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Showing results for tags '2016'.
Here's some testing I did on a crop of 2016 balls back in March when I was in Arizona. Testing was done over about 7 total days, consisting of 12+ hours of short game area testing (chipping, pitching, putting, and bunker) and 4+ rounds, where the balls were rotated in and out, hole by hole, and cross compared to each other. All but one of the rounds were played solo, so I had plenty of time to hit 2-3 balls per hole sometimes. I kept verbal notes on my phone as I went. Balls Tested 2016 Titleist ProV1 2016 Titleist NXT Tour 2016 Titleist TruSoft 2016 Callaway Chrome Soft 2016 Wilson Staff Duo Spin 2016 Wilson Staff Duo Urethane 2016 Bridgestone Tour B330 2016 Bridgestone Tour B330RX 2016 TaylorMade Tour Preferred 2016 Nike RZN Tour Platinum (tested as Nike RZN Proto) Titleist ProV1 - It's no surprise that this ball is the standard to which all others are compared. It was â€œthe ballâ€ when it had a balata cover, wound rubber band mantle, and liquid-filled core, and it's still â€œthe ballâ€. Titleist does a great job of producing and renewing this model year after year, without reinventing the wheel. 3-pieces, consisting of a proprietary urethane elastomer cover, inomer mantle, and soft â€œZG processâ€ core. As the old saying goes, â€œIf it ain't broke, don't fix itâ€, but Titleist is always improving it, if ever so incrementally and patiently. Consistently solid, solid, solid. Feel: 5 (5 = Best to 1 = Worst) Spin: 4 Price: $$$$ Award: The Gold Standard Titleist NXT Tour - Another solid effort from Titleist that feels and sounds really good off all clubfaces. In fact, I found that all of the Titleist balls tested sound very much the same when struck with a full swing. That says a lot about what they do. 3-pieces, consisting of a Fusablend cover, and a dual core design. It doesn't spin as much as the ProV1, and the cover is more durable. This ball is geared to the better amateur who's looking for more dollar value in a high performance ball. Feel: 4 Spin: 3 Price: $$$ Award: Cool First Cousin Titleist TruSoft - I was very impressed by this ball. For a 2-piece ball it feels really solid, flies high with great stability in the wind, and has a nice bite when it lands on the green. I was immediately reminded of another Acushnet ball from years past, the Pinnacle Exception, which is good company. I used to refer to that ball as â€œthe poor man's ProV1â€. It's got a really nice soft feel off the putter, but not rubbery, or jumpy. This ball can be enjoyed by all levels of player, and is a great value. Feel: 4 Spin: 3 Price: $$ Award: Super Fun Ball Callaway Chrome Soft - I had really high expectations for this ball after all the hype and popularity of the original 2015 model. With my slightly-slower-than-pro swing speed, I was in love with the original ball right from the start. The issue however was with higher swing speed players being able to â€œover-compressâ€ it. To many of them, it was too soft, especially on the longer clubs. The solution according to Callaway was to increase the number of pieces from 3 to 4, soften the 2-piece core, and firm up the mantle layer. Sadly, I think they've missed the mark here. Of all the balls I tested, I found this one the hardest to compress, and it felt a bit harsh on full swings. It still has good feel on the delicate shots around the green, and off the putter, but overall, this egg is slightly overcooked. Feel: 3 Spin: 4 Price: $$$-1/2 Award: Sadly Underwhelmed Wilson Staff Duo Spin - (In my best Captain Kirk voice) Spock! I know it says â€œSpinâ€ on the cover, but I justâ€¦ can'tâ€¦ make itâ€¦ spin! This ball feels quite nice on any type of swing, has a really nice soft feel off the putter, and held up very nicely in the wind. It even has that very familiar, slightly hollow Wilson â€œclickâ€ that seems to be proprietary to them. But, for the life of me I couldn't get it to spin in a meaningful way, no matter what I tried. And I triedâ€¦ a lot. If you like to get the ball on the ground quickly around the green, or play a higher ball flight, this ball will work nicely. If you're looking for stop-on-a-dime responsiveness, you'll come up about 9 cents short (or long). Feel: 4 Spin: 2 Price: $$ Award: Not-Much-Spin Spin Ball Wilson Staff Duo Urethane - â€œHello Wilson? Uh, yeah. Can I speak with Quality Control please? I think you have a golf ball labelling machine problem. I've got one ball that says â€˜spin' that doesn't, and I've got this other â€˜urethane' ball that spins plenty, but doesn't say â€˜spin' anywhere on it.