Ball tested: Titleist DT SoLo
Specs: Construction – Two-piece; Cover – Surlyn; Core – Low-compression surlyn blend; Dimples / Pattern – 392 in icosahedral 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): $28 per dozen, but widely available at $20 per dozen
Ball notes: When you think Titleist, “value” probably isn’t the first word that comes to mind. This is the company, after all, whose products have been the pros’ favorite for decades and decades, and whose top-of-the-line ProV1 “tour” ball fetches $45 - $50 a dozen at retail – and never, ever goes on sale.
But Titleist is more than the ProV1. Its NXT Tour models are among the most popular in the “premium” category, while the Velocity has plenty of devotees, too. The DT SoLo continues the brand’s enduring DT lineup and ranks as Titleist’s most affordable option.
Titleist touts the newest DT SoLo as its softest yet thanks to a large, surlyn-blend core with a compression of around 70. Thus, the DT SoLo is aimed at amateurs with driver swing speeds below 90 mph who want at least a touch of cushiony feel on contact.
The DT SoLo features five different dimple sizes sprinkled across the cover. Aerodynamically, this is intended to lower the flight and provide added roll on tee shots. The ball, also available in yellow, won gold in Golf Digest’s 2013 Hot List testing.
Sound and feel: About what we’ve come to expect from the DT lineup, but a bit softer. This ball compresses easily at just about any swing speed; you can feel it stick on the clubface for an instant on full shots. It’s a touch softer off the putter than most competitors, too.
Off the tee: The DT SoLo is designed for distance, and it delivers both carry and roll. The flight is penetrating with little or no visible “ballooning,” and the ball hits the ground at a shallow angle. On firm fairways, you can hit some especially long drives with the DT SoLo. Accuracy was excellent as well thanks to minimal sidespin.
From the fairway / rough: Unless the greens on your home course resemble concrete, stopping the DT SoLo should prove eminently doable with the short irons. Naturally, longer shots will cruise a little way after landing, and the ball did display a fairly low trajectory with the 5- and 6-irons. Generally speaking, the DT SoLo will go where you aim it without bending too far off target.
Around the green: For the value category, the DT SoLo offers excellent short game performance. The soft feel fosters confidence on chips and pitches, which check up nicely when hit with a crisp blow. It’s no ProV1 or NXT Tour S, mind you, but the DT SoLo exceeded our expectations in this department.
Bottom line: A Titleist at 20 bucks a dozen? Sold. The DT SoLo is a lot of golf ball at that price, comparable in overall performance to some “premium” category offerings and just as long as its lower-rung competitors.
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