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TaylorMade Project (a) golf balls

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In most ways, amateurs need their golf balls to perform like the premium balls used by professional golfers.

With the driver, for example, most amateurs prefer the low-spin performance that is typical of a multi-piece tour ball because it allows them to hit longer drives. And on short shots, amateurs will benefit from the high-spin performance that is characteristic of a tour ball’s thin, urethane cover.

TaylorMade’s new Project (a) golf balls are designed specifically for amateurs, and use the company’s “React Core” to create low-spinning drives and “Soft Tech” cast urethane cover to drive higher-spinning short shots. The three-piece Project (a) balls also have a “Spin Mantle” layer in the middle, which helps regulate spin on the shots in between. Where they’re different from TaylorMade’s new Tour Preferred and Tour Preferred X tour balls, however, is where their high spin kicks in.

According to Dean Snell, vice president of golf ball R&D for TaylorMade, amateurs with handicaps in 10-to-24 range miss the green from 150 yards by an average of 35 yards. They certainly don’t need the extra spin a tour ball would provide on those shots, because it would cause them to miss the target by an even greater margin. But where they do need spin is from 80 yards and in, where Snell said they record 80 percent of their shots during a round.

“The tour guys, they average about 10,000 rpm of spin with their wedges,” Snell said. “It takes about 9000 rpm for a ball to spin and come back [on the green]. But amateurs only average about 5000 rpm of spin.”

To close the gap between amateurs and professionals, the Project (a) golf balls are designed to have maximum spin with a golfer’s short clubs, from the 9 iron and in for most golfers. Every extra 1000 rpm amateurs can generate with those clubs will stop the ball 5 feet closer to its landing point, Snell said.

The Project (a) golf balls are available in stores now for $31.99 per dozen.

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Ragin Kagin

    Jul 25, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Love these, on my 5th dozen. Straight drives great spin on short shots and great durability no scuffs off my rotax wedges ,and excellent feel all around. Ive been searching for a ball to call my own for 2yrs and now ive got one. Was playing bridge rxs before . These are much straighter of the tee.

  2. Gary

    Feb 5, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Sounds like this ball is very much worth a try, probably a somewhat updated Rocketballz Urethane. Does this ball have a seamless cover?

  3. Joe Golfer

    Feb 5, 2014 at 1:47 am

    If they spin that much, I hope the covers don’t get chewed up on wedge shots, especially with so many of the latest wedges having the extra laser etched grooving on the faces.

  4. jc

    Feb 4, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    talk about spin!!!! I hit a driver and the ball hit the ground and spun all the way back to the tee!!!!

  5. jc

    Feb 4, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    many optic tests have proven that yellow is easier to see…why do you think tennis balls are yellow now? they are also easier to spot in the early morning and dusk…the white ball is easier to see IF it is early morning, there is dew on the grass and the sun is bright..

    I like yellow because I know which ball is mine when we get out in the fairway.

  6. J

    Feb 4, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Any data to back-up the claim it takes 9000 RPM to back a golf ball up on the green? If that is the case, I’m hitting the 9k mark with a 6 iron and just shy of that on my 4 iron.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Feb 4, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      A lot of factors at play here, J: angle of descent, firmness of greens, moisture content, etc. But you bring up a good point. This is something I’d like for us to drill into in the future.

  7. Poi

    Feb 4, 2014 at 12:55 am

    How is it off the driver? Does it balloon?

  8. Indy

    Feb 3, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    I got some of these at the PGA Show, the spin rate increase was crazy! I generated 9800 with the NXT Tour, 11000 with Project A. Took it to the course the next day, backed both shots I hit with it back at minimal 20ft. The Rocketballz Urethane, could not do what this ball will do. Saw my dad do their test, went from 5000 to 6500. Same test with NXT Tour. This ball will spin!

    • Adam

      Aug 5, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      That’s because the NXT Tour doesn’t have a completely urethane cover. They advertise it as a “blend”

  9. Jim

    Feb 3, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Sounds like a rebranding of the the RBZ Urethane from last year – not that that’s a bad thing. Hopefully TM will learn about keeping the name of their golf balls consistent going forward too.

