'When Titleist bring out something new, I know it's better'
Justin Thomas was one of the first Titleist staff players to put a new TS3 driver into play.
He was on the verge of becoming the world’s No. 1 player at the time so wasn’t exactly struggling with his current model.
But what was it about the TS3 driver which was working so well for him?
And will we start to see more non-contracted players putting the TS drivers into play?
We spoke exclusively to Thomas and his Titleist fitter Liam McDougall to get some unique insight into one of the hottest products of the year.
What in particular did you like the most in the new TS3 driver?
Justin Thomas: I am not an equipment geek necessarily, but I am always interested when Titleist comes out with new equipment.
First of all, they usually introduce each product category in two-year cycles, so they are not putting new drivers or irons or wedges in front of me every few months, which I appreciate.
So when they do come out with something, I know it’s better and I have never had any issues switching into the newest version.
In fact, I think I am usually one of the first guys to put new equipment in play when it comes out because it is such an easy transition for me.
The TS3 driver was a good example. I began testing it at the Players Championship when it was a prototype and I put it in play at the US Open the first day it was on the USGA’s conforming list.
I won my first WGC event six weeks later, so I guess its working for me!
Why have the new TS drivers gone down so well on tour?
Liam McDougall: The initial launch started at the US Open where we had 17 guys put the product into play – that was a big accolade for how good the product was with players putting it in the bag for the first time at a major.
For the European launch at the French Open we had 21 out of 23 staff players put it in play for the first time which was another huge accolade for the product.
The main design element of the drivers was more speed. And as a result we’ve seen these drivers give the best results that we’ve ever seen.
It was actually no surprise to so many players to change as quick as they did once we knew how well the product performed.
Does the performance with TS3 driver give you more confidence off the tee?
JT: The new TS3 driver gives me the confidence to just swing as hard as I can and it feels like it’s going to do what I want and that’s a comfortable feeling,
After the US Open I actually worked with the Titleist Tour reps in Europe, first at the French Open and then at Open Championship.
We adjusted the shaft and weight by cutting it down 1/8″. For whatever reason it made a huge difference. I’m now hitting the golf ball in the centre of the club more consistently.
I drove the ball as long and accurate as I have all year in Akron (at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational).
Now you have a super-adjustable (TS3) and a non-adjustable (TS2) driver – does that provide a bit more variety for the players?
LM: Both products are the same speed but you can finely tune one of them with the SureFit CG on the TS3 driver or you can grip it and rip it with the TS2.
The TS2 is a very high MOI product so you’ve got speed and high MOI.
For me for example, and the majority of golfers, I’d be a TS2 guy because I want to hit it further and as straight as possible.
Why was the TS3 such a good fit for JT?
LM: First of all, JT was a bit fan of the way the driver looked.
We worked with him a lot before the US Open and got him into a good position with it where we had seen some good ball speed increases.
We also saw a dispersion improvement.
When you’re working with someone like JT who is right at the top of the world rankings, for them to change a product there has to be a really big benefit.
You have to hit all the elements in what they are looking for. The TS3 driver certainly did that.
So what’s it like fitting a world-class player like Justin Thomas into new equipment? And will we see many more stars moving to the latest Titleist range? Interview continues on the next page…