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Titleist TS4: It’s all about spin

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Today is the day. Titleist has released the newest addition to the TS lineup; the Titleist TS4 is on tour at the Valero Texas Open now and is slated to hit retail in late June.

What is the TS4 and how does it differ from the TS2 and TS3? Let me give you the in-depth tech details directly from Titleist.

The TS4 is the newest, smallest and lowest spinning member of the TS family of drivers. Designed for a core group of players looking to further reduce spin but maintain the fastest legal ball speeds Titleist has ever achieved. In company testing, the TS4 reduces spin by an average of 300-400 RPM compared to the TS2 and TS3 drivers. All of this while also in a player preferred 430cc package. The appearance from address is a throwback to the traditional pear shape that made Titleist drivers what they are today — but beyond the shape, there is nothing classic about the technology packed into this 430cc titanium weapon.

Utilizing the same speed chassis and ultra-thin crown as other members of the TS family to maximize discretionary weight, the R&D team was able to move the CG (center of gravity) five millimeters closer to the face. Sure five millimeters seems like a small number when maybe talking about a 550-yard par 5, but in the world of golf club engineering, it’s big news and a LOT of movement. As we have seen before, moving CG closer to the face will make the driver lower spinning and a lot more workable.

With the Titleist TS4, you get the same Sure-Fit flat weight adjustability as the Ts2 driver but in a forward configuration, and a .75 degree SureFit hosel.

Now to the inside story.

This driver was five years in the making, dating back to the original 915 D4, which offered the same small footprint and spin reduction BUT as admitted by Titleist — not peak ball speeds that they would have wanted. Not to say the D4 was slow, but it took a real keen player to maximize the club’s potential. What will also be different this time around compared to the D4 is that this is a 100 percent full rollout, including retail.

You will soon be seeing these in shops and available through custom fitting studios, unlike the D4, which was part of an exclusive MOTO (Made Only To Order) program, which made the D4 difficult to add to your arsenal. MOTO was also home to the original 716 T-MB’s, which should be noted, as the club series now has a full-time place in the line up with the 718 T-MB.

Availability

Starting June 27, you will be able to order the TS4 from your local Titleist account and they should be available for fittings a few weeks before that.

Golfers can choose from the same four aftermarket shaft models as TS2 and TS3: Project X EvenFlow T1100 White 65, Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black 60, Mitsubishi Tensei AV Blue 55, and Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Black Dual Core 50.

Update: In-hand photos of Jimmy Walker’s TS4 from the Valero Texas Open

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Ryan Barath is a writer & the Digital Content Creation Lead for GolfWRX. He also hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on GolfWRX Radio discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club fitter & master club builder who has more than 16 years experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour professionals. He studied business and marketing at the Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop in Hamilton and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers, including True Temper. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, from course architecture to physics, and share his passion for club building, and wedge grinding.

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Gunter Eisenberg

    Apr 5, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    Reminds me a lot of the R9 Superdeep.

  2. Bill O.

    Apr 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    Been looking for a smaller driver head. Still using a Callaway XR16. Those 460 cc heads just look too big for me. This is great news. I’ll make it work.

  3. Moses

    Apr 1, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    Been there done that with the D4. I don’t need 5 extra yards. I need more fairways

  4. Jack Nash

    Apr 1, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    Still the nicest looking head on the market

  5. jgpl001

    Apr 1, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    Beautiful looking head, but options of a Tensei 65g Blue and a 50g Kuro Kage ?

    What clown put these options together????

    Totally counterproductive

    • F

      Apr 1, 2019 at 4:13 pm

      Because they had loads of shafts left in the warehouse and so they were free

    • Jack Nash

      Apr 1, 2019 at 4:36 pm

      There’s a ton of shafts out there. You could change it yourself. It ain’t that hard. Their testing said those were the shafts with best results. Like they say, your results may vary.

      • Jack Nash Jr.

        Apr 15, 2019 at 3:32 pm

        I guarantee you his results varied.

  6. chad

    Apr 1, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    April fools?

  7. Bob

    Apr 1, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    Is the TS4 only for high swing speeds (100+)? I prefer the smaller head (430cc) with a flexible regular shaft, is that a combo that could work with this head?

    • srooch2

      Apr 1, 2019 at 9:58 pm

      That will work fine, also loft up will help

  8. Ray

    Apr 1, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Smart move on titleist’s part. They have been known for higher spin compared to TM

  9. C

    Apr 1, 2019 at 10:38 am

    What’s the price?

  10. jason

    Apr 1, 2019 at 10:35 am

    This is weird. Golfers are truly obsessing about low spin. It’s reached a point this year where drivers have become too low spinning for 95% of players. Im a low single digit with 110-112mph clubbed speed and I cannot keep the TS3, FlashSZ, more M5 (all 9-9.5°) in the air. For the first time ever I’ve had to go to 10.5 I drivers, and in the M5 I had to ALSO move the weights back to the tail.

    People need to get back to focusing on 2400 spin. Some guys are trying to get to 1500-1600. That’s not reasonable when you’re launch angle is 14.

