The easy route for any successful company is to keep the “secret sauce” to itself. Particularly in the golf industry, how much are we privileged to know about the successes and failures of our favorite companies, let alone the overall product journey? The answer is not much. Each year, equipment companies roll out new products paired with marketing speak, and while they largely perform well, it would be great to understand the “why” and “how” that leads up to launch season.
Thankfully, Titleist decided to pull back the curtain on its new TS driver lineup, and golf geeks (like us) are fully consuming, “We Go Farther,” a four-part docuseries that breaks down how the OEM recaptured elite status with its drivers on the PGA Tour by way of an R&D project called the Titleist Speed Project.
When you rewind to 2022, Titleist TS drivers claimed victory 16 times, including a whopping three major championships. Justin Thomas (PGA Championship), Cameron Smith (Open Championship), and the winner of the U.S. Open all carried what was considered Titleist’s most advanced drivers ever made. Max Homa notched a win at the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open, giving the brand its 30th TS model victory.
And prior to all of that success, when the TS models hit the PGA Tour in 2018 it marked the first time in nearly two decades that Titleist had the most-played driver on tour.
While this certainly has a rosy finish, it wasn’t long ago that Titleist drivers had a much different reputation among amateurs and professionals. The company that produces the Pro V1, Scotty Cameron putters, and an immensely successful spread of irons, didn’t have a driver that matched in popularity.
“We Go Farther” is an inside look at a six-year voyage by Titleist to address its driver situation and, most importantly, how to create a truly superior product for all handicaps. The result? A TS lineup that brought the company back to driver glory. And here in 2023, we find four truly superior products covering all handicaps. The Titleist TSR1, TSR2, TSR3, and TSR4, are all uniquely different and have some of the most advanced technologies of any big sticks on the market. Don’t take our word for it, though. Visit your local golf retailer to see for yourself. In the meantime, enjoy all four snackable chapters of “We Go Farther.” Here’s a quick synopsis of each episode and our favorite quote.
Episode 1: A Line in the Sand
Out of the gate, we meet Steve Pelisek, President of Titleist Golf Clubs. Who better to introduce us to the Titleist factory and give us a feel of what it's like to come to work every day? We get an overview of the 917 lineup which was released in 2016 and the success it had on tour. However, the critical number it missed on was ball speed (complete with a testimonial from Jordan Spieth where he agrees). This is where the Titleist Speed Project was born. A meeting of Titleist minds leads to the tour truck heading to Texas for an in-depth testing process with Spieth and his team. With uncertainty on both sides of the table, this episode ends in a spot where you cannot ignore episode two.
Favorite Quote: “It’s incumbent upon me as a coach to figure out if there is something better. We were in the process of testing other options; there were opportunities to dance with other drivers.”- Cameron McCormick, Jordan Spieth’s swing coach.
Episode 2: Proving Grounds
We kick off with Titleist’s Director of Tour Promotion, JJ Vanwezenbeeck, who is on the road an astounding 40 weeks per year. His mission? To make the best players in the world even better. It appears that Titleist’s trek to Spieth was worth the gas money as Jordan is impressed with what he sees and feels. The TS makes its maiden voyage at the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock and ends up in the bags of more players than any other driver that week. It was the beginning of a new era of Titleist drivers and, simultaneously, the end of its run of falling behind in the category. Complacency, however, was not an option as we see an immediate shift to what’s next by the Titleist team.
Favorite Quote: “TS was a huge step forward and to see that type of momentum, really out of the gate, it was impressive and I will admit, certainly unexpected.”- Tony Covey, MyGolfSpy.com
Episode 3: Breaking Through
We get a peek into the mind of Stephanie Luttrell, Director of Metalwoods Development, while she puts on a stripe show at her local driving range. The TS has been a huge success, yes, but TSi is in the pipeline and it has to build upon the new foundation (and expectations) which has been laid. We also meet the man behind the materials, Uday Deshmukh, Principal Material Engineer. He leads the mission to obtain ATI 425, an aerospace material only used by NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense. Thinner, faster, stronger, and now part of the Titleist TSi. Ball speeds went up, as did the number of wins on the PGA, LPGA, and DP World Tour. With Steve Pelisek happy, he informs us that the job is to make the fastest driver. And so, yet again, we continue to advance.
Favorite Quote: “I love telling people it’s metal made for spaceships.”- Will Zalatoris
Episode 4: Pushing Beyond
The finale begins not on the golf course, but in the ocean. Titleist Vice President of R&D, Chuck Golden, surfs some big waves and explains how golf accounts for seven times more patent filings than any other sport. Golden details how the company had only scratched the surface of aerodynamic technology before bringing on Steve Ogg as the Principal Research Engineer. Ogg’s explanation of improving aerodynamics and the science behind doing so is next-level and beyond interesting. Reactions from staff players such as Spieth, Max Homa, and Zalatoris say everything you need to know about how the top players in the world receive the new TSR. You get to relive the Cameron Smith vs. Cameron Young driver display that took place in the final round of the 2022 Open Championship, eventually won by Smith. Pelisek and his team close the series toasting to success and presumably, what’s ahead.
Favorite Quote: “It’s not like we’re sending people to the moon, but we act like we do.”- Chuck Golden