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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 part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Skeptic

    Apr 25, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    What pear shape? I don’t see it.

  2. Scott Francis

    Apr 20, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    So I dont understand why TItleist doesnt put a weight also in the nack A LA Callaway and Cobra. COuld be a small Triangular weight so if you wanted could move heavier weight back or front. Bad move on their part.

  3. Gunter Eisenberg

    Apr 5, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    Reminds me a lot of the R9 Superdeep.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Jack Nash

    Apr 1, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    Still the nicest looking head on the market

  7. 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.

  8. chad

    Apr 1, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    April fools?

  9. 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

  10. Ray

    Apr 1, 2019 at 1:08 pm

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

  11. C

    Apr 1, 2019 at 10:38 am

    What’s the price?

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Travis

    Apr 1, 2019 at 10:07 am

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

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What It’s Like: TaylorMade Golf’s “The Kingdom”

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One of the best parts of this job, beyond the people we get to meet, is the facilities. All of the core OEMs have a “place” that is exclusive, away from anything normal, and you gotta know someone to get a ticket in.

That’s what the “What It’s Like” series is about. Those certain OEM places with no doors open to the public. Those places that if you happened to sneak in, there is no way you can Fletch your way around into two steak sandwiches and a bloody mary.

I never admit this, but I used to manage a night club in Los Angeles called Les Deux (it was cool for a minute). It was a fun although soul-sucking endeavor but the thing that made the experience stick out was the exclusivity of it. If you got in by knowing someone, greased the door guy (me), or got invited, it was four hours of awesome. Yes, it’s a lame example, but there is, unfortunately, something about getting to the other side of a closed door that is just awesome.

TaylorMade Golf’s Kingdom is location No. 1, and as you would expect, it’s nothing short of pure golf ecstasy.

My Experience

I have been to TaylorMade HQ quite a number of times, and typically those visits involve time at what I call the gear junkie mecca (short of Tiger Woods’ garage or the Nike Oven graveyard now called Artisan) AKA The Kingdom.

The coolest thing about it is how subtle the location is. Located just steps away from the front door of TM HQ (and a very random corporate basketball hoop) sits a small-yet-elegant building that if you didn’t know was there, you would fly past it. Once you pull into the side parking lot, unload your sticks, and head to the door, there is still that feeling of “will they actually let me in?”

Here’s the thing. The best (all of them) have been in here. To test, practice, hang out, get fit, get wowed to potentially be on staff and everything in-between. A schmuck like me should get nervous, but then it happens, the door opens and you are not only let in but you are greeted by the master of ceremonies and a man I truly adore Tom “TK” Kroll.

With the passion to match not only yours but anyone else who walks in, he makes sure every nuance is seen and experienced. From the lobby with current TM athletes on the wall to the locker room with your custom locker that sits next to an exact replica of Tiger’s bag. There are snacks, extras shoes, gloves, swag, coffee, beer, and all your wildest dreams…and we are barely in the facility.

From a 35,000 foot view, The Kingdom has everything a golfer would ever want, need, or wish for. Starting with Duane Anderson’s putter studio that has tested thousands of strokes from players ranging from a 20 handicap to Rory McIlroy. The data compiled in this room is staggering. We did a video (link below) that gives you the full rundown.

There are three (one with an Iron Byron for testing) main inside hitting bays with all the bells and whistles you would assume. TrackMans, cameras, big screens, fresh gloves hanging on the wall, and a club fitting matrix with every TM combination you could think of.

The outside hitting area is heaven on earth. There is no other way to describe. Huge hitting area with multiple styles of grass, lies, pins, etc. Any shot you would need to hit can be recreated here on grass with a ball flying into the air and not into a screen. My favorite area is the Flick Tee. In honor of the great teacher and longtime TM staffer Jim Flick. Its tucked up high and privately in the corner of the range under a tree and this may sound ridiculous but you can almost feel Mr. Flick standing there with you as you look out onto the facility. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

As mentioned, the man who manages your experience is Tom Kroll. He’s about as respected and beloved as anyone in the industry and for good reason. You combine passion with service you get an awesome human to hang out with. Everyone that has been through these doors has a TK story, which includes a chuckle and a smile.

I chatted with him recently about The Kingdom, and this is what he had to say.

JW: Walk me through how The Kingdom came to be what it is now? Basically origin to current day…

TK: Back in 1994, I was in R&D, running player testing, and we needed to find our own testing range. We built our headquarters in Carlsbad in the 1990s and added the range in 1998. Only robot, cannon and player testing were done at the start. Once in a while, a tour or staff pro would come out and test, but it was all operated from one building. At the time, what’s currently the clubhouse at The Kingdom was actually a maintenance building. But in 2010, The Kingdom was reimagined to the layout we have now.

Over the last three years I’ve been at The Kingdom, we’ve added GEARS, Quintic high-speed cameras, and a Foresight simulator bay. We transformed the putting lab with a Perfection Platforms articulating floor and SAM technology. Last year we resurfaced the main tee, redesigned and dedicated the Flick Tee, underwent a complete renovation of the short game area with new bunker complexes, redesigned the targeting downrange, and developed a par-3 routing. We partnered with Kurt Bowman Design, a longtime designer under Jack Nicklaus.

Our superintendent Mark Warren and his crew have done incredible work with our current maintenance equipment, and I can’t wait to see the conditions after we deliver a brand new fleet of brand new Toro equipment. We structured a long-term partnership with Toro and Turf Star Western.

JW: What is the simple function of The Kingdom? 

TK: We still have the robot bay and R&D does development work almost every day. We are mostly a resource for the entire company: Global Sports Marketing (Tour), developmental pros and ams, AJGA standouts, our Crusaders (club professionals), and commercial teams. We host pre-lines to introduce new product to our at-large teams and training events. We’re even a PR resource, hosting media, social influencers, celebrities, and professional athletes.

We also act as a hub for our Crusaders. They send their members to us, and we wholesale back to the staff account. I’ll do a significant amount of corporate events, charity events and have had “Flicks at The Kingdom” where we set up a giant projector and our employees bring their kids, beach chairs and blankets to watch a movie out on the range. Really a fun and cool event.

JW: Give me three awesome stories or experiences from your time there that you are cool sharing.

TK: It’s tough to only pick three! From Reggie Jackson stopping by to Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke, President Bush. Those may be the most haughty name drops of all time! What can I say, it is beyond the coolest job I have ever had! It’s truly tough to pick, but here are my three…

Story 1: Tiger was preparing to make his first PGA Tour start after fusion surgery and he just spends the day grinding out here. He was testing an early proto of the TW irons and to see how much speed he still had. There’s a sound that only he and maybe two or three others make when they center it up. That sound is something that goes through your body, I can still hear it. It sticks with you.

He’s playing old school lofts, which are three degrees weaker than any other tour pro, but the carry distances were still there, the windows he hits it through, holding it against the wind, flighting a 6-iron even ripping a 5-wood 275 yards. His feedback and ability to discern the most minute details working with the advanced teams developing the irons was fantastic to witness.

To come full circle, I played with him in the Southern Cal Amateur when he was 16-years-old and had a front-row to his 62 at Hacienda, I was keeping his scorecard so he has my autograph. To again be standing three feet from him while he goes through the process is just special.

Story 2: I’m going to put two guys in the same bucket (because The Kingdom is so magical, I hope the golf gods are okay with it). Rory now spends a day out here the week of Farmers–he has for the last two years, and with the U.S. Open there 2021, I think he’s a lock for the next few. He went through two sets of irons in a wind quartering off the right at 20-25 mph. The consistency of launch, speed and spin were shockingly close! It was one of the greatest ball-striking exhibitions I’ve ever witnessed. We handpicked the range after his day, it took us 10 minutes He’s also the most gracious, down to earth person.

Jon Rahm stops by five or six times a year. To watch his sessions in the putting lab, to see Duane show him what’s changing and getting Jon back to baseline and see his confidence, to the 4-iron flop shots after we tell our Seve stories. Jon is part of the family. His brother and dad came out before Jon and Kelly’s wedding. He’s one of the two or three others where the sound goes through you.

Story 3: Has to be Operation Game On (OGO). We have partnered with  Tony Perez for over 15 years, we are the cherry on top of a 6-10 week program where wounded veterans take lessons and the graduation is a fitting at The Kingdom. I had a dear friend, Joe Horowitz, who’s a golfer and a musician, here late one day and I mentioned the OGO guys were coming the next day. It’s Veteran’s Day and the Marine Corps Birthday. Not to mention Jon Rahm would be here for a last tweak before he left for Dubai. Joe shows me a video of him singing the national anthem at the Jaguars game a few weeks before, and we both say let’s do that for the OGO guys. I get in early and send an email to all employees to be on the tee at 9 a.m. sharp. We have the OGO guys arrive and Jon is hanging in the locker room. I’m stalling to get all the employees onto the tee through the side gate, I walk the boys into the bay and hit the roll up door. Outside are 250 employees cheering these guys on! Joe sings the anthem (goose bumps every time), then happy birthday to Jon and the marine corps. There’s fittings, a pizza truck, Jon Rahm signed U.S. Open staff bags for the OGO boys. Then, get this, Jon goes on and wins that week in Dubai!

JW: If you could change anything about the property or the experience what would it be?

TK: At TaylorMade, the relentless pursuit of improving is in our DNA. The Kingdom is no different. We’re constantly innovating and reimagining the downrange experience. From targeting, to conditions and turf types, we’re always nuancing and squeaking out ways to be better. One example, we’re designing each of our targets with a specific purpose. When players are testing at The Kingdom, we want them to feel that every shot has a consequence. So, we want to deliver a real-world experience in every testing situation. We went through a massive redesign last fall and are currently still working with the advanced research team on new ways to enhance our testing and fitting experiences to meet the way that players perform in competition.

When it comes to the overall experience, The Kingdom has transformed from a predominantly R&D and fitting facility to the most capable environment to test, measure and understand how equipment performs and how golfers interact with their equipment. I call it the ultimate truth machine. We help golfers at every level uncover the insights they need to improve. After each session, we’re going to know everything about the club, the player and the ball flight.