    • Foolitsa Prilone

      Apr 1, 2019 at 11:00 am

      Oh Jason…

    • dave

      Apr 1, 2019 at 12:41 pm

      im also right at 112….and i cannot find a shaft head combo to keep the flash sub zero or the f9 below 2700 consistently. even with baby draws….currently on smoke 6.0 tipped an inch. tried atmos black 7s 6x tipped untipped, black tie x, xlr8 x, paderson x, thats in each head reduced to lowest loft…if i hit a slight fade its 3300 275 carry…everyone is different.

      • Jack Nash Jr.

        Apr 15, 2019 at 3:36 pm

        You and Jason should focus on golf and not stats.

        You can get all the numbers just right and still stink.

    • STG

      Apr 1, 2019 at 3:15 pm

      Stop hitting the lower spin heads then Jason. TS2 will work better.

    • Scott Francis

      Apr 17, 2019 at 4:19 pm

      At 110-112 Swing speed which is what Rick Shiels is at you cant keep in the air? Shiels loved the TS3 even moreso than the TS2

  11. Matt A

    Apr 1, 2019 at 10:29 am

    Damnit I JUST bought an Epic Flash to replace my TS2 because that TS2 spun up too much – and I wanted to stick with Titleist.

  12. Travis

    Apr 1, 2019 at 10:07 am

    And 6 months after this the TS 5/6 will be out!

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Talking New Level Golf with founder Eric Burch

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“If you want to make a small fortune, start with a big fortune”

It’s a phrase I’ve heard many times before, not just with the golf industry but in other industries that are, let’s call them — leisure or sports-focused. It’s an uphill climb to enter any market, but golf might be on another level. There are the big players that are worth BILLIONS, and spend millions of dollars in research and development, along with equal amounts marketing, to make sure that every golfer is aware of their new club technologies. They also have well-oiled systems of distribution.

But in this new world of brand-agnostic fitting centers, boutique brands, social media, and the ability to reach your target demographic like never before there are a LOT of new companies creating high performance, high quality, well-engineered products. But when it comes to forged irons for golfers of all abilities, industry veteran Eric Burch’s New Level Golf stands on its own.

If you don’t know Eric Burch, and you’ve gone through a custom fitting recently, then you are at least partially aware of some of the breakthroughs he’s helped create in the golf industry, including the Club Conex system. His newest endeavor New Level Golf was only started in 2017, but in that short time, it has made some very big strides including distribution in over 150 brand agnostic club fitting facilities and now some professional golfers signed to the roster (including PGA Tour winner Ken Duke).

So how do you go from designing club fitting components to designing forged irons and starting a company that has products on the Golf Digest Hot List? I got the chance to talk to Eric about New Level Golf, his background and how after his years in the golf industry he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

RB: Based on your history in the golf industry you seem to be a real problem solver with a “Be your own boss” mentality, is that how you would describe your self?

EB: I’ve been in business for myself since my early 20s. Other than a few short stints for other golf companies, I have primarily been my own boss involved with golf. I would consider myself a problem solver. Not necessarily by design, but mainly due to starting companies that have always been undercapitalized which forces your hand to learn a variety of tasks to help the business move forward.
Although I’ve received notoriety as a club fitter/retailer, Club Conex, and now New Level. I’ve been fortunate to have won the professional Clubmaker’s Top Shop Award (2004), Golf Digest Top 100 Club Fitters (2016),  & have products I’ve designed be on the Golf Digest Hot List (2019).

RB: What was the first product & club head you ever designed, and how does the workflow go now with New Level?

EB: The first golf products were, of course, the Club Conex prototypes and those were generated from hand-rendered sketches. I still believe, given what I did with Club Conex and the universal system I designed, I hardly get the credit I deserve. I bought a milling machine without really knowing how to use it and over the course of 6-7 months taught myself how to use it and started creating prototypes. Those prototypes eventually became the Uni-Fit system.

The first clubs I ever designed were putters dating back to the mid 2000s, but in terms of New Level, I know what I am trying to accomplish in design as well as fitting into player categories that comes from my years working at my own shop and fitting golfers from professionals to higher handicaps. Since product is made overseas, the engineers I work with at our factory have done a very good job of helping bring my concepts and designs to fruition. I really enjoy doing the designs and creating something that will one day be in someone’s golf bag.  The only current issue with the success we’re seeing now is if the company continues to push forward we will at some point be forced to bring on an industrial design engineer to further help with product development, but that would be in 2021 as most of our products for next year are in development, or have already been developed.

RB: On that note, how long from having an initial concept to that first set of irons or at least a prototype head in hand?

EB: This is heavily dependant on the complexity of the design. The 4995 HB took almost 9 months to get it where we wanted, whereas the 902 took just about four months. Typically we can get a first article sample of a playable sample in less than 60 days.

RB: When you consider the logistics and tooling involved, that’s quite an impressive turnaround time. From a design perspective, what do you think is the most misunderstood part of creating an iron head and the manufacturing process that you face?

