ROBOT TESTED: Which golf ball suits my game?

Published:

Cleveland RTX4

Today's Golfer 2019 Golf Ball Test: 500,000+ pieces of data, 1,260  shots, 21 balls and one £250,000 robot... Welcome to the biggest (and best) golf balls test we’ve ever done!

We flew to Arizona to spend a week on PXG’s test robot hitting golf balls. Our test took a week to do, six months to plan and we were talking about it for a year before getting the thumbs-up from PXG. 

We tested 21 different golf balls at three driver swing speeds (85 MPH, 100 MPH and 115 MPH), and hit each model with irons and wedges to show what's on the line by making the wrong selection.

Based on data we choose our top performers and explain what you need to know to select the best golf ball for your own game.

Here is what we found out.

2019 Golf Balls Test

Meet the Robot & PXG's engineers
Balls Test: How We Did it
The Balls We Tested
By the Numbers: Carry Distance vs Dispersion | Wedge Spin | Lowest Driver Spin | Wedge Accuracy | Compression
Our Favourites | Tour Ball | Amateur Ball | Mail Order Ball | Ball under £25 per doz
The Numbers: Each Individual Golf Ball 
The Numbers: Comparing results for each golf ball

Meet the $250,000 robot

How do you guarantee consistency between strikes to accurately gauge the performance of a golf ball? Even the world’s very best players can’t hit a ball from exactly the same spot time, after time, after time – so we set about finding a robot.

Every top golf brand has an R&D team dedicated to developing new products, and a huge part of the process is proving new designs are better than previous ones. Human testing is crucial for those intangibles like looks and feel, but to ensure consistent, reliable, irrefutable data, every brand uses a Golf Laboratories robot. So it made perfect sense for us to use the same model.

The only problem is that there’s just a handful of such robots in the world, and most of those are owned by brands who make a golf ball, which would raise impartiality questions. So we approached two companies – and PXG said “sure, you can borrow our robot!”

PXG’s test lab is located at Scottsdale National Golf Club in Arizona, and it looks out on to a million square feet of pristine practice range. During our week-long test, the golf club was closed, which meant only our test balls were on the range (making it possible to collect and cut open any balls which displayed abnormal flight behaviours).

Golf Labs Test Robot

How much is it worth?
A robot like this will set you back more than $250,000, but it’s crucial for testing golf club designs. Unlike any human it’s capable of repeating the same golf swing time and time again, which means it’s guaranteed to hit the same spot on a clubface with minute precision every single time. It’s the only way club engineers can see exactly how major or minor design tweaks stack up.

An hour to set up
The robot might be able to hit a ball every 20-30 seconds once it’s set up, but there’s some serious time spent setting it up before any shots are hit. Switching from drivers to irons took us more than an hour, with countless test shots required to ensure a neutral spin axis, which is a good indicator of straight shots.     

Lie angle adjustment
The robot hinges over the ball, just like a human. Driver shots are positioned further from the robot’s feet, with a flatter lie angle. Iron and wedge shots get progressively closer and more upright, just like every golfer on the planet.

Swing path and face angle
The robot can be set up to replicate any swing path or face angle at impact, which comes in useful when designing clubs for amateur golfers. It means the test engineers can hit anything from straight shots to hooks, slices, shanks and everything in between. 

WATCH THE VIDEO: Robot Tested - Which golf ball suits my game?

Attack angle
Sliding and adjustable height rules at the feet of the robot allow PXG’s engineers to set the robot up to hit either up or down onto the ball. Previous studies have allowed the engineers to understand exactly how much difference attack angle makes to spin and carry distance.

Impact point
A huge part of any development process is analysing how new club models perform on off-centre hits. So the robot can mimic any impact position or pattern from amateur to Tour pro. All our shots were hit directly from the centre of the face, which we centred and checked periodically with specialist face tape. We restarted one test as impacts had risen up the face by 1mm – which increased draw bias.

5mph-130mph swings
The robot is servo driven so it can accurately replicate a swing speed anywhere from 5mph-130mph. It consistently hits any shot type at any speed as long as the ball is sat on a tee. The robot is bolted to the floor to ensure stability and prevent movement at high speed.

Hip rotation
The robot can be swivelled open or closed from its middle, which allows engineers to mimic certain swing styles. Zach Johnson, who has lots of hip rotation, has had his swing mimicked, which enabled PXG to understand how his swing impacts club performance. PXG owner Bob Parsons has also had his swing replicated by the robot. Well, he does own it!

Abort! Abort! Abort!
Like the ejector seat on a jet plane, the robot has an abort button. It’s been used several times to abort a swing when someone has wandered in front of the test lab’s door. Hit the button on the downswing of a driver and the shaft snaps, so extreme are the forces in action.

Wrist mechanism
To ensure realistic results the robot has an adjustable wrist action. Via biomechanical modelling it’s makers have ensured it can mimic the identical acceleration, left arm and wrist forces and lag or casting of any golfer, from hacker to Tour star.

Meet PXG's Engineers

Of course, we didn’t have the expertise to operate the robot ourselves, so PXG kindly allowed two of its engineers to take time out of their busy schedules to help us for the week.

Scott Kim - Product Test Engineer

Scott Kim

Scott has been at PXG for three years. He has a history of coaching and playing, but also spent time at MacGregor as a test engineer. He’s PXG lead test engineer. He’s also worked in the defence industry.

