On October 6, Titleist released new “AVX” white and yellow golf balls in three states: Arizona, California and Florida. Our sources told us that the new golf ball was a premium offering with a urethane cover, and that it was made to have a softer feel than Titleist’s Pro V1 golf balls, and create more distance, too. The company was said to be merely testing the product, which is selling for the same price as Pro V1 golf balls, at retail in those locations.
It’s been several weeks now since the release, and as we await Titleist’s assessment of feedback from the public, let’s dive into what GolfWRX members are saying so far about the golf ball.
Editor’s Note: Comments below were taken from posts on October 6th or after, since those are when the balls actually hit retail. Posts have been minimally edited for brevity and grammar.
What’s the word on AVX?
tbowles411: Alternative to the V and X. Straight from the Titleist rep.
Homerun2Birdie: Am I the only one who thought these were NOT soft? Thought the ball performed admirably: spun enough around the greens, seemed a bit hard coming in on full iron shots, flight was noticeably lower as advertised. That being said, I did not feel like this ball was soft at all.
Fiddy3: I can tell you one non-debatable fact. Golf stores are paying $36+ cost for the AVX.
QuigleyDU: It is right up there with every other premium ball out there. It has mid-high flight in my opinion. Full shots it is fine, wedges and green side are just… OK. Feels decent off the putter. In my opinion, it is slightly longer than the chrome soft x I currently play but does not spin near as well.
Break81: Took the AVX for a test today alternating holes with my Chrome Soft Truvis, and while the AVX was not bad, it’s didn’t really shine in any one area. Felt very similar to the Srixon Q-Star Tour and for the price difference I cannot see why someone would pay $18 more for the name or because they offer yellow.
crazygolfnut: If it was priced in the $30 to $35 range I would try it. But the way it is, I will continue to play other brands.
mixedguy: Played 2 rounds with it today soft and spins. I hit it further than both the v1 and X. It’s right between the two, imo. Great ball but it is pricey.
MysteryV: Played my first round with the AVX yesterday. Good ball. Soft off the putter, long off the driver, spins off wedges and irons. Not sure it’s worth the price premium over NXT Tour S as the two seem pretty similar. I did notice it was flying significantly further than I expected on every shot, however I was striking the ball better than usual yesterday, so tough to tell if it was new or the ball.
- Driver: Very long
- Irons: Good through air and breeze, long.
- Putter: Felt and sounded great.
- Around the green: Didn’t hit enough shots to really know. Hit a few very good flop type shots after putting myself in bad positions. Felt and sounded pretty good off wedges.
speeder757: The AVX reminds me of the Original Pro V1. Its softer than either of the current ProV1’s. Just picking the ball up it feels lighter than the Pro V1 or Pro V1x. I’m not sure if that would quantify on a scale or if its just the compression. The dimples are shallower similar to a Bridgestone ball. I have played this ball at my home course for 5 rounds now directly against the Pro V1 and Pro V1x and think it might be my new gamer.
It’s slightly longer than either current Pro V1 off the tee. Flight seems to be more stable however and for whatever reason it seemed more consistent. The AVX was 3-5 yards longer than both Pro V1’s off the irons. AVX spins just a little less on green side short chip shots than the Pro V1x. I would say roughly the same as the Pro V1 with maybe a slight edge still to the Pro V1. I would say the AVX has enough greenside spin to be comparable to other premium balls though. I have heard some say the AVX feels heavy on chip shots. That wasn’t my experience at all. It feels light and springy if anything. Lastly the AVX is softer off the Putter than either Pro V1. All in all its a great ball. If it spun just a little bit more on short chip shots like the Pro V1x does it would be the best ball ever made. AVX does seem more durable than either Pro V1 and the cover doesn’t get chewed up on chips shots as easily as the Pro V1’s do. Price wise its overpriced like all current golf balls on the market are. But it does perform.
johnw29: I live in Arkansas and I ordered 2 dozen from Edwin Watts in Destin, Florida. They shipped them on a Monday and I got them on Wednesday.
jrshelby: Played my first round with them. Let me say that they are just weird and confusing. Don’t know how else to put it. They have a slight advantage in having a little less spin but I definitely get very different flights at times. Sometimes higher then anything else I’ve hit and sometimes way lower as well. I’ll put another round in on them this Sunday before I start making any assessments I guess.