EB: This is a hot topic with me since most people just don’t understand the depth of the manufacturing process. A lot of people think of the term open model (a factory’s in house design produced to create a starting point for some companies), they think we are just stamping our name on a head that is already been refined and finished by someone else which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Like with many aspects of club designs some of the tooling we use are openly available, but for example the raw forged blank head is on average 407 grams on a 6 iron that needs to be designed into a profile that weighs just 262 grams. So as you can imagine a club head overweight by more that 35 percent, it’s far from being a finished product. We call all the shots when it comes to every pertinent parameter and specifications of our design. The only thing incorporated into using this process and something we can’t change is the offset of the club. All other facets of the design are facilitated by my directive and incorporated into the final design.

I chose this method of manufacturing for New Level because it allows a far more flexible range of experimentation before a final design is consummated and brought to market. As a new company starting out it would have been near impossible to use a process similar to other OEMs that create a final tool for each and every design solely based on scale. We had several designs that were not used because they didn’t make the cut when it comes to performance and if we had gone the other route we would have had hundreds of thousands of dollars in tooling alone from products that never saw the light of day.

This process is called the “near net” process, and I find it to be much more in tune with today’s industry. I will take it one step further by saying regardless how good one may be at hand grinding and polishing, a human will never be as consistent and effective as a CNC machine. This entire process allows us to keep our costs reasonable and offer a…uniquely designed, full one-piece forged club for a fair price. There are a lot of other companies using this process you’d just never suspect it.

RB: As a club builder and fitter myself, I have encountered my fair share of misconceptions from golfers, what do YOU feel is the number one thing golfer misunderstand from a design perspective of their clubs?

EB: I can only speak from my experiences, but most golfers are scared of the word “forged” as it has been far too long associated with blades and hard to hit designs. I believe the average weekend warrior still views forged as a design methodology as opposed to a manufacturing process. That is a major objective for New Level to prove that forged clubs can be forgiving, can produce great ball speed, & can be used by your average mid handicap player. Our 1126, for example, is longer from heel to toe, has a shallow profile, and deep undercut – lots of forgiveness for any level of player. From a fitting perspective, I’d say that over 80 percent of players are using shafts that are too heavy, and too stiff for them.

RB:  We’ve talked a lot about the product, and now I need to know – How many retail outlets currently carry your irons and wedges. And lastly, what advantage do you believe New Level irons and wedges have over the competition?

EB: New Level products can be found at roughly 150 locations worldwide and growing almost weekly. If I had my way, we’d never sell another club off the website since I truly believe getting fit by a professional is the best way to get the right set, but saying that as the brand is growing and during the infancy stages, I am trying to get as much product in the field of play as possible to spread brand awareness. We get positive feedback on a daily basis. We have an extensive questionnaire on our site to help those that are not close to one of our retailers, and we also have a lot of people that see our clubs, like what they see and order to their known specs.

As far as our advantages go, I believe it’s pretty simple — being small allows us to pay more attention to each and every client and ensure they are getting the attention that they deserve. The mentality is always to be big enough to make money, yet no matter how we grow, act small and care about every single customer. Currently, we have the care part down very well. My belief is with any business I’ve ever been involved with is that if you do the right thing and stay focused eventually the money will take care of itself. It’s funny because I experience many of the same challenges with New Level as I did with Club Conex early on. Although I am mixed in with a ton of larger players in the golf industry, with New Level I am starting to see our awareness with golfers grow. I hope that this growth continues and we still maintain a great rapport with our customer base.

If you are interested in New Level products check out their website, or call and check with your local club fitter for availability.

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Forum Thread of the Day: “New irons from Mizuno”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day showcases new irons that are on the way from Mizuno. Reportedly two years away from being released, but that hasn’t stopped our members from discussing and speculating on the new irons from the Japanese manufacturers.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • halfsumo: “I told myself no new irons until the new MP line comes out. Chris Voshall on TXG’s youtube said something along the lines that the new irons are “not what you’d typically expect from Mizuno”….”
  • deep18: “The one on the left in the bottom pic kinda looks like a 919 Tour.”
  • BlackM00Nlight: “Bottom picture, iron on the right appears to have a beveled leading edge, CB design, and chrome finish.”

Entire Thread: “New irons from Mizuno”

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Callaway ERC Soft Yellow now part of “Play Yellow” campaign to benefit Children’s Miracle Hospital

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Callaway Golf has today announced its ERC Soft Yellow golf ball is part of a new program: Play Yellow.

The Play Yellow campaign is an initiative from Callaway where the company will donate $4 for every dozen ball pack sold of their ERC Soft Yellow golf balls in support of Children’s Miracle Hospital Network (from today until the end of May).

The campaign runs from April 19 to May 31, and speaking on the initiative Callaway President & CEO, Chip Brewer stated

“Callaway Golf is honored to support the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals — an outstanding organization — through this Play Yellow initiative. We’re inspired by the golf industry’s broad effort to rally around this important cause and campaign.”

As a recap, the ERC golf ball from Callaway features their Hybrid cover which is designed to create a combination of faster ball speeds for longer distance, softer feel, and higher spin for excellent control around the green. The ball contains a Graphene-infused Dual SoftFast Core which through a larger inner core seeks to maximize compression energy while minimizing driver-spin for high launch and greater distance. The balls also include Triple Track lines for improved alignment.

 

 

 

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