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For Titleist, Golf Balls Are All About Consistency

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When people are buying golf balls, they’re generally thinking about two things. One is getting a golf ball that offers a performance benefit of some type. Maybe they’d like more distance, more feel, or more spin around the green. The second is cost. Is a golfer shopping for the absolutely best golf ball for their game, or the best ball for their game at a certain price point? To Titleist’s golf ball team, there’s a third and even more important thing golfers should consider when they’re buying golf balls: consistency.

Walking through a Titleist golf ball facility near its headquarters in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, I was starting to understand just how important consistency is to the company. The location of this particular facility is a close-kept secret at Titleist. To go there, I agreed not to publish its name, as it offers a hint to its location. And when I toured it in late March, I was the first media member to visit. In fact, only a fraction of Titleist employees have ever been inside the building.

The facility is not impossibly large or busy like the company’s golf ball manufacturing plants, nor does it have the immediate “wow factor” of Titleist’s Manchester Lane Test Facility. The one-story building and what goes on inside, however, is arguably the key to Titleist’s dominant position in the golf ball industry. It’s where the company makes good on the promise to “own every step of the process.”

ProV1Factory_2017_0969

These “preps” will become outer cores for Titleist’s Pro V1x golf balls.

Titleist’s parent company, Acushnet, sells extremely popular golf clubs, golf clothes and golf shoes, but there’s nothing more important to the company than the success of its golf balls, and it’s been that way for a long time. The company’s leadership position goes back to the 1949 U.S. Open, which was the first time Titleist led what’s known as the ball count (how many golfers are using a certain brand of golf ball in a tournament). It hasn’t relinquished the title in the nearly 70 years since. Today, Titleist is the most-used golf ball on all the leading professional golf tours. The company also owns more than a 50 percent market share in golf balls, and it has built an infrastructure to ensure its continued success.

Each day, Titleist produces more than 1 million golf balls in its golf ball manufacturing plants. About 500,000 of those balls are its flagship Pro V1 and Pro V1x models, which are the best-selling golf ball models in the world. That gives Titleist the distinction of being the most popular golf ball brand in the world, as well as the world’s most premium golf ball brand. And if you ask Titleist’s golf ball team why, they’ll tell you it’s the way its golf balls are made.

ProV1Factory_2017_1038

These Pro V1x dual cores are ready for their mantle layer, and then a urethane cover.

In the golf ball world, it’s commonplace for companies to outsource the production of their golf balls. For small golf ball companies, it’s usually a necessity given the huge cost of owning and operating a golf ball manufacturing plant. Titleist rejects the practice. It manufacturers all of its golf balls in Titleist-owned facilities, and it only manufacturers Titleist golf balls. The only caveat is that Titleist designs and manufactures golf balls for Pinnacle, a brand owned by Acushnet.

Standing in the secret facility, I was looking at the heart of those manufacturing plants. It’s where Titleist makes the machines and tools it uses to make its golf balls. Titleist’s leadership says that making its own golf ball manufacturing equipment provides the company with a competitive advantage in creating both better performing golf balls and more consistent golf balls, and there’s no denying that Titleist takes the practice seriously. The company makes its own golf robots for its internal golf ball testing. It even makes the rubber golf tees it uses for its robot tests. When it comes to actually making its golf balls, Titleist is even more granular, and you don’t have to look any further than the outside of a golf ball for an example.

ProV1Factory_2017_1429

Titleist produces its own urethane for its Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf ball covers.

The tools responsible for a golf ball’s dimples are known as “hobs,” and Titleist produces them inside its secret facility. They’re so important to Titleist’s golf ball team, in fact, that Titleist’s hobs are never disposed of even after they’re taken out of production. Every hob the company has made since the 1970s has been locked away for safekeeping.

Hobs are made of steel and look a lot like the end of a trailer hitch. They’re used to make the steel dimple cavities that are responsible for the dimple patterns of millions of golf ball, however, and for that reason they’re formed with incredible precision. To create a hob, copper electrodes jolt its exterior with 10,000 volts of electricity, which forms it into a dimple pattern that’s exact to one-third the thickness of a human hair. Few golfers realize that after a golfer makes contact with a golf ball, it’s the design of its dimples that are fully in control of a golf ball’s trajectory. While dimples can’t change the launch or spin of a golf ball — that’s programmed by a golfer at impact and a function of the materials used in a golf ball’s design — their interaction with the air can make a golf ball go higher and lower, and if they’re not perfectly designed, totally sideways.

Titleist_Donkey-Elephant

With the elephant logo pointed at the target, this golf ball has deeper dimples on its right side. Can you tell the difference?

Titleist’s golf ball team would prove this point to me later in the day in a robot test at its Manchester Lane Test Facility. The robot hit several shots with the company’s Pro V1 golf balls, each of which landed essentially in the same spot on the outdoor driving range. The company then hit intentionally flawed Pro V1 golf balls on the robot known as “donkey-elephant” balls. On one side of the ball was a donkey, the logo of the Democratic Party in U.S. politics. With the donkey pointed at the target, the ball hooked sharply to the left almost immediately into its flight due to the deeper dimples on the left side of the ball. On the opposite side of the ball was the elephant logo of the Republican Party. After it was aimed at the target, which positioned its deeper dimples on the right side of the ball, the test technician walked outside the robot room to check the road that runs along the right side of the driving range. It was clear, so he hit the button that started the robot’s arm. Had a car been driving by, it might have been struck with a wicked slice.

