Pros: These are Titleist golf balls and that means consistent, reliable quality and performance. The new cover formulation have made the Pro V1 and Pro V1x more durable while still maintaining exceptional spin on iron shots and delivering great feel through the bag.

Cons: Tour balls like the Pro V1 and Pro V1x command tour ball price tags and are rarely found deeply discounted.

Bottom Line: The Pro V1 and Pro V1X are two of the most recognizable and most played golf balls in the world. If you ask non-golfers and golfers alike to name one or two golf ball brands, they likely will say Pro V1. Over 3,000 professional tour players have Pro V1 or Pro V1x in their bags. With even more distance, a softer feel and longer lasting durability, golfers of all skill levels cannot go wrong putting a Titleist Pro V1 or Pro V1x into play.

Overview

Titleist generally releases new Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls on a two-year cycle. The most recent Pro V1 and Pro V1x were launched in 2013, which means the only change for 2014 is updated packaging. However, with Titleist launching other new golf balls this year — including the NXT Tour, NXT Tour S, Velocity, and DT SoLo — it’s a good time to compare the performance of the Pro V1 and Pro V1x against each other, and also stack them up against the other golf balls in Titleist’s 2014 lineup.

Pro V1

Thanks to a softer ZG process core technology, the three-piece Pro V1 is the softest Pro V1 Titleist has released to date and the most notable enhancement from previous years. The softer core also helps generate less spin off the driver, which leads to more distance. An improved urethane elastomer cover resists scuffing better than previous models and generally holds its out-of-the-box appearance for longer during a round.

Pro V1x

The Pro V1x, a four-piece tour ball, has a dual core. The extremely soft inner core allows the ball to maintain lower driver spin, but at the same time, the outer core and inner mantle actually increase spin on approach shots. The same improved Urethane Elastomer cover found in the Pro V1 also is found on the Pro V1x.

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The Pro V1 and Pro V1x are available now and carry a minimum advertised price of $47.99. Both are available in standard and custom play numbers. Standard numbers come in low (1-4) and high (5-8). Double-digit play numbers, 00 and 11-99, are available for custom order.

Performance

Chances are, if you found a Pro V1 or Pro V1x in the woods or the edge of a water hazard, you would put it in your bag regardless of what version the ball happened to be. The performance characteristics of these two balls are very similar. They both offer great feel, distance and a crazy amount of short game spin. That said, if you are planning to play one of these balls and are going through the fitting process, there are important differences.

The Pro V1, with super soft core, will feel softer with any club and will have a tendency to spin more with the driver. The Pro V1X, with the dual core, is said to spin less with the driver but more with short irons.

I wanted to get a true sense of performance so I tested both balls in a variety of ways both with a launch monitor and on the course. To get the data, I hit both balls on a launch monitor with a 60-degree wedge, 6 iron and a driver. I prefer testing outdoors on FlightScope or Trackman, but in this case, I wanted to hit many shots with each club so I needed to be able to retrieve the balls. I headed to Golfsmith Extreme in Smyrna, Ga., where they let me take over a private fitting bay for a few hours. As a point of reference, my playing swing speed with a driver is around 105 mph. Following Titleist’s fitting process, we’ll start near the green and work back.

60-degree Full Wedge Shots

60º Wedge Data Pro V1 vs Pro V1x

Based on Titleist’s claims, my expectation heading into the wedge test was that the spin on the Pro V1X would be slightly higher than on the Pro V1 and the launch angle would be slightly lower. I didn’t expect any difference in ball speed between these two balls. However, I was expecting to see slower ball speeds compared to the other 2014 Titleist lineup, but ball speed with a wedge is not my primary concern.

The Pro V1X instantly proved to be the spinnier of the two balls around the green. While the spin numbers were close, the Pro V1X generated almost 300 rpm more spin on average than the Pro V1. Interestingly, the Pro V1 generated a similar amount of spin compared to the NXT Tour and NXT Tour S, which we will review in the future. Both of the balls, with spin numbers that high, will be grabbing the greens allowing golfers to get aggressive and attack pins.

