Fairway Woods

Why Titleist made a surprise club release at the Players Championship

titleist tsr 2-wood players championship

Titleist's TSR 2-wood is meant to fill a spot in the bag for pros who need another option off the tee.

Alan Bastable/GOLF

Titleist is about as reliable as it gets with club releases. With an every-other-year cadence on hard goods, you can guarantee new metalwoods and irons, for example, won’t launch in the same season.

But even reliable brands have been known to throw a curveball on occasion.

With pros prepping for a demanding test at TPC Sawgrass, Titleist trotted out a special Tour-only TSR club for pros who might need an alternative off the tee. Even if the course is soft at the moment, that doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way through the weekend.

This brings us to the mysterious TSR making an appearance this week. With four TSR drivers and fairway woods already in the current lineup, Titleist isn’t short on options at the top of the bag.

So where exactly does this new TSR fit? Based on photos GOLF.com obtained while on-site at TPC Sawgrass, this one isn’t a driver — and it’s too big to be a fairway wood. It falls right between the two, making it a glorified “mini driver.”

A look at TSR in the address position, along with the adjustable rear weight. Alan Bastable/GOLF

Look at the history behind previous mini drivers and you’ll find March and April have been popular release months for the club. Phil Mickelson deployed Callaway’s Phrankenwood at the 2013 Masters, and a 13-degree X Hot 3Deep as his “driver” en route to winning the Open Championship later that year. TaylorMade’s BRNR Mini played a role in Jake Knapp’s maiden PGA Tour title last month, and Tommy Fleetwood swears by the club.

While the mini isn’t for everyone, it’s had enough success along the way to stick. The mini driver DNA is designed for greater variability of launch and extra spin when compared to a 460cc driver, with a larger profile than a smaller-headed 3-wood for additional off-center forgiveness.

Some say it looks like the late ’90s and early 2000s driver, but Titleist’s TSR is anything but a throwback.

At 13 degrees and boasting a deeper face than even the larger TSR2+ fairway wood, the 2-wood is meant to slot in between the driver and the next longest club in the bag, making it a strong secondary option off the tee on courses where fairways are at a premium.

The “2W” marking on the hosel denotes the club is a 2-wood. Alan Bastable/GOLF

As Titleist Tour rep JJ Van Wezenbeeck told GOLF.com, the club started to gather traction last summer when Cameron Young approached Titleist’s Tour team to see if they could create a club for “certain course setups that was larger than a fairway wood but had a more penetrating flight.”

“This truly might just be a prototype that goes nowhere,” said Van Wezenbeeck. “It was a thought experiment with R&D. We’d had some inquiries from players looking for something as a primary tee club that was less than driver.”

Tom Bennett, Titleist’s principal product manager for metalwood R&D, was already one step ahead of the request. Having made 2-wood prototypes in the past, Bennett took feedback on the performance and shape Young was looking for and brought the club to life.

In addition to Young, several other non-contract players have been testing the TSR prototype over the past few days at TPC Sawgrass with the possibility of using it on Thursday. With only five TSR heads on the truck, Titleist was never expecting it to be a widely-used club. But it’s certainly generating interest.

“For a golf course like this, [the TSR prototype] could see five or six tee shots,” said Van Wezenbeeck. “For someone like Cameron who can hit driver up there, it could be an option on holes like 1, 2 and 18 where keeping it back in the 290- or 300-yard range avoids those bottlenecks.”

When Young initially tested the club this week, the ball speeds were too high. However, once the club was cut down and additional loft added, it started to become a possible option that “gets into the gaps he wants.”

With adjustable front and rear weights, the prototype 2-wood looks eeriely similar to the 430cc TSR4 driver — down to the sole cosmetics. But this isn’t a smaller driver. The white scoring lines on the face — something found on TSR fairway woods — were added to the titanium face to give the club additional versatility.

Titleist TSR2+ Custom Fairway Wood

When driver isn’t the play, Titleist TSR2+ Fairway is ready. With a larger profile, taller face, and a low, deep CG, it plays like a longer, more forgiving, tee-biased 3W. It gives any player yet another way to gain strokes from the tee and fairway. Benefits High, Consistent Flight Maximum Forgiveness Optimized Distance Player-Preferred Shape, Sound & Feel Features Deep, Face-Centered CG (Center of Gravity) Larger, Confidence-Inspiring Profile High-Strength Carpenter Stainless Steel SureFit Adjustability
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“Some of the feedback we received from Cameron was that he didn’t want something that could be used off the tee only,” said Van Wezenbeeck. “Putting the score lines on it with the fairway shaping and having the leading edge sit tighter to the ground with that bigger volume was the mix we were looking for. This isn’t a one-trick pony.”

With another day of practice and testing ahead at TPC Sawgrass, Young looks like a solid bet to give the club a shot on one of the toughest layouts the Tour has to offer.

As for the weekend golfers out there clamoring for something similar to put in their bag? Don’t hold your breath.

“I’d compare it to the Justin Thomas irons we’ve made in the past,” Van Wezenbeeck said. “This is stuff we can learn from, but we may or may not see it in the future. There’s some unique requests that might not be retail-centric. We’re just trying to learn as much as we can about it.”

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