The robot also hit two other intentionally flawed Pro V1s that produced even more drastic effects. One had dimples on only one-half of the ball, and it curved about twice as much as the donkey-elephant balls. The robot also hit a third ball with no dimples. It nose-dived directly into the ground less than 100 yards into its flight. The point of the experiment was to show not only that dimples work, but also to illustrate how precise they need to be to create a consistent trajectory. Changing the depth of a dimple or the angle of its edges only fractionally can significantly affect the way a golf ball flies, according to Titleist’s golf ball team, and a detail as small as the amount of paint applied to a golf ball can significantly affect performance.

Manchester_Lane_Robot

See the road on the right at Titleist’s Manchester Lane Test Facility?

Just like Titleist doesn’t mess around with dimples, it also doesn’t mess around with its intellectual property. The company made headlines in March when retail giant Costco, in response to a letter sent by Acushnet that accused Costco of infringing on Acushnet patents, sought a declaratory judgment from the U.S. District Court in Seattle related to its Kirkland Signature golf balls.

The news was widely reported, both inside and outside the golf world, given Costco’s outsider status in the golf industry. It also didn’t hurt that the Kirkland Signature golf balls weren’t available for purchase at the time. Costco had been selling them for the price $1.25 per ball, roughly one-third the price of Titleist’s Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls, on the few occasions they were available online or in select Costco stores. When asked about the potential dispute with Costco, Titleist representatives responded that the company does not comment on ongoing legal matters.

null

A hallway in Titleist’s Golf Ball R&D Facility at its headquarters in Fairhaven, Massachusetts.

If a legal dispute were to occur between Acushnet and Costco, it would not be the first time the company was engaged in high-profile litigation. Acushnet has gone to court with golf ball companies big and as small in the last two decades, and it’s clear why the company doesn’t shy away from litigation. Titleist owns more than 40 percent of all issued golf ball patents. It also employs six of the top-10 golf ball patent holders, each of which holds more than 100 patents individually. Inside Titleist’s R&D Department, its patent plaques are on full display alongside a main hallway. When you turn the corner, hundreds more line an even longer hallway.

“It’s not that Titleist is walking around saying we’re the best, but we’re very proud of our commitment,” says Michael Mahoney, Vice President of Titleist Golf Ball Marketing. But Mahoney points out that with golf balls, there’s no “silver bullet” for success. Everything in a golf ball — from its core to its cover and all parts in between — needs to be perfectly executed for it to perform as designed. Each of the golf balls in a dozen need to perform the same, as does every dozen of those golf balls in pro shops around the world. Only by guaranteeing that can a company be sure its golf balls are giving its customers the best chance to succeed on the course.

ProV1Factory_2017_1527

Rubber stamps place the Titleist script on the company’s golf balls.

To illustrate his point, Mahoney asked me to think about an avid golfer who uses a specific model of golf ball. He then asked how many golf balls that golfer might use in an entire season. I put myself in that golfer’s shoes. I assumed he or she might lose an average of three balls per round, and play an average of at least four rounds per month for six months. That’s a minimum of 72 golf balls.

“All those golf balls need to perform the same,” Mahoney said. “And if they don’t, that golfer isn’t playing a Titleist golf ball.”

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66 Comments

66 Comments

  1. Mad-Mex

    May 21, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    Now I know where the “Hammer” driver infomercial writers went to, GolfWRX !!

  2. Matt

    May 21, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Lots of good balls out there to choose from now, so you can’t beat buying a few sleeves and seeing what feels best rather than being loyal to a brand. Anecdotally, I find more new condition Pro V1/V1X’s in the rough than any other ball (vanity handicappers?), NXT Tour to be a good all rounder, and DT Solo’s not for me but will try the new one.

  3. Gorden

    May 20, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    NO way the Costco ball is as good as the ProV…the Costco ball is based on a ball 4 or more years old….that said, Yes, the Costco ball is better then any other titlist product along with every other ball companies less then tour balls and that is the problem in the ball world….why pay $29 or even $20 a dozen for a ball that will not perform as good as a ball at 2 dozen for $29. A good example would be paying $36 for a dozen Titlist NXT now the Costco ball will play better then that.

  4. Harold Daly

    May 20, 2017 at 5:13 am

    For Titleist, Golf Balls Are All About Money

    • #1 Ball Every Season... FOR A REASON!

      May 20, 2017 at 2:54 pm

      The company was truly started because of a lack of golf ball consistency. However, yes – every company desires to make money and I certainly hope they do. As long as they make money, I’ll have the best ball ever made.

      • Kenn

        May 21, 2017 at 12:38 am

        Don’t forget your ‘best’ driver… ‘best’ irons… ‘best’ putter… ‘best’ shoes… because you deserve the ‘best’… except for your golf swing which is a ‘bust’… …!!!

