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Are ballata balls still made?


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#1 nikos74

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 05:46 AM

Hi.  I recently purchased a set of vintage 1959 wilson dyna-powered irons and I am looking for persimmon woods to complete the set.  

My only concern is of the hardness of modern balls and if they will destroy the wooden clubfaces or wear them down unusually.  I resent not being able to buy new ballata balls and having to order them from ebay for 2-3 times the original price...plus shipping handling and taking chances with used balls.  

What modern day equivalents approach the softness, spin and workability of that era, if any?  And what about ball compression; the lower the compression the more feel?

I look forward to your feedback.  By the way, I bought those clubs not so much because I am an old-timer but because I good a great deal on professional blade quality clubs.  Clubs from the 80's era was what I was originally seeking but they were at least twice as expensive!


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#2 Trebuchet

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 08:42 AM

Not sure if balatas are still being manufactured by anyone, but I know that Louisville Golf sells some balls specifically for Hickory sticks.

http://www.louisvill...products_id/256

#3 jbrunone

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 09:20 AM

Im sure you can find them on a website.



#4 dlygrisse

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 09:33 AM

Just go with a ProV1 or comparable.  The cover is soft and the compression is not out of control on these.  

The first 2 years I played golf I used a persimmon driver and 3 wood and I used mostly Rock-Flites during this period, never had a problem withe fhe face or head breaking.  

The only issue you may have is that the spin will be lower off the driver, and with the persimmons it helped to have a little spin to keep the ball in the air, try going with a slightly softer shaft, since it will probably be steel and 43" a fairly soft shaft should not be a problem.
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#5 Cornbread

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 12:16 PM

 dlygrisse, on 12 March 2011 - 09:33 AM, said:

Just go with a ProV1 or comparable.  The cover is soft and the compression is not out of control on these.  



Actually a Pro V1's compression is very high.  
Not sure why you would care to use these old clubs, however if you do, try a urethane ball of around 90 compression. FT Tour Wilson Staff or Srixon Z Star. Now if it were me I would use a Wilson Staff ZIP or FIFTY balls, possibly a Callaway Diablo as these are very low compression balls.

Edited by Cornbread, 12 March 2011 - 12:18 PM.


#6 golfbum9

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 12:24 PM

Nowadays I wouldn't worry about it. The Top Rock days are gone (thankfully!). Every year I play at least a few "Retro rounds", with my '58 Dyna and my old persimmons. Sometimes with my stash of various balatas... Tour 100/ Tour Balata/ Professional 100, HT-100/ Tour Ltd. HT etc.
From fear of cutting and not being able to replace, most have gone into the shag bag. So I play todays offerings and haven't had a problem.... from the ZStar to the TM Burner with good results

Edited by golfbum9, 12 March 2011 - 12:31 PM.


#7 Smoothduffer

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 01:34 PM

Wilson Staff FG Tour and Srizon Z-stars will be the softest urethane options
Wilson Staff's 3-piece Zip would be the best overall option, it has the lowest overall compression.
Cally diablo or Wilson Staff D:25 and 50 elite would be the best 2-piece options

#8 golfbum9

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 01:41 PM

Good list Smooth. In my opinion, the regular TM Burner feel the closest to a balata.

Edited by golfbum9, 12 March 2011 - 01:42 PM.


#9 nikos74

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 03:55 PM

 golfbum9, on 12 March 2011 - 12:24 PM, said:

Nowadays I wouldn't worry about it. The Top Rock days are gone (thankfully!). Every year I play at least a few "Retro rounds", with my '58 Dyna and my old persimmons. Sometimes with my stash of various balatas... Tour 100/ Tour Balata/ Professional 100, HT-100/ Tour Ltd. HT etc.
From fear of cutting and not being able to replace, most have gone into the shag bag. So I play todays offerings and haven't had a problem.... from the ZStar to the TM Burner with good results

Did they really cut open that much or was it a result of poor contact?  Even surlyn balls get superficial cuts if you hit them thin and hard so with soft balata it would be worse.  I understand most or all were hand made, thus more expensive so how can mass produced 3-4 piece balls of today be just as expensive, if not more so, than balata?  

