It has been an exciting year to say the least for TaylorMade, which has seen its top staff members enjoy incredible success on the PGA Tour in 2017.
Among the highlights have been Dustin Johnson’s multiple victories and stranglehold on the top spot in the world rankings, a Masters win from Sergio Garcia, and the emergence of Jon Rahm as arguably the best young player in the game.
Also making headlines, of course, was TaylorMade’s signing of Rory McIlroy to a long-term equipment deal.
Additionally, M-series drivers continue to enjoy incredible success, as do the fairway woods, rescues, and irons, and Spider Tour putters have been among the hottest in the game.
All that said, however, what TaylorMade might be most excited about is the buzz that its new TP5 and TP5x golf balls have generated.
The aforementioned Johnson, Garcia, and Rahm are each playing one of the new models, and McIlroy specifically mentioned the TP5x as one of the main reasons why he signed with TaylorMade.
Not surprisingly given the Tour success the two balls have in a short amount of time, recreational golfers are following suit as well and giving TP5 and TP5x a closer look.
In an effort to get some feedback about the two new balls, TGW enlisted the help of some of its customers, who have spent the last few weeks testing both balls on the golf course.
Our test panel of four players included Chris, a 2-handicap from Southern California, Baber, a 6-handicap from Southern California, John, an 8-handicap from Wichita, Kansas, and Anthony, a 12-handicap from Phoenix. Each is an avid golfer who plays on average at least twice a week.
Here’s what they had to say in response to five detailed questions that we asked about TP5 and TP5x:
TGW: What stood out to you most about the TP5 and TP5x golf balls and what did you find to be different about the two models in terms of playability?
BABER: They are definitely longer off the tee than the ball I currently play, the 2015 Pro V1x. The TP5x seemed to launch higher and spin a little less off of my 2016 M2 driver than the TP5. I couldn’t discern much difference with short irons, but with mid to long irons the TP5x was better suited to my game.
CHRIS: The thing that stood out to me the most was the distinct difference in feel between the two from the time I took them out of the package to my first practice putting session. You can really tell they are completely different balls.
JOHN: To me, the biggest difference was in the ball flight. I hit the TP5x a lot higher than the TP5, especially with my irons. Beyond that, I thought both balls felt pretty similar and provided similar spin around the greens.
ANTHONY: Primarily, what stood out about the differences is the reduced spin with the TP5x. My drives seemed to hold the line better than with the TP5 off the tee, and I was hitting more fairways, which naturally led to better scoring. Both felt great around the green on chips and pitches. My approach shots with the X also seemed to land softer on the green than with the TP5.
TGW: Was there a certain aspect of either ball (spin, distance, durability, performance in the wind, etc.) that either significantly exceeded your expectations with these two balls or failed to meet your expectations?
BABER: They are definitely longer than I thought they’d be and particularly longer off the tee than I’m used to. They are quite stable in the wind but not much different than the Pro V1x.
CHRIS: I found the TP5x to be a bit “clickier” on pitches and chips around the green, as well as with the putter, but not in a “hard” kind of way. There was just a noticeable sound difference between the two. The TP5x flew a little lower with a more penetrating flight that cut through the wind, while the TP5 spun just a little more for me on full shots. I would say I hit the TP5x 5-7 yards farther than the TP5 on most full shots with my driver and irons.
JOHN: Both balls performed well for me but I’m not sure there was any one thing that really exceeded my expectations. I guess I would say that given how long both balls are that the spin you can get on short shots was impressive. I also liked the feel of both balls when putting. They felt very soft.
ANTHONY: If I had to choose, the reduced spin off the tee with the TP5x impressed me greatly. The distance was comparable to the prior ball I used to play, the Pro V1x, so I was impressed that I did not lose any distance when using these balls. Performance in the wind also impressed me as one of the days I played with them was rather windy and it was nice to not have to think too much about what the wind was going to do to the ball flight. I was impressed by both with their feel when chipping and pitching. I was able to confidently stand over the ball knowing how it would feel coming off the club and how it reacted on the green. There were no aspects that failed to meet my expectations.