Chris Kessler - Senior Engineer

Chris Kessler

Ex-professional Chris has been at PXG almost since day one. He’s played on several mini tours in the US, and once caddied for PGA Tour winner Bill Glasson. Chris has been heavily involved with production at PXG, and recently made the move across to engineering.

Cleveland RTX4

How we tested the balls

This is the most insightful golf ball test we’ve ever created. Some will argue golfers aren’t robots, and there’s no element of “feel”. But experience tells us the only true way to accurately see the difference between each ball’s performance is a repeatable swing and a consistently accurate impact location, which no human tester can reproduce.

Our test took a week to do, six months to plan and we were talking about it for a year before getting the thumbs-up from PXG. This is how we did it…

Why we used PXG
Robot golf ball testing can only be independent if done on a robot, and by a brand that has zero interest in the golf ball market. And trust us, there aren’t many to choose from. PXG agreed to support us not because they have any interest in the ball market, but because, thanks to billionaire owner Bob Parsons, they have the facility and the means to
do so.     

How we picked the balls to include
To give golfers a complete picture, we wanted our test to reflect the major decisions we make when buying balls. How do cheaper two-piece models compare to more expensive three, four and five-piece models? What difference does an ‘X’ style ball bring to your game? And can mail order balls which promise “Tour level” performance actually deliver for half the cost?

We hand-picked all the leading Tour balls, along with the best mail order “Tour level” balls and major balls specifically aimed at club golfers. And because we really wanted to see how two-piece balls compared, we included two of those leading models.     

Why we used TWO launch monitors
Like PXG we typically use a Foresight GC Quad launch monitor for our testing, as it measures data through high-speed images right after impact. It’s perfect for this type of test as it removes any element of what happens to shots as they fly down the range. It means our data (particularly dispersion) is not exposed to wind, which wouldn’t be the case if we’d used a radar-based system like Trackman.

But to ensure we got the full picture, we hooked up a Trackman as well. While the ball speed, launch and spin numbers were virtually identical, there was a difference in dispersion, because Trackman takes the elements into account.

For those in the know, we could have “normalised” Trackman, but then it only measures to 150 yards before calculating the rest of a ball’s flight, which would have been counter-intuitive.

The weather
PXG looks for extended periods of calm weather when testing clubs, but we had five set days of testing time on the robot. Fortunately, wind levels never rose to worrying levels during testing, but we ensured testing took place early in the morning which is the stillest part of the day in the Arizona desert.

One of PXG’s robot room computers was linked to a weather station while testing, measuring everything from temperature to wind speed, humidity and wind direction.

PXG Gen 2 Driver and Irons

Why different clubs and speeds?
At TG we’re all about the club golfer, so it was vitally important to test each ball at different swing speeds to give you a complete picture of how each one might perform.

Our driver shots were hit with clubhead speeds of 85, 100 and 115mph (moderate, mid and fast); for irons we used a mid-80mph clubhead speed, with wedges coming in at 74mph. We also used PXG clubs typically suited to those swing speeds.

So a 9° PXG 0811 X Gen2 driver (X-flex shaft) at 115mph; a 10.5° PXG 0811 X Gen2 driver (with a typical stiff shaft) at 100mph and golf’s most forgiving driver, the PXG 0811 XF Gen2, at 12° (regular flex shaft) at 85mph.

We took the same approach for irons and wedges, using PXG’s 0311 P Gen2 7-iron and pitching wedge.

Each ball was only hit once
We wanted to create the cleanest data possible, which meant only hitting each ball once. We asked each brand to send us five-dozen of each ball in the test, and we bought all the Titleist balls. That allowed us to hit 12 shots from each of the three driver swing speeds, as well as a single dozen of each ball from the iron and wedge situations.

No outside influence
The balls were kept in an air-conditioned room prior to testing and the test order was randomised, so each ball was hit in sets of three. It meant we ensured there was no three-four hour gap between hitting our first and last dozen balls.

Each ball was also numbered from each situation (in different coloured inks each day!). It meant if we saw an abnormal ball flight we could find the ball, cut it open and see if there was anything in the construction (off-centre core or mantle layer) which led to a wayward flight.

PXG also kindly tested each ball for compression, so we could show you the difference in firmness between each model. 

How many shots we hit
The test took a full five days. Compiling and analysing the data after took several more. During the five days we hit 1260 shots in total. 

The data
With every shot generating tons of numbers across two launch monitors, we created hundreds of thousands of data points – an overwhelming amount of information if we’re honest. But we spent a week sifting through it all, checking, double checking and coming up with averages, so that over the next few pages we can reveal the fastest, longest, straightest and spinniest balls for your game.

What do two, three, four and five-layer balls bring to your game...and how do you choose?

Golf Ball Layers

Golf ball design is incredibly complex, with countless hours and millions of dollars spent figuring out how the mix of layers and a core can provide the ideal blend of distance and control at vastly different swing speeds and price points.


For many club golfers, a simple two-piece ball – core and a cover – offers the perfect combination of distance, feel, spin as well as price within a single package.

At the opposite end of the scale, TaylorMade makes a five-piece ball, the TP5, that’s used by Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose and others. It costs more to produce and buy, but also offers more in terms of performance.

But why is there such a variation in construction – and how should you choose one? Our test has shed some light on these questions...

THE BALLS WE TESTED

Two-Piece: Srixon AD333, Mizuno JPX

Three-Piece (amateur): