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Wunder: Titleist TSi driver first impressions

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Three things I want to address before I kick this off.

  1. “Better, best” will not be addressed. It’s never about that these days only what works for me or you.
  2. I’m not adding TrackMan data to this for one simple reason: It doesn’t matter to me for a first impression. I can get lost in the data and ultimately it confuses my ability to just enjoy the sound feel and look of the driver. Obviously, the fitting was on TrackMan, but in the past, successful drivers for me started with the emotional part. Simply, do I like the thing? Can I look at it? Can I trust it? Can I hit shots with it? That’s it.
  3. When I say “spin this” and “spin that,” it’s always addressing a positive aspect.

On Tuesday of this week, I had the good fortune of visiting the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI in Oceanside, California) to do my TSi metal woods fitting. Won’t get too far into that, but essentially it’s golf heaven in every sense of the word. Like TaylorMade’s Kingdom or Callaway’s ECPC, TPI it’s a gearhead paradise.

Titleist Master Fitter Joey Saewitz (@thejoeysaewitz on IG) was my fitter and after hitting a few balls to warm up, we dug into my gamer driver that I adore.

Current Gamer Spec

TaylorMade SIM (9 degrees @ 8.5). Fujikura Ventus Black 6X (no tipping) 45 inches, D4, GolfPride BCT 58R

I have been constantly messing with my driver between new shafts, lofts, lie, etc. Since I’ve been playing a bit more this month, I’ve had the chance to work on my swing and the driver has been the last thing to come around. I’m working on decreasing dynamic loft through the bag and have not adjusted my driver to match. The point is, I’m hitting the driver solid but have lost a ton of height and spin to keep it in the air.

I’m saying this now because for key metrics I was at a deficiency because of the craftsman not his tools. The SIM I was fit into was/is excellent. So, as you read on, keep in mind that I knew that numbers-wise apples to apples my setup was vulnerable to getting beat out due to my tinkering.

Thoughts

My average numbers these days are are 105-108 mph swing speed, 155-160 mph ball speed, 14-degree launch, and 1,800-2,000 spin. At 43-years-old, when I’m hitting it solid I get a lot out of my driver. IF I’m swinging well, at my low spin, off days can be nauseating with the driver.

LOOKS

TSi3: If two of my favorite drivers 975D and R7 Superquad TP had a baby, the TSi3 would be it. Its flawless appearance-wise. The heel section gives it an onset look that the faders will love and the top line toe section is a bit rounded off to give it an open look without having to crank it open. Not the first time we have heard that but nonetheless, Titleist nailed it.

The face has a cool matte finish that I can’t get into yet, but it frames a white ball excellently.

TSi2: Like the TS2, it has that high-MOI shape, although I will say the top line and transitions are a bit softer on the eye. It’s a driver that looks like it just wants to go high and far. If I wanted to hit something as hard as I could that’s the shape I would look for.

Side note—the black shafts in the TSi3 are almost too cool to even look at—the closest thing to a Darth Vader golf club I have ever seen.

FEEL/SOUND

This is where they really figured it out. Titleist drivers in the past to my ear sounded good but not great. There was always an essence of ting that I couldn’t fall in love with. The TSi series fixed that in totality, like all the great drivers on the market in 2020 it has that hammerhead thud that I adore. When you crunch it, you literally hear crunch. At impact, however, it has a more compressiony (is that a word?) feel than its competitors. The comparison would be a one-piece forged feel vs a hollow body players iron. Both feel excellent but there is a difference. You can feel the ball squeeze into the face which I think most will notice and respond well to.

PERFORMANCE—Not going to compare it to my gamer as it’s not fair, I gear headed my gamer to the point of lunacy. I will only comment on what the TSi series did while testing.

TSi3: The biggest standout here was usable spin. I am not a high-spin player by any stretch, so if I can find a driver that gets me 2,100-2,200 consistently when I flush it, it’s a contender. For a player at my speed to sneak it out there with the big hitters, I have to launch it at 14 at 1,700 spin, and hope I’m aimed correctly. What I found with the TSi was I was getting that performance at 2,100-2,200, and if anything only giving up 2-3 yards all while doing it 5/10 times as opposed to 2/10.

