Balls Buyer's Guide 2006

As golf balls become more advanced, the majority have adopted the three-piece design. The question becomes ?What mantle fits your style??



Titleist Pro V1
www.titleist.com
(800) 225-8500 | $56/doz.

Titleist Pro V1 Still the benchmark for premium three-piece golf ball models.
Features: A virtually indestructible urethane-elastomer cover, a speed-enhancing and spin-controlling ionomer mid-layer, as well as a faster core formulation highlight a litany of top-tier performance features.
Advantages: The three-piece design provides optimal spin rates for driver (low-spin) and wedge (high-spin) shots, while the urethane-elastomer cover provides soft feel and incredible durability.
Benefits: Incomparable combination of distance, spin and feel characteristics pay biggest dividends for more accomplished players. ProV1x will find favor for fast swingers who need less spin.
What We Like: Incredible performance with equally incredible durability.
Lineup: Pro V1x, Pro V1, NXT Tour, NXT, DT So/Lo
Construction: Three-piece
Cover: Urethane elastomer
Core: Rubber
Mid-layer: Ionomer
Distance: High
Durability: High
Trajectory: High
Spin: Low (driver), High (wedge)
Feel: Soft
Titleist DT So/Lo
www.titleist.com
(800) 225-8500 | $28/doz.

Titleist DT So/Lo Expected Titleist performance in a low-compression golf ball.
Features: A super-low-compression model designed to provide a combination of maximum distance and soft feel for golfers who have no chance of ever earning a Tour card.
Advantages: Like other models in the low-compression category, the So/Lo is designed with a high-velocity core that can be compressed by any golfer, including those with slower swings.
Benefits: The So/Lo is a good option for anyone who wants to hit the ball consistently longer without having to swing any harder.
What We Like: Feel around the greens among the best in the low-compression category.
Lineup: Pro V1x, Pro V1, NXT Tour, NXT, DT So/Lo
Construction: Two-piece
Cover: Surlyn®
Core: Polybutadiene
Mid-layer: None
Distance: High
Durability: High
Spin: Low
Trajectory: High
Feel: Soft

Top-Flite XL Extreme
www.topflite.com
(866) TF-GOLFCO | $23/doz.

Top-Flite XL Extreme A new line of Top-Flites, each of which focuses on providing a specific performance trait at a reasonable price.
Features: All three models in the XL Extreme line (Tour, Distance, Straight) combine Rocket Core Technology with premium Top-Flite distance technologies to boost ball speed and distance. All models also feature Seamless Dimple Technology for reduced in-flight drag.
Advantages: Golfers can choose the model that best fits their needs, as long as their needs include legendary Top-Flite distance.
Benefits: Distance-hungry golfers who want the additional benefit of customized performance.    
What We Like: A Top-Flite that feels pretty good.  
Lineup: XL Extreme, XL Plus, XL, Quartz
Construction: Two-piece
Cover: Surlyn®, Slickote (XL Extreme Straight)
Core: Rocket Core polymer
Mid-layer: None
Distance: High
Durability: High
Trajectory: High
Spin: Low
Feel: Medium
Top-Flite Quartz
www.topflite.com
(866) TF-GOLFCO | $25/15-pack

Top-Flite Quartz A distance model directed at slower swingers who prefer a colored golf ball.
Features: Low-compression core to optimize distance and feel for slower-swing-speed golfers. Seamless Dimple Technology for improved aerodynamic performance and symmetrical dimple pattern for increased consistency. Clear ionomer cover allows colored core to shine through. Available in white, pink, yellow and blue.
Advantages: Optimized distance for slower swingers. Traditional Top-Flite durability.
Benefits: Slower swingers who want the ultimate in distance and durability, as well as a unique look.
What We Like: Multiple color options.
Lineup: XL Extreme, XL Plus, XL, Quartz
Construction: Two-piece
Cover: Clear ionomer
Core: Polybutadiene
Mid-layer: None
Distance: High
Durability: High
Trajectory: High
Spin: Low
Feel: Firm

Wilson Staff Tx4
www.wilsonstaff.com
(800) 469-4576 | $30/doz.

