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My 2016 Ball Test-a-palooza


LobWedge
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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 “the ball” when it had a balata cover, wound rubber band mantle, and liquid-filled core, and it's still “the ball”. 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 “ZG process” core. As the old saying goes, “If it ain't broke, don't fix it”, 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 “the poor man's ProV1”. 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 “over-compress” 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 “Spin” on the cover, but I just… can't… make it… 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 “click” 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 tried… 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 - “Hello 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 ‘spin' that doesn't, and I've got this other ‘urethane' ball that spins plenty, but doesn't say ‘spin' anywhere on it.”

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 “heavyweights”. On attacking shots around the green, it even held its own against the “mighty swoosh ball” (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 “flagship” 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 “R” versions of the B330 line. A softer, but still gradient “Amatour” 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-pie… 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 “flight suit”. 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 B) 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 one… 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

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I totally agree with your assement of the Duo Urethane. It's a great ball, easily one of the best feeling out there. It doesn't quite spin as much as the Pro V1x but it's feel makes up for it by far.

 Driver:   :callaway-small:  Epic Flash 12 Degree

Wood: :callaway-small:  GBB 3 Wood
Hybrid: :callaway-small: Razr 4 hybriid stiff stock shaft.
Irons: :callaway-small: X2 Hot 4 iron (pro version) 5 iron - Gap Wedge (non pro version).  KBS 120g Shaft stiff cut 1/2  inch bent 1°upright
Wedges: :vokey-small: 52° 56° and 60°.
All grips are Golf pride grips midsized
Putter (lefty):  Odyssey Metal-X #8 34", stock shaft bent 2° Superstroke grip
Golf Balls:   :titelist-small: 2018-9 Pro-V1x and Prov1s
Shoes:  :footjoy-small:  Dryjoy tours

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Great review, thanks for this....I've been playing the BStone E6 for about a year, looking to try the DUO U and BStone RX for a little more 'bite' around the greens.......how would you compare them off the driver?  The E6 really helps keep things in the fairway

Driver:   :honma: TR20 10.5*

Utility Iron: :cleveland-small: UHX 18*

Hybrid:   :callaway-small: Epic 4h 23* 

Irons:    :mizuno-small: JPX900 Hot Metal 5-GW

Wedges:  :cleveland-small: CBX2 52* 56* 60*

Putter:  :mizuno-small:M Craft Type V

Ball:   :bridgestone-small: Tour BXS

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for the review. Great stuff here. I have tried the Duo, Duo U, Trusoft, 330RX & ProV1x. They all have great characteristics. I am a 82 mph swing speed so the lower compressions seem to work better for me. I really like the Duo off the putter.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy mobile app

Driver: PXG 0211 w/Evenflo Riptide CB Regular shaft 

Fairways:  Cobra King F8 3-4W(16*) & 5-6W(20*) w/Mitsubishi ck Blue regular shaft 

Hybrid: Cobra F8 3 Hybrid(19*) w/Recoil ES regular shaft 

Irons: Wilson D7 5-PW w/Recoil 460 Regular graphite shafts 

Wedges: Cleveland RTX Zipcore(50*/54*/58*) w/True Temper Spinner Wedge steel shaft  

Putter: 33" Evnroll ER2 w/Evnroll Gravity Grip 

Bag: Vice cart bag(Black).  

Pushcart:  Caddytek 3.0 from Costco

Ball: Maxfli Tour CG & Titleist Pro V1x.

 

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Very, very well done. Appreciated. Thanks!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy mobile app

"Where'd it go?"  "Right in the Lumberyard..."

126422322_PXGLogo_2.png.74a339363ba3931cc4fc226a253621f8.png Gen 2  0811 XF 10.5*  Project X HZRDUS Smoke Yellow 60 X-Flex
:bridgestone-small:  Tour B JGR 15*   Fairway UST ProForce V2 7F5 76g X-Flex
:bridgestone-small:  Tour B JGR 19* & 22* Hybrid UST ProForce V2 90g X-Flex
:bridgestone-small:  Tour B JGR HF-2 irons (5i - PW)  KBS Tour 130x

:cleveland-small: CBX Wedges (50, 54, 58)  TT Dynamic Gold 115 Wedge Shaft
MATI  Mamo Putter 33"  Super Stroke Football League 3.0 Slim
:bridgestone-small: Tour B-RX

:918457628_PrecisionPro: Precision Pro Nexus Rangefinder

:PuttOut:FAN!