What does all that jibberish add up to? Consistency and something I can play with. Is it longer than my gamer? I have no idea, but we will find out. What I know is I hit a bunch of really good shots with TSi3, and after I got going with it, it was point and shoot. Stable? Yes. Long? Yes. Forgiving? Yes. Playable? Yes.

TSi2: To be honest I only hit a few with the Tsi2 as its not my genre of music. What I can say is it feels apples to apples with the Tsi3, launches higher with a bit more spin, and goes really straight. No shocker there. The high MOI category has a bunch of contenders, and in my opinion, it’s a head weight game. Heavy is always better for stability.

The setup I landed on

I was fit into the (D4 SureFit setting 9 degrees @ 9.75, flat) however after testing a bit at home on course and range, I landed on the D1 setting, which I like. For whatever reason, I can play Tsi3 at 8.25 and still maintain height spin and it flew about five yards further.

Final setup

Driver: Titleist TSi3 (9 degrees @8.25, D1 SureFit, 44.5 inches, D4 swing weight)

Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X (tipped 1)

Overall, the TSi Series drivers will be VERY popular but not for the reasons you would think. It’s playable, you can hit shots with it, that’s the mark of a GREAT golf club. It’s not all ball speeds and carry anymore in my opinion. This is a driver I can go out and play well with, that’s huge for a hack like me. In my experience, I can’t say that about a lot of drivers I’ve tried to make work in the last four to five years. That’s just me. Lots of great drivers every year but I’m a hard case and finding one that’s just right is a challenge.

Ultimately, for me, the best driver on the market is SIM hands down because it performs in the hitting bay and even better on the course—my hunch is Titleist has something that will do the same.

It’s a beautiful driver that I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know.

 

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Johnny Wunder is the Director of Original Content, Instagram Manager and Host of “The Gear Dive” Podcast for GolfWRX.com. He was born in Seattle, Wash., and grew up playing at Rainier G&CC. John is also a partner with The Traveling Picture Show Company having most recently produced JOSIE with Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. In 1997 Johnny had the rare opportunity of being a clubhouse attendant for the Anaheim Angels. He now resides in Toronto, On with his wife and two sons. @johnny_wunder on IG

24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. mnw

    Oct 1, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    first sentence: “Better, best” will not be addressed. It’s never about that these days only what works for me or you.”

    last paragraph:”Ultimately, for me, the best driver on the market is SIM hands down”

    • John Wunder

      Oct 10, 2020 at 11:18 am

      “On the market” opening sentence was to not get into comparing an unreleased driver to what’s out now. It confuses the issue and whats best is personal to each golfer for multiple reasons. Hence ”Ultimately, for ME, the best driver ON THE MARKET is SIM hands down”

  2. Keith

    Sep 28, 2020 at 8:34 am

    Hey John,
    Great stuff. I guess you still can’t get the TXG fitting for COVID/border concerns. Was really looking forward to it.
    Keith

  3. Paul Runyan

    Sep 27, 2020 at 6:12 am

    Gibberish is the key word.

  4. Paulo

    Sep 26, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    You say your hunch is the Titleist is better ? Yes or no , having hit both , is the Titleist better than the SIM ?

    • John Wunder

      Sep 26, 2020 at 9:20 pm

      Better is impossible to answer in my opinion. Both drivers are fanstastic and special to each company as far as their lineage. What I can say is hitting TSi3, im hitting quality shots, keeping it in front of me, plenty of speed and playability. If i was made to play either one id be happy.

      • Cosy

        Sep 29, 2020 at 12:16 am

        If nothing else. The shape is so good I want the performance to match.

