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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.