When Titleist are gearing up to launch a new golf ball, they send out test versions to their Team Titleist members to get some initial feedback and I was just as excited as they were when the white box came through my letterbox.
In some ways it is very similar to the seeding process Titleist do on Tour with their sponsored players, which some of you may have already seen with Ian Poulter already tweeting his views.
I received Test samples of both the red and black numbered new balls and did as the Tour boys do and spent most of the time doing a playing test starting at the green and working back. This is because chipping and putting should be the most important factors when deciding which ball to use.
Once I had this information I did a quick Trackman session to see if the spin characteristics had changed for the longer shots, as that is hard to tell with the naked eye and this is what I found.
Test Black v 2013 Titleist Pro V1 Review
On taking them out of the box there is no discernible visual change to the dimple pattern on the Test ball and the impact sound was the same as before.
The sound and feel around the greens was very good and as I played round the course it also felt like it was going straighter and felt a bit more penetrating than the current Pro V1. So much so that if you asked me to use the current Pro V1 I would have stuck with the Test ball as it just felt a bit stronger in every way.
What did become noticeable from playing the ball was how durable the cover was. After two rounds it was still in good enough condition that I would have gone for a third medal round with it, whereas the current ball can usually manage one to one and a half rounds on a good ball striking day.
On Trackman for me the Test ball spins about 200 rpm less than the current Pro V1 with a driver and about the same with the wedge. The trajectory with a driver is lower, but the results showed with a yard more carry and 5 more yards total distance from the shallower landing angle and this seemed consistent with my on course experiences.
Test Red v 2013 Titleist Pro V1x Review
In the past the Pro V1x ball has always been noticeably firmer around the green than the Pro V1, but having done my short game tests I think the difference between the Red and Black Test balls is less than before.
The Red Test ball felt and sounded a lot softer than the current Pro V1x when I was putting, so this may make it more attractive to some Pro V1 players. The Red Test ball also uses the same dimple pattern as before and the flight and durability were also very good.
There was a noticeable difference on Trackman, where the Red Test span about 6% or 500 rpm more with the wedge, so it looks like the narrowing of the gap I felt around the greens is down to improved spin with the shorter clubs. This could make it an option for some players who want to play the harder ball for more distance, but felt the Pro V1x felt too firm before.
For longer shots it span about the same as the current Pro V1x with a driver and was a couple yards longer in carry and total yardage and again is seemed to fly a little straighter too.
Whether this is representative of the new Pro V1 golf ball, we will have to wait until early 2015 to find out and I will bring you formal results as soon as we can review the new version.