Chris Beaumont, Titleist Golf Club Marketing Manager, UK, exclusively speaks to Golf Retailing about the successful launch of the new Titleist TSR range.
How pleased are you with the initial media and social media reactions to TSR?
Titleist metals have become one of the most eagerly anticipated launches in the industry over recent years, and the launch of TSR has definitely confirmed this, as the buzz and intrigue surrounding the new line-up has been incredible. The coverage we have seen across all forms of media has been exceptional and has helped build excitement going into this launch, driving more consumers into store and online to find the right spec for their game.
With the launch, we have also rolled out a new social media campaign called #FINDYOURFASTER. This follows on from our highly successful TS (#ITSATITLEIST #FASTERTHANYOURS) and TSi social campaigns and we hope it will prove to be a great way for us to get more golfers to engage with our retailers and followers online by sharing with us their performance gains when being fitted into TSR. All in all, some really exciting initial coverage that is only going to ramp up.
How are early sales looking?
It is a bit early to get a steer on initial sales, but the signs so far are very positive. There is no doubt the buzz and demand for our new TSR metals is trending in the right direction. The uptake on the worldwide tours has continued and TSR is now comfortably the #1 played driver on the PGA Tour. As more and more golfers are given the opportunity to get TSR into their hands and be fitted, we are confident in the results we will see for TSR.
You consistently stick to a two-year lifecycle, launching on tour first and then letting the products filter down to retail. Does this help create a lot of early sales?
First and foremost, we truly believe that it is essential for us to adhere to our tried and tested two-year lifecycle. Considering the research and development (R&D) that goes into every product that we produce; our R&D teams are adamant that this length of time is the minimum they need to ensure they can bring something to market that is demonstrably better performing than its predecessor.
Product validation is a large part of this process, and we are continuously working with players at all levels of our pyramid of influence to get as much feedback as we can. Inevitably, being able to have access to so many of the best players in the game gives us insights and understanding of just what is needed when refining and introducing new products.
Our increased investment in R&D has helped us to deliver products that are performing better for more players and as such, we are seeing far more choosing to play Titleist golf clubs at all levels of the game than ever before. More players choosing to use Titleist has allowed us to increase our awareness and more importantly drive more golfers into golf shops to try Titleist and find their own performance gains.
How are you helping retailers market the product in store?
With us being a fitting first company, our focus is ensuring venues stocking Titleist hardware can give their customer the most comprehensive fitting experience to dial in that club for their game. To that end, we offer multiple ways for partners to help fit their consumers from launch. Whether that is through our numerous levels of fitting tools we provide through our Surefit programme, our comprehensive fitting events schedule that we conduct throughout the year, or access to our best-in-class fitting facilities, highlighted by our recent addition of the Titleist Performance Centre at Woburn. In addition, we work with all our retailers to ensure their Titleist areas have access to Launch POS, merchandising items to call out the products, and updated graphics to ensure there is maximum impact in-store and on the fitting tee.
Custom fitting is huge for Titleist. How many events will you put on before the end of the season and how many are planned for 2023?
As you say, fitting is at the heart of what we do to ensure we can get the best performing club for each individual golfer. In addition to providing fitting equipment to hundreds of venues across the UK and Ireland, we will also conduct an extensive range of events to showcase TSR before the end of the year.
Our mobile Fitting Specialist team will complete more than 370 events in the remainder of 2022, with all our club categories available at these events. We are seeing fantastic demand for all our products, so we want to ensure the consumer has everything available to try from our range.
For 2023, the team will aim to complete 1,500 events, giving us the potential to reach around 9,000 golfers. We will also be able to reach the dedicated golfer at the Titleist Performance Centre at Woburn and Fitting Centres at St. Ives and Craigielaw. If someone wants to be fitted into a Titleist golf club, we are confident we have the right tools to provide venues to do the fitting themselves, or to plan and conduct events for those venues to send their golfers to us.
What is proving popular in early fittings for the product?
To be honest, it is hard to narrow this down to specific products as every golfer is different in what they need, and we have been happy to see a real mix of specs being fitted into. Without doubt, TSR2 and TSR3 drivers have garnered the majority of the results as they are suited to most golfers’ swing characteristics. However, we have been pleasantly surprised at how well TSR4 has performed because of the extra level of adjustment now available in this club with the additional weight. Having every spec available in both left and right hand has also been an important addition, as we are more passionate than ever to ensure we have every option available for every golfer, whether that be based on RH/LH, gender, age or ability.
What has the reaction to TSR2+ and TSR4 been like?
Niche products like the TSR4 driver and TSR2+ fairway are important tools in our matrix. These options in TSR have gained a lot of interest and demand from golfers, whether that be with some of the best players in the world or your everyday dedicated golfer. We make a point of reinforcing that they are very specialised and are only really designed for very specific types of golfers and swing types. Because of that, we tend to find most golfers end up in more popular options like TSR2 or TSR3 drivers, or TSR2 or TSR3 fairways, as they just work better more often and consistently.
Are there any shafts or settings that have been proving popular with the new range?
TSR metals have seen exciting upgrades to the featured and premium shaft offerings and at this early stage, we are seeing some great results across the board. We have a number of people working in our R&D team whose sole responsibility is to look at and work with our shaft and grip providers, to find the combinations that will perform the best in our products. This extensive research has landed us on the four featured offerings we have in HZRDUS Red CB, Tensei AV Blue with XLink Tech, HZRDUS Black 4G and Tensei 1K Black, plus our premium offerings with Graphite Design Tour AD UB, DI and IZ. Each of these offerings have shown great performance attributes with TSR, and we have seen them finding their way into the majority of TSR users’ bags. GR