We've proven how well mail order balls perform. Now four regular golfers test Pearl's two premium models
Last year we put the best tour-level mail order golf balls up against the game's top-selling ball. At the time we had no idea how good internet-only balls could be. Not only in terms of data, but feel, feedback and spin, too.
With the Pearl Pro and Pro X performing so well in our test – and because they're available for almost half the cost of the latest top selling tour balls – we wanted to see if four TG readers agreed...
The Testers: Below, from left to right: Steve Coward (13) Richard Dale (6), Tim Lawman (18), Steve Cooper (10).
What was your first impression of the Pearl balls?
SCP: I was a little apprehensive using them as I'd never heard about the brand before. I assumed they wouldn't be as good quality as more well-known brands. I couldn't have been more wrong
TL: Recently I've been using Srixon AD333 Tour balls; the Pearl gave the impression from the packaging, look and feel of being a similar good quality.
RD: Balls are balls right? Both look and felt good, I liked the nice little alignment arrow on the side, it helped lining up tee shots and putts.
SCW: I've been a Titleist NXT and Srixon AD333 fan for years, as I like the durability, price and more solid feel from the putter. The Pearls have the same high quality look and feel of a much more expensive ball.
How did the performance compare to your usual ball?
SCP: Distance-wise the Pearls were as long as any ball I've hit. For me the X had a slightly higher ball flight which helped stop shots quicker on approach shots. But the best feature is the durability. I've played a couple of rounds with a single ball and there isn't a mark on it.
TL: I'm not going to lie – as an 18 handicapper I found it difficult comparing the two balls. What I will say is bearing in mind the price difference they felt just as good as my current ball.
RD: I don't feel I gave up anything in terms of distance or accuracy particularly with the driver. I really liked the solid sound when hit with the driver. After 45 minutes around the chipping and putting green I'd say both the Pro and Pro X generate spin with the wedges and offer good feel on the dancefloor.
SCW: The X, for me was longer at what I call my average club speed; it also felt more obedient at getting shots to stop quickly on tricky greens. All in it gave me the confidence to attack more flags and still get the spin I'd typically expect.
Did you have a preference for either and how would you feel about buying balls direct from the brand online?
SCP: I feel I could use either, but would come down just on the side of the standard Pro. I'd wrongly assumed internet-only balls would be poor quality, I'll happily admit I was completely wrong. I'll be buying Pearl a dozen at a time when I need them.
TL: There's not much in it. I'd go with the standard Pro, too, just because I feel it would be a bit more forgiving for me. I buy golf kit from the internet all the time so I've got no qualms spending online.
RD: I'm on the Pro X side of the fence, just because the better feedback with the putter. £28.99 a dozen is not excessive for a quality ball, I'd happily buy three dozen at a time online for a further £12 saving.
SCW: I'd happily use either ball, but if pushed I'd go for the X, just because of how good it felt on the greens. I reckon if the Pearls had the advertising and exposure they deserve, premium ball prices would have to come down or face a diminishing market.
Would you recommend other golfers give them a try?
SCP: Compared to a Titleist Pro V1 the Pearl balls are excellent value. They matched or outperformed the Titleist, and because of the added durability they're a clear winner. I've given a few out to friends, who are of the same opinion... they're seriously impressive.
TL: The Pearl balls are good quality and a decent price; buying three dozen at a time for £24.99 is very attractive. I'd definitely recommend other golfers give them a try.
RD: Compared with premium tour balls the Pearl balls are very competitively priced and I'm struggling to really see or feel a performance difference. I've already ordered three dozen Pearl Pro X.
SCW: Both balls will easily hold their own when pitted against premium priced tour balls. I'm sold on them as my go-to ball, I'd urge other golfers to adopt them, too.