Wilson Staff Tx4Top-of-the-line four-piece model directed at better players who demand Tour-caliber performance.
Features: The core is infused with nanoparticles, which help make the ball soft yet resilient. The urethane elastomer aptly resists scuffs, while the PhD aerodynamics feature (with 312 Pan Head dimples) promote a higher trajectory and better in-flight stability.
Advantages: Faster ball speed on driver and long-iron shots and more spin on iron and short-game shots.
Benefits: More accomplished players who have the game to take advantage of a Tour-like performer.
What We Like: Wilson continues to produce advanced, high-tech products.
Lineup: Tx4, Px3, Dx2
Construction: Four-layer
Cover: Urethane elastomer
Core: Nano Tech rubber
Mid-layer: Fusion
Distance: High
Durability: High
Trajectory: High
Spin: Low
Feel: Medium

 


 
Tech Talk
The Skinny On Golf Ball Covers


In just about every advertisement for three-piece premium golf balls, the claim of an “ultra-thin” cover is proudly and repeatedly made by whoever is touting the benefits of that particular brand or model of ball. Though this initially sounds somewhat impressive, most golfers are probably left wondering why it’s a big deal and why they should care about golf ball covers in the first place, let alone how thick or thin one might be. 
   
The cover actually plays an extremely significant role in golf ball performance, though how and why it contributes to that performance depends largely on construction and materials. For example, most two-piece distance golf balls feature a very large, soft core with a fairly firm, relatively thick cover that’s made of durable ionomer. These covers are thicker and harder because they’re primarily designed to provide enhanced distance and durability for value-minded golfers. In contrast, premium multi-layer models typically feature a large core, an ionomer mantle layer and an extremely thin and soft urethane cover (basically a two-piece ball wrapped in a thin membrane). In these cases, the soft, thin cover is designed to produce spin for wedge and greenside shots, while allowing the core and mantle to produce the speed for drives and fairway-wood shots.


DimplesDimples, Dimples, Everywhere: The Bottom Line On Ballistics
Early golf balls sported smooth exteriors, which the craftsmen of the time thought was the best way to make them travel far. What golfers and golf ball makers soon learned was that these gutta-percha models didn’t start performing well until they were broken in, meaning they flew farther once they got nicked up through use. Eventually, gutta-percha golf balls came “pre-nicked,” or dimpled, and thus, the study and application of aerodynamic theory became an integral part of ball design and performance.

The simple concepts that started with patterned chisel marks have obviously come a long way, as R&D departments at every major golf ball company now spend untold hours developing unique and effective ways to maximize ballflight. The key concept they utilize to do so is simply this: A rotating object in flight, with a dimpled surface, creates a layer of air around it, which in turn creates wind resistance and air pressure beneath it. This phenomenon helps the ball rise and hang in the air significantly longer than one without a rough surface. So the next time you’re shopping for golf balls, pay a little more attention to the dimples—they’re not just there for the looks, but actually have a major effect on trajectory, distance and hang time. [Below: Wilson’s Phd—Pan Head Design—dimple pattern is shallower and sharper than most existing patterns. It’s said to lessen drag and increase distance.]
—Mike Chwasky

How To Buy A Golf Ball
Golfers often ask Ben Alexander, PGA, which ball they should play. The teaching pro at Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif., and 2004 Northern California PGA Teacher of the Year assures them that “amateur golfers get overwhelmed by the manufacturers’ marketing programs that if you play their ball, it will go farther. Or if you play a particular ball, it will spin more. Or with all of these extra dimples, this ball will go farther and straighter. Wow, that’s a lot to digest for the average player.”

Alexander offers a few simple tips when searching for the best ball for your game. “Consider how far you hit your driver. If you hit it long, then you need a ball with a softer feel for more control. If you hit it short, I would recommend a harder ball for more distance.”

What about spin? Again, Alexander has some sage advice. “When you hit the green, does your ball stop with backspin or does it hit the green and roll? If the latter, try a ball with more spin. Around the greens, do you feel the shot or is it dead-feeling to your hands?

If the latter, try a ball with a softer cover. You need to visit your local golf pro who can lead you through the complicated journey of ball selection and help simplify the process. You can also learn about the different types of balls just by reading the ball packages. There’s a lot of information right there on the box.”
—Scott Kramer



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