Ball tested: Volvik Crystal
Tested for golfers with average driving distance of: 125 yards or less (carry + roll) / 126 to 195 yards (carry + roll) / 196 to 245 (carry + roll)
Specs: Construction – Three-piece; Cover – Zirconium-coated surlyn; Core – Dual; Dimples / Pattern – 350 in octahedron 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): $32.99 per dozen
Ball notes: What’s your favorite flavor? Volvik offers its Crystal golf ball in a tasty assortment including orange, yellow, pink and green. Sorry, no white. But that’s fitting, because these balls are anything but vanilla.
A South Korean company that recently brought its products to the U.S., Volvik has a large presence on the LPGA and lower-rung women’s tours, where its Vista iV is an increasingly popular model. The Crystal is one notch down, in the “premium” category, but promises similar qualities to its higher-priced sibling: soft feel, short game control, enhanced visibility.
Crystal, however, is aimed at golfers with swing speeds in the 60 – 95 mph range. Its softer compression and Volvik’s patented two-piece core are said to deliver maximum distance to players who can’t quite bring the heat like the pros.
Of course, Volvik is fighting an uphill battle against established brands. The company launched a major strike in 2013 by releasing results from “Iron Byron” testing of Crystal vs. models from Titleist, Bridgestone, Callaway, Nike, Srixon and TaylorMade. Volvik’s entry beat all comers for total driver distance, driver and 8-iron ball speed, and yards after landing – pretty impressive for a pink (or yellow, or orange, or green) golf ball.
On the clubface: Is it possible that pastels trick the mind into thinking a golf ball is extra soft? Who knows. But we certainly sensed excellent feel when hitting the Volvik Crystal. It gave a nice “stick” against the driver and hybrids, firming up perhaps a little as clubs got shorter and swings slower.
Off the tee: Having tried it, we’re not surprised this ball fared so well against the big boys. It’s long, it’s straight and it rolls for days. Crystal performed especially well on swings at the 75 – 85 mph level, launching high and carrying beautifully without excess spin.
From the fairway / rough: A notch below the Vista iV for spin and control, the Crystal nonetheless proved competitive with others in the premium category. The piercing, stable flight was especially good, while short iron approaches stopped with adequate bite.
Around the green: We saw nothing discouraging when putting Crystal through the short game paces. You can make it do just about anything, short of playing the two-hops-and-stick pitch shots that few amateurs possess anyway. The soft feel and responsive action won us over.
Bottom line: Volvik is poised to ride the rising wave of colored golf ball popularity with its Crystal model, a solid performer with technology – and test results – that add substance to its flashy presence. Our crystal ball reveals a bright future for this upstart brand.
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