The Pro V1 launched 0.6-degrees lower and had a peak height of 1 yard lower than the Pro V1x. Those numbers are basically identical and the primary difference between the two balls at this point is the spin rate and the Pro V1X generated more spin. An interesting note is that I did see a more significant difference in spin between the Pro V1X and the Velocity and DT SoLo, especially with the Velocity, which generated about as much spin with the wedge as I would generate with an 8-iron and the Pro V1X.

6 Iron Shots

6i Data Pro V1 vs Pro V1x

The similarities between the balls continued during the 6-iron testing. My expectation was that the Pro V1 would continue to spin less with the iron launch lower and fly lower than the Pro V1x. Surprisingly, the Pro V1 generated 1-yard higher peak ball height, 115 rpm more spin and launched 0.4-degrees higher. Ball speed was identical.

These numbers are all within a statistical margin for error, and since I’m not a robot and my swing varies, this data basically presents an almost identical picture with each ball. Having a slightly higher launch, more spin and a marginally higher peak height with the Pro V1 wouldn’t be a bad thing, but my numbers with the Pro V1X were all very close to the numbers I would want to see. Compared to the other balls in the 2014 lineup, both balls perform better for me with a 6 iron. That said, as we move away from the green, the spin numbers across the lineup are starting to tighten up and the launch angle, ball speed and peak height become more important differentiators.

Driver Shots

Driver Data Pro V1 vs Pro V1x

When it comes to the driver, I do not need or want additional spin for my game. I already generate a little too much spin off the driver, so I need a ball that generates less spin. I also have a tendency to launch the ball a bit low. Based on Titleist’s claims, that sets up perfectly for the Pro V1X, which launches a bit higher with less spin, and I was excited to see the data.

Looking at the results, the Pro V1X lives up to the expectation, especially when compared directly to the Pro V1. On average, I generated the same ball speed, but it launched 0.3-degrees higher with 120 rpm less spin than the Pro V1. Interestingly, when looking across the 2014 models, there were other balls, such as the NXT Tour and the NXT Tour S, which generated lower spin, but also generated slower ball speeds and a lower peak height. Distance with each ball in the lineup fell within Titleist’s range of 4-to-6 yards between each ball. Additionally, all the models were within +/-500 rpm of spin with the driver, another claim from Titleist.

The lower spin and higher launch of the Pro V1X continues to suit my game best and should serve a wide range of golfers very well. In fact, looking at the makeup of players on the PGA Tour listed on the Titleist website, 169 of 200 players put the Pro V1X into play each week.

On-Course Testing

Launch monitor data confirmed and backed up most of Titleist’s claims about the expected performance of both golf balls. The next test was performed on the course. I played the balls in numerous rounds over the course of one week at River Strand Golf & Country Club in Bradenton, Fla. River Strand also has a great short game area with greens kept at course speeds. The head pro, Corey Pion, set the area up for me to test the balls around the green and also hit half wedge shots from 45 yards.

I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but as expected these balls were stunning on the course. Off the tee, both launched at very similar angles and neither ball ballooned in the air. It was windy for a few rounds during the week, and compared to a couple of the other balls in the 2014 lineup, which did have a tendency to launch too high, the lower ball flight of the Pro V1 and Pro V1X helped cut through the wind.

Starting with the hybrids, I was able to get some nice stopping power into the greens. The longer irons had a nice bounce-bounce-check, quality to them. As I moved into the shorter irons, I started seeing real stopping power, especially with the Pro V1X. I was able to back up a couple shots starting with the 8-iron and with the wedge, I routinely expected to spin the ball back. In fact, I needed to start thinking about controlling the spin better to keep the ball on the right level of the greens.

Stopping Power Chart

Half Wedge Shots

I had a chance to hit some half wedge shots during the natural course of play, but wanted to dedicate numerous shots in a row from half wedge distance hitting a variety of shots. With both balls, I was able to hit low spinners that hit the green and checked immediately. One ball didn’t outperform the other from this distance. Both provided seriously sticky grip on the green. I also hit some high, soft pitch shots that landed softly. If I backed off the shot, I was able to get the balls to run a little bit, but for the most part, these are meant to hit the green and hold on tight! The bottom line around the greens is I was able to make the ball do whatever I wanted it to do.

