Like most things, the golf equipment market tends to follow certain trends and this is no different with regards to golf balls. One of the trends that we've seen over the last handful of years is the development of "tour" quality balls built for the amateur. There are a lot of us that want to play the absolute best that we can get our hands on, but truth be told, many times balls in that upper echelon just don't fit our games properly. New from TaylorMade this golf season are three new balls. For those at the very top of the game, they have their new Tour Preferred and Tour Preferred X balls. According to the company, these balls have over a decade of research in them and they believe that these are the best balls that they've created to date. In addition to the new Tour Preferred balls, the company has also released the Project (a). As you probably could have guessed, the (a) stands for amateur and TaylorMade says that these balls will give amateurs help where they need it the most.
TaylorMade has been making tour level balls for quite a while now, and over that time they've done their share of research and listening to professionals to make the best possible ball they can. The new Tour Preferred balls have a number of features including the company's new Soft Tech, which is the softest and most durable cover that TaylorMade has produced. The new cover provides an even softer feel around the green compared to previous offerings and is made from cast urethane. The new ball also has the company's REACT Core which increases ball speed on all shots for more distance as well as their Spin Mantle which helps to deliver precise and consistent spin. The ball should also play well in windy conditions as it features LDP (Low-Drag Performance) Aerodynamics.
TaylorMade says that the difference between the Tour Preferred and the Tour Preferred X boils down to how much they spin. The Tour Preferred is for players who want more spin in their their mid and long iron shots as well as a higher trajectory. However, the company believes that the Tour Preferred X model will be the one most pros will gravitate to; it maintains the same spin and trajectory as the previous offering (the Lethal), but with better green side control due to the new Soft Tech cover. Many pros have already made the switch and have seen success with it, including Sergio Garcia who won using the Tour Preferred X at the Thailand Golf Championship in December and the Qatar Masters in January.
The new Tour Preferred balls hit the shelves on March 1st and retail for $45.99 per dozen.
While the Tour Preferred balls are the best the company has, they obviously won't be the right choice for all. For amateurs looking for a great performing ball, there is the new Project (a). According to Dean Snell, the vice president of golf ball R&D at TaylorMade, Project (a) gives amateurs help where they need it the most, around the green. From their research, they've found that amateurs miss the pin by an average of 35 yards on a 150 yard approach, and the new Project (a) balls give them a better chance of stopping the ball on the green.
So where does this increased spin come from? The same place it comes from in the new Tour Preferred balls, in the Soft Tech cover. As stated above, this is the softest and most durable cover the company has produced to date. Sometimes balls that spin a lot will scare amateurs away so it's important to note that while users will see an increase in spin on shots into the green, the ball is engineered to spin low off the driver to produce long and straight shots. The Project (a) balls also feature the company's REACT Core and Spin Mantle technologies.
The balls are available in stores now, and carry a price of $31.99 per dozen, making them one of the few balls at that price point to offer a urethane cover.