TGW: Of the two balls, which one did you find to be better for your game and why?
BABER: The TP5X is better suited to my game. It gives me at least 5-10 yards more off the tee (100-105 mph clubhead speed) with significant more rollout, and it feels about the same around the greens.
CHRIS: I felt that the TP5x suited my game a bit more as I am a high-spin player, so I’m not really looking for (extra spin) on daily fee or Municipal course greens that tend be a bit soft anyways. It had a more boring trajectory with my driver and irons that I like to see, and the slight clickiness at impact made me feel like I really compressed the ball. I also didn’t feel like I lost anything around the greens, so why not take a few extra yards when you can get them?
JOHN: I personally preferred the TP5 and believe it would be better for my game. The lower trajectory is something that I prefer given that I play in an area where it’s windy most of the time, and I also tend to launch the ball too high to begin with. It’s also probably just a little bit softer than the TP5x, and I like that soft feeling on short shots and when I’m putting.
ANTHONY: The TP5x fit my game the best. I need a ball that has reduced spin off the tee to allow for more accurate drives. This ball satisfied this requirement a hundred times over. Additionally, the soft feel on short game shots allowed me to be more aggressive with chips. I love the distance this ball affords me and consequently allows me to have several par 5s where I could attack the green in two without worrying about coming up short.
TGW: How would you rate the TP5 and TP5x in terms of feel, both on full shots and shots played around the green, and where did each ball excel most, on tee shots, full iron shots, short game shots, or putting (or some combination of some or all of those categories)?
BABER: Both balls feel the same to me around the greens. The TP5x is longer with mid to long irons and most definitely with the driver. The first time I ever played with the TP5x was on a 440-yard par-4 that I normally am happy making par. The drive was 298 yards in the fairway, and I hit a wedge to within 12 feet and made the putt for birdie.
CHRIS: I felt like both balls had a really nice (albeit different) feel that worked well for me. I noticed a few extra yards gained on tee shots with my driver but the irons shots flew just about the same as other premium balls I have tried. The durability was very impressive, as I played multiple rounds with each ball and did not notice any major wear and tear on them. Again, the TP5x was a better all-around ball for me and my usual play, but I would have no problem playing the TP5 on a regular basis (maybe when it’s a little colder outside).
JOHN: I thought these two balls performed best from 100 yards and in. I was able to get plenty of spin on all of those shots and both balls provided great feel and feedback. They were also very good in terms of distance but I would say they were comparable in that regard to other high-end golf balls that I’ve played.
ANTHONY: If it was a 5-star rating system, I’d give the TP5 4 stars for tee shots and the TP5x 5 stars. For feel I’d give them both 5 stars. Full shots from the fairway: TP5 4 1/2 stars, TP5x 5 stars. Short game and putting, I’d give them both 5 stars.
TGW: Have you personally made a golf ball change to play the TP5 or TP5x on a regular basis and if so what ball did you change from? If not, what ball is currently your “gamer”?
BABER: Once my Pro V1x stash is depleted, I will switch to the TP5x completely. I’ve already bought a box and am playing them both side-by-side for now.
CHRIS: I have switched to the TP5x ball for tournament and better course rounds that I have been playing. The price is still a little high for a man on a budget, but they are worth the extra money. I will still play the Bridgestone E6 ball for short courses or fun rounds with my friends/kids.
JOHN: I haven’t made a golf ball change at this point. I really like the TP5 and plan to try it a few more times, but for now I will continue to play the Pro V1, which has been my ball of choice for the last several years. But I will say that the TP5 has given me something to think about.
ANTHONY: I have indeed started to play primarily with the TP5x. I have abandoned my previous relationship with the Titleist Pro V1x to begin playing with the TP5x.