Titleist Ball Review

October 19, 2010

Earlier in the month, I received an email from Titleist informing me that I was going to be a part of a “Test Ball” panel to evaluate a prototype golf ball. In all likelihood, the ball sent to me was the 2011 version of the Pro-V1, as its cover and general playability resembled the 2010 version. In the email, Titleist asked players to evaluate certain aspects of the ball:

As part of this test panel, we are looking to get your feedback on all shot types so it is best to use these golf balls during a normal round of golf, rather than at a practice facility. Consider your entire game tee-to-green when conducting your on-course testing with the Titleist prototype golf ball and the golf ball you currently play most often.

We also suggest that you conduct your evaluation on a familiar golf course. Knowing the golf course helps you assess if you have successfully executed the shot, and makes it easier to identify your preference when you know what clubs you generally hit into greens, how quickly the ball usually stops, etc.

Since you will likely want to hit one or two extra shots each hole, we encourage you to conduct your evaluation when your golf course has limited play. If that is not an option, we recommend playing 9-holes with the Titleist prototype golf ball and 9-holes with your current golf ball to evaluate and compare preference.

In addition, here are some questions to keep in mind while you are playing:
– How did each golf ball perform around the green (on approach shots from 100 yards, partial swing shots, pitches and chips)? Which golf ball did you prefer?
– Which golf ball spins more on shots into the green? Do you have a preference?
– How did each golf ball perform on full-swing approach shots from 150 yards and out?
– Which golf ball is longer with irons? If one is longer, how many yards?
– Which golf ball is longer off the tee? If one is longer, how many yards?
– How does each golf ball feel? Do you have a preference?
– Based upon the overall performance of the two golf balls, which one do you prefer?
When you finish product testing, please visit the link below to provide your feedback via a short survey. To access this site, you will need to input your Team Titleist username and password.

Our goal is to have all surveys completed within two weeks of the on-course evaluations and we appreciate your effort in helping us reach that goal. We will send you a follow-up email in a few weeks as a reminder to complete the survey.

As stated, the test ball was most likely a 2011 version of the Pro-V1. I usually play a Pro-V1x, and, as such, that is my basis of comparison for this review.

On initial inspection, the cover felt “springier,” almost as if it were softer. However, I learned by playing the ball (by landing one on the cart path) that its resistence to cutting was comparable or even superior to the Pro-V1x, especially considering the softness of the cover. The soft cover also contributed to a more muted sound off of each club, driver down to putter, for all shots. In some cases, this was preferable. In others, not.

For putting, the muted sound created a “softer” feeling ball. As Scotty Cameron always says, sound is feel. Thus, a softer sound is a softer feel, and that was true in this case. The deadened sound of the cover made it feel as though it was softer than the Pro-V1x on my Scotty Cameron Newport Beach. While this led me to a bit of a problem with distance control, I’m sure practice would make it more consistent. I couldn’t tell from just one round whether the softer feel on putts was preferred.

On chips and short pitches, the muted sound was much preferred. The ball spun more and inspired more confidence because I felt like it would drop and stop out of any lie. It was easy to gauge how far it would roll on any short chip.

However, that is where the good shots ended. On longer pitch shots, the muted sound of the ball made distance control very difficult. I found myself hitting pitch shots far too long in an effort to make it sound like it did with the Pro-V1x.

Shots with full-swing irons and woods flew shorter than with the Pro-V1x and spun more, resulting in a great loss of distance (10+ yards per club). Although the Test ball spun more, I felt as though I needed to hit a longer club into greens because it felt like the ball had lower compression than the Pro-V1x. Thus, it’s kind of a chicken/egg thing: if I’m hitting a longer club into the green, I need more spin; if I’m hitting a shorter club in, then the higher flight means it will land softer without the extra spin. I prefer the latter, as I can control the shorter clubs better than the longer ones.

On long shots (long irons, fairway woods, driver), the spin rate was way too high. My driver swing speed is 110-115+ mph. This means that I can generate plenty of spin on any ball, especially with an 8* face and a low launch shaft. The Test ball was far too difficult for me to control.

All in all, I thought the test ball was a nice product, but I much prefer this year’s Pro-V1x to the test ball.

Overall rating: 5/10

One Response to “Titleist Ball Review”

  1. john pokrivnak Says:

    just finished testing proto ball. all i can say is wow . first ever double eagle for me . long & soft. can you tell me what they are & where can i get some? let my playing partners use other 2. they also were impressed. when & where will the be available.i could probably sell a few dozen tomorrow. very impressive golf ball!!!!

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