 yards down, whilst the spin rates varied between 1700 and 4000 rpm. This is quite a price to pay compared to the consistency and forgiveness of the TSR2 and TSR3.
Titleist TSR4 Driver Verdict
I have to say I was surprised by how well I hit the TSR4, although my fitter wasn't as he could see that my smash factor hadn't dropped below 1.46 on any shot I had hit across the three models during my testing.
He suggested that I could use the driver if I hit it with this consistency but I had to admit my fears of 'what happens when I jump out of my car and on to the first tee in November...?'.
I am much more of a regular weekend golfer than a tour player in my preparation these days and so I just fear that the TSR4 could be making life harder for myself despite the obvious advantages it can provide.
Who Is It Aimed At?
An elite golfer who likes a small driver head with a lower, chasing ball flight. Golfers who generate too much spin due to their delivery of the club could also benefit too, and this was a group of golfers who weren't previously catered for with the TSi4 head.
Would I Use It?
Probably not, as I would be too worried about having to hit it perfect every time.
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