    • Brady Wilson

      Feb 3, 2014 at 5:02 pm

      Those balls surprised me by how good they were. our shop sold out of them because they were so cheap, and good quality combined. hopefully they improved upon that same idea. I’ll have to give these a try.

      • bootscrilla

        Feb 3, 2014 at 6:33 pm

        Same here, we couldn’t keep them on the shelves..I never did try them but I might have to give these a go

        • Justin

          Feb 3, 2014 at 10:52 pm

          I agree, they were really good balls, and I gamed them for a little bit in my college matches. They may have spun a tad much on the mid irons, but that may be because I still used the old TP/Black balls from forever ago (itself a mid spin design).

  10. Chris

    Feb 3, 2014 at 11:46 am

    The reason most amateurs average around 5,000 RPM’s of spin is not just the golf ball, but the way they strike it. Hard to generate spin when they pick it off the turf or if they are hitting an approach from the rough, too.

    • Poi

      Feb 4, 2014 at 12:55 am

      You mean blade it off the turf. You can still generate a ton of spin by picking it on the grooves.

  11. J

    Feb 3, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Similar to NXT Tours perhaps?

  12. tbowles411

    Feb 3, 2014 at 10:43 am

    But can you get it in yellow?

    • deafninja

      Feb 3, 2014 at 4:58 pm

      Nope not currently in yellow doubt they will produce it in yellow. That’s why I will stick with Srixon since they have practically all of their offerings available in Yellow.

      • Dave

        Feb 3, 2014 at 5:13 pm

        What’s the benefit of yellow? Not trying to down play, just curious.

        • bootscrilla

          Feb 3, 2014 at 6:31 pm

          Visibility for the most part

          • Jeff

            Feb 3, 2014 at 8:19 pm

            They are no easier to see. It’s a gimmick.

          • RadioActive

            Feb 4, 2014 at 11:07 am

            Well if Jeff says they are not easier to see then they must not be easier to see…

          • paul

            Feb 5, 2014 at 12:54 am

            I play early morning golf and its way easier to see when the sun is barely up. And it is easier to spot in the rough I think.

          • fitterray

            Feb 5, 2014 at 7:30 pm

            I’ve lost every yellow ball that I’ve ever had.

          • Ragin Kagin

            Jul 25, 2014 at 12:29 pm

            Lmao @ fitterray is correct ive lost all of mine as well

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Whats in the Bag

Jon Rahm’s Winning WITB: 2017 DP World Tour Championship

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Driver: TaylorMade M2 2017 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75X

3 Wood: TaylorMade M1 2017 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75TX

5 Wood: TaylorMade M1 2017 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 8X

Irons: TaylorMade P-750 (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52 and 56 degrees), TaylorMade “Hi-Toe” (60 degrees)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Golf Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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See what GolfWRX Members are saying about Mizuno’s new ST-180 driver

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Mizuno has recently released a new ST-180 driver that we spotted on Tour at the 2017 RSM Classic. The company’s “wave sole” technology makes an appearance for the first time in a Mizuno driver; the design is used to push weight low and forward to reduce spin rates, and the construction contracts and expands during impact to increase energy into the golf ball. The result is a lower-spinning driver, especially for those who hit down on the golf ball, and increased ball speeds across the face.

The ST-180 drivers have a new Forged SP700 Titanium face insert that allows the faces to be made thinner — saving weight from the face while increasing ball speeds — and they feature what the company calls a “Internal Waffle Crown” that saves weight to help shift CG (center of gravity) low and forward in the head.

There’s a slew of custom shafts available for no upcharge. The stock grip is Golf Pride’s M31 360, and the drivers are selling for $399.99, available in stores now.

Below is a collection of early feedback from GolfWRX members, and make sure to join the full discussion. See more photos of the ST-180 driver here.

Note: The posts below have been minimally edited for grammar and brevity.

