This year the Top Flite Gamer v2 was way on the left of the chart on the spin axis, lumped with the bulk of low-end performers. I did a double-take, because just a couple years ago the Gamer v2 was in the middle of the graph, right around average and handily leading the cheaper balls. Here it is, in the 2010 chart below the Gamer v2 is labeled #29.
(Link to 2010 results page.)
But this year, it was way over to the left. It's #33 on the 2012 graph below.
(The 2012 May issue with their ball Hot List isn't online yet, so I had to take a picture of the magazine. Without the key the graph is useless, so I think this won't step on anyone's toes. I can link to their page once they put this issue online.)
This was easily explained with a quick review of the graphs: The data value ranges changed. In 2010 the graph ranged from 3,000 to 7,000 RPM, whereas the 2012 graph ranged from 4,500 to 7,500 RPM. The position of the Gamer v2 on both graphs corresponds to a little over 5,000 RPM.
So the Gamer v2 didn't change, but the competition did. The average of the premium balls that were tested didn't really move, although there are a couple outliers a little farther out than before. But the dramatic shift was the low end balls, the bottom offerings increased by about 1,200 RPM (about a 40% increase). The best bargain of the 2010 line-up became a solid low-end offering in 2012.
I find this very interesting, assuming that GD's numbers are legit. It's almost hard not to find a half spinny ball any more. The nice finds that held greens well a couple years ago should be a lot closer to common place now.
Now, part of this mid-priced spin shift is due to the fact that the medium-priced ball range was invaded by urethane covers this year. The two most spinny balls on the graph in the middle price range (green color code) are both urethane (and that doesn't count the new TM ball that wasn't tested). Since urethane balls are kind of always in a league of their own spin-wise, seeing the upper mid-level balls shift up isn't surprising and doesn't really count as a technology advancement. But the rest of the balls aren't urethane (well, the e5 is but is only two-piece and doesn't spin like a traditional urethane ball), and the mid-level balls still cluster around 6,000 RPM, which is way better than the 2010 offerings.
So you should be able to play lawn darts for $30 / doz or less. And < $20 / doz bargain shoppers have multiple options that should actually hold a green. Not too bad.