A closer look at the many options in Titleist’s golf ball lineup
Titleist Golf Ball Line
Titleist is golf’s undisputed leader when it comes to golf balls and has owned that distinction for some time now.
Its domination of the golf ball market since 2000 has been driven by the success of Pro V1 and Pro V1x, which are the most popular premium balls in golf and the most played balls in professional golf by a wide margin.
But Titleist has more than just Pro V1 and Pro V1x to offer players, and it has made it a priority to seek an industry-leading position in every golf ball category.
“Our goal ultimately with every golf ball that we bring to market is to deliver best-in-class performance in every segment that we compete,” said Michael Mahoney, Titleist Vice President of Golf Ball Marketing. “We know that golfers have preferences, preferences including price, preferences including color, preferences including feel. We try to give golfers options at different price points throughout the line.”
Here’s a look at the different options that Titleist currently has to offer, including some of the key performance attributes of each ball:
Pro V1 & Pro V1x: As mentioned above, Pro V1 and Pro V1x have been the game’s dominant premium golf balls for nearly two decades. In January of 2017, Titleist released new versions of each ball, with a major focus being improved aerodynamics and a more stable ball flight in all conditions. Additionally, the Pro V1 underwent some significant performance changes and Tour play is now split nearly 50-50 between it and the Pro V1x, where previously Pro V1x got the majority of professional play. Both balls offer exceptional distance off the tee and tremendous greenside control. Where they differ, however, is when it comes to feel and flight. The Pro V1 will have the slightly softer feel of the two balls and offer a slightly lower trajectory on full shots when compared to the firmer and higher-flying Pro V1x.
Mahoney says: “Pro V1 and Pro V1x, we believe they’re the best performing golf balls for any golfer who wants to play their best. They have the most advanced technology we bring to market. They offer us the opportunity to give a product to golfers that we think helps them score better, so we recommend the vast majority of golfers be fit into Pro V1 and Pro V1x based on that.”
NXT Tour & NXT Tour S: NXT Tour and NXT Tour S are both high-performance golf balls that will give players exceptional distance on full shots and shot-stopping control on shorter approach shots into the green and shots played from around the green. Both balls also offer exceptionally durable covers and dimple patterns that deliver impressive stability in windy conditions. In terms of the primary difference between the two balls, the NXT Tour will produce slightly more in the way of distance, while the NXT Tour S will offer a softer feel and slightly more in the way of greenside spin.
Mahoney says: “NXT Tour and NXT Tour S, a family of golf balls designed to deliver excellent performance based on the segment that they compete. We do believe they’re the best performing in the category. NXT Tour is a little bit more distance focused; NXT Tour S is a little bit more feel focused based on that pairing.”
Velocity: In terms of its category, the Velocity would best qualify as a distance ball, and providing exceptional distance is what it was specifically designed to do. That distance is made possible by a large LSX core that promotes faster ball speeds on all shots. Additionally, the 328 dimple design and new, thinner NaZ2 cover combine to give players higher launch conditions that help improve carry distance and stopping power.
Mahoney says: “Velocity, just what it sounds like. We position it as power for distance. It’s a golf ball that is long and long on every single shot. It delivers very low spin, very consistent flight, and very long distance whether you’re talking about off the tee, with your irons, and even on your short irons into the green.”
DT TruSoft: For those who are looking for a Titleist golf ball at a lower price point that still offers incredibly soft feel, the DT TruSoft will be the ideal choice. It has the softest compression feel of any Titleist golf ball thanks to the combination of a low-compression core and a softer ionomer cover. That said, it still offers exceptional distance off the tee and on full shots thanks to lower spin rates, but its soft cover allows for enhanced playability around the green.
Mahoney says: “DT TruSoft is our softest compression golf ball; it’s the softest feel we offer in terms of total package. For golfers who really prioritize soft, soft feel, DT TruSoft is a good fit for them. Also though, golfers who say they want soft feel don’t want to necessarily sacrifice performance. DT TruSoft, in terms of the category it competes in, again, we feel is the best performing golf ball in that category.”
Quality Control Across The Board
While there are notable differences in the price points of the different balls that Titleist has to offer, as well as the performance attributes that they’ll deliver, one thing that golfers can expect no matter what they ball they choose to play is a quality, consistent product.
And that will never change as long as Titleist is in the golf ball business.
“What we like to say is they all have to earn the Titleist script,” said Frederick Waddell, Senior Manager of Titleist Golf Ball Product Management. “That is certainly a performance measurement. All of these golf balls are best in class. We manufacturer all of our golf balls ourselves, and that allows us to keep a very tight control over the quality. They have to be Titleist quality.”
THE GAME’S MOST DOMINANT GOLF BALLS GET EVEN BETTER
Titleist 2017 Pro V1 and Pro V1x Golf Balls at the 2017 PGA Show
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.”
NXT TOUR & NXT TOUR S
In redesigning the NXT Tour and NXT Tour S, Titleist set out to improve all of the performance advantages of each ball. It was a lofty goal given the popularity of each, but that goal has been accomplished and the result is two unique but outstanding products that will prove to be great fits for a wide variety of players. Here’s a look at what you can expect in terms of playability from each ball
NXT TOUR: Where the NXT Tour excels is in terms of distance off the tee with a driver and when using the longer clubs in the bag. This ball, thanks to a larger dual core that features a soft center, is extremely long and produces low spin rates on full shots with woods and long or mid irons. That said, the soft Fusablend cover provides enhanced feel and generates improved spin on full shots played with scoring clubs or shots played from around the green. A new dimple design also improves the ball’s durability and creates added stability in the wind. Players who use the NXT Tour can also expect a higher ball flight than what will be typically be found with NXT Tour S.
NXT TOUR S: While the NXT Tour delivers first and foremost in terms of distance, the NXT Tour S delivers first and foremost in terms of feel. The resilient, soft compression core and an even softer Fusablend cover provide incredible feel when using every club in the bag, but the enhanced feel will definitely be most notable on and around the greens. Distance, however, has still been improved in the S, and players can expect this ball to be longer than its predecessors. They can also expect a more piercing ball flight as well when compared to the higher launch conditions that are generated in the NXT Tour but with the same stability in windy conditions. Additionally, the NXT Tour S is also available in a high optic yellow color.