An Expert Guide to Titleist DriversPublished on 09/18/2023 · 11 min readMaster your golf game with our expert guide to Titleist drivers! Golf Expert Nate Cox helps you narrow down the perfect option for your swing and preferences.
Photo courtesy of Titleist
TL;DR: Titleist has multiple driver options to choose from, but how do you know which model would be best for you? If you are in the market for a new driver and are considering Titleist, this expert guide is for you. I will walk you through each of Titleist’s driver models for 2023 and lay out the key features in each to highlight which driver model would best suit your golf game.
If you are in the market for a new driver, it can be hard to know where to start. Every brand is coming out with different models, each with a different name. If you are a low-handicap player looking for a low-spin driver, how do you know which model to choose? If you are a beginner who struggles with slicing the ball, what is the best option for you?
One of the brands with multiple driver models is Titleist. Their current driver lineup of 2023 consists of the TSR1, TSR2, TSR3, and TSR4. At face value, those names provide no clarity as to what their strengths are or what type of golfer they are designed for, but they are all excellent drivers that perform well.
So how do you pick the right Titleist driver? As a Curated Golf Expert with certifications in many golf brands and with 15 years of experience playing golf, including competitively, I love helping people find the right golf clubs for their game and fitting them with the best club build to help them perform at their best.
In this article, I am going to take a look at the 2023 driver models from Titleist, giving an overview of what differentiates them from the others, their key technologies, and what type of golfer would benefit most from each model.
Why Titleist Drivers?
Titleist was established as a brand in 1932 and has been one of the preeminent brands in the golf space ever since. When you hear the name Titleist, you may very well first think of the ProV1 golf ball, which has essentially become the gold standard for a tour level ball: “The number one ball in golf.” I feel like I can hear Jim Nantz saying that phrase in my dreams.
While they are the leader in producing tour-level golf balls, they make incredible golf clubs as well. The Titleist TSR3 driver was actually the most-used driver on the PGA Tour in 2023. If it is good enough to be the most popular club for that level of player, Titleist is certainly good enough to help us mere mortals.
There is also something to be said for Titleist’s manufacturing strategy. Unlike a lot of other brands in the golf world, Titleist does not come out with a new driver lineup every year. The TSR lineup of drivers is new for 2023, but their prior driver lineup, the TSi line of drivers, was released for the 2020-2021 model year. That leaves nearly 3 years of development to help refine these clubs for the next release.
I think that this benefits the consumer for two main reasons. First, it allows the consumer to have confidence that the club wasn’t rushed through production so that Titleist could release a new driver every year but was designed and developed over a span of years, allowing them to refine the product.
Secondly, I think it helps the consumer feel like they have status for longer. What do I mean by that? We all know that feeling when you have a new club in the bag that is from the current model year. You feel like, for this year at least, you have the latest and greatest — that you have a certain elite status. Like people will be looking at you and saying, “Wow, that guy must be good, he has the newest driver in his bag.” It gives the golfer a certain swagger of confidence when they are playing, and since Titleist isn't putting out a new driver every year, it allows the golfer who spends a significant amount of money on a new driver to feel like they have the newest and best model for a little longer.
So what makes each TSR model different, and which one best suits your game? Let's get into it.
The TSR1 is designed to be an ultra-lightweight option to help a golfer with moderate swing speeds create as much speed as possible. Titleist says that every unnecessary gram of weight was removed from head to grip for these clubs, making for a lighter golf club and allowing the golfer to generate more clubhead speed. This driver is designed with what Titleist calls “face-centered CG,” meaning that the center of gravity is centered nearly perfectly behind the face, which makes the flight bias of the driver neutral.
What is more important to the high launch of this driver is the placement of the weight. The weight of this driver is placed low and back in the clubhead, so while the center of gravity is centered behind the sweet spot of the clubface, it is also below the point of contact at impact when you are swinging up on the ball. This leads to much increased forgiveness, because as the center of gravity is moved farther down and back in the clubhead, the backspin increases. The golf ball can only spin in one direction, so the more you can make the ball spin backward, the less it can spin sideways, which limits the allowable amount of slice or hook.
When paired with the stock MMT Speedmesh shafts, all with under 45g of weight regardless of flex, it creates an ultra-lightweight club that offers a lot of forgiveness.
So who is this driver for? This driver is for a golfer who needs help generating clubhead speed and a club that will still provide forgiveness across the clubface. A senior golfer who might need an extra boost to generate speed would benefit from this club a lot. A younger golfer who isn’t developed enough to produce a lot of clubhead speed would benefit a lot from this as well.
This driver also creates the most spin of any of the TSR lineup of drivers, so if you want maximum forgiveness from your driver, along with a light clubhead, but you have a slightly faster swing speed, you could pair this clubhead with a heavier-weighted shaft to fit your swing. If this is you, you might want to look at the TSR2 as well.
Ideal for: Golfers who need help creating clubhead speed; golfers whoare looking to create higher levels of spin with their driver.
