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Category: Golf Balls

November 16, 2009

Video: TaylorMade Staff Pros on the Penta TP Ball

Posted at 5:58 PM by David Dusek first told you about the five-piece TaylorMade Penta TP golf ball in August. In this video from TaylorMade, Dean Snell, senior director of ball research, explains how he got the company's staff pros—including Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose and Retief Goosen—to try it.

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November 11, 2009

Bridgestone Updates e-Series Golf Balls

Posted at 3:00 PM by David Dusek
November 10, 2009

Nike's Crush Golf Ball Designed for Distance Lovers

Posted at 5:24 PM by David Dusek

With bold, blue packaging and a name like Crush, it's not hard to guess which group of golfers Nike is trying to attract with its newest ball: players who want to outdrive everyone.

Nike Crush Golf Balls

Designed specifically for golfers with a swing speed between 80 and 95 miles per hour (the average for most weekend players), the Crush has a soft, low-compression core and an ionomer cover designed to reduce sidespin for increased accuracy.

Rock Ishii, Nike Golf's director of product development for balls, said in a release, "I believe we've done a great job designing a longer and straighter golf ball for a wide range of swing speeds at a mid-tier price."

The Nike Crush is available now for about $30 per dozen.

November 09, 2009

Callaway Debuts New Tour i(s) Golf Ball at HSBC Champions

Posted at 12:22 PM by David Dusek

Ernie-Els_600 Ernie Els got a little help from Callaway Golf in Shanghai at the HSBC Champions, where he finished second after shooting 63 on Sunday.

"I started playing a new golf ball that Callaway made," Els said. "This is what I've been looking forward to, is this golf ball. It would have been unbelievable if I could have won with this ball. It would have been great for Callaway and myself. I'm looking forward to the future now, and I think my equipment is now spot on."

Els was referring to the new Callaway Tour i(s). Ryan Moore, who finished third, also used it.

The Callaway Tour i(s) is a four-piece ball that Steve Ogg, Callaway's vice president of ball R&D, called "the most highly-engineered golf ball product we have ever come out with."

According to Ogg, the Tour i(s) is the softest ball Callaway has produced, but what makes it special is a large degree of spin separation, which makes it possible to put a lot of spin on iron shots and very little spin on drives.

"The ball has a high core compression differential," he said. "That is the difference between the compression of the inner core and the outer core. When you have a high-compression outer core, the ball holds it shape better when you're hitting wedge shots so you can give it more spin."

The greater force of a driver, he said, will penetrate the outer core and compress the soft inner core. That reduces spin and creates greater distance.

"It morphs to the shot that you want," Ogg said, "yet retains all the distance of the previous Tour i golf balls." The Callaway Tour i(s) will be available in mid-January for about $43 per dozen. In the video below, Ogg talks more about the ball.

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(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

October 07, 2009

Anthony Kim Says Golf Balls Are Not an Issue

Posted at 5:17 PM by David Dusek

SAN FRANCISCO – During a press conference after the pairings were announced for Thursday's Presidents Cup foursomes matches, Anthony Kim was asked if equipment would be an issue in the alternate-shot format.

"We are going to use Phil's ball [Callaway Tour ix]," he said. "I have got no problem with it. When I was little, I used all different kinds of golf balls because those were the used golf balls you had to buy in a bag. I'm used to playing with whatever. We'll go out there and have a good time."

Kim's normal ball is a Nike ONE Tour.

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Golf Balls Give Hints to Foursomes Pairings

Posted at 3:02 PM by David Dusek

SAN FRANCISCO — In the foursomes (alternate-shot) matches this week, the players who are paired together will often play different brands of balls. The prevailing wisdom is that the teams should tee off with the ball preferred by the player who will hit the approach shot. Performance of most low-spinning, multilayer balls is fairly similar off the tee, the thinking goes, but the players would notice a different feel when hitting irons and wedges. Since distance control from the fairway is critical to setting up birdies, you want the player who is going to hit the approach shot to use his preferred ball. The rules allow the teams to switch balls after completing a hole.

Anthony Kim Callaway BallOn Wednesday morning, as the American team practiced on the back nine at Harding Park, I snuck a peek at the balls the players used off the tee, and I used that information to make a guess as to Thursday's pairings, which will be announced later this afternoon.