It doesn't really make sense imo but hey whatever.  I guess 60-80 compression "rocks" are suitable alternatives in that they compress easier upon contact and feel better for wooden woods..especially laminated woods because various parts were glued together versus a single block of persimmon.

#10 nikos74

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 04:13 PM

 Cornbread, on 12 March 2011 - 12:16 PM, said:

 dlygrisse, on 12 March 2011 - 09:33 AM, said:

Just go with a ProV1 or comparable.  The cover is soft and the compression is not out of control on these.  



Actually a Pro V1's compression is very high.  
Not sure why you would care to use these old clubs, however if you do, try a urethane ball of around 90 compression. FT Tour Wilson Staff or Srixon Z Star. Now if it were me I would use a Wilson Staff ZIP or FIFTY balls, possibly a Callaway Diablo as these are very low compression balls.

I have nothing against modern equipment.  In fact my first set was 3-pw cleveland vas+ with extreme offset and they were great confidence boosters for me; big large heads and nice medium flex shafts!  I still use them when I play golf but I recently picked up those vintage clubs to increase my ball striking accuracy because due to the smaller and heavier heads its much easier to troubleshoot your swing.  

If you want to take your game to the ultimate level then you gotta go with blades and the older blades are much smaller FORCING you to develop "a perfect swing" by giving you "perfect feedback".  Mishits on those clubs go 20-30 percent less than perfectly struck balls and hooks/slices are exaggerated.  Once you learn ball flight laws and swing mechanics its just a matter of fine tunning everything yourself rather than having a gazillion lessons which you forget about later.


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#11 dlygrisse

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 04:34 PM

 Cornbread, on 12 March 2011 - 12:16 PM, said:

 dlygrisse, on 12 March 2011 - 09:33 AM, said:

Just go with a ProV1 or comparable.  The cover is soft and the compression is not out of control on these.  



Actually a Pro V1's compression is very high.  
Not sure why you would care to use these old clubs, however if you do, try a urethane ball of around 90 compression. FT Tour Wilson Staff or Srixon Z Star. Now if it were me I would use a Wilson Staff ZIP or FIFTY balls, possibly a Callaway Diablo as these are very low compression balls.

Actually Titleist says the compression on the ProV is 84-96 the ProV1X has a much higher compression.  http://www.titleist....asp?faqid=64541

However their NXT and SoLo balls are very low compression but the covers are much harder.

Edited by dlygrisse, 12 March 2011 - 04:35 PM.

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#12 Cornbread

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 04:41 PM

 dlygrisse, on 12 March 2011 - 04:34 PM, said:

 Cornbread, on 12 March 2011 - 12:16 PM, said:

 dlygrisse, on 12 March 2011 - 09:33 AM, said:

Just go with a ProV1 or comparable.  The cover is soft and the compression is not out of control on these.  



Actually a Pro V1's compression is very high.  
Not sure why you would care to use these old clubs, however if you do, try a urethane ball of around 90 compression. FT Tour Wilson Staff or Srixon Z Star. Now if it were me I would use a Wilson Staff ZIP or FIFTY balls, possibly a Callaway Diablo as these are very low compression balls.

Actually Titleist says the compression on the ProV is 84-96 the ProV1X has a much higher compression.  http://www.titleist....asp?faqid=64541

However their NXT and SoLo balls are very low compression but the covers are much harder.
Actual test results in a lab for the Pro V1 show it to be from 93 to 98 compression, depending on the year.   Thus, this is more than the others balls that were recommended.

