Titleist golf ball was produced and almost fifteen years since the dominant model was first introduced in October, 2000. It's been one heck of a successful ride, one based on performance and brand aura with a healthy dose of reverse price appeal ("it's more expensive, therefore it has to be better").
“Golfers often ask us what sets Pro V1 and Pro V1x apart from other golf balls. You can’t just point to one or two things,” said Bill Morgan, Senior Vice President, Titleist Golf Ball R&D. “The difference is everything. We have more people with more experience designing and making golf balls, the largest intellectual property portfolio and the most sophisticated precision manufacturing processes. The 2015 Pro V1 and Pro V1x are the culmination of all that knowledge and all of that technology. The original Pro V1 was revolutionary, no question, but we’ve learned a lot in the last 15 years and these new Pro V1 models are the best we’ve ever made.”
Since 2015 Pro V1 and Pro V1x were first introduced on the PGA Tour in October, more than 100 players have put the new models in play around the world – including Jordan Spieth, who played new Pro V1x in back-to-back runaway victories at the Australian Open and Hero World Challenge, winning those events by a combined 16 strokes. Jimmy Walker first put new Pro V1x in play at the PGA Tour’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions, where he finished runner-up. The following week, he won the Sony Open in Hawaii by nine shots. Bubba Watson, Padraig Harrington and Charley Hoffman also trusted 2015 Pro V1x to victories soon after the new models were introduced on the worldwide tours.
The 2015 Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls feature a new, patented thermoset urethane elastomer cover that the company says delivers more short game spin and control, and softer feel – while maintaining their exceptional distance and flight characteristics, and best-in-class durability. The softer, reformulated cover system improves feel, sound and short game scoring control, Titleist says, providing golfers the confidence and performance to hit it closer to the hole.
“When we set out to improve Pro V1 and Pro V1x, the product development process always starts with asking golfers how we can help them shoot lower scores,” Bohn said. “Since golfers have had such resounding success with Pro V1 and Pro V1x, this time around, they told us, ‘Don’t change much. I love the distance. I love the scoring performance. I love the durability. If you can give me slightly more spin in the short game as well as even softer feel, I’ll take it. I just don’t want to give anything up.’ So that became our design goal.”
The thermoset urethane cover formulation on both Pro V1 and Pro V1x is created by a chemical reaction that takes place during the sophisticated casting process. Liquid materials specifically formulated by Titleist R&D are combined and react to form the solid cover. This urethane is termed “thermoset,” meaning that the cover, once formed, will not re-melt. Most competitive urethane-covered golf balls use a thermoplastic urethane (TPU), supplied by an outside vendor and usually formulated for another non-golf product, which is melted and then reformed to create the cover.
“Thermoset urethane is very difficult to work with, but it gives us complete control of the chemical composition. It’s essentially a little chemical plant right in the mold, compared with using an off-the-shelf material like TPU. This allows us to dial in our desired properties of spin control, softness and durability,” said Michael Sullivan, Vice President, Titleist Golf Ball Product Development. “We do a lot of testing. We test the urethane on the ball and test it off the ball. In fact, we do so much material testing before it even gets onto a golf ball that by the time it does, we have a solid understanding of how it’s going to react. With the new 2015 models, we tested hundreds of formulations. You simply can’t do that with TPU. In the end, our iterative prototyping process ultimately improves performance for golfers.”
“We’re giving golfers everything they’ve previously had in Pro V1 and Pro V1x with some enhancements,” Morgan said. “They’ll get the extraordinary distance and ball flight they’re accustomed to. But they’ll also get a softer cover, which will add more spin control and feel around the greens. The feedback we’ve received on tour and with club professionals and amateurs clearly tells us that players are benefiting from this improved performance.”
New Pro V1 and Pro V1x also are designed to maintain their long-lasting durability. The company says the new urethane cover, combined with the improved paint system that debuted on the 2013 models, keeps Pro V1 and Pro V1x whiter and brighter longer throughout the course of play. The cover and paint system also contributes to an aerodynamically more consistent golf ball.
“The breakthrough we made in durability with 2013 Pro V1 and Pro V1x really opened up the doors for us in terms of experimentation with our cover formulation. Our urethane is so resilient that as we softened it, we were able to increase short game spin and enhance the feel while maintaining its abrasion resistance,” Morgan said.
Titleist provides two distinct performance options within the 2015 Pro V1 family. Comparatively, Pro V1 has a softer feel, slightly more long game spin and a penetrating trajectory for a shallower angle of descent for more roll. Pro V1x offers a slightly firmer feel, lower long game spin and launches higher with a steeper angle of descent. The company says both Pro V1 and Pro V1x deliver extraordinary distance, the best scoring performance for all golfers, and long lasting durability, yet differ in feel, long game spin and flight.
Pro V1 is a three-piece, multiple component technology with a very soft compression ZG process core, ionomeric casing layer, softer thermoset urethane elastomer cover, and spherically-tiled 352 tetrahedral dimple design.
Pro V1x is a four-piece, multi-component technology with a ZG process dual core, ionomeric casing layer, softer thermoset urethane elastomer cover and spherically-tiled 328 tetrahedral dimple design.
And what about that reverse price appeal I mentioned? MSRP for a dozen is $62.
Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf