FIRST LOOK: Titleist brings experimental EXP-01 golf ball to market
Titleist golf ball releases are usually given the full pomp and circumstance treatment. Every piece of technology is detailed to ensure golfers considering the product have a clear idea of what’s going on with the cover design and underneath the hood.
That’s the case for almost every golf ball coming off the production line, but there are exceptions to every rule. Titleist’s new three-piece EXP-01 (the EXP stands for “Experimental Product”) falls into this category.
“We’re playing things close to the vest,” said Michael Mahoney, Titleist’s VP of golf ball marketing. “As soon as we start explaining those things in the ball, that’s what people are going to find in the product. We do a ton of prototype sampling when it comes to white box testing and prototypes we send out to get feedback on. But it’s always interesting to put a product into the market where a golfer has to go into the shop to make a decision about whether they want to buy it. And when they buy it, what do they have to say about it.”
For Titleist, the goal with EXP-01 is to gather organic feedback on a new multi-layer MTR urethane cover system that’s still in the early stages of development. Mahoney noted the cover on the EXP-01, which features a proprietary 346 dimple design, is designed to enhance short game spin. It’s worth noting the 346 dimple design isn’t found on any current Titleist product.
“This is a product unlike anything we’ve done,” Mahoney said. “Even with white box testing, those are products that are really close to market. This is much earlier in the process and more experimental. It’s truly an experimental product. We’re testing some new technology and want to bring it out to see what golfers think about it.”
A high-speed core construction and specialized casing layer help deliver low spin on long game shots with a tight overall dispersion pattern. Titleist plans to release a limited quantity of EXP-01 into the marketplace at golf shops across the country — the shops have to request the balls — and on the company’s website.
“We don’t plan on restocking and keeping this in the marketplace,” said Mahoney. “The plan is to see how the technology fits into our longterm strategy, if at all, and go from there.”
As for whether EXP-01 will ever make its way to Tour, Mahoney said the plan isn’t to gather feedback from elite professional staffers at the present time. For the moment, the goal is to see what everyday golfers have to say about the technology.
Titleist’s EXP-01 ball retails for $39.99 per dozen.