Around the Green

Within about 40 yards, the performance of both balls is very similar. At this point, the urethane cover is in the driver’s seat. I hit a variety of different chip shots as I would on the course. Starting with chips from just off the green, I hit some bump and run shots with a 9 iron, which reacted with a skip and a rollout. When I switched to a more lofted 60-degree wedge, I was able to hit a variety of shots, from quick-spinning low chips that hit once and checked up to open face shots with spin and some more lofted, softer shots.

Out of the bunker, the balls continued to perform. I was most interested in how much spin I could put on these balls from a variety of lies in the sand. As expected, spin wasn’t an issue. Also, with varied technique, I could pop the balls up and get them running on long bunker shots.

I can’t say I noticed any real difference between the two balls around the green, not in performance or even feel. Yes, the Pro V1 felt softer across all clubs, but to me, I had to really concentrate to notice a difference. Shots struck pure felt smooth and fluffy with both balls.

Putting

The feel of both Pro V1 balls off the putter face is like nothing else. While I haven’t always played Pro V1 or Pro V1X golf balls, the last few years, I have kept a sleeve of Pro V1s in my bag to use on the putting green before a round. Using one ball to warm up and one on the course might not be the best idea, but for me, the practice green is a chance to get the stroke working and see a few putts drop in the cup to get the confidence up. The softness of the Pro V1 helps provide the smooth, flush sensations I’m looking for prior to the round.

That soft feel is even more apparent in this year’s Pro V1 and also in the Pro V1X. I’ll be honest, in a blind test, I’m not sure I could identify the Pro V1 from the Pro V1x every single time I hit a putt, but the Pro V1 does feel slightly softer than the Pro V1X. Putts roll smooth and true, just as you expect with these balls.

Looks and Feel

I love the look of a Pro V1 and Pro V1X. The Titleist script is one of the coolest looking logos in my opinion, and on the Pro V1 and Pro V1X, the logo has a nice thin quality, unlike the slightly thicker and even darker black script of the other balls in the 2014 lineup. The white cover has always looked more off-white compared to the stark white color of other Titleist balls, or even competitor balls. The grey alignment mark on the side is a nice change from the solid color of previous generations. Each of these subtle design characteristics blend together to create a golf ball that is instantly recognizable and one of the classiest looking balls on the market.

Feel is so subjective in golf, especially with golf balls. As I mention above, the Pro V1 feels softer off the putter. It is not dramatically different from the Pro V1X, but it is noticeable. It becomes even more noticeable how soft these balls are when compared to say, the 2014 Velocity, which is a pure distance ball. Every club in the bag has a nice, smooth, almost spongy feel when struck off the sweet spot while still generating powerful acceleration off the club. I would definitely lean toward the Pro V1 feeling softer, but I would suggest hitting a variety of shots so you can be the judge.

Durability

Pro V1 DurabilityPro V1x Durability

All my testing, both on the launch monitor and on the course, was completed using only three of each type of ball and both of these balls held up extremely well. Not surprisingly, since both the Pro V1 and Pro V1x have the same cover, they show similar wear. That said, the Pro V1X actually shows slightly more scuffs, but I’m splitting hairs here. A few of the balls show some wedge marks, but nothing that would make me bring a new ball into play.

The durability of the reformulated Urethane Elastomer cover and paint system seem to deliver the lasting durability that Titleist claims. Once cleaned off with a wet towel, the balls look almost brand new, with the exception of a few minor scratches and marks. Tour players are also remarking on how durable the balls are, with some claiming instead of switching balls every 2-to-3 holes, they might only use two balls an entire round or even go a full round if they wanted.

Bottom Line

The Pro V1 and Pro V1x have earned their spot on top of the golf ball world by continuing to deliver a golf ball with exceptional feel and short game performance.

My father-in-law would say he isn’t good enough to play the Pro V1 or Pro V1x and has a whole bag full of them that he refuses to play. There is a stigma that only the best players should play a Pro V1 or Pro V1X. Sure, if you are a golfer who seems to play out of the woods and in darkness more than on the fairway, the price per dozen might seem high. However, every golfer, from scratch to higher handicap players like my father-in-law, can benefit from the performance of these balls, especially around the greens.

I would recommend players of all swing speeds and ability consider both the Pro V1 and Pro V1X when getting fit.

