In this year’s battle of the balls, the harder they come, the harder they’ll sell.
Most avid players aren’t orb-livious. They know golf balls aren’t one size fits all. They also know the key factors—distance, feel, spin and control— largely depend on swing speed and the ball’s compression rating. Slower swingers (less than 90 mph) theoretically should use “softer” low-compression balls to get more distance; high-compression “harder” balls work well for low-handicap players whose swing speeds are fast enough to sufficiently compress the ball and shape and control their shots.
This year three companies—Callaway, Titleist and Wilson—are touting breakthrough technologies that combine low-compression softness with tour-quality performance and feel. Each is going into battle with weapons they claim are “the softest yet.” Let’s take a look:
CALLAWAY CHROME SOFT ($50)
Phil Mickelson loves this ball so much, Amy should be jealous.
• Its SoftFast Core and drag-reducing HEX dimpling produces low-spinning drives that fly high and get small in a hurry.
• The low 65 compression allows even higher-handicappers to compress their iron shots, producing the kind of Tour juice usually reserved for the pros.
• Its soft feel and Tour Urethane cover improves the ability to spin and control aggressive shots into the green.
TITLEIST PROV1 ($62) and PRO V1x ($62)
The flagships of Golf’s “#1 ball” soften up to solidify market share.
• The three-piece Pro V1 and four-piece Pro V1x each have compression-unrated “ZG Process Technology” cores that allow even slower swingers to benefit from greater distance and feel.
• Core and cover improvements produce lower, more penetrating drives from the Pro V1 and higher, steeper and faster ones from the V1x.
• Both have a softer yet no less durable urethane cover than their predecessors, which equates to improved feel, more spin on short shots and improved control.
WILSON STAFF DUO ($20), DUO SPIN ($27), and FG TOUR ($45)
Better known for tennis, the brand Arnie made famous stages a rally.
• The two-piece DUO’s wee 29 compression makes it the world's softest golf ball. It also helps make it long off the tee and workable around the greens; the three-piece DUO Spin (35 compression) also produces driving distance but its soft inner mantle increases spin and control with irons and wedges.
• At 70 compression, the 4-piece FG Tour Urethane drives smooth, straight and long with minimal spin for added distance, while its 318-dimple, urethane cover delivers excellent spin and control off the fairway and around the greens.
• So confident is Wilson in its new line that the company is offering a money-back guarantee on all three balls.
Colorado AvidGolfer is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via www.coloradoavidgolfer.com. Jon Rizzi is the founding editor and co-owner of this regional golf-related media company producing magazines, web content, tournaments, events and the Golf Passport.