The TSR2 is also designed with forgiveness in mind for the golfer. It is not as light as the TSR1 but is designed for stability, not weight savings. This clubhead has a slimmer shape than the TSi2 driver that preceded it, making it more aerodynamic to help the golfer create speed by limiting resistance.
A key feature of the forgiveness of this club is Titleist’s multi-plateau, variable-face thickness, which is also found in the TSR1. This technology creates different thicknesses at different points in the face. The face will be thinner at the edges of the face and slightly wider around the sweet spot. The thinner the face, the more flexion it will have at impact. The more flexion it has, the faster the call speed. This feature is designed to create a consistency of speed across the face, making mishits go farther.
The weight in the club is moved down in the clubhead, just like in the TSR1 but slightly more forward, so it will still provide a higher launch but a little less spin. This driver is designed for incredible forgiveness, with its face technology and the placement of the weight, but it will also produce more distance with slightly less spin.
So who would benefit the most from this driver? This driver would be a great fit for any golfer who struggles to hit the ball out of the middle of the face consistently but doesn’t need the help of an ultra-lightweight driver. This driver will give the average ball striker great ball speed across the entirety of the clubface and will also help to create good distance by imparting a good balance of increasing spin — but not too much for the golfer to lose out on significant distance.
if you are a mid-handicap golfer who doesn’t struggle with slicing the ball but strikes with hitting shots out of the center of the face, and you are looking for a club to help create consistent ball speed and distance while still providing an ample amount of forgiveness, the TSR2 is the right driver for you from this lineup.
Ideal for: Golfers who struggle to hit the ball centerface consistently but who don’t need the speed help of an ultra-lightweight driver.
The TSR3 is a driver designed for precision. Rather than the multi-plateau, variable-thickness face found in the TSR1 and TSR2, the TSR3 uses Titleist’s new Speed Ring face technology. There is a lot of science behind this, but let me simplify the idea: The difference in design is not meant to create maximum forgiveness across the whole clubface but instead to create maximum performance out of the middle of the clubface. This is done by using a conical shape behind the sweet spot of the clubface.
Notably, the shape of the clubhead is also what is called a “player-preferred” shape. Essentially, the shape of the head is more rounded, giving the feel that it is more compact, which many high-level players prefer. It is still a 460CC clubhead like the TSR1 and TSR2, but it is not as long behind the ball. This is a functional design as well as an aesthetic one.
Because it has a more rounded and compact look, the weight of the clubhead is more forward and closer to the back of the clubface, making the ball launch lower and spin less than the TSR1 and TSR2. These performance attributes are something that a better player desires in a driver. The lower spin and lower launch can help the player hit the ball farther with a trajectory that will roll out once it hits the ground. The drawback of this is that the lower the spin, the less forgiveness a club offers, meaning that mishits will be punished more.
Another key feature with the weighting of this club is that this is the only club in the TSR lineup that features an adjustable weight. This adjustable weight sits in the back of the clubhead on a track, allowing the player to dial in whatever flight bias they want, from a strong draw bias to a strong fade bias and everything in between. Given the other features of this driver, the adjustable weight in this club does not make this the best option for someone who slices the ball and needs something draw biased. I would steer that golfer to the TSR2. The adjustable weighting in the TSR3 is for the more advanced golfer who consistently hits the ball out of the center of the face to help them dial in their ball flight to their liking.
This driver was the number-one driver on the PGA Tour this year, so that should clue you in on who this driver is suited for. You do not have to be a professional or tour player for this driver to work for you, but it is certainly meant for the more advanced ball striker. If you do not strike the ball out of the center more often than not, this driver could punish you, but for lower- to mid-handicap golfers who are good ball strikers, this driver will elevate your game significantly.
Ideal for: Advanced ball strikers not looking for a low-spin driver.
Lastly, we come to the TSR4. This is the most aggressive driver design in the TSR lineup. From the more compact 430CC clubhead to the extremely low-spin design, this driver is not meant for the faint of heart. On a spectrum of distance and forgiveness, the TSR4 is the furthest away from forgiveness and the closest to distance that Titleist offers.
The TSR4 is meant to spin as little as possible. It has a second weight pushed forward in the clubhead, right behind the clubface. The farther forward the weight in the clubhead, the less spin it will create. Less spin = more distance. Also, less spin = less forgiveness.
To increase the forgiveness in this driver, Titleist has included the multi-plateau face construction to help create speed across the entirety of the face. While this will increase the forgiveness in terms of distance on mishits, it may not affect forgiveness in terms of direction much, given the positioning of the weight in this club.
If you are a great ball striker who likes a compact clubhead behind the ball, and driver spin is your enemy, this club will be a beast for you. It hits long and fast when struck well but is the least forgiving across the face on mishits, despite the multi-plateau face. This driver is best suited to the low-handicap player looking for maximum distance.
Ideal for: Advanced ball strikers looking for a compact clubhead and minimal ball spin.