Titleist are undoubtedly number one when it comes to golf balls, and the ProV1 is the jewel in their crown. I feel that it's introduction was the biggest technological development in the golf world this century. Why such a bold statement?
Before 2000, a tour ball was really soft and would only last a few holes before you'd have to change it, whereas a distance ball was more like playing with a pebble.
Typically you couldn't have both distance and feel, but then the Pro V1 came along and changed this, so much so that the golf ball is a huge reason that we are currently hearing so much about the rollback 'distance debate' in professional golf.
2021 sees an update to both the Titleist Pro V1, used by Jordan Spieth and Brooke Henderson, and the Pro V1x currently in the bag of Justin Thomas and Danielle Kang.
What's It All About?
The Pro V1 offers a complete combination of speed, spin and feel, and will be the best fit for the majority of golfers. It flies a little lower than the Pro V1x, with a penetrating trajectory and a very soft feel.
The Pro V1x has a fast, high flight and provides spin for the golfer at the times where they want it most. The ball is designed for golfers seeking a slightly higher trajectory and increased spin compared to the Pro V1, along with a firmer feel.
Titleist say that there are a range of new technologies for the new ball line this year, which aim to provide 'total performance and extreme consistency' from every shot on the golf course.
A reformulated 2.0 ZG Process Core in both balls are responsible for distance increase in both the solid core Pro V1 and dual-core Pro V1x.
A faster high-flex Casing Layer adds ball speed and also lowers spin in the long game for better results off the tee. This layer is a highly resilient, high-speed ionomer that was initially developed in the Pro V1x Left Dash - a ball which was originally designed for mainly Tour use and which features the same launch characteristics as the Pro V1x, but with lower spin for greater distance at the top end of the bag.
The softer cast urethane elastomer cover, which is the softest formulation ever used on the Pro V1 range, adds extra greenside spin in an effort to provide you with better control around the greens.
Both balls benefit from a new spherically-tiled Tetrahedral Dimple Designs, with 388 dimples on the Pro V1 and 348 on the Pro V1x. The design has been developed to optimises each model for maximum distance and flight consistency, and Titleist says that this will give Pro V1 the same penetrating ball flight while the Pro V1x will fly higher than last year's ball.
I tested both of the new balls using Trackman 4 in the golf simulator at LSH Auto, Mercedes Benz. I hit shots with PW, 7 iron and driver.
I then headed out to the best back nine in England - Hillside GC - to play 9 holes with each ball, marking my score and getting real time golf course feedback to help me decide which ball I preferred whilst being able to offer you the best advice on which model suits your game.
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Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x 21 Golf Ball Review
I play a Titleist Pro V1x golf ball usually, because I need the higher ball flight on my shots in order to maximise my distance.
Starting with the pitching wedge, both balls were very similar, averaging within one yard of each other in carry distance and the Pro V1x averaging around 4ft higher.
This was a little more noticeable again with the 7 iron, as the Pro V1 averaged at 85ft compared to the Pro V1x at 91ft.
As a result, I managed to squeeze a couple more yards out of the Pro V1x although of course there's plenty of natural variation due to different strikes, so I wouldn't say there was an obviously noticeable difference.
The biggest difference I noticed was with the driver.
The Pro V1 looked like it was dropping out of the air a little quicker, with a lower ball flight (67 feet) and low spin rate (2271rpm). This equated to 212 yards carry and 242 yards total.
The Pro V1x really shone in the driver testing as I gained up to 8 yards of average carry, which for me is a real bonus as it means I'm hitting a club less on my approach shots. The spin rates were almost identical (2287rpm) but the higher flight of 79 feet provided me with that extra carry distance.
The main findings from my indoor testing was that the biggest cause for a drop in yardage was the lack of height produced by the Pro V1.
The difference in ball speeds and spin rates between the two balls were pretty similar but it was the trajectory that swayed things. The Pro V1x provided that ideal combination of high launch and low spin with the driver.
After the indoor testing, I wasn't expecting to see a huge difference out on the golf course as they are both great golf balls and I felt that the natural variations on shots you experience out on the course may outweigh the differences in numbers I'd seen on the simulator.
Starting off on the par 3 10th hole at Hillside, I hit both balls with a 7 iron from 140 yards to a front flag location.
The Pro V1 landed 30 feet short of the flag, with a nice soft feel off the face.
The Pro V1x had a noticeably higher ball flight and pitched pin high before stopping 15 feet left of the hole.
