Ball tested: Volvik Pro Bismuth
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) / 246 to 300+ yards (carry + roll)
Specs: Construction – Three-piece; Cover – Zirconium-coated surlyn; Core – Dual; Dimples / Pattern – 446 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: The newest brand to enter in the U.S. golf ball market, Volvik has turned plenty of heads with its colorful Vista iV and Crystal models. But the South Korean company has a conventional side, too -- witness the all-white Pro Bismuth.
Touted as a high-performance ball for golfers with faster swing speeds (90 – 125 mph), the ball features a “Bismuth Control Layer” between core and cover, same as Volvik’s other models. (Bismuth, by the way, is a chemical element sometimes found in drugs and cosmetics.) Also unique is Volvik’s application of Zirconium crystals to the cover, which it claims increases durability without diminishing spin.
We’ve been duly impressed with the Volvik balls tested to date. Let’s see how the Pro Bismuth scores.
On the clubface: The Pro Bismuth has a high compression of 92 but a low cover hardness of 64. Add it up and you get a satisfying, solid yet soft impact sensation. We’d put it between the Vista iV, which is a touch firm for a “tour” ball, and the Crystal, a very soft “premium” model.
Off the tee: Volvik continues its winning streak here. Like its stable mates, the Pro Bismuth is very long and very straight. This one leaves the driver with a definitive jolt and looks great cutting through the wind. Launch angle was mid-range, so slower swingers may have a little trouble generating adequate height.
From the fairway / rough: Pro Bismuth proved long off the irons, too. Fortunately, the ball didn’t land hot, showing plenty of sticking power from 150-175 yards and ample (though not exceptional) short iron spin.
Around the green: While it didn’t quite match the Vista iV for greenside control and versatility, the Pro Bismuth performed well in this critical category. Its feel was much to our liking, especially off the putter, and it offers more than enough action to meet a good amateur’s chipping, pitching and bunker demands.
Bottom line: We’re anxious to see how Volvik fares over the long haul, but the brand has certainly surged out of the gate. The Pro Bismuth, like the Vista iV and Crystal, delivers world-class performance – but without the attention-getting visuals. If colored balls aren’t your thing, this is the Volvik you should try.
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