It was October of 2000 when Titleist first introduced the Pro V1 golf ball. Tour players immediately put the ball into play, and it quickly became the most dominant ball in golf among professionals and amateurs alike.
Fast forward 17 years and little has changed, as Titleist’s Pro V1 and Pro V1x are still No. 1 in professional golf by a wide margin and a runaway favorite among recreational players who are serious about their golf games.
For 2017, Titleist is back with new versions of the Pro V1 and Pro V1x, as the company has taken the top ball in golf and made it even better.
“Every time we decide to launch a new golf ball, one it has to be better, and we’re not going to do that without first asking golfers throughout the pyramid of influence what are they looking for,” said Matt Hogge, Titleist Director of Product Development for Golf Ball Research and Development. “We did six different prototypes for 10,000 golfers to help us narrow that down, and we then validated it with 80,000 golfers before we could get to this point to know that we have the right decisions with the new Pro VI and Pro V1x.”
Most notable in terms of specific changes made to each ball is what has been done from an aerodynamic standpoint.
“For both Pro V1 and Pro V1x, we improved our aerodynamic consistency,” Hogge said. “We purchased some new equipment that reduced our variation in the actual dimples from ball to ball, dozen to dozen. Reduced equipment variation coupled with the fact that we reduced the dimple size variation … what’s all that mean for the golfer? We have a much tighter ball flight now.”
Beyond that, the biggest changes have been made to the Pro V1, especially as it relates to distance and spin.
Those changes are the result of modifications that have been made to the ball’s next generation 2.0 ZG Process Core.
“We reformulated the core this time around and the core is the engine,” said Hogge of the new Pro V1. “The reformulation increased our ball speed and lowered the spin, but we did that without sacrificing the feel.”
The changes to the core, however, have created a shift in performance between the Pro V1 and Pro V1x, especially when it comes to distance off the tee.
“Many people were making their decisions based on distance and taking Pro V1x to be the longer of the two,” explained Hogge. “The improvements we made to Pro V1, now distance is not a factor. You can choose either Pro V1 or Pro V1x and the differences are now feel, flight, and spin.”
Choosing Between Pro V1 and Pro V1X
Given the distance similarities between the two balls now, as well as their exceptional greenside performance, we asked Hogge for more specifics on how players should choose which ball is right for their game.
“Pro V1 is a little softer than Pro V1x, so that’s the feel component,” he said. “The flight component, Pro V1 flies lower than Pro V1x. And then lastly spin, and this is a big change, Pro V1 will spin less than Pro V1x.”
Interestingly enough, given how the new balls perform, Hogge said that Titleist has seen some significant changes in the breakdown between Pro V1 and Pro V1x among Tour players.
In years past, most touring professionals favored the Pro V1x, with the split being about 80-20. This year, however, with the modifications that have been made to the Pro V1, Titleist believes by the end of the year the split will be closer to 50-50.
Of course, these are premium, tour-caliber golf balls, and there might be average players who have doubts about whether or not they’re good enough to play a “Tour” ball or whether or not they’re game will benefit from playing one.
According to Hogge, Pro V1 and Pro V1x are the perfect choice for any golfer.
“We think everyone is good enough to play Pro V1 and Pro V1x, and the reason is very straightforward,” he said. “Everyone hits the same shots as Tour players, and you should be rewarded when you hit your great shots.”
“You might hit them a little less consistently, but you still hit those great shots. And everyone needs great short game control around the green.”