Moving through the next few holes, I didn't notice much difference in my long game as a difference of around 8 yards in carry is tough to see consistently on the course, especially when the ground is firm and there is plenty of roll on the links fairways of Hillside GC.
I did notice it with my irons that it was looking like my ball was getting knocked out of the sky on a few occasions, even though there was no wind. The Pro V1 never seemed to make it to pin high whereas the Pro V1x did look to stay in the air a little longer.
I putted better with the Pro V1x and my pace control seemed to be better, as I even holed a 30 foot birdie putt on the 11th. I struggled with hitting the Pro V1 past the hole, perhaps because I thought that because it was softer I should have hit it harder.
When putting I did use the alignment aid on the ball, which is the classic Pro V1 logo with arrows either side. It is subtle, but still simple and easy to use when on the greens.
I did get a flier on 17 from the semi rough with a wedge in my hand when using the Pro V1x. It was an uphill, downwind shot. I think the height and the low spin characteristics of the ball probably exaggerated the flier.
The ball landed past pin high and ran through the back of the green. This is something that you should always bear in mind when testing golf balls, particularly if you're someone who has stronger lofted irons or if you are prone to the odd flier.
I shot 1 over par with the Pro V1 and level par with Pro V1x but this was never a competition to see which was best on the day, it was more to highlight the playing differences in real-life situations.
In the long game the feel didn’t seem that much different between the two balls, but when chipping and putting around the greens the Pro V1 did feel softer.
All in all though, this is the closest in feel that these two balls have ever been.
Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x Golf Ball Verdict
The good news is, I haven’t been using the wrong ball all of these years. The vigorous testing inside and out showed this.
Pro V1x flies higher and feels a touch harder than the Pro V1, and in the data this was proven. As I moved from short irons to driver the difference was more and more evident.
Please remember when testing golf balls that you need to test throughout the bag. You also need to be comfortable with the ball in your short game - especially putting.
I have a friend who’s long game suggests she needs a Pro V1x but she is a great chipper and really values the soft feel of the Pro V1 around the greens. No matter what she gains in the long game she won’t give up that feel for her short game.
There is a slight downside however, as the cover of the ball after 9 holes had a cut and a few scuffs on it. I have however got brand new irons and sharp grooves on my wedges, so that perhaps explains it.
With the ball market becoming more competitive thanks to the improvements and investments made by the likes of Callaway and TaylorMade, it is important that Titleist keep striving to be the best and they are lucky that they can lean on their staff players for feedback.
Justin Thomas advised the tech guys about wanting more drop and stop in his pitching and chipping and they have certainly listened. Stewart Cink is so impressed with the ball technology and in-depth research that Titleist do, that he wants to sit on their ball council when he retires from golf - although with two wins this season that may not be any time soon!
This tour feedback is key, as is the reinvestment of market share to keep their position as the number one ball in golf.
Would I Use Them?
Yes, I played Titleist my whole tour career, I moved from the Pro V1 to Pro V1x when the characteristics changed.
I have grown used to the ball in my short game, I allow for the slightly firmer cover and I also find that I now like the slightly firmer feel as I don’t leave as many chips and putts short of the hole.
It’s a great golf ball, which is reflected in performance and price. A dozen costs £50 which has risen £10 from the days where I had to buy them. A premium price for a premium ball.
It is the same price as the Taylor Made TP5 and TP5x and £10 more expensive than Callaway Chrome Soft.
Are they still the best? Well they're still the ball that everyone sees as the benchmark, but as I have shown in my previous golf ball reviews the other companies are so much closer if not on par in terms of performance.
Who Are They Aimed At?
I think most people would struggle to see too much difference between the Pro V1 and Pro V1x in performance, although you might notice the slight differences in feel in the short game if you are in tune with your ball striking.
Does this mean that only low handicap golfers should use them? Not really, as I would always encourage any golfer to play the best ball that they can afford which is suited to their game. If you are standing on the first tee worrying that each lost ball will cost you £4, then this isn't going to do much to improve your performance.
I would recommend golfers who are looking for a higher ball flight to try the Pro V1x, and those looking for a more penetrating flight to use the Pro V1 as a general rule, but you should always try and test a golf ball in as many different scenarios as possible before making a decision.
- Clear differences between balls in long game
- Feel around the green was improved
- Titleist name on the ball gives you added confidence
- Premium price tag
- The ball's cover tended to mark up (over just 9 holes)
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