Ball tested: Top-Flite Gamer
Specs: Cover – Ionomer; Construction – Three-piece; Core – Polybutadiene; Dimples / Pattern – 332 / “Dimple In Dimple” 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): $20
Ball notes: If it’s been a few years since you’ve hit a Top-Flite, you might be surprised by the company’s new offerings. These aren’t the “Rock-Flites” of days gone by. Yes, the Gamer upholds the brand’s reputation for distance, but it’s made with a thin cover to accentuate feel and increase spin.
On the technical side, the Gamer features a “Dimple In Dimple” design similar to Bridgestone’s “Dual Dimple” covers, intended to maintain spin throughout the ball’s flight while reducing drag. In other words, it helps the ball stay airborne longer to max out distance.
Note that in 2013, Top-Flite re-branded its Gamer V2 as simply Gamer. Like its predecessor, the new version earned a Gold Medal in Golf Digest’s ballyhooed Hot List rankings.
Sound and feel: This is a Top-Flite? Could’ve fooled us. We mean that in a good way, of course, having come of age when the brand was synonymous with balls so hard it nearly hurt to hit them. The Gamer is a different breed, with a feel more in line with “Premium” balls like the Bridgestone e5 and Titleist NXT Tour. Thumbs up.
Off the tee: In this area, we’re happy to say the Gamer lives up to the Top-Flite reputation. This is a very long ball. Golfers whose swings aren’t quite fast enough to compress a “Tour” ball for maximum distance will likely see better results with the Gamer. And those who can swing at 100 mph or more won’t sacrifice a yard.
From the fairway / rough: Struck solidly, the Gamer spins and stops nicely, especially with short irons and wedges. You may not back it up 15 feet, but you can be confident this ball will check up rather than bounding over the green.
Around the green: The Gamer is quite game here, too. While not as versatile as top-shelf balls like the Titleist ProV1, it provides more than enough spin and bite for the average to above-average golfer. The soft feel is a definite plus on chip shots and putts.
Bottom line: Color us impressed – and converted. The Top-Flite Gamer is actually a great choice in two categories (Value and Premium) and, at $20 a dozen, one of the best bargains on the golf ball market.
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