After playing a round with the AVX and at least 30+ rounds with the Chrome soft this year and can honestly say the AVX is not in ANY way similar, and I mean no where close, and I mean to be redundant, but could not be further away design wise. The chrome soft is just that, soft. These are not. The chrome soft is moderate distance with moderate to high spin. AVX is very high launch with extremely low spin on most clubs I’d say down to 6 iron. Then spins slightly more then you’d expect from 7-PW. Then does not spin enough with wedges. 2 out of 3 is usually not bad, but in the case of the AVX it just may be.
drew_harvie: This is a pretty good ball imo. Lower, spins less off the driver. I think it’s a pretty good ball if you hit it really really high with a lot of spin (like myself). It’s crazy how popular these are in Arizona though. Wigwam is selling them for $64 for a dozen and have sold out twice. Not sure if I’d switch from the ProV1X but it’s much better than I was expecting.
Jason Day’s performance coach, Jason Goldsmith, joins the 19th hole
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Ari’s Course Reviews: Oakmont Country Club
Editor’s Note: Ari Techner is a well-traveled, golf-course connoisseur who’s setting out to review the best golf courses in the world. The views and opinions expressed in these reviews are his own.
Oakmont Country Club. The name alone strikes fear into the heart of any mortal golfer. Oakmont has a reputation for difficulty unmatched in the golf world; it’s fear forged in the public’s eye while watching best players in the world struggle during the U.S. Open every 10-plus years or so. There is a notion that Oakmont could hold a U.S. Open just about any day of the year. This is not a course that needs to be tweaked from its daily setup to test the best in the world.
All that said, a close look at the course reveals that there is so much more to Oakmont than just difficulty. Since around 1950, MANY courses have been built with the dilebrate intention of holding a U.S. Open. Most, if not all, of these courses are filled with water hazards, extremely long holes and very little variety. Oakmont is the exact opposite of that, and this is what is at the core of its greatness.
Oakmont Country Club first opened in 1903 and was designed by Henry Fownes, who built it because he felt the other courses around Pittsburgh were not difficult enough. The course was constantly tweaked in the early years by Fownes and his son William. Both Fownes were accomplished players with William winning the U.S. Amateur in 1910 and serving as the playing captain of the first U.S. Walker Cup team in 1922.
Trees, or no trees?
The course was extremely influential in the development of early golf courses in America. It was equally influential in future years by setting trends that have changed the way many other courses have evolved. When Oakmont opened, it was built in an open field and had no trees on the course, adding to the links-like flavor that Fownes wanted from his visits overseas. In the 1950s (after all the Fownes had left the club) Oakmont added thousands of non-native trees to line the corridors of the holes, a look that was a heavy trend of the time. This work was mostly done by Robert Trent Jones, who also modified the bunkers to fit more of his style of the time.
The course continued to evolve over the years with the bunkers being restored by Tom Fazio… but the trees remained. In preparation for the 2008 U.S. Open, Oakmont cut down thousands of trees, returning the course to its open, windswept origins. This was very controversial among the members, and much of the work was done in the middle of the night in the off-season so as not to cause a big stir. After 2008, thousands more trees have been cut down, opening all of the amazing long views across the property. You can see almost every hole on the property from just about every spot on the course. Oakmont was the first course to embrace this massive tree removal and it has turned into a trend with hundreds of classic courses removing their non-native trees and going back to their more open original layouts.
Oakmont is the only course that Fownes designed and I believe that contributes greatly to its uniqueness. Fownes’ version of difficulty did not include artificial water hazards, out of bounds or excessive bunkering fronting greens, and it did not rely simply on longer-than-average holes to challenge the golfer. Instead, it has an amazingly varied mix of holes that challenge the golfer in a variety of ways both mentally and physically. Overall, the course requires you to be a straight driver of the ball, a good iron player and to have a deft short game and putting touch. You also need to be able to think your way around the course while you execute the shots you choose at a high level.
A good variety
Oakmont has its share of length with long par 4s, such as hole Nos. 1, 10, 15 and 18, the monster par-5 12th and long par 3s such as Nos. 8 and 16. What sets the course apart to me, however, are the short holes and the holes that require strategic decision-making off the tee. These include short par 4s such Nos. 2, 11 and 17 and mid-length par 4s including Nos. 5 and 14. These holes can be just as difficult as the long ones, and they require a completely different skill set. The short par-3 13th and short par-5 9th (plays as a par 4 for the U.S. Open) round out what is an amazing set of shorter holes.