    • Tom1

      May 20, 2017 at 6:56 pm

      yep… I will venture 45 to 50% of their sale revenue is from golf balls.

  5. FH

    May 20, 2017 at 2:49 am

    Who let you out of the asylum

  6. gunmetal

    May 19, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    “All those golf balls need to perform the same,” Mahoney said. “And if they don’t, that golfer isn’t playing a Titleist golf ball.” LOL – What a cheese packer line.

    I’d be trying to change the narrative too if I were in Titleists’ shoes with so many other high performing options available at your local wholesale club these days.

  7. RAT

    May 19, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    Over priced while other brands are as good and cost less. Proof in the Kirkland Ball price and performance.

  8. Vancouver Mellencamp

    May 19, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    Done with Titleist balls. Too many other better options.

    #teamCostco
    #freesamples

  9. Jon

    May 19, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Nice article. Obviously Titleist has a very successful position in the market; not just in the market share for balls, but the number of patents also likely provides a source of revenue. While the “bandwagon” of comments seems to want some sort of attack on Titleist, I applaud them for investing in technology, R&D, owning their own production processes, facilities and protecting their intellectual capital. If they can get a return on their investment and get a buck more for their ball…….great for them…….it likely means more investment and development in the future. It’s nice to see they manufacture and have R&D in the US. Just about every other ball marketer wants to sell a better ball than Titleist, and the consumer has lots of choices at all price points.

    Interesting to hear that some people think the Kirkland ball is a competitive threat to Titleist. While Kirkland brand usually is a good value, their products are mostly (there are a few exceptions) just procuring and branding a 3rd party manufacturer. Costco is more about a “good deal”, rather than having the same product stock consistently.

  10. McGary

    May 19, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Tremendous article. Titleist seems to be scrambling amid the new golf ball competitors and the new technologies by pushing a consistency article to your site. Come to think of it, I can’t name a single golfer in my golf league that still plays a Titleist ball.

  11. J

    May 19, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    ….people are not robots. why does that continue to persist?

    • Tom1

      May 19, 2017 at 3:16 pm

      I beg to differ…. my first wife…..

    • #1 Ball Every Season... FOR A REASON!

      May 20, 2017 at 6:50 am

      Robots tell you exactly what happens under given parameters. In this case, they let you know that the ball will perform the same way again and again because the balls are effectively identical. The consistency is extreme. They also allow you to see how very minor variations actually do cause inconsistencies in flight. Without robotic testing, there is no way to tell how much of the result is related to the ball and how much is related to the strike. People who love player testing are hoping for some strikes in their favor and don’t really want to know the differences between golf balls.

  12. Lob Wedge

    May 19, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Well written article Zak.

    While I understand you want to be deferential to Titleist for bringing you into the factory, I think you missed an opportunity to give the story a depth it deserves. You could have done it without making Titleist look bad. Or you could have used it as a lead in to a larger, more comprehensive article. Maybe next time?

    I know you guys don’t see it, but it’s articles like this that actually drive views to other sites. I’d rather get my info from WRX but you are forcing us to look elsewhere. Please.. keep us here with more information, don’t send us away looking for the other half of the story.

  13. Golferguy

    May 19, 2017 at 11:20 am

    How much higher can the price go for the ProV balls? The cost/benefit ratio to many golfers is turning into a bigger number every year.

    • The Dude

      May 19, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      not really….this year you could buy 3 doz …get one free (promo)…..pretty good actually…..

      • #1 Ball Every Season... FOR A REASON!

        May 20, 2017 at 6:52 am

        So true. Under that program, they average $37.50 at my club.

    • #1 Ball Every Season... FOR A REASON!

      May 21, 2017 at 10:15 pm

      More amateurs play Titleist at the highest levels and they are not loaded with money. They just know a good ball when they play it. Its funny how so many complain about how much Titleist costs but they don’t complain about the ball. Nearly all the time they will say some other ball is “as good as the ProV1/V1x” I rarely ever hear someone say they actually prefer another ball. They only prefer the cost. As for me, I try them all. I can honestly say I like the Srixon Z Star as much as a Titleist but if I were playing for my life….. I would be playing a Titleist. They are simply that consistent.

      • Brian

        May 26, 2017 at 12:49 pm

        Could be due to the fact that Titleist gives away so much gear at the amateur level.

  14. Chuck Zirkle

    May 19, 2017 at 11:13 am

    Have played with most of the leading brands on the market and I like the consistency and performance of the Titleist ProV1. Have been playing them for a number of years and only ball in my bag. They do last, I can use one for a couple of rounds. Buying golf balls is all about choices, you purchase the balls that suits your game and budget. I have found that by playing a better ball has enabled me (with practice) to play a better game. The proof is in the ball not the advertising. At 70 I need all the help I can get to maintain my 10 handicap. I am retired, so to save I order them during their spring buy three get four dozen promotions. Cheers, in life, it’s all about choices, and I have made mine and it is Titleist 100%. With respect. =)

    • David

      May 19, 2017 at 12:03 pm

      Chuck, from your twitter handle it appears you are a Footjoy rep. Are you saying that you still have to purchase Titleist balls during promos in order to get a deal? I would think they would take care of their own better than that.

