Alright so now I have quite a few rounds under my belt with the Snell MTB Black and have compared it to my gamer, the Srixon Z Star, as well as some late round testing against the new Titleist AVX golf ball. My core testing process consisted of mostly playing live rounds of golf vs. simulators so that I could see real world flight and short game characteristics. I hit multiple shots with the Snell and other balls side by side and comparing how each reacted to on course situations from driver to approach shots to chipping and putting. The on course testing and multiple rounds gave a great test of durability for the Snell. I really had a great time giving this ball a proper test and hope others gain something from my comparisons.
Looks & Durability - 14 out of 15 points (when comparing it to other white colored balls), 10 out of 15 points (when comparing it to the yellow Srixon ball)
I've never been the type to really care what the packaging of the golf ball I play looks like but I did actually liked the simple and understated black box the MTB Black comes in. It has a very Will Smith/Tommy Lee Jones Men in Black (MIB) feel. MIB and MTBâ€¦coincidence?
The ball itself has a top shelf premium glossy urethane look and feel that stands toe to toe with any top end premium ball. Of course I would still prefer the yellow as I previously stated in my Stage 1 review but the white does look good fresh from the package. The main logo has a cool font and the splash of red adds color but doesn't make it too gawdy of a logo or seem like it is a logo overrun ball. The alignment aid down the side is nice and wide (which I like) but I always fill in the side line with a black pen to make it appear solid. I just prefer this style when lining up my putts.
Durability started out pretty good overall and the ball stayed new looking for most of the first half of the round. I did start to notice however that the clear coat seemed to disappear towards the end of the round and the dirt and marks became a little harder to clean off. The urethane cover itself remained very cut and scuff free but the clear coat seemed to fade away a little quickly and the ball took on more of a matte finish. After 2-3 rounds the ball was very dull looking.
(I'll insert a side by side of a new vs used ball soonâ€¦I lost the ball I was going to use in a stupid creek)
I did end up eventually hitting a cart path as well as some tree branches and the Snell showed marks from both just like every other premium ball does. It didn't wow me with impact or mark resistance but it didn't let down my expectations either. The main point is it kept up with all the balls that cost more. Irons and wedges did leave some slit marks after some well struck shots but the cover wasn't deeply cut or damaged. I didn't feel the need to take the ball out of play for any of the groove cuts.
Overall I put it right up there with the other premium WHITE balls. Since I usually play the yellow Srixon I can't say it did quite as well because I think the yellow colored Srixon balls are the most durable premium golf balls on the market. They are basically bullet proof and absorb just about anything you can give them. I routinely have played 2-4 rounds on the same ball without it starting to look and feel as dull as the white balls get. This is why I gave the Snell two different scores above.
Sound & Feel (12 out of 15 points)
The Snell MTB Black has a firmer, crisper sound than the Srixon ZStar. Both balls feel heavier and denser than the Titleist AVX. I broke down the sound and feel based on the various clubs in the bag. Overall I prefer a slightly softer feeling ball than the Black but it didn't offend me in any way.
Slightly firmer/denser feel from the Snell compared to the ZStar. The AVX felt the softest and lightest
AVX was most quiet off the putter followed by the ZStar and then Snell (sound is feel)
Snell seemed to come off the face a little faster than the ZStar with the AVX coming off the fastest
If I putted the ZStar to the hole, the Snell would travel approx. 4â€-5â€ further with the same stroke and the AVX would travel approx. another 1â€ or so.
ZStar felt best off of mis-hits followed by Snell. AVX was almost too soft to detect slight mis-hits
Similar to putter, Snell was firmest followed by ZStar and then AVX.
Although firmest, the ball doesn't feel hard or clicky but more solid and meaty feeling.
The AVX feels very light and springy and feels like it has much more ballspeed coming off the face. AVX gave the impression you could swing easier and let the ball do all the work. Hitting the Snell directly after the AVX made the Snell feel like it had to be hit â€œharderâ€ due to its meatier feel. The ZStar was in between the two and was a goldilocks feeling of â€œjust rightâ€.