      • alex Sans

        Oct 5, 2020 at 6:55 am

        Hello John nice comments. I follow this from Spain, I m 48 I changed my swing from hook to fade, and loss some power now only a 100 miles swing speed and max 240 carry, used to play the T2 and switched to ping 400 max, which was very forgiving. I found the TS2 not so consistent but the max has a lot of spin. Will be great you add amore info about the TSI2 in the future as probably most of us who follow are on 35 to 60 age and TS3 which I tried was great when hit in the center but had many misses on the left when I tried to push it. Here the fitters are scare and had to order Graphite design DI shafts as the previous T2 diamana was too soft.

        In summary do you think the new shafts for TSI2 is good shaft, any comments if the TSI3 is a more forgiving than the TS3 which as said was harder for me to find consistency. By the way same happened with Sim, when striked well it was a bomb but not easy when tried to speed up to square the face, it also was a head a little strange in the upswing.

  5. ViralGolf2020

    Sep 25, 2020 at 10:24 pm

    Long time Titleist Fan.

    I do not understand the “TSi” as the alignment aid, and I do not understand why Titleist – along with many other manufacturers – still insist on super-shiny gloss finishes for driver crowns. Do their testers not play in the sun? (And please, don’t give me “rack appeal”… drivers are bottoms-up in the rack. Store lighting glares just like sunlight when you set them down. Who needs to see their reflection in their driver crown???)

  6. matt

    Sep 25, 2020 at 8:34 pm

    really good piece… i think you harped on it about 47 times but commenters don’t get it. having a great driver is about comfortability – not blind obedience. If fact they’re quite opposites notions. who cares about 3 carry yards you gotta play what feels, looks, sounds right. After the numbers are in the ballpark I just want to hit it solid, accurate, and like everything about it

    • Scott Francis

      Sep 26, 2020 at 2:40 am

      So at a 105-108 SS you played it at 8.25 degrees with a Ventus X at 44.5 length? Did you hit it higher than 5 feet off ground?

  7. Jason C

    Sep 25, 2020 at 6:07 pm

    I will not do this and I will not do that….come on man! The whole point of these reviews is to get a glimpse at spin rate, distance, etc.

    If I ever was lucky enough to get fit at this place I would tell you every last detail down to the way the grass was growing. The only thing this “review” did for me was make me Wunder.

    Do better

    • John Wunder

      Sep 25, 2020 at 6:53 pm

      Understand your concern but there are more factors at play then just launch data. Without giving you tech data which I cant yet, whatever track man numbers are irrelevant without some context as to why.

      Trust me come the day when everything’s public you will have more trackman numbers then you would ever want. Anyone with a cell phone can do that these days.

  8. Paul

    Sep 25, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    You were professionally fit at Titleist, BY Titleist to the D4 setting, then adjusted it to D1 on your own. Kind of raises the question of ‘what was the point of the fitting”?. Just by the club and put it in whatever setting you THINK you need.

    • John Wunder

      Sep 25, 2020 at 3:46 pm

      I see your point but hitting into the fan at TPI and getting it out on the course is a different deal. I adjusted because at D4 I was starting it a little bit to the left and switching to D1 kept the flight but fixed my start line.

  9. golfraven

    Sep 25, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    Wow, 1,800-2,000 spin is really low. You ain’t a hack if you can hit it past 105 speed. My only grudge with the TSi is the replacement of the triangle on the crown. That made a Titleist driver for me. Also the headcover design lacks the cool factor as the first iteration – not that I use those in my bag.
    I’ll stick with my TS3 for the next 2-3 releases (this including). Was 44.5 not a bit short for you – believe mine is 45.5 and I am 5.75 high?

  10. Beau

    Sep 25, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    I always end up coming back to Titleist drivers, for whatever reason they always “play” for me. I’ll get fit into a SIM or whatever Callaway has come out with this week and it’ll be a little longer and have more desirable numbers, I’lll play it for a couple months, then it all just goes bad and I lose my swing for a few weeks. Titleist goes in the bag and I hit 12 or 13 fairways. I don’t know why I continue to waste money elsewhere, I should just stay where I am and quit chasing 5 more yards.