1711524086_TheGrintlogo_text_1.png.c1eb3f656b10191d1fc9a14a0fd77f95.png PRO Member

 

 

 

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Very helpful review. I have just now gotten serious about trying to find a ball that works for me. My first and only attempt this far was with the chrome soft. I find them to be very long and straight off the tee with plenty of spin around the green. They are also very long off the putter face. I found then to be way too springy to control distance and take the initial line off the putter. Now I'm stuck with an almost full box of balls that I can't play because I can't put them in the hole.

 

Sent from my SM-N900V using Tapatalk

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Great review, thanks for this....I've been playing the BStone E6 for about a year, looking to try the DUO U and BStone RX for a little more 'bite' around the greens.......how would you compare them off the driver?  The E6 really helps keep things in the fairway

It's been awhile since I used the e6, but expect more spin as you go towards Urethane balls. The Duo U is a good wind ball compared to the Prov1x. I haven't played an RX in probably 2 years but from what I recall it prob will be a bit more spinner off the driver as well.

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 Driver:   :callaway-small:  Epic Flash 12 Degree

Wood: :callaway-small:  GBB 3 Wood
Hybrid: :callaway-small: Razr 4 hybriid stiff stock shaft.
Irons: :callaway-small: X2 Hot 4 iron (pro version) 5 iron - Gap Wedge (non pro version).  KBS 120g Shaft stiff cut 1/2  inch bent 1°upright
Wedges: :vokey-small: 52° 56° and 60°.
All grips are Golf pride grips midsized
Putter (lefty):  Odyssey Metal-X #8 34", stock shaft bent 2° Superstroke grip
Golf Balls:   :titelist-small: 2018-9 Pro-V1x and Prov1s
Shoes:  :footjoy-small:  Dryjoy tours

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The best thing about reviews like this is it just proves that not everyone has the same perspective on golf balls, and that feel and spin will greatly differ from player to player. Good review though. For many who don't want to test for themselves, this could be a good starting point to have a look at.

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Lefties are always in their Right Mind

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Great review, thanks for this....I've been playing the BStone E6 for about a year, looking to try the DUO U and BStone RX for a little more 'bite' around the greens.......how would you compare them off the driver?  The E6 really helps keep things in the fairway

 

They both feel really solid off the driver, with a slight nod to the Duo U. If you liked last year's Chrome Soft, you'll like the Duo U.

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The best thing about reviews like this is it just proves that not everyone has the same perspective on golf balls, and that feel and spin will greatly differ from player to player. Good review though. For many who don't want to test for themselves, this could be a good starting point to have a look at.

 

Totally agree. This is just my 2 cents worth. FWIW, my driver swing speed is in the 105 mph range, and irons are 95-100 mph. I like to attack when I'm chipping, and prefer to die the ball at the hole with the putter, as opposed to using the back of the hole.

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Nice testing.

 

I agree completely with your assessment of the ChromeSoft that high swing speed players would over-compress it. My swing speed is about 112mph, and I found that the ChromeSofts tended to check up a lot quicker than my usual Titleist Pro V1x's. I'm a huge fan of the Bridgestone B330s though.

Driver (main): Cobra F9 Speedback (9.0) with Fujikura Atmos 7X (Avalanche White) 

Driver (back-up): Titliest 915 D3 (9.5) with Fujikura Speeder Shaft 757 (Tour Stiff)

3 Wood: Callaway Epic Sub-Zero (15 degrees) in Rogue Max 75g stiff shaft

Hybrid: Callaway Apex 20 degree with Kurokage 80g Stiff Shaft

Irons: PING i200 4-PW in XP 95 shafts with S300 flex (+ 3 iron)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM6 - 50

              Callaway MD4 - 56 & 60 degrees

Putter: Taylormade TP Collection Soto

Golf Ball: Titliest Pro V1X, Srixon Z-Star ZV & Taylormade TP5X

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  • 2 weeks later...