GolfWRX Members comment on the new Mizuno ST-180 driver

TeeGolf: I’ve seen the ST180 driver [in person] and it looks like it sits perfectly square to me. And this is coming from someone who has been playing a Titleist driver set 1-degree open for the past 3 years. It doesn’t look closed at all. 

trhode: I’ve been playing the M2 all year. In comparison at address, the ST is very closed. I had 3 customers look at it yesterday too and they all had the same reaction: closed. That being said, I did play 18 on the simulator and hit some monster drives. The head, with the Raijin shaft, seems to be just a little lower spin than my TaylorMade M2. The blue finish doesn’t bother me either. 

akjell: Hit this yesterday at the Mizuno demo day yesterday at Eagle Ridge in Gilroy, CA. Far from a hook machine but definitely a bomber. The Mizuno’s reps put me in a Mitsubishi Tensei White 70X and I could hit this this driver on a string possibly a bit better than my M1. Of the Mizuno drivers of late, this has to be the best one.

odshot68: Ordering it today. Was fit and played a round with it. Optimal launch and spin. Tensei Blue 70x at 9.5 degrees. This is definitely not left bias; first Mizzy driver ever.

nmorton: Hit this today and it’s going in the bag. Just a classic head shape that suits my eye. Been messing around with a number of drivers over the past year and haven’t singled one out. Last long term driver I had was the 850. The ST checks all of the boxes for me…looks great down by the ball, sounds solid and performs as good as any other. What really sold me was how well slight mis-hits performed. I had the 12.5 dialed down so it definitely sat open a bit. Didn’t hit the fairway but it looks sharp as well. 

evoviiiyou: Had a chance to test the driver with a couple shafts last night. The head is definitely deeper than the JPX900 and the footprint seems bigger from he set up position, very confidence inspiring like the JPX900 but a little improved. Finish and graphics are very similar to the 900 which is very nice if you like the satin Mizuno blue and I do love it just like the satin black I recently had done to my JPX driver and 3 metal. 

regiwstruk: My current gamer is a Titleist 917D3, and this is definitely replacing that. I used a JPX 900 from November 2016 through June 2017 — biggest differences are the sound and that the distance is up there with at least one of the leaders in the market. Anxious to see how it does on the course! 

Paul065: It is high launch, low spin yes but I wouldn’t say it was targeted at the average golfer. It’s basically their version of Callaway Epic Sub Zero. Rory used the Sub Zero. 

Tommyj: I went down to Carls yesterday specifically to look at the ST180. I’ve read some comments that the face looks closed. When I picked it up it was in the 10.5D position and did look slightly closed but then looked perfectly square at 9.5D and also square at 10.5D which seemed sort of odd. The shape is not for me, I had a Cobra F6 and while the ST180 footprint isn’t that big its still substantial. I like blue on drivers and the ST180 has a real quality look to it with the matte finish, having said that I’m not sure I’d want to be looking at that shade of blue all the time. The sound was an absolute killer for me, it was completely unexpected because I always associate Mizuno with being traditional and understated… ST180 launch was lower than G400 in the neutral setting, about the same when I lofted the Ping down.  ST180 was noticeably lower than D2. Longest driver of the three was G400, followed by ST180 then D2. For me the ST180 had the widest dispersion with G400 being the most accurate (by a wide margin).

Discussion: Read more comments about the ST-180 driver here

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Spotted: Justin Rose is testing a new TaylorMade “Hi-Toe” wedge

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On Twitter today, Justin Rose posted a photo of a never-before-seen TaylorMade “Hi-Toe” 60-degree wedge. As the name suggests, it appears the toe portion is raised; we’ve seen this high-toe design from other manufacturers, and the benefits of those designs included increasing face area on open-faced shots, and shifting CG (center of gravity) to where it’s more beneficial for wedge play (likely higher for more spin and a lower flight).

The wedge is also stamped with “MG” to suggest it’s a “milled grind” wedge, much like TaylorMade’s popular wedge line that’s in stores now. There also appears to be slots behind the face, likely to also shift CG to where it’s deemed more beneficial.

Talks of a TaylorMade wedge with a high-toe design were actually started by Dustin Johnson a few weeks ago in a press conference. His full comments on that wedge are above, and you can join the discussion about the wedge in our forums.

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