1. Jim Furyk and Justin Leonard: Furyk was teeing off on the even-numbered holes using a Nike ONE Tour ball. He typically plays a Srixon Z-Star X.

2.  Anthony Kim and Phil Mickelson: Kim, who plays a Nike ONE Tour, used a Callaway Tour ix ball off the tee on the even-numbered holes (photo).

3. Zach Johnson and Kenny Perry: They both use a Titleist Pro V1x, but Perry asked Zach if he could use one of his balls on the tee at 13. "His is a little bit different than mine," Perry told a bystander. It's very possible that they use a Pro V1x ball from different model years.

4. Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker: Woods teed off on the odd-numbered holes using a Titleist Pro V1  instead of his Nike One Tour.

5. Hunter Mahan and Sean O'Hair: After hitting O'Hair's TaylorMade Penta TP off the tee on 13, Mahan said, "Wow! It spins a lot." Mahan uses a Titleist Pro V1x.

6. Stewart Cink and Lucas Glover: Both players use a Nike ONE Tour D ball.

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August 27, 2009

Yang Switches to TaylorMade's 5-Piece Penta Ball

Posted at 7:02 PM by David Dusek

TaylorMade Penta Golf Ball JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- At the 2009 PGA Championship, Sergio Garcia and Retief Goosen tried out the yet-to-be-released, five-piece TaylorMade Penta golf ball. Last week at the Wyndham Championship in Charlotte, Matt Bettencourt, James Driscoll, Justin Rose, Jay Williamson and Casey Wittenberg also started using the ball.

Now, according to TaylorMade representatives, Y.E. Yang, the man who walked away with the Wanamaker Trophy at Hazeltine, has put the Penta into play at the Barclays Championship. Yang had previously been using the TaylorMade TP Red LDP.

As we reported in early August, the Penta has been designed to optimize its performance in five key areas: with the driver, long-irons, middle irons, short irons and partial wedge shots. The ball will be available to the public starting December 1.

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(Photo by David Dusek)

August 12, 2009

Inside the Five-Piece TaylorMade Penta Golf Ball

Posted at 3:04 PM by David Dusek

CHASKA, Minn. -- Last week I told you that Sergio Garcia and Retief Goosen will be using TaylorMade's yet-to-be-released Penta golf ball here at Hazeltine. From the outside, a five-piece ball looks identical to a two-, three- or four-piece ball. They're all round, white and covered with dimples.

Don't try this at home, but if you cut a few Pentas in half, this is what you'll see.


Starting at the far right, the four interior pieces are: the black core, which is solid; the gray inner mantle layer; the red middle mantle layer; and the thin, light-red outer mantle. The sliver-thin, white urethane cover is the fifth layer.

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Also See:

- 2009 Ball Guide
- See and Buy TaylorMade Balls
- PGA Tour Winning Bags

August 06, 2009

Five-Piece TaylorMade Penta Golf Ball Hits PGA Tour

Posted at 4:35 PM by David Dusek

TaylorMade-Penta-Golf-Ball_600x450 Sergio Garcia and Retief Goosen plan to use TaylorMade's new five-piece golf ball, the Penta TP, at next week's PGA Championship at Hazeltine.

The ball, which took three years to develop, won't be available to the public until Dec. 1. It is golf’s first five-piece ball, and according to TaylorMade officials, was added to the USGA’s conforming ball list on Wednesday.

The goal for the Penta was to optimize its performance in five key areas: with the driver, long-irons, middle irons, short irons and partial wedge shots. (Get it? "Penta," five.)

The cover of the Penta TP is made of a soft urethane material to promote a high-spin rate, but lower trajectory on wedge shots and pitches for more control. The outer mantle layer, which can be found directly under the white cover, is the most-easily compressed. Of the three mantle layers in the Penta TP, it's the fastest, and TaylorMade says it is designed to create optimal spin and flight conditions when ball speeds are below 120 mph (short irons for tour pros).

The middle mantle layer is semi-firm, and TaylorMade designed it to be compressible on shots with a ball speed between 120 and 140 mph (mid-irons). According to a TaylorMade memo, the inner mantle is designed to create high-launching, low-spinning shots with a ball speed between 140 and 160 mph (long irons).

Encased under all those layers is the core, which is made from an extremely fast, low-compression material that only the fastest swingers will be able to activate. However, TaylorMade says those who do can expect more ball speed and less spin on drives for increased distance.

TaylorMade expects the Penta TP to be widely used by its Tour staff players, and the ball has not only been tested by Garcia and Goosen, but also by Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Justin Rose. But TaylorMade says the ball should also appeal to slower-swinging players and a wide range of amateurs because it has been designed to increase ball speed (for more distance) and provide feel around the greens.

May 22, 2009

Callaway says some Tour i golf balls exceeded weight limit

Posted at 12:21 PM by David Dusek

GolfBalls Callaway has asked the USGA to remove the Tour i ball with a Tour i sidestamp from its list of   conforming golf balls because some may exceed the USGA's weight limit.

In a release on the company's Web site, Callaway explains, "The deviation in ball weight was traced to a manufacturing anomaly that occurred on two days in mid-2008."  Callaway went on to say that less than 1% of Tour i balls were affected. Theoretically, the heavier balls could fly farther on well-struck shots.

Going forward, Tour i balls will be marked with a sidestamp that has two dots on either side, like this one: Tour i

The only golfers this will truly affect are professionals and elite amateurs. Starting in June, those golfers will need to use the ball with the two-dot sidestamp. All other golfers may continue to use the former version of the Tour i ball, even for rounds that are counted toward handicap calculations.

May 21, 2009

Colt Knost has success after switching to Titleist Pro V1

Posted at 5:28 PM by David Dusek

Colt Knost Colt Knost was playing the company's Pro V1x ball because he thought it gave him more distance off the tee. Then for the first round of the Byron Nelson Championship on Thursday, Knost used a Pro V1 instead, according to a source at Titleist.

Both balls have the same cover material, but the Pro V1x, a four-piece ball, is slightly firmer than the three-piece Pro V1. The Pro V1 produces more spin, and for Knost, that added spin translates into better distance control from the fairway.

Knost must have been pleased with the results; his average driving was still 312 yards and he hit 78% of the fairways en route to a three-under 67 at  the TPC Four Seasons Resort in Irving, Texas. Through last week, Knost had been averaging 280 yards per drive and his scoring average was 71.53, ranking him 137th on the PGA Tour.

Click here to learn more about the similarities and differences between the two balls.

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(Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

May 17, 2009

Zach Johnson's Texas Open winning clubs

Posted at 10:29 PM by David Dusek

Zach-Johnson-Winning-Clubs_450x600 Zach Johnson doesn't overpower golf courses. His strength is getting the ball into the fairway and setting up his short irons and wedges. It's that strategy that won him the 2007 Masters, so above everything else, Johnson knows that he needs to maintain control.

So when I saw him testing and comparing his old Titleist Pro V1x ball with Titleist's new Pro V1x at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, I stopped and observed. Although he had tested the new Pro V1x in the off-season, Johnson won the Sony Open in Hawaii in January using the 2007 version of the Pro V1x.

"Someone said they spun it more," he told the Titleist tour reps on the range in Tucson. "Not with the driver, but with the irons."

Taking dead aim at a flag that was about 127 yards away, Johnson hit one pitching wedge after another as the technicians gathered launch monitor data. Each shot was tracked and averages were compiled, but shots that Zach mis-hit were taken out of consideration.

What Johnson found was that with the pitching wedge, his launch angle and ball speed were identical using the old and new Pro V1x. For a control player considering a change, that news must have been comforting.

Johnson is still playing the 2007 version of the Pro V1x, but without testing his decision would have been based on feel and guesswork. Unfortunately, that's exactly how many amateur golfers make equipment decisions. Be smart, like the pros, and take the time to get professionally fitted for your equipment.

Here is a complete list of the clubs used by Zach Johnson to win the Valero Texas Open.

Driver                         Titleist 909D2 (8.5°) with Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 73 shaft
Fairway woods         Titleist 909F2 (13.5°) with Mitsubishi Diamana White Board 73 and (18.5°) with Fujikura ZCOM Pro95 shaft
Hybrid                        Titleist 909H (21°) with Fujikura Speeder 904HB shaft
Irons                          Titleist AP2 (4-9) with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts
Wedges                     Titleist Vokey Design (48°), Vokey prototype (54°), Vokey 60 V (60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts
Putter                         SeeMore FGP
Ball                             Titleist Pro V1x

If you are looking for a tip or two on how to improve your wedge shots, check out this video Johnson shot for

Take a look inside more PGA Tour winners' bags.

