When Tommy Fleetwood signed with TaylorMade, the biggest surprise for him was how well their ball performed. Sergio Garcia, who at the time wasn't even with the company (although he has recently re-joined), told him “Finally you get to see what you have been missing out on”.
The ball was also a standout performer at the 2019 Ryder Cup, with many of the European players benefiting from using the ball around Le Golf National. Rickie Fowler chose to move out of the Pro V1 to the TP5x golf ball after that week in Paris, and this is a trend that we are seeing more of on Tour.
In 2019 a TaylorMade ball won five times on the PGA Tour, in 2020 that doubled with the TP5 range claiming two out of the three men's majors played.
Ten years ago nobody on Tour played a TaylorMade ball, but nowadays every staff player (except Tiger) and many non-staffers have the TP5 or TP5x in play.
What's It All About?
The updated TaylorMade TP5 and TP5x golf balls are available in the usual white colourway, as well as in Pix and yellow too. The main difference between the two balls is the cover.
The TP5 ball has a soft cast urethane cover, while the TP5x has a slightly stiffer cast urethane cover. The firmer cover of the TP5x is designed to produce more speed, a higher trajectory and less spin.
The new TP5 range comes with a number of different technologies:
- New Tour Flight Dimple Pattern - This has been a common theme in golf balls during 2021, as it was the focus for the new Titleist Pro V1 range too. A unique new 322 dimple patter has been designed to make the ball more aerodynamic. These dimples are shallower and the walls are steeper, in an attempt to reduce drag and increase carry distance for your shots.
- 5-Layer Construction - The only 5-piece tour ball on the market, this construction is said to enhance speed without reducing spin rates by too much. A larger, more reactive Tri-Fast Core delivers maximum carry with less drag, whilst a Dual-Spin cover made from ultra-soft, highly durable urethane promotes tee-to-green performance. The ball is built to give a fast launch, maximum carry distances and a steep angle of descent for extra stopping power - particularly with long irons.
Speed-Layer System - The Speed-Layer System is comprised of four increasingly stiff layers to produce more ball speed. The result is more carry distance off the tee, more control in the wind, and more spin around the greens.
High-Flex Material - The TP5 features a High-Flex Material (HFM), delivering higher ball speeds through a greater rebound effect. HFM acts like a tightly wound spring that builds energy and rebounds quickly, generating more ball speed.
I set out to compare the new 2021 TP5 balls to the existing 2019 balls, to see whether all of that new technology can really make a difference to its' performance.
On the back of the box, TaylorMade claim that these balls go faster, further and spin more around the green. I was keen to see whether these claims were true, and which golfer would be best suited to each ball.
To find out, I headed down to Mercedes Benz, Stockport for some indoor testing on the Trackman 4 and then to Reddish Vale GC to focus on the short game.
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TaylorMade 2021 TP5 and TP5x Golf Balls Review
From my testing on Trackman with the TP5x, which is the ball that I would be most likely to use on the course, there was really very little distance between the 2019 and 2021 models.
TP5x 2021 6 Iron averages:
- Ball Speed - 104.3mph
- Spin Rate - 5557rpm
- Peak Height - 81 feet
- Carry - 144 yards
TP5x 2019 6 Iron averages:
- Ball Speed - 104.8mph
- Spin Rate - 5770 rpm
- Peak Height - 87 feet
- Carry - 144 yards
TP5x 2019 Driver averages:
- Ball Speed - 133.3mph
- Spin Rate - 2325 rpm
- Peak Height - 69 feet
- Carry - 212 yards
- Total Distance - 241 yards
TP5x 2021 Driver averages:
- Ball Speed - 132mph
- Spin Rate 2360rpm
- Peak Height - 71 feet
- Carry - 210 yards
- Total Distance - 238 yards
I then pitted the TP5 and TP5x head to head to find out which of the 2021 balls I preferred, and which one may best suit your game. I set myself up on the Postage Stamp 8th hole at Royal Troon, alternating shots between the two balls.
The TP5 was softer, with more spin and a lower launch. It was noticeably softer off the face with the wedges.
The TP5x had an ever so slightly higher launch and was slightly louder in sound off the face. The reduced spin also meant it curved less in ball flight.
In my wedges I didn’t notice a great deal of difference in yardage, as you'd probably imagine, but the feel was quite noticeably different.
It is easy to distinguish between the balls in looks as the TP5 box is blue with a black number on the ball, whereas the TP5x has a red box and a red number on the ball.
As with the wedge testing, the TP5 was definitely softer in feel when putting and around the green. This may be ideal firstly for those who value a soft feel, and secondly for those who were used to playing Balata balls back in the 80s and 90s, as a switch to the TP5x may feel like a big change.
The TP5x is a bit firmer when you stroke it, but the firmness doesn’t make the ball travel further so you shouldn't have to worry about knocking it 6 feet past the pin. It feels like the ball spends less time on the face and is slightly louder, and this is a similar theme throughout the bag.
TaylorMade 2021 TP5 and TP5x Golf Balls Verdict
I would play the TP5x for all of the reasons I have discussed but I am also used to that firmer cover as I like that feel of getting the ball to the hole. I also have used the PIX pattern as it makes you feel that you are rolling your putts better. Visually it looks like it sits up in the rough and it is easy to identify when playing with other golfers using a plain white ball.
Would I Use Them?
I would play the TP5x because the performance is just slightly better for my game, but also because I am used to that firmer cover as I like the feel of getting the ball to the hole on the greens.
I also have enjoying using the Pix pattern as I enjoy the visual on greens to see the ball rolling towards the hole - it gives you great feedback on how you are stroking it!
I also find that it looks as if it sits up a little more in the rough, and it seems to be easier to identify when playing with other golfers using a plain white ball, which is a bonus for those of you who tend to be a little wayward off the tee!
Who Are They Aimed At?
The TaylorMade TP5 is suitable for a player that really values feel and doesn’t struggle with generating speed in their swing. If you hit it too high and want to lower your ball flight a touch, this ball will help. I also think that it'll be a little easier to shape the ball with a TP5 rather than the TP5x.
The TP5x seems to suit a player with a similar swing speed to me. I don't produce the power in my swing to naturally launch the ball high, so having a golf ball which can help with that is great.
The higher launch coupled with the slightly lower spin should increase distance off the tee. The extra height in my irons also means that you get that 'drop and stop' from the descent angle rather than from added spin on your approaches.
I found that the TP5 tended to drop out the air a little quickly for me and so I can't flight the ball high enough, the lower penetrating ball flight hinders my carry distance and so I'm going to lose out on distance in softer conditions.
If you really want a softer ball as a priority, even if your swing characteristics may better suit the TP5x, you may find that the gains in sound and feel with the TP5 from 50 yards and in may be worth the potential lost of distance.
- Performs just as well as the Titleist Pro V1
- Both balls have clear, different characteristics
- Same price as 2019 model
- Packaging is very easy to distinguish when purchasing
- Similar performance to 2019 model
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