    • Steve

      May 19, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      With all due respect, as a 10 handicap, I HIGHLY doubt you’d be able to tell any differences in performance and consistency between high end golf balls from different brands, let alone the consistency from ball to ball in the same box. 99+% of amateur golfers (yes, even us on golfwrx) don’t strike the ball consistently enough to tell if it was the ball or your strike that produced a “different” result.

      Heck, Crossfield even had a video where he was chipping multiple balls from multiple brands with a launch monitor, and the difference from ball to ball (both changing balls in the same line and between manufacturers) was all over the map. Even a DT Solo spun almost as much as a Pro-V for him. That’s obviously not an end all be all test, but if he can’t find a substantial difference and has numbers all over the map, I highly doubt most (if any) amateurs can. Most amateurs base their “facts” on something they’ve seen happen one time and then talk themselves into seeing differences between balls. Just because you got a Pro-V to back up 3ft one time and haven’t done it with a TM in one round, doesn’t mean it was the ball…

  15. Precept MC Lady

    May 19, 2017 at 11:13 am

    Phoned this one in, eh, Titleist

  16. Scott

    May 19, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Hope the check from Acushnet cleared before you posted this ‘article’

  17. D Louis

    May 19, 2017 at 10:58 am

    I actually think Titleist is finally worried about their dominant position in the ball market and they’re trying everything and anything to remain there. I think the other manufacturers can sense that they’re finally chewing away at Titleist’s market share.

  18. Joseph

    May 19, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Enjoyed the article. And I’ve been an intellectual property lawyer for 39 years. And golfer a lot longer than that. I have a Costco membership. But I know from reading all of the IP lawsuits involving Costco, that their business model involves buying products that are not intended to be sold in the US for various reasons, selling them at low prices and using them to create buzz and increase traffic. Especially in the watch department. I disagree with this as it harms legitimate distribution channels, but you may not. If I can find high quality US made products, I buy them. It’s hard to do in golf anymore, but these balls are US made and high quality. Finally, must be a young crowd posting. 3 balls in a round? Lmao. I still have a few dozen new Titleist and Maxfli balata balls in the basement that are 30+ years old. No one who played golf prior to 1975 would ever complain about only using 3 balls in a round.

  19. Patdugolf

    May 19, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Titleist is failing in this game theory strategy. Lately, Titleist has deployed an army of paid LPGA, PGA pros to push V or X in the television ads.
    Costco understood that the average amateur cares about Price in buying performance golf balls. Consistency is null in that decision making process. It’s funny, will Titleist explain to Jim Furyk why he dunked 3 pro v1x on 17 during the Players? What happened to consistency?
    Titleist needs to review its cost of goods sold and cut the price to $30.00
    This article would have worked in the pre internet era, customers are smart in researching for the best of the $.
    Praise Costco….

    • Keith

      May 19, 2017 at 10:21 am

      Well…..Furyk hit three CALLAWAY balls into the water on 17 at the Players, so there’s that.

      Know what you’re talking about before you post.

      • ooffa

        May 19, 2017 at 10:41 am

        Furyk may have the consistency problem not the ball. Just sayin.

        • Thomas A

          May 24, 2017 at 10:37 am

          Well, I’d say hitting 3 in a row in the water is pretty consistent.

    • #1 Ball Every Season... FOR A REASON!

      May 19, 2017 at 10:31 pm

      Why would they cut the price to $30? Its the best selling ball on planet earth. I have hit the Costco ball. It’s OK…. Its no Titleist. Think McFly. Think.

  20. ooffa

    May 19, 2017 at 9:56 am

    Whats the matter Titleist, Costco got ya nervous.

  21. SoCalSlicer

    May 19, 2017 at 9:37 am

    In the decade I’ve been a part of the WRX forums, I’ve never commented on an article until no.

    One question – did titelist ask you to write this? Good grief, this smells like complete damage control. Honestly, this article is complete garbage, due to the timing.

    • Kevin Dut

      May 19, 2017 at 9:52 am

      Totally agree. This reeks of pay for play. Disappointing.

    • #1 Ball Every Season... FOR A REASON!

      May 19, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      It seems as if you don’t like the facts. The facts are Titleist produces the most consistent ball on the planet and this article gives you a glimpse into the facts other articles don’t seem to mention because they are too concerned with price point and the hope that there is some perfect ball for $29.95. Titleist has more patents and more R&D employees than anyone. They have had the number one ball for 70 years. You consider it “damage control” while I consider it education. When you know about the things Titleist does to produce the best golf ball on planet earth, you quickly realize why other balls are so cheap. If your shag bag contains 20 different types of balls, good luck learning distance control chipping and pitching. Similarly, if your new dozen balls are not performing the same (many others do not), good luck hitting the same shots hole after hole. Ever wonder why a putt looks like it broke uphill? Maybe its the cheap and inconsistent balls you play. Hmmmmm.

