Despite the Pro V1's iron-fisted dominance, Titleist's competitors continue to fight like heck for footing in the premium performance category. Although such balls account for less than a third of all units sold, they're critical to a brand's identity and its bottom line. These seven new models boast jacked-up cores, wafer-thin covers and whiz-bang dimple patterns. But are high-performance balls the best path to lower scores? We've enlisted several Top 100 Teachers to help us answer the question.
Are you playing the best ball for your game?
A poll of GOLF MAGAZINE Top 100 Teachers reveals fewer than half their students tee up the right type of ball. So listen to what our pros have to tell you before your next purchase.
"Go to a facility with a launch monitor that measures swing speed, trajectory and launch angle. Hit various ball types to see which works best with your equipment."
--Glenn Deck, Newport Coast, CA
"Focus on trajectory. If you tend to hit it low, try a ball with more spin and vice versa."
--Peter Krause, Coon Rapids, MN
"Buy several types in different price ranges and go on the course to try them."
--Peter Kostis, Scottsdale, AZ
"I recommend a maximum-spin ball for single-digit players; distance/low-spin ball for lower clubhead speed players who need to get the ball to the hole; distance/high-spin ball for the average hitter who needs more carry and spin on approach shots."
--Carol Preisinger, Kiawah Island, SC
"Hit putts to see how the ball feels, then chips to gauge spin, and pitches to determine control. Next, hit the driver. Then take four different balls on-course."
--GOLF MAGAZINE Top 100 Teacher Laird Small, Pebble Beach, CA
|Read the player profiles for the balls and ball types that best suit your needs.|
|Player profile #1 You demand it all: Endless length, silky feel, oodles of spin. But be careful: Some balls require super-fast swing speeds to adequately compress them. |
You Choose: Multi-layered balls with urethane covers
Price: $38 and up
Choices include: The balls featured on this page, Nike One, Precept U-Tri Tour, Srixon HR-X, Srixon UR-X, Titleist Pro V1
|Profile #2 You want a well-rounded ball that offers good length, feel and spin--but don't want to pay more than you laid out for greens fees. |
You Choose: Three- or two-piece balls, with less spin and feel than premium models
Choices include: Ben Hogan The Hawk, Callaway HX Hot, Callaway HX Red and Blue, Maxfli Revolution EXT, Precept PWRDrive, Precept U-Tri Distance, Srixon AD 333, Titleist NXT, Top-Flite Strata TL-Distance, Wilson Staff Px3
|Profile #3 You need length most of all but don't want to forfeit feel and spin. |
You Choose: Two-piece performance balls, many "low-compression" ones with more spin and feel than their cheaper brethren
Choices include: Callaway Big Bertha, Maxfli Noodle, Nike Mojo, Pinnacle Exception, Precept Laddie Extreme, Precept Lady Diamond, Srixon Soft Feel, Titleist DT SoLo, Top-Flite Long and Soft, Wilson Staff Dx2
|Profile #4 You care only about busting it past your buddies but won't pay more than five bucks a sleeve. |
You Choose: Two-piece value balls built for distance
Price: $20 and under
Choices include: Callaway Warbird, Dunlop LoCo, Maxfli D-Tec, Nike Power Distance, Pinnacle, Top-Flite Complete, Top-Flite Pure Distance, Top-Flite XL
|*Several balls have complementary models that vary slightly in hardness. Prices reflect manufacturers' suggested retail per dozen.|
The ultra-thin 0.021" urethane cover is the width of three sheets of paper. This "skin," as Hogan calls it, provides soft feel and control on scoring shots. It also means a larger, faster core for explosive distance. $50; 866-834-6532 or benhogan.com
Bridgestone Tour B330
The core is softest in the middle, firmest along the outer edge; it deforms plenty off the driver for low-spin takeoffs, then snaps into shape for distance. Dimples and a seamless cover limit turbulence for a higher launch, flatter descent. $54; 800-358-6319 or bridgestonegolf.com
Maxfli expects the BlackMAX to rekindle some lost high-end magic. The hot core is made of neodymium, which helps increase ball velocity at impact. A soft urethane cover and thin ionomer mantle provide bite on finesse shots. $50; 800-456-8633 or maxfli.com
A super-thin 0.020" urethane cover yields a livelier ball, since it allows for a bigger core that boosts ball speed on full shots. Srixon says an additive called PBDS increases the core's resiliency to snap back into shape. $55; 888-477-4966 or srixon.com
Top-Flite Strata TL-Tour
Increased dimple coverage over the ball's surface yields a longer, more consistent flight. The TL-Tour has 80 star-shaped dimples and 252 circular ones for 5 percent more coverage than other Strata models. $38; 866-834-6532 or topflite.com
Wilson Staff TX4
While Strata reaches for the stars, the four-piece TX4 does its level best with 312 shallow, flat-bottomed dimples for a stable, penetrating flight. Wilson uses "nano particles" in the rubber core to increase its liveliness. $38; 800-469-4576 or wilsonstaff.com