You want to know what a Titleist golf ball plant smells like? Rubber. Want to know what a Titleist golf ball customization plant smells like? Paint.
If you’re wondering anything else — like how Titleist designs and builds its golf balls, how a ball’s core is constructed or what role ball compression really plays — come with me on this journey as I relay my knowledge and experiences from my visit to Titleist’s golf ball facilities.
What’s it like there?
Let’s put it this way, Titleist’s research and design team are possibly the most over-qualified chefs in the world. Biochemists and chemical engineers develop formulas for ingredients with painful precision, and have access to a three-story, factory-style kitchen to cook up golf balls that sell like hot cakes — something to the tune of 240,000 Pro V1 and Pro V1x’s each day.
Ball Plant III (yes, there’s more than one in Massachusetts and another in Thailand) has a rubber mixer that’s taller than three basketball hoops stacked atop one another. It has top-secret rooms that aren’t to be photographed, X-ray machines, automated everything and a terrifying robotic guillotine that slices huge blocks of rubber.
Its R&D facility has a room full of its competitors’ golf balls — pretty much every golf ball ever made, just to keep an eye on the competition — laboratories everywhere and hallways of patent plaques that act as Titleist’s own golf ball hall of fame.
Just down the road from Titleist’s corporate headquarters in Fairhaven, Mass., is Ball Plant III, where its golf balls are made, as well as Plant C, where Titleist golf balls receive personalized touches.
So what’s it like at Ball Plant III and Plant C? Before I get to that, I’ll start from the beginning.
I stood on No. 18 green at New Bedford Country Club, putter and golf ball in-hand, waiting my turn to try the putt that started it all.
The story goes like this.
Acushnet Company founder Phil Young, who was an amateur golfer and owner of a precision molded rubber company at the time, was playing golf one Sunday in the early 1930’s at New Bedford CC. His foursome included Dr. Bonner, head of the x-ray department at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford.
Young was considered a good player, but he was all over the course that day — hitting hooks and slices, struggling mightily to control his ball. On No. 18, however, he had a putt to win the match. Despite a good stroke, the ball rolled offline and missed the hole. While squaring away his bets from the match, Young claimed there was something wrong with his golf ball, not his game.
The argument got heated, and Young convinced Dr. Bonner to go to St. Luke’s Hospital and put his golf ball under the X-ray machine. It turned out Young was right — the exterior of the golf ball was round, but the core was way off center.
Young and Bonner returned to the pro shop and convinced the club professional to let them put a dozen balls of every model under the x-ray machine. Sure enough, every ball had an unbalanced core, some worse than others.
This discovery set a fire under Young, who set his mind to developing a truly balanced golf ball. It took nearly three years — in the midst of the Great Depression, mind you — to get a ball that was ready for the golf course. But when he did, he had built golf’s first, perfectly balanced golf ball.
Today, more than 80 years later, quality standards are still paramount with Titleist golf balls. Each Pro V1 goes through more than 90 quality checks, and each Pro V1x, because of its dual core, undergoes over 120 quality checks. And, sticking to it’s roots, every Titleist ball passes through an X-ray machine before it’s retail-ready.
With that said, I did miss my 6-foot putt on No. 18 at New Bedford CC with a new Pro V1x. Titleist balls have been much improved in the 80 years since Phil Young missed the putt that started it all, but it still takes a good stroke to knock a 6-footer in the hole.
Ball Plant III: The Mecca
Now for the fun stuff. Join me on a tour of Ball Plant III, where I saw Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls get built from scratch.
The Custom Plant
At the custom plant, employees sit at golf ball stamping machines and exhibit ninja-like hand-eye coordination. You can see below just how fast one of the factory workers moves her hands, changing golf balls in and out to get fresh stampings.
5 Minutes, Max
That concludes our tour of Titleist’s golf ball facilities. If you’re like me, you now have a new appreciation of what it takes to make a premium golf ball. Remember, the rules of golf only permit you to search for 5 minutes before a ball is deemed “lost” — even if it’s a Pro V1.
Complete Photo Gallery
Titleist launches Pro V1 RCT (Radar Capture Technology) golf balls
If you’ve hit golf balls indoors on a TrackMan, you’re familiar with the annoyance of orientating a ball’s reflective marker for tracking.
Beyond the inconvenience of tinkering with every ball before hitting, the current “position the sticker” system is far from perfect — if you don’t orientate the ball the right way, the sticker is damaged or has fallen off, spin numbers will be estimated, and thus, less accurate.
And while this phenomenon is bothersome to the golfer beating balls on a TrackMan indoors, it’s even more problematic for indoor fitters who rely heavily on spin numbers and accuracy in peak height, roll out, carry distance, and more to make their club and shaft recommendations.
Fortunately, Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls with Radar Capture Technology (RCT), launched today, offer a solution and provide the most accurate ball flight information possible.
“Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x RCT golf balls combine the game’s greatest combination of speed, spin, and feel with new technology that more consistently captures precision performance and golf ball data from TrackMan units used in an indoor setting,” said Jeremy Stone, Vice President, Titleist Golf Ball Marketing. “We have worked closely with TrackMan for more than two years to optimize this embedded radar reflective, patent pending technology. The result is a reliably strong ‘signal’ that enables spin capture on all shots.”