      • SoCalSlicer

        May 19, 2017 at 8:49 pm

        Not one time, in the history of ProV series balls, has Titleist ever PUSHED consistency. Never. Ever. Not once. This is absolutely a backdoor PR department methodology. I can absolutely, guarantee that the author had contact with someone at Titleist about this article, before it was ever written. Btw, with all do respect, you know absolutely NOTHING about basic business models (which include sponsorship and contractual stipulations), if you think Titleist ball are expensive because of the technology…

        • #1 Ball Every Season... FOR A REASON!

          May 19, 2017 at 10:24 pm

          Titleist has pushed consistency since DAY 1. Consistency is why the company was started. When I was a kid they touted the 32 quality checkpoints. Now they tout 90 and 120 quality checkpoints on Pro V1 and ProV1x. So, I see you know nothing of golf balls. Then, on the subject of business models, I think you should look at whose model is still working best (its Titleist). The best ball played by the best players and those who aspire to be the best. Sold at a price that reflects extreme technology, quality, consistency, and performance. MEANWHILE…. you play a Top Flite or Nitro because they are cheap (certainly not a reflection of their lack of technology or consistency).

      • AG

        May 19, 2017 at 10:03 pm

        Feel free to provide the independent lab testing results that show that Titleist golf balls are more consistent that any other golf balls.

        • #1 Ball Every Season... FOR A REASON!

          May 20, 2017 at 2:57 pm

          I’m sure its coming due to the lawsuit with Costco.

  22. Paul

    May 19, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Whet about the Bridgestone lawsuits?

  23. Bruce

    May 19, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Marketing RUBBISH. What make you think the average amateur plays well enough to tell the difference? Costco sold a ball with performance and a much better feel for $15/doz – that’s what the game needs.

    • TM Chucky

      May 19, 2017 at 11:22 am

      Well, for one many “average amateurs” buy a $400 driver that boasts a little more forgiveness and uses that driver on maybe 15 shots a round. I don’t see the difference in mind set. For me, more consistent is more fun.

  24. AvidGolfer

    May 19, 2017 at 9:32 am

    An avid golfer would not lose 72 balls a year. I lost 12 balls last year in 30 rounds. And I only put brand new balls in play if it is a tournament round. Otherwise, I use ProVs that I find til I lose them or they’re so beat up I feel like they don’t perform as well. I can’t remember the last time I’ve bought or used more than ~15 brand new balls in a year. That would get expensive quick.

  25. Scott

    May 19, 2017 at 8:48 am

    It is nice to know that Titleist makes their balls in the USA and controls the entire process. They do make a great golf ball. But, I would disagree with their quote “It’s not that Titleist is walking around saying we’re the best, but we’re very proud of our commitment,” says Michael Mahoney, Vice President of Titleist Golf Ball Marketing. They clearly think that they are the best and they clearly are paranoid about Costco selling a supposedly very playable ball for 1/2 of the price.

  26. Mark B.

    May 19, 2017 at 8:33 am

    This is an interesting article on Titleist’s approach to manufacturing golf balls and I thank you for publishing it. While interesting, it does very little to convince me Titleist makes a better ball. All the materials and components they use to build machinery are not exclusive. Neither are the raw materials they purchase to make rubber tees and balls. Plus there is no claim that their urethane is superior to anybody else’s. Despite owning so many patents, there are, around the world, golf professionals who use competitive balls to win major tournaments as well as to make a living: which proves other companies have the capability to produce high quality balls. Finally, the way I read the legal issue with Costco is that the latter is pushing back against Titleist’s claim of a patent infringement. To me, this makes Titleist look weaker.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      May 19, 2017 at 8:47 am

      Mark,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article, and thank you for taking the time to comment.

  27. Jim

    May 19, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Nice article, but lacking in a few items as noted by the other comments here. Bridgestone was the originator of the ProV1 technology but perhaps Titliest improved upon it and it certainly capitalized on their marketing machine to tell everyone it’s the best ball out there. But at almost $5 per ball it just doesn’t make sense for most golfers. The success of Callaway Chrome Soft and Snell MTB balls prove that and I almost never play a ProV1 for that reason alone. If someone is losing 3 balls per round they should be playing a Pinnacle or some other cheap ball as they clearly don’t have the game to use a more expensive golf ball. Overall pretty interesting but it would have been more interesting if you showed the production photos – even Titliest’s ads show more information.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      May 19, 2017 at 9:03 am

      Jim,

      Thanks for the comment. There are already a few people questioning something I said in the ending — that an avid golfer could lose an average of three balls per round — and I understand that. I want to be clear that I’m not assuming an avid golfer (someone who plays frequently) is necessarily a low-handicap golfer. I’m also not assuming that they’re playing a tour-level golf ball. Most golfers aren’t low-handicappers and don’t buy top-shelf golf balls. I’m also aware that GolfWRX readers are very much unlike the majority of golfers. They’re more passionate about what they play and how they play, which is why it’s so much fun to be a part of this site.