â€ I felt a bit guilty after my experience with the Duo Spin, so I added the Duo Urethane to the test at the last minute, and I'm glad I did. This is a really nice golf ball, and it has a lower-than-elite-ball-price-tag. It held it's own in all aspects of the game against the â€œheavyweightsâ€. On attacking shots around the green, it even held its own against the â€œmighty swoosh ballâ€ (more on that later). I also found that it has great cover durability. Great feel, distance, stability, durability, AND spin. I think Wilson ball lovers will eat this up, and newcomers will be hooked. Feel: 4 Spin: 4.5 Price: $$$ Award: Pleasantly Surprised (and Relieved) Bridgestone Tour B330 - Having tried others in the B330 line previously, I was excited to try the â€œflagshipâ€ ball of the line. This is a really solid ball, and performed well in all aspects of testing. My only caveat would be that this ball should be played by those with enough swing speed to properly compress it. It's a very firm feeling ball. Not harsh, just at the upper end of firm. If you can bring the heat, this ball could definitely be for you. The gradient design of the core is intriguing. It's designed to be softer in the middle and firmer on the outside in only one piece, instead of 2 or 3 pieces needed in other balls to achieve the same results. Feel: 4 Spin: 4 Price: $$$$ Award: Muscle Ball Bridgestone Tour B330RX - For we mere mortals, there's also the â€œRâ€ versions of the B330 line. A softer, but still gradient â€œAmatourâ€ core allows slower swing speeds to more easily compress the ball, without losing feel. As with the Tour B330, the dual dimple design gives you lots of stability in the wind, and a nice penetrating flight. I found this one had just enough spin to get the job done on approach shots and around the green. Overall, a very solid ball. Feel: 4 Spin: 3.5 Price: $$$-1/2 Award: Just A Really Solid Ball TaylorMade Tour Preferred - Having played other TM ball models in the past, I was somewhat familiar with what I thought they should feel and react like. Solid, not spectacular. I'm glad I was wrong in my preconceptions. This is a REALLY good golf ball. In performance and feel, it got the closest to the ProV1 of all the balls I tested. Super reliable of all clubs, with a really nice feel around the green and off the putter. In my opinion, this is an elite level ball that can stand nose-to-nose with the very best, and not flinch. If the ProV1 is #1, then I have no hesitation calling the TP ball #1A. I was pleasantly surprised, and very impressed. Feel: 5 Spin: 4 Price:$$$$ Award: Legitimate Contender Nike RZN Tour Platinum (Tested as Nike RZN Proto) - For those of us old enough to remember the movie The Right Stuff, or even the space program that spawned the film, I'll use this comparison to Illustrate what the Nike ball is. If the ProV1 is John Glenn; super dependable, by-the-book, all-American-as-apple-pieâ€¦ Then the Nike RZN Tour Platinum is Chuck Yeager. A fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants thrill ride that won't pull the ejection seat handle until the last possible second. Kind of appropriate that the cover of the ball is referred to as the â€œflight suitâ€. Everything about this ball is attack mode. From the trajectory, to the suction cup bite around the greens. This ball scared the pants off me, and I loved it. I spent a bit more time with this ball then the others because a) it took me longer to get used to playing it, and because it was so much fun. I was comparing it head-to-head against all the other balls, so I could make a fair comparison. Hitting any weird and wild shots I could think of, just to watch it bite. Maybe I've used a bit much in the hyperbole department? Possibly. But, I've NEVER played a ball like this oneâ€¦ ever. The ONLY thing that fell a bit short (for me) about this ball is that I had to hit it more firmly than I would like with the putter. I'm a feel putter, so it was a bit unnerving to me to use that much more force. Caveat emptor: this ball may be too much, and too frustrating to handle for the average amateur. Feel: 4.5 Spin: 5 Price: $$$$ Award: Scary Fun Ball