When you're about to announce a new golf ball line up it is always nice when your first staff professional to switch to the new balls does so just before winning on Tour.
That's the case for TaylorMade with Justin Rose's win in the UBS Hong Kong Open coming after his switch to the new Tour Preferred X providing the ideal launchpad for the new range. The 2016 Tour Preferred offer two distinctly different performance golf balls with tour calibre-performance as well as the latest version of the Project (a) that is designed for competitive amateurs.
TaylorMade Tour Preferred 2016 Golf Ball
The four piece Tour Preferred 2016 golf ball is TaylorMade's softest ever Tour Ball with the lowest compression (80) of any ball they have offered in this category and is designed for players who prefer a softer feel and more spin in the mid-to-long iron shots.
At the heart of the ball is TaylorMade's SpeedMantle inner layer that is made from a material that is 65% softer and more flexible than the mantle found in the previous generation of Tour Preferred balls. This has allowed engineers to produce a softer feeling ball without losing any of the performance characteristics of the original version.
Suitable for players of all swing speeds, the Tour Preferred has higher launch and spin from the longer and mid irons while maintaining the same distance from the tee. Greenside spin is the same as the Tour Preferred X, but with a softer feel.
The latest version of the ball still features TaylorMade's Soft Tech cast urethane cover and the Low-Drag Performance Aerodynamics (LDP) from the 322 dimple pattern, adding stability and a penetrating flight through the wind.
TaylorMade Tour Preferred X 2016 Golf Ball
The Tour Preferred X differs from the Tour Preferred in that it has an extra layer in its 5 piece construction and is a harder golf ball with a compression of 87. The Tour Preferred X also has a thicker re-engineered version of the Soft Tech cast urethane cover that offers more greenside control.
The LDP 322 dimple pattern is the same as in the Tour Preferred and it is the combination of these technologies that delivers the low spin from the tee and low iron ball flight with more short game spin that has attracted the stellar names from TaylorMade's Tour line-up, including Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose and Jason Day.
Eric Loper, TaylorMade's Director of Golf Ball Development, explains how the Tour players have taken to the this particular ball:
We developed 43 Tour Preferred X prototypes throughout our exhaustive pursuit to engineer a better golf ball and put them in the hands of our Tour players.
They were unanimously drawn to the ball that produced more control around the greens and that was the new Tour Preferred X. We’re excited by their initial reactions to its performance and look forward to their transition into the new models for the 2015/2016 PGA Tour season.
Both the Tour Preferred and Tour Preferred X Balls have an RRP of £44.99 per dozen.
TaylorMade Project (a) 2016 Golf Ball
The 2016 line up is completed by the latest version of the 3-piece Project (a) golf ball that is designed for competitive golfers looking for more spin and performance in the zone 30 yards and in.
The latest Project (a) has an overall compression of 70, which is significantly lower than the 88 in the original model. TaylorMade has achieved this by dropping the core compression by 33% (to a compression of 40) by the use of a React Core, featuring a new speed optimised formulation.
This combination means that amateurs, who produce nearly 50% less spin than players on Tour, still get more spin on mid irons, short irons and shots around the green, giving them greater control and better opportunities for scoring.
This years Project (a) continues to use TaylorMade's Soft Tech cast urethane cover, their softest and most durable ever, and which is used on both of the Tour Preferred models.
The Project (a) has an RRP of £34.99 per dozen.