      One takeaway that didn’t make it into the story is that it’s very important for golfers to play the same model of golf ball round after round if they want to play their best, even it it’s not a top-shelf model. Just about every golf ball manufacturer, including Titleist, makes golf balls that sell for under $20, $30, $40 and $50 per dozen. Pick a few balls that fit into your budget, test them on the course, and stick with the one that’s your favorite. If you do, I bet you’ll find yourself hitting it closer more often.

      • TheCityGame

        May 19, 2017 at 10:42 am

        “One takeaway that didn’t make it into the story is that it’s very important for golfers to play the same model of golf ball round after round if they want to play their best, even it it’s not a top-shelf model.”

        I play Callaway, K-Sig, Pro V1, Taylor Made, Bridgestone, round to round to round.

        Let me ask you something. You’re an X handicap. You’re playing a match against another X handicap who plays the same ball round after round. How many strokes would you give him if he had to play another ball in a $100 match against you? Would you give him a stroke a side? I wouldn’t give him a half stroke for 18.

        That’s how important the golf ball is.

        • #1 Ball Every Season... FOR A REASON!

          May 19, 2017 at 10:28 pm

          You underestimate the importance of KNOWING how your ball will react on both good and bad shots. Its the same as knowing what your clubs will do even if they are 10 yards shorter than your opponents. Scoring is all in the understanding and consistency of results.

          • TheCityGame

            May 25, 2017 at 7:50 am

            How many shots? Answer the question.

            How many shots would you give your “identical twin golfer” to switch balls if you were playing him $100 a hole?

            You’d give him 1 a side? 2 a side? Please quantify your “understanding and consistency of results”.

            • #1 Ball Every Season... FOR A REASON!

              May 28, 2017 at 1:14 am

              I would go for one a side and ties.

  28. TheCityGame

    May 19, 2017 at 8:03 am

    Someone who loses 3 golf balls a round has no reason to play a “consistent” golf ball. Take something out of the shag bag.

    This article is clearly a response to the competition that the Pro V is finally facing. They’re not able to market “performance” any more, so they’re marketing “consistency”.

    In order to demonstrate consistency, they show a test with severely flawed golf balls and then tell us, “a detail as small as the amount of paint applied to a golf ball can significantly affect performance.” OK. . .where’s that test? Show me that one. Show me the performance difference that comes from mis-applied paint, not leaving dimples off half the ball.

    • AndyUK

      May 19, 2017 at 8:23 am

      Exactly, the marketing dept. has been working overtime since RM changed to the TM ball. This is now a damage limitation excercise. Accept for maybe the brain dead it is obvious other high-end manufacturers produce consistent balls too. Testing a ball with a different dimple pattern on the opposite side will only fool aforementioned brain dead.

      • Tom

        May 19, 2017 at 9:06 am

        I don’t think RM’s change to TM has, or should concern Titleist very much. He hasn’t exactly put the equipment he has switched to on spectacular display.. Titleist was #1 when RM was playing Nike too, so he has very little to do with it.

        FWIW, I prefer the new TM series over Titleist, but I don’t think that RM has much to do with anything. The consistency thing with Titleist is a true statement though, and for a guy who doesn’t have a single Titleist club, I do legitimately feel confident in purchasing their golf balls. Year to year I’ll try the new ones, knowing I’ll like it, but the same can’t be said for every other ball out there. Sometimes other manufacturers out perform them, sometimes they don’t, but the Pro-V series will always perform as a top contender.

      • TM Chucky

        May 19, 2017 at 11:18 am

        “Testing a ball with a different dimple pattern on the opposite side will only fool aforementioned brain dead.” The way I read it, they tested a ball with a little more paint on one site – not just a ball with no dimples on one side, as they show in the picture. Obviously a ball with an different dimple pattern wouldn’t fly consistently. But if it’s true that a ball with a little more paint “1/3 the diameter of a human hair” on one side messes with the trajectory, seems compelling to me. I would have blamed myself!

  29. ooffa

    May 19, 2017 at 7:58 am

    Nice Ad!

  30. Nath

    May 19, 2017 at 7:58 am

    You assume an avid golfer losses at least three ball per round!
    Average hacker would better describe this golfer.

    • #1 Ball Every Season... FOR A REASON!

      May 19, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      Depends where you play. Water, tall grasses, trees, etc…. can make marginal shots hard to find at challenging layouts.

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Equipment

The most popular golf shoes on Amazon right now (Fall 2020 edition)

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What are the most popular golf shoes on Amazon right now? From time to time, we like to get out of our little bubble of OEM releases and what’s being played on tour to look at what golf consumers are buying on one of the largest online retail marketplaces: Amazon.

Here are some of the best-selling golf shoes on Amazon as of October 2020.

1. Adidas Men’s Tech Response Golf Shoes

From the listing:Mesh/synthetic. Imported. Synthetic sole. Thintech, adituff, thintech cleat, traxion, adiwear. Lightweight mesh and synthetic upper for enhanced breathability and comfort. Soft eva insole for lightweight comfort and cushioning. 6-spike configuration with thintech low-profile technology for improved traction and stability.”

Price: $59.99

Buy here.