#13 dlygrisse

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 04:50 PM

 Cornbread, on 12 March 2011 - 04:41 PM, said:

 dlygrisse, on 12 March 2011 - 04:34 PM, said:

 Cornbread, on 12 March 2011 - 12:16 PM, said:

 dlygrisse, on 12 March 2011 - 09:33 AM, said:

Just go with a ProV1 or comparable.  The cover is soft and the compression is not out of control on these.  



Actually a Pro V1's compression is very high.  
Not sure why you would care to use these old clubs, however if you do, try a urethane ball of around 90 compression. FT Tour Wilson Staff or Srixon Z Star. Now if it were me I would use a Wilson Staff ZIP or FIFTY balls, possibly a Callaway Diablo as these are very low compression balls.

Actually Titleist says the compression on the ProV is 84-96 the ProV1X has a much higher compression.  http://www.titleist....asp?faqid=64541

However their NXT and SoLo balls are very low compression but the covers are much harder.
Actual test results in a lab for the Pro V1 show it to be from 93 to 98 compression, depending on the year.   Thus, this is more than the others balls that were recommended.

Okay..fine I have not seen that test but assuming you are correct the high end is very similar, just splitting hairs.  Point being what was the compression of the balatas?  They were usually rated at 90 or 100 (yes I played golf in the days of balata).  So in this sense using these balls should not be detrimental when using classic woods if breakage is a concern.  Also if you are good enough to play classics I would assume you would want to use a ball that you could spin around the green, so I would assume you would want to use a ProV or comparable???


My concern with finding some old balatas and playing them is they tended to lose some of there fizz over time, even when relativly new, I  would think if you found some stock piled somewhere you would be giving up quite a bit in terms of distance being that they would probably be a minimum of 10 years old.  

sure there is no problem playing a SoLo or NXT I'm just saying why not play the ProV?
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#14 nikos74

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 05:00 PM

 dlygrisse, on 12 March 2011 - 04:50 PM, said:

 Cornbread, on 12 March 2011 - 04:41 PM, said:

 dlygrisse, on 12 March 2011 - 04:34 PM, said:

 Cornbread, on 12 March 2011 - 12:16 PM, said:

 dlygrisse, on 12 March 2011 - 09:33 AM, said:

Just go with a ProV1 or comparable.  The cover is soft and the compression is not out of control on these.  



Actually a Pro V1's compression is very high.  
Not sure why you would care to use these old clubs, however if you do, try a urethane ball of around 90 compression. FT Tour Wilson Staff or Srixon Z Star. Now if it were me I would use a Wilson Staff ZIP or FIFTY balls, possibly a Callaway Diablo as these are very low compression balls.

Actually Titleist says the compression on the ProV is 84-96 the ProV1X has a much higher compression.  http://www.titleist....asp?faqid=64541

However their NXT and SoLo balls are very low compression but the covers are much harder.
Actual test results in a lab for the Pro V1 show it to be from 93 to 98 compression, depending on the year.   Thus, this is more than the others balls that were recommended.

Okay..fine I have not seen that test but assuming you are correct the high end is very similar, just splitting hairs.  Point being what was the compression of the balatas?  They were usually rated at 90 or 100 (yes I played golf in the days of balata).  So in this sense using these balls should not be detrimental when using classic woods if breakage is a concern.  Also if you are good enough to play classics I would assume you would want to use a ball that you could spin around the green, so I would assume you would want to use a ProV or comparable???


My concern with finding some old balatas and playing them is they tended to lose some of there fizz over time, even when relativly new, I  would think if you found some stock piled somewhere you would be giving up quite a bit in terms of distance being that they would probably be a minimum of 10 years old.  

sure there is no problem playing a SoLo or NXT I'm just saying why not play the ProV?

I think its the combination of hard covers and high compression rates that may damage laminated woods with off-center hits.  I cant really say for sure but that seems to be the consensus.  I have hit a few at the practice range and boy do they feel crisp when struck properly...you get that click sound!