Years in the making, these golf balls have the same performance characteristics of Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls. According to Titleist, golfers can play them outside, if they’re so inclined, and they won’t notice a difference in performance, and RCT balls conform with R&A and USGA rules.
It took Titleist and TrackMan engineers years of collaboration to develop a technology that would both stand up to the wear and tear of a golf ball in an indoor environment and return 99-plus percent signal capture.
Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x RCT golf balls will be available through authorized Titleist trade partners in North America and EMEA, as well as Titleist.com beginning Nov. 3, Global distribution will follow in April 2022. $64.99/dozen.
‘It’s the perfect club’ – GolfWRXers discuss Callaway’s new Apex UW utility wood
In our forums, our members have been discussing Callaway’s new Apex UW utility wood. WRXer ‘CopeGolfer’ is interested in hearing from members who have hit the club, and plenty of WRXers have been sharing their very positive early experiences with the UW in our forum.
Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.
- XanderSingh: “I took mine out for the first time yesterday! I have it shafted with an Atmos Blue 8x. I have a 21 degree to go up against my 7 wood. I really like it so far; it’s much easier to work and flight the ball than my 7 wood. Also should mention that I’ve never gotten along with hybrids. I would equate it to fairway woods that I played as a junior (early 2000’s). Also, I think it’s for everyone really; my friend who is an 18 handicap hit it a few times and really loved it. So much that he picked up a 17 degree on his way home to replace his 4 wood.”
- PowerCobra98: “I’ve had mine for about a week now. It’s the perfect club. Really the best of both worlds between fairway and hybrid.”
- mootrail: “Got Mine! Looks fantastic! Easy to hit, centered every one and feels hot and solid (off the mat). I settled for the Project X as I didn’t want to wait but seemed decent at the shop. From address, it reminds me a lot of my Nickent 3DX Utility DC which was exactly this; a cross between their fairway and hybrid. Beyond that, it’s miles different. Mats and launch monitors are meaningless to me; I can’t wait to get it out on the course! I will say it sets up open, launches low and definitely seems anti-left; exactly what I’m looking for.”
- QuigleyDU: “This club is awesome. I am completely smitten.”
Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (10/20/21): Byron Morgan DH11 Oil Can Finish putter
At GolfWRX, we love golf, plain and simple.
We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing we all love – buy and selling equipment.
Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a Byron Morgan DH11 Oil Can Finish putter
From the seller (@GolfFeen007): “1)Byron Morgan DH11 Putter Oil Can Finish. These are becoming more and more rare in the wild. The DH11 is basically a full cavity DH89, usually a little heavier with a softer more dense feel at impact. Carbon Steel with fine face milling and hand-stamped lettering with the mushrooming, which is very rare these days unless it’s a Tour Issue Putter. Tiffany and white paint fill. Head weight is 360g and plays 33.5”. Headcover included. Dropped to
$600 OBO Let’s move it! $550 shipped is a heck of a deal on this one! Byron Morgan DH11 – $550″
To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Byron Morgan DH11 Oil Can Finish putter
Patrick Reed’s Twitter suggests that he’s fuming with Stricker’s Ryder Cup snub
Taking the backyard putting green plunge
4-wood vs 7-wood vs hybrid – GolfWRXers discuss
The Wedge Guy: More on learning – the grip
Jessica Korda calls out social media ‘hate’ as rise in online abuse continues
Justin Rose’s caddie calls into question U.S. player’s graciousness at Solheim Cup
Clement: This wrist position can add 30 yards to your drive
Steve Stricker shares positive news from Tiger Woods’ rehab
Spider-Man’s driver off the deck nearly lands him a spot on the European Ryder Cup team
Bryson DeChambeau shares why dimples are the key to sinking more short putts
Jordan Spieth WITB 2021 (October)
Jordan Spieth what’s in the bag accurate as of the CJ Cup. Driver: Titleist TSi3 (10 degrees, A1 SureFit) Shaft:...
WITB Time Machine: Tiger Woods 2019 ZOZO Championship
At the 2019 ZOZO Championship, Tiger Woods recorded his 82nd victory on the PGA Tour, tying Sam Snead’s record. Here...
Xander Schauffele WITB 2021 (October)
Xander Schauffele what’s in the bag accurate as of the CJ Cup Driver: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond LS (10.5...
Dustin Johnson WITB 2021 (October)
Dustin Johnson what’s in the bag accurate as of the CJ Cup. Driver: TaylorMade SIM (10.5 degrees @12) Shaft: LA...
19th Hole1 week ago
Bryson DeChambeau shares why dimples are the key to sinking more short putts
19th Hole2 weeks ago
Bryson reveals the cut-off point on money list where players make an annual loss on Tour
19th Hole2 weeks ago
Tiger Woods photographed back on golf course with son Charlie
19th Hole3 weeks ago
‘Patrick Cantlay p****d me off’ – European Ryder Cup rookie hits out at U.S. star
Whats in the Bag3 days ago
Rory McIlroy’s winning WITB: 2021 CJ Cup @ Summit
19th Hole7 days ago
High school sophomore records a historic 57 in conference championship
19th Hole2 weeks ago
Why Harris English’s putter grip led to strange ruling at Ryder Cup
Podcasts3 weeks ago
The 19th Hole Episode 168: Long Drive Champ Maurice Allen discusses Bryson