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(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

May 15, 2009

Stewart Cink puts his spin on groove changes

Posted at 2:55 PM by David Dusek

Stewart Cink Twittering Stewart Cink was recently in Ft. Worth, Texas, experimenting with new equipment at "The Oven," Nike Golf's research and development center.

After taking an overnight flight back to his home in Atlanta Thursday night, Cink partook of his favorite new hobby, Twittering (photo).

He wrote, "New grooves next year mean 10% less spin from fairway and 60-70% less from rough with short irons. Players will use softer balls I believe." Moments later he wrote,  "IMHO [In My Humble Opinion] the new grooves are really an indirect way to attack driving distance since softer balls go shorter in general."

Players have openly wondered how the new groove rules, which will go into effect in January, will affect performance. Several I have talked with—including Geoff Ogilvy and Tremor Immelman—have echoed Cink's thoughts.

Cink's comments are important for a few reasons. First, they show that some players are taking steps now to learn what they will have to do in order to get the most benefit from their equipment after the new rules go into effect. Second, if Cink's estimations are correct, the days of bomb-and-gouge golf may be coming to an end. If players can't control the ball as well coming out of the rough, driving accuracy once again will become a meaningful stat for players at the highest levels of the game.

When I spoke recently with Cink about his equipment, he said, "I'm already on the low end of the spectrum when it comes to optimal spin, so if I fall below the spectrum, I'm going to have to do something in order to get the spin back up. The easiest thing to do is change your ball."

Cink had been playing the Nike One Black ball, but switched this season to the Nike One Tour D ball. He said that he got the spin he was looking for from the new ball, and launch conditions with his driver were good too, but his irons shots flew higher and didn't go as far as they had previously.

He said that this season he wanted to use a ball with more spin, and thus "hit the ground running when the new grooves come out."

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(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

April 27, 2009

Jerry Kelly Switched Balls Before Zurich Classic Win

Posted at 9:44 AM by David Dusek

Jerry Kelly Dancin With a grin across his face and beads strewn around his neck, Jerry Kelly admitted Sunday night that he'd been fooled.

Early in the week on the driving range at the TPC Louisiana, Titleist reps approached him with a black golf ball and asked him to try it.

"I said to them, 'This is great! Can I put it in the bag?'" Kelly was told that he could, and that the ball was actually the 2009 version of the Pro V1x. Kelly had been using Titleist's Pro V1 for about a year and a half.

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January 29, 2009

Titleist officially launches the new Pro V1 and Pro V1x

Posted at 12:43 PM by David Dusek

Titleistprov_400 ORLANDO, Fla. — Despite the ongoing legal battle over the patents used to create the Pro V1 line of golf balls, they have been the best selling balls on the market for 94 consecutive months, according to Titleist. So it was no surprise that the auditorium was packed when the company launched the 2009 update of the Pro V1 and Pro V1x this morning at the PGA Merchandise Show.

George Sine, the vice president of golf ball marketing for Acushnet (Titleist's parent company), explained to the crowd that the polybutadiene core of the new three-piece Pro V1 has been reformulated and made larger. Sine said this will increase the 2009 Pro V1's ball speed off the tee when compared to its predecessor. The casing that covers the core has been made thinner (.035"), and Titleist says that will help create more spin. Sine also said that the improved urethane cover will increase durability.

The four-piece Pro V1x, which is designed for players with a slightly faster swing speed, still has a duel core like the 2007 model. Like the Pro V1, it now features the improved urethane cover and improved cover durability.

"The Pro V1x will deliver the longest driver distance for Titleist tour-played golf balls," Sine said.

The 2009 version of the Pro V1 will spin more with irons than the 2007 model, while the new Pro V1x will spin less than the previous version. "It is accurate to say that the Pro V1 spins more than the Pro V1x," Sine explained. "It's true with the driver, and it's true with the irons."

Look for the new balls to arrive in shops near you in the weeks to come.

(Photo by David Walberg/SI)

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