Three things I want to address before I kick this off.
- “Better, best” will not be addressed. It’s never about that these days only what works for me or you.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sam Burns WITB 2023 (January)
- Sam Burns what’s in the bag accurate as of the The American Express. More photos from the event here.
Driver: Callaway Rogue ST Triple Diamond (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 7 TX
4-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (17 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 8 X
Hybrid: Callaway Apex UW (21 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 8 X
Irons: Callaway Apex TCB
Shafts: Project X 125 6.5
Wedges: Callaway Apex TCB (AW), Callaway Jaws MD5 (56-10S
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (AW), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (56)
Putter: Odyssey O-Works #7s Black
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Align
More Sam Burns WITBs
- Sam Burns WITB 2022 (August)
- Sam Burns WITB 2022 (June)
- Sam Burns WITB 2021 (December)
- Sam Burns WITB 2021 (May)
- Sam Burns WITB 2021 (April)
- Sam Burns WITB 2021 (February)
- Sam Burns WITB 2020
- Sam Burns WITB 2018
- Sam Burns WITB 2017 (Callaway)
- Sam Burns winning WITB: 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge
- Sam Burns winning WITB: 2022 Valspar Championship
- Sam Burns winning WITB: 2021 Sanderson Farms Championship
- Sam Burns winning WITB 2021 Valspar Championship
Aaron Wise WITB 2023 (January)
- Aaron Wise what’s in the bag accurate as of the The American Express. More photos from the event here.
Driver: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X
3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15 @ 15.75)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 8 TX
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM2 MAX (19 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black RDX 100 6.5
Irons: TaylorMade P750 (4-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 (52-12F, 56-08M)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100
Putter: TaylorMade Ghost Corza
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord
More Aaron Wise WITBs
- Aaron Wise WITB 2022 (February)
- Aaron Wise WITB 2020
- Aaron Wise WITB: 2020 The American Express
- Aaron Wise’s Winning WITB: 2018 AT&T Byron Nelson
TOUR REPORT: Jason Day’s new Scotty Cameron, celebrity Ben Baller’s WITB, and Xander’s new 3-wood
The West Coast swing continued this week on the cliffs of San Diego at Torrey Pines for the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open, and we caught up with some of the top players (and celebrities) in attendance to see what clubs are in their bag, and what changes they’re making.
As GolfWRX uncovered, Xander Schauffele, Jason Day and Justin Rose made equipment changes ahead of the event. We also caught up with famous celebrities Ben Baller and Gareth Bale to get glimpse at their equipment setups; both players competed in the Pro-Am on Wednesday. We also spotted some new equipment that players were testing, and we caught up with Gary Woodland to check out his new Cobra setup.
Let’s waste no more time and get right into this week’s Tour Report from the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
Day switches to a new blacked-out Scotty Cameron…and a 7-wood
Back at the 2022 Shriners Open in October, I caught up with Jason Day to learn why he switched into a Scotty Cameron putter for the first time in his career, and what he liked about his new rounded mallet putter. He said the previous putters he used in the last few years – TaylorMade’s Spider Tour, and Odyssey’s Toulon Daytona – sat a bit too square, and looked as if they were pointing left of the target. The rounder Scotty Cameron mallet looked to point a bit more to the right, helping him to start the ball on a better line.
Here’s a look at his original Scotty Cameron build:
Last week at The 2023 American Express, however, Day switched into a nearly identical head, except this time it was made with a “Tour Black” finish. He ended up finishing 2nd in Strokes Gained: Putting on the week, and we caught with him on Tuesday at the 2023 Farmers Insurance this week to get a look at the new putter for ourselves:
Could this be the putter that helps Day get his magic back on the greens?
For this week, due to the particularly heavy rough and firm greens at Torrey Pines, Day also put in a TaylorMade Stealth 7-wood, equipped with a Mitsubishi Kuro Kage 80X shaft. His caddie says he flies it about 245-250 yards and lands softly.