  11. Jeremy Stanger

    Sep 25, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    Great stuff JW. From the moment the pics came out I knew exactly where my pro shop credit was headed. Any insight as to why you went from the untipped Ventus to tipped 1″?

    • geohogan

      Oct 12, 2020 at 4:34 pm

      great question JS. One could make the argument that this
      is more a comparison of one shaft with different setup.
      Shorter length and tipping would make the same shaft play considerably stiffer.(cpm?)

      Its no longer a comparison of two different driver heads.

  12. LifeIsn'tRosy

    Sep 25, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    I feel your pain John. When the editor tells you to write a good story about a new driver, but you just cannot quantify it using the data. Then, it’s the beginning of the painful process of being creative. Good writing technique. When science fails rely on the feeling. Good paid commercial.

  13. David Lee

    Sep 25, 2020 at 11:26 am

    I found the SIM very unstable, was a hook machine. Without a 10 stroke lead DJ wouldn’t have made top 10 at the Tour Championship, his SIM was wild. Rose hit one 130 yards left on a hole at Payne’s Valley. I will take stable and straight over 3-5 yards any day. Nice review Wunder.

    • geohogan

      Oct 12, 2020 at 4:41 pm

      DL, simply play the shaft 1/2 inch shorter and tip 1 inch, as JW did with the TSi.
      The Sim will be very stable and fade at will.

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Golf 101: 5 Tips to building your golf bag with CH3 (+ Charles Howell III WITB)

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I think at this point it’s safe to say that Charles Howell III is the adopted son and patron saint of WRX.

Not only is he a member of the site and visits regularly, but he’s also an avid club nerd and tester. I’ve become friends with CH3 over the past couple of years and have had some fun gear geek sessions with him. Want to know the coolest thing of all? He’s still as passionate and curious about gear as we are and not just Titleist (who he is on staff with) he’s curious about it all.

So who better to ask about how to build a great golf bag than with a man who knows it, does, and plays for his livelihood week in and week out?

These are 5 Charles Howell III golden nuggets that any golfer can learn from—and oh yeah, his take on the future is spot on.

Rule #1: Stability over speed no matter what

“Even for the guys on tour, stabilizing the clubface is paramount to good driving. One of the reasons I love testing shafts so often is to see if there is that magic combo of speed and control. However, the stability of the clubhead and shaft have to be there—I could find a combo that’s 20 yards longer, but if it’s something I can’t control, it doesn’t have a place in my bag. Extra yardage is fun until it isn’t.”

Rule #2: Find wedges that can do it all

“I chose the Vokey SM8 M Grind in the 56 and 60, because as the grind spectrum goes, they fall dead in the middle for me but everyone is different. I discovered that finding a middle ground grind wise solves the “different wedges for different grass problems” some players find themselves in. Even at Augusta, there was more Bermuda sticking out than normal which made shots from behind 15 different for example a little trickier. Not only are you chipping back towards a downslope with water behind, but it’s also now into the grain. Knowing I had wedges to combat either scenario made it that much easier. As a player, you have to put all the grinds through the paces and see what one checks off the most boxes. It might be something you never considered.”

Rule #3 Forgiveness looks different for every player

“Iron set makeups have changed so much in recent years. Pay attention to the soles when choosing your irons, even in the longer irons. It would be easy to think that bigger heads wider soles would be a no-brainer to hit, but to be honest, it’s not that simple. Sometimes finding a sole that will help the club get in and out of the ground easily will get you that center contact you were looking for. Although guys on tour may choose beefier long irons, it’s pretty rare to find one with a really wide sole. Soles that large encourage a player to try and sweep it off the turf which is counter-intuitive with an iron in your hand. When getting fit, pay attention to attack angles and center contact with your longer clubs; you may find that thinner soles help you more than anything else.”

