New Golf Balls

    A lot of golfers remember beginning to play in their early teens, struggling to find a couple of decent balls in their bag.

    Hand-me-downs from Dad or balls found in hazards often found their way onto the first tee. With the luxury of a regular paycheck or retirement benefit, most of us have the pleasure of grabbing a new sleeve of balls out of our bag and teeing it up on a Saturday morning. Thirty years ago, there wasn’t much choice in golf balls. Granted, we weren’t batting around the gutta percha or the feathery like early golfers, but they certainly weren’t up to today’s standards. Back then, it was either a balata covered ball, the choice of yesteryear’s professionals, or a hard two-piece surlyn-covered ball – hard as a rock around the greens, but also hard to cut with an off-center hit. Their durability was a strong-selling point for cost-conscious weekend duffers.

    Today, golf balls come off the production line after extensive design by engineers and field testing by golf professionals. Here is a recap of today’s top golf balls and a few new balls that were introduced for the 2016 golf season.

    A single name, Titleist, has dominated the winner’s circle of professional golf for decades. Titleist’s flag ship ball is the Pro V1x. Touring pros play this ball or the original ProV1 more than any other ball for its combination of length and feel around the greens. Of course, premium balls capture a premium price, the ProV1x should retail between $40 and $55 a dozen.
    TaylorMade’s new Aeroburner Pro is getting rave reviews. The three-layered ball is covered with a proprietary lothane and testers raved about the ball’s distance, trajectory and feel on and around the greens. At a suggested retail price of $26.99, the ball is a relative value for players on a budget.

    For 2016, TaylorMade has introduced the Tour Preferred, the Tour Preferred X and Project(a). The Tour Preferred X is their top-line ball for touring pros. It was designed to produce a lower ball flight on iron shots with more spin. It is a 5-layered ball with 322 dimples and 87 compression. An impressive group of pros are playing this ball including Jason Day, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson. Project(a) is their effort to help weekend players who they estimate only put about half the spin on mid and short irons compared to touring pros. The ball features a lower compression of 70 which they believe leads to increased spin and improved performance from 30 yards and in. This ball retails around $45 a dozen.

    Callaway’s Chrome Soft was introduced in December of 2014. Priced in the mid-30’s for a dozen, the Chrome Soft has become a favorite of mid and low-handicap players. This ball retails around $37.99.

    Distance-obsessed players are raving about the Bridgestone B-330S. This ball delivers exceptional distance without completely sacrificing feel and responsiveness into and on the putting surface. The B-330S should retail a shade under $40.

    Srixon updated their Q-STAR series with the Q-STAR 3. Covered with a new coating, their 324 “speed dimple” pattern, this ball is designed to provide greater uniformity and lower drag. Srixon maintains the design provides solid distance and truer ball flight. The price is also right for limited budgets, the Q-STAR 3 comes in under $25.

    Finally, Nike has upgraded the RZN Platinum. This urethane covered ball is lighter and softer than its debut version. Testers still found plenty of distance with more responsiveness and control into and on the greens. The cost should be around $45 a dozen.