The course uses the natural movement of the site very well and has a tight, extremely walkable routing despite being bisected by the Pennsylvania Turnpike at the bottom of the hill in the middle of the property. I particularly love the fallaway greens at 1, 10, 12, and to a lesser degree 3 and 15 where the front of the green is higher than the back. This is a unique look that you do not see in the USA very often. Without the little backboard that a back-to-front sloping green provides, you must hit the ball solid or execute a well played run-up shot to hold the green. The short par 4s temp the long hitter just enough to make them think about hitting driver, but wayward shots are punished enough to make most think twice. The 17th, at a little under 300 yards, could be the hardest hole on the course, and yet it is definitely drivable for the right player who hits a great drive. The small and extremely narrow green requires a short shot be hit the perfect distance if you decide to lay up to the right down the fairway. Hit it even a little short and you end up in the aptly named “Big Mouth” bunker which is extremely deep. Hit it a hair long or with not enough spin to hold the green and you end up rolling over the green into one of a few smaller bunkers. Carry the bunkers on the left side off the tee into the sliver of fairway up by the green and you have a short, open shot from a much better angle into the fatter part of the green. Such risk/reward and great use of angles is paramount to Oakmont’s genius.
Green complexes are…complex
Oakmont also sports one of the best sets of greens anywhere in the world. They are all heavily contoured and very challenging, yet playable. You can certainly make putts out there if you are putting well, but get on the wrong side of the hole and you are left with an extremely difficult, but rarely impossible 2 putt. They are also very unique due to Fownes only designing one course, as they do not look like any other classic course; they have a feel all their own. They are mostly open in front, coming from the correct angle, and they have many squarish edges. They also cut the tight fringe far back into the fairway, which aids in run-up shots; it also gives a great look where the green and the fairway blend together seamlessly.
The bunkering is also very unique and very special… and they are true hazards. Find yourself in a fairway bunker off the tee, and you are likely wedging out without much of any chance of reaching the greens. The green-side bunkers are fearsome, very deep and difficult. The construction of the bunkers is unique too — most of them have very steep and tall faces that were built up in the line of play. Oakmont is also home to one of the most famous bunkers in golf; the “Church Pews” bunkers — a large, long rectangular bunker between the fairways of holes 3 and 4 with strips of grass in the middle like the pews in a church. There is also a smaller “Church Pews” bunker left of the fairway off the tee on hole 15. Hit it into one of these two bunkers and good luck finding a descent lie.
Ari’s last word
All-in-all, along with being one of the hardest courses in the world, Oakmont is also one of the best courses in the world. It is hard enough to challenge even the best players in the world day-in and day-out, but it can easily be played by a 15-handicap without losing a ball. It is extremely unique and varied and requires you to use every club in your bag along with your brain to be successful. Add that to a club that has as much history as any other in the county, and Oakmont is one of golf’s incredibly special places.
Coming Up: A Big Golf Adventure
My name is Jacob Sjöman, and I’m a 35-year-old golf photographer who also enjoys the game we all love. I will be sharing some experiences here on a big golf trip that we are doing. With me I’ve got my friend Johan. I will introduce him properly later, but he is quite a funny character. According to Johan, he is the best golf photo assistant in the world, and we will see about that since this is probably his biggest test yet doing this trip. Previously on our trips, Johan almost got us killed in Dubai with a lack of driving skills. He also missed a recent evening photo shoot in Bulgaria while having a few beers too many… and that’s not all.
Anyway, the last couple of days I’ve been packing my bags over and over. I came home from the Canary Islands this Sunday and I’ve been constantly checking and rechecking that we’ve got all the required equipment, batteries, and that the cameras are 100 percent functional and good to go for this golf trip. I’m still not sure, but in a couple of minutes I will be sitting in a taxi to the airport and there will be no turning back.
Where are we going then? We are going to visit some of the very best golf courses in New Zealand and Australia. There will be breathtaking golf on cliffsides, jaw-dropping scenic courses, and some hidden gems. And probably a big amount of lost balls with a lot of material produced in the end.
I couldn’t be more excited for a golf journey like this one. Flying around the globe to these special golf courses I’ve only dreamed about visiting before gives me a big kick and I feel almost feel like a Indiana Jones. The only thing we’ve got in common, though, is that we don’t like snakes. Australia seems to be one of the worst destinations to visit in that purpose, but all the upsides are massive in this.
First, we will take off from a cold Stockholm (it’s raining heavily outside at the moment) and then we will do our first stop at Doha in Quatar. Then after two more hours, we are finally heading off to Auckland on the north island of New Zealand, a mega-flight of 16 hours. I believe that could very well be one of the longest flights available for a ordinary airplane. I need to check that.
Flights for me usually mean work, editing photos from different golf courses I’ve visited, writing some texts, editing some films, and planning for the future. Last time, though, I finally managed to sleep a little, which is a welcome progress for a guy that was deadly scared of flying until 2008.
Now, I am perfectly fine with flying. A few rocky flights over the Atlantic Sea to Detroit helped me a lot, and my motto is now, “If those flights got me down on the ground safely, it takes a lot of failures to bring down a plane.”
Anyway, I hope you will join me on this golf trip. Stay tuned!
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