Schauffele finally changes up his 3-wood
While Schauffele upgraded into a new Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond driver at the 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions, he kept his old Epic Speed Triple Diamond 3-wood in the bag that week. As we covered in our full story on PGATOUR.com, he struggles with 3-woods that spin too low when he hits a right-to-left shot; he doesn’t want the ball coming in too hot and not being able to hold the green.
Since then, however, he found a new Paradym Triple Diamond 3-wood setup that minimizes that concern. His new 16.5-degree HL fairway wood, which is actually bent down to 15.3 degrees, has helped Schauffele tighten spin variation due to the spin consistency across the face.
He put the new 3-wood into play on Wednesday at Torrey Pines.
Woodland’s new Cobra setup
Gary Woodland officially signed an equipment deal with Cobra at the beginning of 2023, and we finally got a first look at his full WITB setup as a full-time Cobra staffer at the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open. Most notably, Woodland switched into a new set of Cobra King MB irons, which he said are “literally off the rack.”
Hideki tests an all-new Graphite Design putter shaft
According to Graphite Design rep Erik Boysen, there have been only two prototypes made of a new Graphite Design putter shaft, and Matsuyama tested one of them this week at Torrey Pines. The shaft is designed to provide increased stiffness and stability throughout the stroke. While Matsuyama isn’t putting it in play just yet, we’ll certainly keep an eye on his putter shaft going forward, and keep an eye on Graphite Design to see how this product may progress.
Ben is a Baller
Ben Baller is a famous actor/jeweler/designer/entrepreneur/avid golfer/TaylorMade staffer, and he was also on the winning Pro-Am team this week.
Ahead of his victorious round at Torrey Pines, we got a look at all the clubs in Baller’s bag.
We expected nothing less than an eye-popping custom Scotty Cameron Masterful putter, engraved with his name and paint-filled with Lakers yellow. Uniquely, though, Baller went with a driver-less setup to help avoid the rough at Torrey Pines, so he went with a top-end setup full of TaylorMade Stealth2 and Stealth fairway woods and hybrids.
He fills out his bag with TaylorMade Stealth irons, TaylorMade Hi-Toe wedges and custom TaylorMade golf balls with his logo on them.
Kickin’ it with Gareth Bale
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Gareth Bale – a newly retired Welsh soccer player (or footballer, if you prefer) – also teed it up alongside Ben Baller on the winning Pro-Am team. While we didn’t get a chance to capture photos of every club in Bale’s bag, we managed to capture a few photos of his setup.
He doesn’t have a bad golf swing, either, especially for being a former world-class member of Real Madrid and Tottenham.
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Justin Rose switches drivers
The last time we caught up with Rose at the 2022 Cadence Bank Houston Open, the equipment free agent had an old TaylorMade M2 2016 driver in the bag. He’s been conducting extensive driver testing recently, though.
This week, he ended up switching to a new Callaway Paradym 8.5-degree head, equipped with a Fujikura Ventus Black 6X shaft.
Ben Martin’s new EvnRoll putter
Martin was previously using an old Guerin Rife mallet putter, but he switched into a new EvnRoll EV5.2 mallet putter at the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open.
James Hahn shows up with a mixed bag
Former PXG staffer James Hahn has apparently gone the free agent route in 2023, since he showed up at Torrey Pines this week with a mixed-brand setup, which includes a Titleist driver, TaylorMade fairway wood, PXG hybrid, Callaway irons, Titleist Vokey wedges, and a Scotty Cameron putter.
TaylorMade’s San Diego head covers
TaylorMade’s Carlsbad HQ is just down the road from Torrey Pines, so the company typically designs some San Diego-inspired headcover heat when the PGA Tour comes into town. The 2023 Farmers Insurance sunset versions certainly did not disappoint.
Unfortunately, the sun is also setting on this week’s Tour Report from Torrey Pines. We’ll see you next week as the Tour travels up the West Coast to Pebble Beach.
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