Pro V1

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Pro V1X

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When he is not obsessing about his golf game, Kane heads up an innovation lab responsible for driving innovative digital product development for Fortune 500 companies. He is also the co-founder of RoundShout and creator of Ranger GPS, the free iOS GPS app for the driving range.

On a quest to become a scratch golfer, Kane writes about his progress (for better or worse) at kanecochran.com and contributes golf technology-focused articles on GolfWRX.com.

42 COMMENTS

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  1. Kane: Titleist has announced it will be introducing new ProVs for 2015. I’ve read where one pro said he noticed more softness in the Pro V1X. That’s all I’ve heard. Any idea when you or someone else will be doing an article on the new balls?

  2. i am a female, senior with a low swing speed. I appreciate the article and was always under the impression that because of my swing speed I would have to stay away from the Titleist ProV1x. I’m looking for greater distance off the tee & approach with green spin… I hit the fairways 90% of the time, on long courses, I cannot reach the green in two or three. before I invest in the Titleist ProV1x, I would appreciate your opinion. Right now I seem to get the best distance with a 2 cover, surlyn ball but don’t necessarily like the reaction around the green. I thought ball compression and swing speed correlated?

  3. Kane- nice test- especially the spin rate analysis breakdown. Durability is fairly important to me considering the price point of the pro-V1(x). I’d be interested in seeing the spin rate analysis on half and full wedge shots after they’ve been played on the course. In my experience, they lose some of the grip on 3/4 wedge shots and in after about 15 holes. If this is true, then I’d think more aggressive swingers would get fewer holes and more moderate swingers would get more. I’m fairly consistent at 109. I also wouldn’t think that the spin rates alter much at higher swing speeds with lower lofted clubs. I assume that would suggest the durability/stability of the mantle(s) and core rather than the cover.

  4. Kane, Great article! Very helpful and matches up with analysis I received from the Titleist ball analysis group which came to my course a week ago. For myself they advised to use the either of the Pro V’s. I have been using for 2 years the Velocity which gave great distance but would also take off on all shots. I always thought it was me not swinging properly for control of the ball. However, it was the ball not me. The reps had me hit 6 balls of mine and the pro v1 and x at a distance of 60 yards. For mine all rolled upon wedge hit another 2 yards. For the Pro V1 and X each would land never the pin and take one hop and stop. Amazing to see that! Then did the same with a driver mine would go another 10 yards after landing the other 2 were around 1 yard short of mine. Also the spin recorder results for each was amazing. All toll I now switched to Pro V1x and have improved my short game tremendously. Hope this also gives others out there a little more information on maybe changing if they were thinking about it.

  5. Great article. The data on spin separation is interesting. It is worth noting that the firmer ball from each pair of both the Pro V1 and Pro V1x and the NXT tour and NXT Tour S has a bigger spin separation than it’s softer stable mate (ie spin more off the wedges and less with the driver). Kane, do you have any knowledge or experience on whether that is likely to be the same with other brands or (just plain physics) or something Titleist build into their balls on purpose.
    Cheers

    • Thanks, Rich, glad you enjoyed the article. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a straight or blanket answer on your question because each manufacturer’s set of harder/softer model balls will likely have different cores (single/dual), covers, etc, and be designed to perform in different ways. Not to mention different marketing. But, we are planning to do more ball reviews like this one in the coming months and hopefully we will see a pattern come through, if one truly exists.

      • I am a 4 handicap and use a pro VIx thinking that it would actually fly lower and roll more. I thought the softer pro vI would fly higher but not roll and on firm fairways I would want to hit the x. Is this bad thinking? My swing speed with the driver is 95 MPH. I also thought the Pro vI would have more spin around the greens. According to the info on the box, your test seems to dispute what it says on the box.

    • My bad… thinking of another thread.

      This was a well written review. Appreciate it.

      When I go to the Titleist Ball fitting link, its first choice for my 90 mph driver swing speed is the ProV1x. My guess is the higher launch, “harder” ball offers a bit more distance off the tee. Was surprised, though, at the comment that the V1x spins more around the greens. Learn something new every day.

  6. Excellent article Kane. I will pass one observation along: From what the folks at Golfsmith and Titleist have told me, the Pro V1 is better for slower swing speeds.

