TESTED: Titleist Pro V1 vs TaylorMade TP5 golf balls

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Golf Ball Test: Titleist Pro V1 vs TaylorMade TP5 

When the pros teed off for the first round of The Masters, the world’s top three players –Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy – all played a TaylorMade TP5 ball.

It’s a position that TaylorMade has never been able to shout about before, as golf ball usage on Tour has traditionally been dominated by Titleist for decades. That being said, Titleist still had the most golf balls in play at the Masters on the whole.

DJ, Rory, Rose and Rickie Fowler all tucked away wins with TP5 or TP5X in the first three months of the year, so as TaylorMade and their chief ball competitor – Titleist – both launched new balls for 2019, now seemed like the perfect time to put them head-to-head.

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Inspired by our pro

TG test pro Neil Wain, like a lot of golfers, has blindly played Titleist Pro V1 throughout his career, feeling it was the best ball for his game. As an amateur, Neil had a handicap of +4; he was the holder of seven course records and played as an England international. As a professional he’s made it to final qualifying for The Open twice, all while playing a Titleist Pro V1. For him, like a tour pro, switching balls is a pretty big deal.

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How we did it:

We created an indoor test lab (so we had a controlled environment) at The Belfry, and used a Foresight GC Quad launch monitor to capture data for every shot hit. Neil hit his own driver, irons and wedges with each ball, and we removed major mishits from the data.

After testing was complete we analysed the data to see how each ball performed, after much discussion we came up with our conclusions.  

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What happened:

On paper at least for driving distance there was a stand-out performer and that’s the Titleist Pro V1x, which was seven yards longer through the air than the rest of the balls. That’s a 3% gain in carry distance.

When it comes to irons, though, it was Rickie Fowler who said when switching from Pro V1 to TP5X in January that he’d be hitting a club less for his approaches this year. Our data doesn’t quite support a full club less for iron shots, but the stand out performer was the TP5X (Rickie’s ball) which was six yards longer (that’s a 4% gain) than the comparable Titleist.

And while we know golfers shouldn’t pick a ball based purely on wedge spin numbers, as it’s much more about feel and feedback, Neil felt the TP5 was the softest ball he hit. So it’s no surprise it also produced the highest wedge spin numbers (3.5% higher than the comparable Titleist). 

Watch Titleist Pro V1 vs TaylorMade TP5 golf ball review

The numbers:

Driver:

 

Pro V1

Pro V1x

TP5

TP5X

Ball Speed

159.9 MPH

161.4 MPH

162 MPH

162.1 MPH

Launch Angle

13.4°

12.8°

12.7°

13.7°

Backspin

3099 RPM

2769 RPM

3385 RPM

3183 RPM

Carry Distance

265 YDS

272 YDS

265 YDS

265 YDS

Iron:

 

Pro V1

Pro V1x

TP5

TP5X

Ball Speed

119.5 MPH

118.2 MPH

118.4 MPH

120.2 MPH

Launch Angle

20.1°

20°

20°

20.6°

Backspin

7330 RPM

7458 RPM

7173 RPM

6702 RPM

Peak Height

37 YDS

36 YDS

36 YDS

38 YDS

Descent Angle

50°

50°

50°

50°

Carry Distance

162 YDS

160 YDS

161 YDS

166 YDS

Wedge:

 

Pro V1

Pro V1x

TP5

TP5X

Ball Speed

95.1 MPH

96.4 MPH

95.1 MPH

95 MPH

Launch Angle

24.9°

24.6°

25.5°

25.7°

Backspin

9291 RPM

9541 RPM

9639 RPM

9022 RPM

Carry Distance

120 YDS

122 YDS

119 YDS

120 YDS

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Titleist Pro V1 and TaylorMade TP5 golf balls

In conclusion:

It took some serious head scratching to come up with a conclusion, as there wasn’t a single ball that performed best for our test pro across each of the categories. Our numbers show, though, how incredibly well matched the balls are, which certainly wouldn’t have been the case 10 years ago.

Neil said he would only play Pro V1 or TP5 (even though the Pro V1 didn’t lead in any of our categories), and that decision comes down solely to the increased feel he got from both.

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He puts a premium on soft feel, and he’s willing to give up a few yards to get it. While he was impressed with the TP5 data, he still wanted to head for the course before making a final decision on switching. For others, the case will be different, which says you have to buy a ball to deliver in areas of your game you want help with, or put a premium on. That probably explains why some top players have switched – they see gains in a certain areas, be that distance, feel, spin, accuracy or performance in the wind, which their previous ball couldn’t quite deliver on.

At the end of the day see it like choosing between a modern forgiving driver and a low spin model – you can’t realistically have the best of both worlds. A low-spin driver that’s also the most forgiving just isn’t quite possible… yet. If you’re still stuck, choose a ball based on the feel you prefer. The Xs are firmer, whereas the standard models are softer.

Why we use a Foresight GC Quad launch monitor

Foresight GC Quad launch monitor