The driver made the loudest sound with the Snell which confirms the slightly harder feel. The ZStar was quieter with the AVX being the quietest.
AVX really feels like it jumps off the driver. The Snell and ZStar felt like they stayed on the face a bit longer.
Again it felt like you had to hit the Snell harder after hitting the AVX because the AVX felt so light and springy.
On-Course Performance (45 out of 50 points)
The first and most important thing I noticed about the on-course performance was the ball flight was significantly LOWER than I'm used to seeing. When PGA pros talk about hitting shots in various â€œwindowsâ€ I can compare and say that the Snell MTB Black hit lower than the flight windows I'm normally used to seeing. This had both some positive and negative aspects and some of the performance was due to this lower flight.
Off the Tee â€“ I hit the MTB plenty far and equal in distance to the ZStar but, because of the lower flight, found my carry distance was shorter. I also think I had lower spin with the Snell and AVX compared to the ZStar. When I played firmer fairways I got a ton of extra roll and hit some massive tee shots in overall distance but could tell that it was more roll based. The AVX also flies lower and rolls more than the ZStar. I added a degree of loft to my driver to get the same height I would get from the ZStar at standard loft. When I added the extra loft and got some additional height, the Snell hit some of the longest drives of the three balls. All were pretty close overall though.
Approach â€“ The lower ball flight also carried over to my approach shots and on some longer iron shots I had trouble holding firmer greens. I feel like I was also getting lower spin so I saw more shots than I'd like hit the green and roll off the back. Mid and short irons had enough spin and holding the green was not as much of a problem, even with the lower flight. AVX also had this same problem even though it felt softer.
Around the Green â€“ The Snell and ZStar performed the best on half wedges and chips as the spin seemed higher on both than the AVX. All 3 balls had similar trajectory on half wedges but the AVX didn't check up as quickly and I had to allow for more roll with it.
Putting â€“ I think the sound/feel section above summarizes putting with each ball. Each came off the face differently and once I adjusted to the speed it was easy to putt with any of them. I felt like the ZStar was the perfect middle feel between the firmer Snell and the softer AVX.
Ball Flight â€“ Did I mention low? I will definitely mention that even though I saw a lower flight, the flight was perfectly consistent and perfectly dependable. The Snell didn't get affected by wind nearly as much and I could count on every shot looking exactly the same. Very, very consisten performance from the Snell MTB.
Game Bag or Shag Bag? (15 out of 20 points)
I'm not really sure how to give a point value to whether or not I would game this ball or not. I could easily play this ball and make it work for sure. The consistency was something I could count on and it did everything I wanted around the green. Once I added some extra loft to my driver, I had no problem with the trajectory off of the tee but some people may not be using drivers that allow this change. When it comes down to it, the only reason I probably wouldn't play this ball would be due to the lower trajectory and spin I saw on long iron approach shots into greens. After my review I am pretty sure the MTB Red would fit me perfectly and I'm now probably going to give that a go to see if that's the case or not.
If you hit the ball high already and maybe are a higher spin player with the driver then you will love this ball. It's dependable, consistent, feels good and offers great short game performance. People who play insert putters will also enjoy the feel and feedback from the putter since it feels dense and meaty.
The TLDR Version:
Snell felt firmer/denser on all clubs than the ZStar and AVX.
Snell had a lower flight that rolled more off the driver than ZStar but similar to AVX.
Snell was VERY dependable and predictable and not affected much by wind. ZStar is also great in wind but flies higher. AVX is in the middle.
I needed more spin and higher trajectory on long iron approach shots than the MTB and AVX gave me.
Very good spin on half wedge shots and chips. ZStar and Snell tied with AVX not stopping quite as quickly.
Based on other people's reviews, I'm going to give the MTB Red a try to see if it brings up my trajectory some.
Final Score: (86 out of 100) â€“ This score seems lower than perhaps it should be but I really enjoy this ball and really look forward to continue to use it. I'll give the MTB Red a try next.