  7. great article but i too am a little confused by the results. The standard opinion and even marketing is that the pro v1 is the softer of the too balls. One would assume it would therefore spin more around the greens than the v1x. Your findings were too the contrary though.

    So i guess the main difference between the two balls based on your findings is vertical launch on different clubs?

    • Blake – Bill Morgan from Titleist told me that the 2014 Pro v1x spin less on the driver but also spins more on a wedge shot. The v1x is a 103 compression ball and v1 is a 87 compression ball. According to Bill 90% of the tour players use the v1x.
      Bottom line, Kane is right :)

    • Blake the reason why the pro v1x spins more round the greens is because that is a 4 piece golf ball where as the pro v1 is a three piece i had a titleist rep tell me the more layers the more spin you get witht he wedges

  8. Kane, first off let me say that this was a well-written, well-structured article with a lot of good testing and a good presentation of the results. However, while it’s interesting to see that the characteristics of the V1 and V1X fit the game of a low-handicapper with a 105mph swing speed, that’s not really earth shattering.

    Why don’t you do a very similar article with the same tests run across a number of different balls that someone looking to purchase the ProV1 might actually be considering (Nike, Callaway, Bridgestone, Srixon, etc.)? I would be very curious to know what the differences in ball speed, spin, launch angle, etc. look like off a variety of clubs–similar to what you did in this article–are for all the balls I might actually consider putting in my bag, instead of the DT Solo…

    I find that you guys seem to do the BB vs. BBA, SLDR vs. SLDR Mini, Covert Performance vs. Tour, etc. type testing quite a bit, but you never seem to write articles that actually compare them in and amongst themselves? You should take the good process you are using in testing and writing these articles and apply it to real in-depth comparisons between competing products that a certain-level golfer might actually being considering, and you would really have something very interesting and informative!

    Thanks for your good work.

  9. Kane, other than a marketing (recruitment)technology savant, I did not know you were an author on golf equipment as well?

    As a Titleist brand loyalist, who has played only a Titleist golf ball for the last 27 years, this article you have authored, is by far, the best review of not only, Titleist golf balls but the best golf ball overview of an entire golf ball product line, I have ever read.

    I look forward to reading more of your work.

    Great job.

    • Wow, Tim, thank you for the extremely kind words about this article, especially from a brand loyalist who knows the performance of the product as well as you do! 27 years playing balls from the same company is quite impressive. If I’m ever up your way, we should try to get a round in.

  10. does it still hold true according to USGA testing data that the difference between the longest and shortest balls on the conforming list (all brands, makes etc) is only 5 yards?

  11. Played the Pro V1x for the last 2 years, then decided to hit a ProV1 for fun, I’m hitting the longest drives I’ve ever hit (310 carry + 20 yards roll) on the course. I guess I needed those extra 120rpm off the drive to help with carry, and it’s not to the point that the increase affects roll. The Pro V1x definitely feels a little more responsive around the greens, but with the extra 15-20 yards I get with the ProV1 off the drive, I found my new ball!

  12. I love articles with good quality data. Thanks! I currently play the NXT Tour mainly because it’s affordable ($30 at any Walmart every time, slip it into the groceries:) but it also performs surprisingly well. I’ve played the Pro v1x and it was hands down my favorite, but hurt way too much when I dunked it in the lake. I’m thrilled to see the data for the NXT Tour and proof that it really is a great Pro v1x alternative.

    • Thank you, Tyler, I’m happy you enjoyed the article. Also, I appreciate you sharing your experience with the NXT Tour vs Pro V1x. You hit on the same feeling many golfers have expressed about playing the Pro V1x… they love them when they have them, but it stings when they lose them. We’re taking an in-depth look at NXT Tour and NXT Tour S coming up, I’ll be interested to see if your experience is similar.

  13. I have also been wrestling a bit with choosing the right Titleist as I near 50. Putting everything in perspective, have found ProV1X to be best ball for me. NXT goes farther off of the tee and unless you are playing very hard greens stops well. Most noticeable other differences are softness around the green. You can pull off more shots with ProV1. 1X close but is definitely harder than V1. V1 great ball if you’ve still got enough to blast it out there with the young guns.

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