2. Skechers Go Golf Men’s Torque Waterproof Golf Shoe

From the listing:Synthetic. Imported. lace-up. Rubber sole. Shaft measures approximately mid-top from arch. Replaceable soft spikes. Waterproof.”

Price: $59.99

Buy here.

3. FootJoy Men’s Fj Flex Golf Shoes

 

From the listing:100% Textile. Imported. Synthetic sole. Shaft measures approximately mid-top from arch. Performance Mesh – lightweight performance mesh delivers incredible comfort, breathability and all-day comfort. Complete support – a soft EVA midsole provides increased underfoot cushioning, enhanced comfort and exceptional stability.”

Price: $89.99

Buy here.

4. PUMA Men’s Ignite Nxt Lace Golf Shoe

From the listing:100% Textile and Synthetic. Imported. Synthetic sole. Shaft measures approximately low-top from arch. Sole shield. Performance Mesh +TPU. Ignite Foam.”

Price: $99.99

Buy here.

5. Skechers GO GOLF Men’s Max Golf Shoe

From the listing:Imported. Rubber sole. Shaft measures approximately mid-top from arch. Skechers Goga Max insole delivers enhanced high-rebound cushioning for all day comfort. Durable grip tpu outsole with a spikeless bottom. Lightweight. Water resistant. Synthetic upper.”

Price: $74.97

Buy here.

6. Adidas Men’s Tour360 Xt Spikeless Golf Shoe

From the listing: Leather and Synthetic. Imported. Synthetic sole. Shaft measures approximately low-top from arch. Leather and microfiber synthetic upper. Spikeless Puremotion outsole for enhanced flexibility and grip with X-Traxion primary lugs for grip and balance.”

Price: $135.59

Buy here.

7. FootJoy Men’s Fj Originals Golf Shoes

From the listing: Built on the Austin Last, this last offers the fullest rounded toe character, fullest fit across forefoot, standard instep and heel. EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) Fit-Beds provide lightweight cushioning underfoot. EVA does not take a set, so the cushioning will remain the same for the life of the shoe. This easy care synthetic upper offers outstanding 1 year waterproof comfort, breathability, and durability.”

Price: $89.95

Buy here.

8. Skechers Women’s Max Golf Shoe

From the listing:Imported. Rubber sole. Shaft measures approximately mid-top from arch. Spikeless, durable grip tpu outsole. Ultra-lightweight, responsive ULTRA Flight cushioning. Goga max insole delivers enhanced high-rebound cushioning. Water resistant. Synthetic upper.”

Price: $57.55

Buy here.

9. FootJoy Women’s Sport Retro-Previous Season Style Golf Shoes

From the listing: ” Lightweight – the linen-textured synthetic uppers offer lightweight comfort and durability. Cushioned rubber – the gum rubber outsole is a soft rubber compound which provides flexibility and comfort. Enhanced traction – This molded rubber outsole provides turf gripping performance and durability.”

Price: $59.95

Buy here.

10. New Balance Men’s Sweeper Waterproof Spiked Comfort Golf Shoe

From the listing: Synthetic. Imported.Rubber sole.Shaft measures approximately low-top from arch. Waterproof microfiber leather upper. REVlite 10mm drop* midsole provides lightweight cushioning & premium responsiveness. NDurance rubber outsole with removable FTS 3.0 Pulsar spikes.”

Price: $59.99

Buy here.

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Justin Thomas: What makes him an elite wedge player

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It might be easy to say that a player like Justin Thomas is near the top of the leaderboard because

  1. He hits it the best
  2. He drives it long and relatively straight
  3. He is having a good putting week

I would agree and disagree with all three. Yes, they are definitely factors, but in my opinion, it’s his wedge play that has been the most notable part of his game—especially in 2020.

If you look at the stats, you will find a player who is not only damn-near deadly from 150 yards and in, but also a player who gets out of trouble about as well as anyone in the top 10 in the world.

We are talking about 2020 as a whole FYI.

(Stats via PGATour.com)

Now strokes gained wedge stats have multiple variables affecting the ultimate stat, fairways hit, where a player misses it, out of the rough vs out of the fairway, putting, yada, yada, yada….

At this point, if I had to pick a player to get it done around the greens it would JT or Jon Rahm. True artists. Go back and watch some of the shots from the FedEx at TPC Southwind or even Kapalua this year, it was the reliance on his wedges that became the secret sauce. Like the putter, good wedge play can be an equalizer when anything else is falling short. And when the rest of the bag is decent, for a player like JT, good wedge play equals wins.

I wanted to dig in a little deeper, so I asked my old friend, Vokey’s Aaron Dill a few questions on what makes JT unique with a wedge in his hands…

JW: As far as technique, what in his action makes JT so good? And if you could compare him to someone who would it be?

AD: Justin’s technique is really something to watch. His ability to stay loose, calm, and maintain effortless speed while delivering the wedge accurately really shows his comfort with a wedge in his hands. Justin keeps the club out in front of him and he has mastered the ability to control his golf ball’s flight and spin.  I could compare him to many, but I sometimes feel he is in a league of his own.  

