The “2017 Snell PGA Championship Prediction Contest” got me thinking about golf balls. When I first starting playing golf, I pretty much paid no attention to the brand or model. A golf ball was a golf ball as long as it wasn’t damaged.
The only brand/model that I can recall from my youth was the “Wilson K28.” Someone (perhaps the club pro?) told us that the “Wilson K28” was a good golf ball so every Father’s Day for several years we bought my father a dozen. He was never much of a golfer and my guess is a few decades later, there were still one or two Wilsons rolling around in his golf bag.
Some of you older golfers might remember the “British Open Ball” prior to 1974. The R&A’s minimum diameter was 1.62 inches versus the USGA conforming 1.68 inch minimum diameter. All the professionals who played in “The Open” prior to 1974 would switch to the smaller version as it was believed to go farther and was less affected by the wind. Beginning in 1974, “The Open” switched to the larger ball and by 1990, all conforming golf balls were 1.68 inches or larger in diameter. I once found a “small ball” and while I can’t state whether it went further, it was visually smaller. Today, many of the non-conforming maximum distance balls (e.g. “Bandit”) are made with smaller diameters.
After graduating from college I began to become aware of different golf brands and models. My ball selection primarily involved superstition. If I had a particularly good round or two playing a Maxfli DDH, that became my ball until I lost all the Maxfli’s. Eventually I would have another nice round while playing a Wilson Ultra and that would become my ball until that supply was exhausted.
The nice part about the cheaper brands and models was they were “cut proof” because of the Surlyn cover. If one played a Titleist Professional, with its balata cover, a thin 3-iron could almost cut the ball in half. We amateurs had lots of experience putting a “smile” on the ball with poorly hit shots.
With the introduction of the ProV1, the consensus was that it was the “best”. I avoided playing ProV’s for a long time because my game wasn’t good enough (plus the $50 a dozen cost). Eventually, I found enough pristine ProV’s that I decided to give them a go. I am sure I do not get all the performance an excellent player might get, but more often than not, one will find me playing Titleist. The grandkids give me a dozen each Christmas, decorated with Christmas and Winter themes (no Snowmen!!).
I am looking forward to trying out what Snell has to offer when I win the contest. Sorry fellas, you are all playing for 2nd place.