Rule #4 Enjoy the process of learning and testing

“Obviously playing for a living gives me the advantage of testing a ton of stuff, but it’s just as fun doing the research at home (online) and understanding what certain equipment can do and the idea behind it. I still rely on testing as much as I can to see what works but it’s the pursuit of knowledge that keeps it all fresh week in and week out. Technology is so good these days but like anything you have to ask questions, look around try some stuff and then make a decision. Remember it’s your golf bag, take some pride in demanding that every inch of it works for you.

Eyes on the future…

“I think as we go down this Bryson/distance chase, the ultimate result on tour will be a lot of two driver bags. Look at it this way, having a 47-inch driver for long bombs, and a 44.5 inch for tighter drives, and a 4-wood isn’t all that hard to imagine. Players can tweak lofts in the irons and wedges easily to adjust to gapping. It’s not rocket science, and I don’t think we are that far from seeing multiple players on tour doing it that way.”

Charles Howell III WITB

Driver: Titleist TSI3 (10.5 degrees, A1 SureFit setting)

Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD XC 6 TX

3-wood: Ping G425 LST (14.5 degrees)

Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Black Tour Spec 8 X

7-wood: Ping G425 Max (20.5 degrees @20)

Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Black Tour Spec 9 X

Irons: Titleist T100 (4-6) 620 MB (7-9)

Shafts: Project X LZ 6.5 (hard stepped)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (48-10F @47, 52-12F, 56-08M, 60-08M)

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron 009M

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Align

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GolfWRX Classifieds (12/3/20): Mavrik SubZero, rare Scotty Cameron, Wilson Staff

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member CLRMTgolfer – Wilson Staff forged combo set

This is one extremely nice custom combo set of irons from Wilson golf – from blades, all the way to the Staff utility, this set has everything you need for shotmaking.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Wilson staff iron set

Member EHSgolf1 – Callaway Mavrik SubZero driver

Your chance to get an almost new Callaway Mavrik SubZero for less than new price!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Callaway SubZero

Member Champ 2430 – Scotty Cameron Timeless longneck prototype

As they say “if you know you know” and this rare Scotty Cameron Prototype longneck is a thing of beauty – the only thing is I really hope you have a big golfing budget.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Rare longneck Cameron

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

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Adidas X Vice Golf launch The Vice Golf Shoe by Adidas

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Adidas has teamed up with Vice Golf to launch the new Vice Golf Shoe inspired from off the course which includes a dozen Vice Pro Drip Lime x Adidas golf balls.

The Vice Golf Shoe from Adidas contains ultraboost and a signature lime-green colorway to accent the designs for life both on and off the golf course. The shoe features a camouflage pattern in gray and white on the top of the shoe, while a brand-new drip pattern decorates the boost material at the bottom.

The shoe features branding “discoverables”, such as a subtle Vice logo on the tongue of the shoe while a collab logo is celebrated within. The company’s motto “Embrace Your Vice” runs down the spine of the heel, while another Vice logo lives underneath the 3-stripe caging on the inside of the foot.

If golfers want a brighter color pop, the alternate neon lime laces give that option.

“Based in Bavaria like Adidas, we have always looked up to this global ambassador and brand that has made big moves in both the golf and footwear in recent years. It is a great honor to finally present the result of 22 months of work with tears of happiness when the final pair of shoes arrived” – Vice Golf founder and CEO Ingo Duellmann

In addition to the shoe, the packaging of the Vice Golf Shoe by Adidas is made to look, feel and act exactly like their signature golf ball packages. 

The bottom of the box is wrapped in a neon lime camouflage pattern, and the top cover features the exact, embossed Vice logo colored in neon lime drip pattern as seen and felt on the brand’s golf ball packaging. The connection continues after lifting the lid and discovering an actual box of Vice Pro Drip Lime golf balls, with Adidas logos, sitting in its own compartment.

The Vice Golf Shoe from Adidas (plus one dozen Vice Pro Drip Lime X Adidas golf balls) costs $219.95 and is available to purchase from December 7, 2020, 11 AM EST at ViceGolf.com.

 

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