The TaylorMade Tour Response is designed to provide a Tour level ball for non-Tour players, but that's not the whole story. TaylorMade says that their new 'Stripe' model is going to help you hole more putts...
Alignment aids on golf balls have been one of the growing trends in the equipment world over the last few years, with pretty much every big brand offering one of their models with some form of design to help you line up better, and hopefully hole more putts - the obvious comparison being Callaway Chrome Soft Triple Track.
This isn't TaylorMade's first foray into this alignment-improving department however, 2020 saw the release of the TaylorMade TP5 Pix golf balls.
The TaylorMade Tour Response is a three-piece golf ball with a 100% cast urethane cover, and TaylorMade research suggests that this has added more durability as well as being 12% softer and 36% more flexible than the previous material.
The ball has a compression level of 70, compared to 50 compression in the other ball in this range, the Soft Response. A Hi-Spring core is made to provide a combination of fast ball speeds with a softer feel.
The Tour Response Stripe sees the introduction of a 22-millimetre digital lime green band wrapping around the centre of the golf ball, to make it easier and faster to line up on the green.
Taking inspiration from the Pix design in the TP5 ball range as used by the likes of Rickie Fowler, Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Wolff, the ball also works to provide instant feedback on the quality of roll on each putts. Good strikes will see the stripe roll consistently end over end to the hole, while off-centre strikes will cause the stripe to wobble off-line.
TaylorMade Tour Response Stripe Golf Ball Review
Looks and Feel
Focussing on the actual Stripe across the golf ball, although it did the job in terms of helping with alignment I couldn't help but think it was a little low quality in it's design. If you take a real close look at the paint work, to me it seemed a little inconsistent which could suggest that they are designed with little attention to detail, however this is just an opinion.
Around the greens, the TaylorMade Tour Response balls feel great and you can achieve a lot of spin with pitch shots and full iron shots. On the golf course, I certainly never felt like I was out of control of the ball which sometimes can be the case with less-expensive balls.
I tried these balls inside on Trackman 4 against the TaylorMade TP5x and noticed the difference, the spin was lower with the Tour Response but this was counteracted by the higher launch of the golf ball.
I then took them out for a few holes at Reddish Vale GC, in the cold weather it was hard to tell any difference between the Tour Response and the TP5x, which is a positive.
Testing the Stripe out against a standard white Tour Response ball in a putting contest, the Stripe came out on top which I wasn’t surprised about. It won 4-2 in the 6 different scenarios I compared them in from a straight putt to a heavily breaking one.
On the greens, having the Stripe alignment aid really helped my confidence during the stroke as I trusted the 22mm line, and you could see the ball looking like it was running end over end.
I also felt more focussed and committed to my putts as once over the ball all I needed to do was worry about the pace. Also, another small positive was that I found it easy to identify my golf ball when playing with others.
Another bonus of using the Stripe was off the tee where I also used the alignment aid to line myself up to target. This helped me square the club face and centre the ball into the middle of the club face as I could place the ball just like I did on my putts. It gave me confidence during my swing and stroke which certainly helped my performance and direction of the ball.
On the flip side of that, the green colour makes the ball hard to find in longer grass, I hit one right on the 12th hole and took a full three minutes to find it when the grass wasn’t even that long. The ball had finished lime side up which camouflaged it against the green grass. Surely in future iterations, this is something that TaylorMade will need to consider.
The biggest negative for me when using the Stripe was on approach play. When I stood over the shot, the two-coloured ball looked smaller than a one coloured golf ball which I couldn't adjust to in the few holes I played during testing. A bigger, white golf ball gives more confidence, again something to consider if you like the confidence of a bigger ball.
Finally, I found it to be annoying when the Stripe wasn’t aligned straight (ball is in play and can't be picked up). It affected my shot direction as the visual aid worked against me so I opened or closed my club face according to which way the stripe pointed - certainly something to look out for if you're thinking of using this ball.
TaylorMade Tour Response Stripe Golf Ball Verdict
Can I first state that alignment aids on golf balls are by no means ground-breaking and they do not speed up play as TaylorMade state in their claims.
For me, this is a training aid which TaylorMade is trying to introduce into general play. I’d rather leave these on the practice putting green as there is too much going on and the middle part of my game was affected in a negative way. Never mind how particular I was on the green in lining my putts up, I was noticeably slower as it’s far more obvious when you set the stripe up incorrectly than when you used the usual TP5 dash line.
It does improve your putting but I suggest using them in practice or practice rounds and the regular white or yellow ball in play for the best of both worlds. If you use these in competition, you are going to lose not only golf balls, but friends too.
The Tour Response Stripe is a decent golf ball overall which comes in at a reasonable price of £39.99, this alignment aid like the Callaway Triple Track is aimed at golfers who really struggle on the greens and would rather gain there and get over the visual off putting signs when actually hitting the ball to the green.
Who Is It Aimed At?
The TaylorMade Tour Response Stripe is aimed at a golfer who uses the thin line on a ball normally but not very well, this ball will help those amateurs that need it.
Would I Use Them?
These balls are not for me as the half green golf ball was hard to focus on and the gains I got on the greens were not enough. It annoyed me in my long game far too much.
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