A hard cover and low compression should not be bad.  I was actually considering the ladies version for a while........:cheesy:

#15 Onebulldogs

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 07:29 PM

 nikos74, on 12 March 2011 - 03:55 PM, said:

 golfbum9, on 12 March 2011 - 12:24 PM, said:

Nowadays I wouldn't worry about it. The Top Rock days are gone (thankfully!). Every year I play at least a few "Retro rounds", with my '58 Dyna and my old persimmons. Sometimes with my stash of various balatas... Tour 100/ Tour Balata/ Professional 100, HT-100/ Tour Ltd. HT etc.
From fear of cutting and not being able to replace, most have gone into the shag bag. So I play todays offerings and haven't had a problem.... from the ZStar to the TM Burner with good results

Did they really cut open that much or was it a result of poor contact?  Even surlyn balls get superficial cuts if you hit them thin and hard so with soft balata it would be worse.  I understand most or all were hand made, thus more expensive so how can mass produced 3-4 piece balls of today be just as expensive, if not more so, than balata?  

It doesn't really make sense imo but hey whatever.  I guess 60-80 compression "rocks" are suitable alternatives in that they compress easier upon contact and feel better for wooden woods..especially laminated woods because various parts were glued together versus a single block of persimmon.

You won't have a problem with any modern ball.  Back when we played persimmon, we had rock hard range balls and I never recalled any damaged clubs.  I know Rockflites were very common and I played Titleist DT's b/c my dad's company sold them with their logo at a discount.

Wilson generally makes the softest compression balls.  No modern cover will damage your stick.

As for balata, it was expensive, an environmental problem, and they would cut like butter at the least provocation.  You don't really need them.

When I want to fix my driver swing, I take out my old Persmisson and head to the range. They are 30 year old and have not cracked yet.

Edited by Onebulldogs, 12 March 2011 - 07:34 PM.


#16 golfbum9

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 09:40 PM

 nikos74, on 12 March 2011 - 03:55 PM, said:

 golfbum9, on 12 March 2011 - 12:24 PM, said:

Nowadays I wouldn't worry about it. The Top Rock days are gone (thankfully!). Every year I play at least a few "Retro rounds", with my '58 Dyna and my old persimmons. Sometimes with my stash of various balatas... Tour 100/ Tour Balata/ Professional 100, HT-100/ Tour Ltd. HT etc.
From fear of cutting and not being able to replace, most have gone into the shag bag. So I play todays offerings and haven't had a problem.... from the ZStar to the TM Burner with good results

Did they really cut open that much or was it a result of poor contact?  Even surlyn balls get superficial cuts if you hit them thin and hard so with soft balata it would be worse.  I understand most or all were hand made, thus more expensive so how can mass produced 3-4 piece balls of today be just as expensive, if not more so, than balata?  

It doesn't really make sense imo but hey whatever.  I guess 60-80 compression "rocks" are suitable alternatives in that they compress easier upon contact and feel better for wooden woods..especially laminated woods because various parts were glued together versus a single block of persimmon.
A number of things would cause a cut. Especially after one was caught thin.... leaving the ball unplayable with a huge smile that seemed to mock you    :lol:

And yes they were expensive to make, but I'm not sure by how much. They sure were soft though, with a ton of spin.

Edited by golfbum9, 12 March 2011 - 09:40 PM.


#17 ExProGoingBack

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 09:46 PM

I think i still have some titleist black balatas somewhere... When i quit the game i had 144 dozen in my basement....my old man was giving them way as gifts

#18 storm319

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 10:18 AM

 dlygrisse, on 12 March 2011 - 04:50 PM, said:

 Cornbread, on 12 March 2011 - 04:41 PM, said:

 dlygrisse, on 12 March 2011 - 04:34 PM, said:

 Cornbread, on 12 March 2011 - 12:16 PM, said:

 dlygrisse, on 12 March 2011 - 09:33 AM, said:

Just go with a ProV1 or comparable.  The cover is soft and the compression is not out of control on these.  