The best thing about reviews like this is it just proves that not everyone has the same perspective on golf balls, and that feel and spin will greatly differ from player to player. Good review though. For many who don't want to test for themselves, this could be a good starting point to have a look at.

Yeah, this was interesting and informative to me; feel the subjective comments are more useful than just compression and spin rate numbers.

 

I'm a slightly better than average player, based on what I observe every time I'm on the course or at the range, and don't feel that I'm 'there yet' to fully differentiate between balls of a similar type.

 

So, for the time being, am using the Duo ... seems to be a good combo for me of feel and value. Well, mostly using the Duo, depending on what else is still in my bag or I find on the course (yeah I know I've been told you shouldn't mix golf balls of different brands and different types...).

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WITB of an "aspiring"  😉 play-ah ...
..Callaway Epic Speed 4W and Epic Max 7W (both Project X Cypher)
..Callaway Big Bertha 4H and 5H (both Recoil ZTR)
..PXG 0211 6i-GW (Mitsubishi MMT) 
..Cleveland CBX-2 54 and CBX 60 (both Rotex graphite)
...Edel EAS 4.0 (stock shaft, zero offset hosel, round grip)
..all in a Datrek bag on an MGI Zip Navigator electric cart.

Forum Member tester for the ExPutt Putting Simulator (2020)

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Great review of all these balls. I'm still searching for the "right" ball and these reviews have given me a few more to try that I wasn't considering like the Wilson Staff Duo Urethane and the Nike. I recently tried a dozen of the RZN black and really liked how they played, but can't handle how clicky they sound off the wedges and putter. I plan to try the B330 next but may try some of the other balls you mentioned if they don't work out.

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Titleist TS3 9.5* w/Accra TZ5 65 X-Stiff
Titleist TS3 15* w/Fujikura Ventus 7X
Callaway Apex19 Hybrid 20* w/Accra TZ5 95X
Callaway Apex19 Hybrid 23* w/Accra TZ5 95X
Titleist 718 CB 5 iron w/KBS $Taper X-Stiff
Titleist 718 MB 6-PW w/KBS $Taper X-Stiff
Titleist SM7 Wedges 50*, 54*, 58* w/KBS $Taper X-Stiff
Bettinardi Queen B 10 34.5"
Titleist Pro V1 or Snell MTB-X

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Great review of all these balls. I'm still searching for the "right" ball and these reviews have given me a few more to try that I wasn't considering like the Wilson Staff Duo Urethane and the Nike. I recently tried a dozen of the RZN black and really liked how they played, but can't handle how clicky they sound off the wedges and putter. I plan to try the B330 next but may try some of the other balls you mentioned if they don't work out.

 

Best of luck. Glad to be of some help. I hope you find a keeper.

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Grate review...where would you say Callaway's Super Soft rate, would it be comparable to the Titleist Tru Soft? I use the Tru Soft now and love it for the price and performance. Also use the Pro V1 whenever I can save up for a box.

 

Sent from MyGolfSpy mobile

WITB:

 

Driver:   :taylormade-small: Sim2 Max w/ Fujikura Motore X F3 shaft

FW Wood:   :cobra-small:  F9 wood 14.5* 

Hybrids:  :taylormade-small: Sim2 Max 3 Hybrid & :nike-small: Vapor Flex 4 hybrid  

Irons:  :srixon-small: Z565 - 7 thru PW & ZU85 - 5 thru 6 with Recoil ZT9 F4 shafts                                            

Wedges:   :cleveland-small: RTX4 52*, 56*, 60* 

Putter:  Scotty Cameron M2 Newport

Ball:  :Snell: Black & :titelist-small: Pro V1

Bag: 2018 MyGolfSpy stand Bag & 2021 Greenside Golf stand bag

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

No love for the Z Star from anyone? Haters

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy mobile app

 

Im using the Z star XV and it is a stellar ball, my favorite between it and the Taylormade Tour preferred X.

My Mixed-Bag:

 

Driver:      :callaway-small: Mavrik Sub zero, ventus black 7x

Fairway:     Still looking!

Irons:         :mizuno-small:MP-18 MB 4-PW

Wedges:     Miura K Grinds

Putter:       Evnroll 1.2 blade

Ball:        :srixon-small: Z star XV

 

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