Ball tested: Maxfli U/3
Specs: Construction – Three-piece; Cover – Urethane; Core – Low compression; Dimples / Pattern – 422 in seamless design
Some manufacturers do not reveal or emphasize the compression ratings of new golf balls. Some models are now designed and marketed to fit and appeal to a golfers preferences for price, distance, spin, feel and control.
Price as tested (new): $24.99 per dozen
Ball notes: The “U” is for urethane, the cover material of all five balls in Maxfli’s 2013 lineup. Why urethane? It’s softer than surlyn/ionomer and delivers more spin, giving even “value” models a hint of “tour” ball performance.
With its sidespin-reducing mantle and low compression (about 65), the U/3 is engineered to fly straight and long for golfers who generate moderate clubhead speeds, e.g., less than 95 mph with the driver.
The U/3 is pegged a step up from the Maxfli U/2 on the softness/spin scale, with a price that’s extremely competitive in its category. In fact, these balls can often be snagged on sale for considerably less than the listed retail price.
Sound and feel: A prime example of everything being relative, the U/3 is soft when compared to others in its price range and softer than the two-piece U/2. On the other hand, its sound and feel are pretty firm for a three-piece, urethane ball. This was most noticeable on the greens, though a putter with a soft insert helps to dampen the “click.”
Off the tee: We liked the trajectory, carry and overall distance of the U/3. It’s quite accurate, too, thanks to the aforementioned mantle. Similar to the Bridgestone e6 and Titleist Velocity, this is a terrific ball for those looking to (literally) set their driving game straight. And long. Shot-shapers may have a little trouble bending it left and right, though.
From the fairway / rough: The U/3 displayed excellent spin and stopping power, with solid distance control and accuracy to boot. Crisp short iron shots put the brakes on quickly without peeling back in reverse. Longer shots bounced and rolled out, but no more than expected.
Around the green: To sum it up, the Maxfli U/3 spins more than its firmness indicates. It took a little getting used to feeling and hearing a solid “click,” then seeing the ball check up with near tour-ball promptness. Considering that (to us at least) performance trumps feel, we gave the ball good grades for the short game.
Bottom line: The Maxfli U/3 may not be the last word in feel, but makes up for it by behaving like a three-piece, soft-cover ball. It’s long and straight, too, leaving us without much to complain about in the big scheme of things – especially at the oft-discounted price of $25 a dozen.
Value/Recreational/Distance – Designed for mid- to high-handicap golfers with swing speeds below 90 mph; typically feature two-piece construction and firm covers; promote greater distance over high spin rates. Examples: Pinnacle Gold, Slazenger RAW Distance
Premium – Designed for low- to mid-handicap golfers with swing speeds of 90-99 mph; typically feature multi-layer construction and medium-soft covers; happy medium between Value/Recreational and Tour categories for distance and spin qualities. Examples: Titleist NXT Tour, Callaway HEX Diablo
Tour/Advanced/Performance – Designed for low-handicap and professional golfers with swing speeds in excess of 100 mph; typically feature multi-layer construction and soft covers; promote greater spin rates and enhanced feel over distance. Examples: Titleist ProV1, Bridgestone Tour B330