Actually a Pro V1's compression is very high.  
Not sure why you would care to use these old clubs, however if you do, try a urethane ball of around 90 compression. FT Tour Wilson Staff or Srixon Z Star. Now if it were me I would use a Wilson Staff ZIP or FIFTY balls, possibly a Callaway Diablo as these are very low compression balls.

Actually Titleist says the compression on the ProV is 84-96 the ProV1X has a much higher compression.  http://www.titleist....asp?faqid=64541

However their NXT and SoLo balls are very low compression but the covers are much harder.
Actual test results in a lab for the Pro V1 show it to be from 93 to 98 compression, depending on the year.   Thus, this is more than the others balls that were recommended.

Okay..fine I have not seen that test but assuming you are correct the high end is very similar, just splitting hairs.  Point being what was the compression of the balatas?  They were usually rated at 90 or 100 (yes I played golf in the days of balata).  So in this sense using these balls should not be detrimental when using classic woods if breakage is a concern.  Also if you are good enough to play classics I would assume you would want to use a ball that you could spin around the green, so I would assume you would want to use a ProV or comparable???


My concern with finding some old balatas and playing them is they tended to lose some of there fizz over time, even when relativly new, I  would think if you found some stock piled somewhere you would be giving up quite a bit in terms of distance being that they would probably be a minimum of 10 years old.  

sure there is no problem playing a SoLo or NXT I'm just saying why not play the ProV?

Cornbread is right, the ProV1 overall compression is in the mid to high 90's. Titleist is listing the core compression on the link above. Even at the same overall compression, the ProV1 will feel harder because the cover and mantle layer are harder overall than the balata cover and wound 2nd layer. The balata balls had much harder cores which is why the compression is around the same overall.

The OP should be fine because there were probably more surlyn covered wound balls being used than balata since they were much cheaper and they were rocks compared the surlyn used today. Any low compression 2-piece ball would probably be your best bet.

#19 farmer

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 11:36 AM

It's not so much the compression of the ball as the hardness of the cover.  I suppose an old Tour 100 may have been a technically harder ball than an NXT, but the construction made them feel much softer.  If you could find some old balatas, they will have lost a bunch of performance.  When they were new, a one year old ball had already lost some zip.  And, they really will cut with a harsh word.  When I started to play, it was generally accepted that you found a good, round ball and that was your putting ball because they either came out of round, or after a few hole went out of round.

#20 professor_doom

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 01:27 AM

I'm too young to have played balata, but my father says he does not miss them at all.  They'd cut at the slightest provocation, go out of round with a decent whack, and they'd lose distance sitting on the shelf as the windings lost their tension.

The best drive I have hit with a persimmon driver was a massive draw on a hot day on a very dry fairway.  Way over 300 including roll--nearly 320.  Ball was a Slazenger distance rock I borrowed from a guy in my foursome when I didn't feel like walking all the way to my bag (which I had left over 100 yards away).  Not a ball I would play on a regular basis, though.  I've had good experiences with persimmon playing the Srixon TriSpeed.

I believe the "hickory golf" balls Lousiville sells are actually modern balls (Srixon soft feels, I think) that have been re-molded in a machine similar to a waffle iron for golf balls.


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#21 professor_doom

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 01:40 AM

By the way, I've heard people say that "low-compression" or even ladies' balls work well with persimmon clubs.  I have not found this to be the case.  To the contrary--I've found they make it out to MAYBE 240-250, then drop like rocks.  Ugly trajectory.

#22 Mudguard

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 02:18 AM

And they go absolutely nowhere.

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#23 ExProGoingBack

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 10:44 AM

 Mudguard, on 17 March 2011 - 02:18 AM, said:

And they go absolutely nowhere.


LOL....a blast from the past....

#24 vietnameeh

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 08:52 PM

i may have a couple dozen, tour balatas, tour prestige, professionals and maxfli revolutions i can unload to you haha




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