So we came from a place where we were mainly focused on research, fitting, and selling. Our goals have changed. Now we obsess over how to help golfers get better.

What would I change? If you’re curious and passionate about making change, the answers are out there. The first thing we do is listen. We’re going to change everything that needs to be changed in order to meet our goals. I have an incredible focus group to bounce ideas off of. To ask our tour pros, club professionals, and teachers for feedback on the design ideas and what they like and prefer is fortunate. We’re constantly learning, we’re constantly improving, and if there’s a better way do something, then we’re going to figure it out and do it.

JW: What does the kingdom look like in 10 years?

TK: We have a lot of incredible plans for new targeting, bunker complexes, and refining the purposeful design of the range and short game area. Beyond that, we have designs for new teeing areas, a new short game complex, adding another GEARS system and Foresight Simulator, along with other new technologies. I can’t disclose all we do, since the R&D guys get a bit jumpy when I start going on about all the cool stuff and high science! I don’t know exactly what The Kingdom looks like in 10 years as technologies and our understanding continue to improve, but I do know give me six months, and we’ll have done something new. Always grinding to get better!

JW: Tell me a little bit about your career at TaylorMade.

TK: 31 years is hard to do in a “little bit” but I’ll try to give you the Clif Notes! Bob Vokey ran our Tour department and had me running his repair shop in Vista after George Willett took a job driving the Tour truck for TaylorMade. I was refinishing wooden clubs and repairing clubs for the local country clubs. I told Bob I was going broke making $4.50 an hour and driving all over San Diego. I asked if he could get me a job at TaylorMade and I started on the custom line with Wade Liles! Get to work at 2 p.m., off at 1 a.m. and golf in the morning. It was the life! Not to mention, I was lucky enough to meet my wife who worked for the company.

I started our player testing and worked for the great Dr. Benoit Vincent–the smartest man I know. I was a pretty good player, and I played a bunch of USGA and national amateur events. But when I did a TV commercial, I lost my amateur status and made the decision to turn pro. I quit my job and started that journey. Our CEO wanted me to take a leavem and I said: “I need to be all-in on this.” I had two children, a mortgage, car payments and had to buy health insurance while getting through all three stages of Q School. I realized I was a better amateur than a tour pro. We had our third child, and then I got the sales rep job in San Diego. After 10 years of sales, I moved inside the building and the ran innovations department before taking over our metalwoods category when we hit our highest market share in history. I spent a few years in product creation, ran global experiential for a few years and then got the best gig in all of golf here at The Kingdom. Been here for three years, and we’re just getting started!

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Puma Golf teams up with Ernie Els in support of Autism Awareness Month

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Puma X Els Autism

April is National Autism Awareness Month, and Puma Golf has teamed up with ambassador Ernie Els in support of the Els for Autism Foundation.

Throughout April, Puma will donate a portion of every individual sale of the brand’s Ignite Pwradapt Caged shoes with the proceeds going towards the Els for Autism Foundation.

Puma X Els Autism

Every pair of Caged shoes sold this month will include a blue Els for Autism shoe bag and puzzle piece ribbon lapel pin – with the color blue and the puzzle pieces representing Autism Awareness.

Puma X Els Autism

The Els for Autism Foundation helps deliver and facilitate programs designed to serve individuals with autism spectrum disorder. You can purchase the shoes here.

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What GolfWRXers are saying about “Boutique brands vs Major OEMs”

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In our forums, our members have been discussing both boutique brands and major OEMs and why the former “trail the OEMs in drivers and woods”. WRXer ‘gr8 flopshot’, who plays a bag full of boutique clubs bar woods, poses the question and it’s got our members talking in our forum.

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.

  • DaRiz: “Irons, wedges, and putters don’t change much, and for all the technology OEMs try to pack in there, it’s more about how they look and feel. So boutique can fit in nicely here. Drivers/FW, on the other hand, definitely benefit from the millions of dollars in R&D, and it is probably really hard to compete. You can argue that COR is maxed out, but the tiny changes in launch conditions, spin rates, and forgiveness add up.”
  • MattM97: “One reason why I and most other lefties don’t go boutique is options. At least with OEM’s for drivers and most woods we get the most of what is released, some versions and loft we don’t get but better than nothing. I’m not against boutique; I love my putters, I love the look of a lot of wedges, I would absolutely love a set of Japanese forged CB irons one day. Just woods I’ll stick to OEM options.”
  • sniper: “The Wishon 560’s I had built years ago were as good (or better) as anything I’ve had. My current set of MP-18SC’s and Wishon’s are the best feeling irons I’ve played. Both came from a club builder and not built by the OEM. Obviously on the Wishon’s.”
  • RogerInNewZealand: “Genuinely good point. It’s like why we buy JDM, Yonex Ezone 420…and the famed J33 Bridgestone driver from long ago! T.E.E is another one..always a surprise there. With your wood/driver if your sorted that’s fine! You don’t have to bag an exotic club to hit fairways.”

Entire Thread: “Boutique brands vs Major OEMs”

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