TaylorMade has been getting very excited about their TP5 range over the last few years and the 2019 TP5 golf ball has taken them to a new level of energy.
The key change in both the TP5 and TP5x models is that the 4th of the 5 layers is now 30% stiffer and more durable.
The material in this layer is called High Flex Modulus (HFM) and is more efficient at converting the deflection of the ball at impact into forward velocity.
This means that TaylorMade can make the core of the ball softer to reduce driver spin and the compression of the inner layer is now 16 for TP5 and 25 for TP5x.
As with the 2017 TP5 range, the core combines with the 2nd and 3rd layers to form the ‘Tri-Fast Core’ which controls the flight of the ball by reducing drag and increasing launch.
The outer two layers provide the control and TaylorMade has used a new paint for the 322 dimple cover.
The old cover was pretty durable, but I have seen pictures received by TaylorMade where balls had been returned scuffed. On investigation TaylorMade realised that it was because they had landed on cart paths.
Normally you would excuse them for this damage, but TaylorMade decided to do something about it and improved the paint they used. Then they mocked up a piece of steel plate to mimic the effects of striking a cart path and fired the new balls at it.
The results still showed some scuffing as cast urethane is not really meant to grip concrete, but it was a big improvement. So all you people out there who use cart paths for a few extra yards on your drives can rest a little easier now.
This new ‘Soft Tough’ cover gives you all the control you would expect from a premium golf ball as the urethane cover gets into the grooves at impact for better control.
TaylorMade TP5 Ball Review
The TP5 is the softer version of the two at 85 compression, which is a little firmer than previous version that was 83. However, compared to the 2017 TP5 I found that I was getting a little more speed with the irons.
The TP5 flew a touch higher, but most other variables were the same and the result of the extra ball speed was more carry.
With the driver I did not get the same results for speed, but gained distance through a better launch with less spin, so maybe this illustrates how the 5 layer construction works differently for irons and woods.
In the last iterations there was a bit of a trade off between the distance of the firmer TP5x and the better greenside control off the softer TP5.
Now the TP5 offers a much more complete package and with a better feel off the face around the green, it is probably going to be the ball of choice for more people.
TaylorMade TP5x Ball Review
The firmer TP5x is the ball TaylorMade usually promotes in their distance message as it is the lower spinning version.
Speaking to better players that have used it, the previous TP5x would occasionally lack enough spin for control on longer approaches so they would switch to TP5.
However the 2019 TP5x can give them that extra distance from the HFM layer and the cover gives them back that extra control.
Compared to the previous version the latest TP5x wasn’t giving the 1-2 mph speed gains that TaylorMade were predicting and I think I had their boffins scratching their heads a little when I went to their test centre to do this review.
Like the TP5 I did get a gain with the irons through a higher ball speed.
Again with the driver it was the lower spin that delivered an extra yard, so there was not much in it apart from a different flight.
I saw a lot of data for others who did see bigger speed gains, so try them out as it may deliver for you. However the 2019 TP5x is certainly is not worse and with that improved cover I think it is a more refined version around the greens than the 2017 version.
TaylorMade TP5, TP5x Golf Ball Verdict
The TaylorMade TP5 ball has made them a competitor in the premium tour ball sector of the market and the 2019 versions continue the good work of the 2017 models.
There seems to be less of a trade off between the distance of the TP5x and the softer feel of the TP5. The TP5 seems to be longer and a better all round ball now, with the TP5x offering high swing speed or high spin players an alternative option.
As you can see I wasn't seeing the larger gains in distance either in my own testing or the session I did at TaylorMade's fitting centre. However I did see others make a bigger gain so they do exist. As always, it is going to be dependent on the player's launch conditions, so try it out for yourself.
Either way the 2019 versions are certainly not worse and of the two models, the TP5 should be the ball of choice for most golfers. I like the fact the the TP5 is longer and going to suit my driver swing speed of 100mph more than before, because I prefer the softer feel and better control that it provides.