You might not know it, but Titleist have more than just the Pro V1 range to offer in the premium ball market.
Let me introduce you to the AVX, which stands for 'Alternative to V and X' and is aimed at golfers who want to play a Pro V1 but the numbers don't quite stack up for them.
The AVX offers a lower spinning, lower launching option which provides more distance in the longer clubs but feels nice and soft around the greens too, so that you can win at both ends of the bag.
In terms of a fitting scenario you can think of it in these linear terms: AVX launches the lowest, Pro V1x the highest and Pro V1 somewhere in the middle.
This increases the stiffness of the outermost portions of the core whilst keeping the centre soft, which incrementally decreases driver and long game spin.
A High Flex casing layer promotes high ball speed and low spin on long shots to enhance distance.
This is a specific formulation which was developed by Titleist's R&D team and is precisely and exclusively cast by their Golf Ball Operations department.
It increases the difference between the soft urethane cover and the hard high flex casing, which contributes to improved short game and greenside spin.
A new 348 Tetrahedral Catenary Aerodynamic dimple pattern is designed to deliver a piercing, low trajectory and features 7 dimple sizes which came about as part of the Pro V1/Pro V1x evaluations which started back in 2013.
Titleist say the new pattern, designed exclusively for the flight window of the AVX, is longer and provides a more consistent ball flight on all shots.
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Titleist AVX 2022 Golf Ball Review
Looks and Feel
As you'd probably expect the AVX looks very similar to a Pro V1 right down to the same alignment design, although with a slightly whiter finish.
I think you would struggle to see the difference between this ball and the Pro V1 balls other than the box that they come in, which is a turquoise rather than the gold or silver. It's also more premium looking than the original AVX.
Inside it was super soft when hitting full wedges, even more so than a Pro V1 and similar to a Callaway Chrome Soft off the face, with a sponge-like feel when you strike it.
When hitting the 6 iron and the driver I didn't really notice any difference between this and the Pro V1, which I mean as a complement.
I also hit quite a number of wedges during my testing and I was impressed with the durability as the cover didn't seem to mark up even though I was using new wedges.
Outdoors there was a little more release on landing, perhaps due to the lower ball flight I was witnessing in every shot, from drivers all the way down to bunker shots.
I challenged the new AVX up against the Pro V1 ball to see if I could really work out what the difference was between the 'alternative' and the number one ball in golf.
I was surprised to see it spin more with the wedges than Pro V1, this was also quite reassuring because when you hear 'low spinning ball' you immediately think that it might struggle around the greens.
In the longer irons and the woods the performance was pretty similar, although the AVX did actually generate more spin with both the 6 iron and the driver which is contrary to Titleist's claims.
Whilst the distance was down in the 6 iron with the AVX, there was also an eight yard increase in carry distance over the Pro V1 with the driver, so I'd say that the findings were a little inconclusive during the indoor testing.
I then headed out on to the golf course at Prestbury GC to see if real life situations would help me separate these two golf balls further.
Compared to the indoor testing I saw a noticeable difference in ball flight, with a much higher peak in both the driver and irons.
On the 3rd hole at Prestbury, which was into wind and requires a draw off the tee up the hill, the AVX launched lower and cut through the wind much better than the Pro V1 which meant that it caught the downslope and gave me a much shorter approach shot into the tricky raised green.
Around the green, I found that the balls took a little bit of getting used to when I was chipping and pitching as the ball seemed to release more than the Pro V1, there wasn't the same level of grip on the first couple of bounces.
On the putting surface I noticed the difference because I am used to a Pro V1, but honestly it was a hard call and I was impressed with how soft the ball was around the green, and I did putt well with the AVX.
Whereas the indoor testing was inconclusive, outside I really saw the difference in performance that Titleist said I should get from these golf balls.
Titleist AVX 2022 Golf Ball Verdict
If this ball was called like Pro V1 Star instead of AVX, I'm sure that it would sell much better. The fact that it's a different name altogether really limits it in marketing terms in my opinion.
If this had just been an indoor review I wouldn't have been that impressed, but once I got the ball outdoors it started to perform exactly as Titleist suggested which is why it's so important to be able to test products thoroughly before making your mind up.
At the same price as the Pro V1 and Pro V1 it's unlikely that too many golfers will have these balls on their radar, as they are much likely to stick with what they know and trust, but that's not to say it isn't a great product.
Would I Use It?
I’m brain washed into using a Pro V1 and I'm still in that school of thought of "you don’t see any tour players using this ball so it can’t be the best, right?"
I’m a Pro V1x user so this ball sits at the opposite side of the spectrum for me.
Who is it aimed at?
You won’t see the likes of Justin Thomas or Jordan Spieth using this ball but they might use something similar, albeit without the AVX logo on it. There are something like 17 types of Pro V1 ball available to tour players, compared to only three for the rest of us, so the chances are that one of them could be similar to the AVX.
The balls are intended to give less skilled, higher handicap golfers the same feel and distance as a premium ball but with technology aimed at their ability and needs.
The AVX suits somebody who needs a more penetrating ball flight or tends to spin irons and woods too much so that they lose distance. It provided that extra bit of distance without you having to try any harder and worked well in windy conditions too.
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