Anytime Titleist launch a new ball, it's news. When they decided to launch four new balls, needless to say, it's pretty big news.
Whilst the names might be familiar, the technology and design behind the new Titleist NXT Tour, NXT Tour S, Velocity and DT SoLo balls is new for 2014. A lot of research and testing goes on behind the scenes in Titleist's R&D department to ensure each ball they produce and offer to the market is worthy of the "Titleist" script.
The four new models will join the recently upgraded Pro V1 and Pro V1x to complete Titleist's range of balls for 2014.
So why the new models?
Titleist's Senior Vice President of Golf Ball R&D, Bill Morgan, explains: “When we make an improvement to a Titleist golf ball, it’s in direct response to what golfers tell us they need and want. We’re constantly in the field talking with golfers, capturing their launch conditions on all types of shots, and observing how different golf balls perform for their game. All of this information feeds the product development process and allows us to focus our design efforts and ultimately our prototype testing in ways that will enhance performance for these golfers.”
We were lucky enough to be invited to join in Titleist's recent Tour seeding process with their 714 irons, which resulted in the final changes made to their new MB, CB, AP1 and AP2 irons.
But back to the ball, what have Titleist got "up their sleeves" for 2014? Here's a brief lowdown on each of the new models.
2014 Titleist NXT Tour and NXT Tour S Balls
The goal of the NXT Tour model is to combine low driver and long iron spin with a new softer cover and core. It terms of its premium, soft feel and performance, the NXT Tour and NXT Tour S are only exceeded by Titleist's Pro V1 models. Both models retain their "302 octahedral dimple design" that is designed to create a lower, piercing, stable ball flight, that will feel softer off the club.
The NXT Tour S model has been upgraded with a softer compression core and thinner cover that offers a slightly softer feel, especially around the greens, compared to the standard model. Like before, the NXT Tour S has been made available in yellow.
2014 Titleist Velocity Balls
The Velocity is the youngest member of Titleist's ball family. Introduced in 2012 it was the first new ball design launched by the company in over 10 years. Titleist's R&D team have worked hard to improve the design of the two-piece ball.
They have created a new, LSX core that produces faster initial ball speeds, giving the Velocity its signature distance. It's "spherically tiled 328 tetrahedral dimple design" (say that five times quickly!) features 7 different sizes of dimple that Titleist say helps produce a lower, more penetrating flight and shallower angle of descent.
Whilst the Velocity is primarily a distance ball, Titleist engineers have softened the compression of the core to make it more playable around the greens.
Unlike the other balls in the range, that are only available in single-digit numbers, the Velocity is available with 00, 11, 22, or 33 number stamps as well.
2014 Titleist DT SoLo Balls
Titleist's two-piece, DT golf ball has been around for some time now, but Titleist believe that the new DT SoLo design provides the best balance of feel and distance yet.
A new, extremely soft core is covered by a ionomer layer to give the DT SoLo the soft feel that players like around the greens. Whilst the Velocity may have 7 different sizes of dimples, the DT SoLo has 8. The 376-dimple pattern has been upgraded with the goal of delivering longer distances with a player's driver and irons. The DT SoLo will be available in either white or yellow.
All of the new models will join the existing Pro V1 balls in shops from February 1st. The NXT Tour and NXT Tour S will carry a suggested retail price of £34/dozen, Velocity at £25/dozen and DT SoLo at £18/dozen.