JW: Beyond the great shots we see on highlight reels, where does JT really get it done from an SG perspective? What do you see that the average person wouldn’t? 

AD: Justin does it all very well. You know this because he is 9th in SG around the green and this is partly due to his spotless technique but his ability to scramble in difficult situations. Something he does that amazes me is his creative vision of shots. There are times when he is in a situation where he hits a shot we don’t expect or think of. His comfort with a wedge is fun to watch, he makes all short game shots seem like they are no big deal and you can see this by his free-flowing, loose and speedy wedge action. You can tell he feels at peace with his wedge technique.

JW: He has an interesting set up for his wedges that has been well covered, but since you first met him, how has his understanding and approach to his wedges and wedge play evolved?

AD: Justin’s wedge set is unique, however, a lot of thought and intelligence has gone into crafting this matrix. Since the first time I met him, he has worked hard and he has always had the desire to want to improve and push himself. You can see it in his strength training, his increase in ball speed, and his general approach to competitive golf. His knowledge of his short game has improved over the years and it shows in his success. You can see how comfortable he feels when a wedge is pulled from the bag, you can bet he will be landing the ball close to the hole setting himself up for a makable putt.

Justin Thomas’ wedge specs 

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design Raw SM7 (46-10F @47.5, 52-12F @52.5), Vokey SM8 (56-14F @57), Titleist Vokey Design WedgeWorks (60T @ 60.5)

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (46), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (52-60)

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Equipment

How to pick the right putter

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In the game of golf, putting is the great equalizer. It doesn’t take speed or strength and simply requires you to select a line and hit a ball at the right speed—easier said than done. But regardless of your skill level, it is the one club in your set you really never have to upgrade once you find the right one, which is why knowing how to pick the right putter is so important.

This is the GolfWRX guide to selecting the right putter for you.

How to pick the right putter: The right look

This one seems simple, but you have to like the look of your putter and feel comfortable lining it up. For some golfers, that means finding a more traditional heel and toe weighted blade with a basic metal finish, for others that could also mean a larger mallet style that inspires confidence thanks to its larger footprint and contrasting colors.

Between the two aforementioned styles, there are still varying hosel/neck (where the shaft meet the head) configurations that can change how a putter wants to naturally rest when being held which can, in turn, change the natural toe hang of the putter and how it will fit.

How to pick the right putter: Understanding putter toe hang types

  • Face Balanced – Depending on the hosel configuration, this style can be found on both mallet and blade-style putters, and when being balanced by the shaft, the face will sit perpendicular to 12 o’clock. These are intended to fit golfers with a straight back-straight through stroke/minimal face rotation.

  • 1/2 Toe Hang – This is the most neutral type of toe hang and sits between the face balanced and full toe down. It is found on most heel-toe blade putters with full-shaft offset (Scotty Cameron Newport 2 shown) and is for slightly arcing strokes with medium face rotation.

  • Toe Down/Full Toe Hang  – This type is only going to be found on the most heel-shafted blade-style putters, and when being balanced by the shaft, the toe will face “6 0’clock”—directly down to the ground. These are intended to fit golfers with the most extremely arcing stroke and high level of face rotation.

NOTE: There are multiple variations of 1/2 toe hang that sit both closer to full toe down and face-balanced all designed to fit various stroked depending on the amount of arc and face rotation.

Whatever reason you have for picking the putter you ultimately use, make sure you like the looks of it because you’re going to be seeing a lot of each other.

How to pick the right putter: Understanding your stroke style

Your putting stroke will inevitably play a big role in the putter you select because certain styles are going to work better for certain golfers depending on their putting stroke style, which is referenced above. To make it easy to understand—putting strokes can be put into three categories, and for visual reference, check out the handy guide below with pictures supplied by our friends at Ping.

Slight Arc

Fitter and golfer reviewing PING Color Code Chart

This is where most golfers fit in since it is the most natural stroke to make. A slight arc is also what I like to call a neutral stroke, meaning that when it comes to picking a putter it gives the golfers the most options for finding one that is going to fit best.

Straight back and straight through

Fitter applying impact tape to bottom of iron

A straight back and straight through stroke can help a lot of golfers eliminate variables, and when paired with the right putter can really help those that struggle to get putts started on line. Golfers in this category usually perform best with a face-balanced putter.

Strong Arc

Fitter watching golfer hit shots

A strongly arced stroke is the exact opposite of straight back-straight through and requires the most amount of practice and technique to maintain consistency. Players with a strong arc generally also use a lot more wrist in their stroke and because of the inconsistency, this stroke creates, there are fewer putters on the market that fit this type.

Putting it all together

Once you have selected your putter, the last step is getting it dialed into your final spec for length, lie, and loft. For length, the goal is to be able to stand in a comfortable putting position with your eyes over the ball or, just inside of your eye line.

For lie and loft, it is best to see a fitter, since it requires specialized tools to properly adjust, but if you are trying to get an idea for the direction your putter will need to be bent use the reference guide below.

To see how a professional putting fitting is conducted, check out the video below from TXG

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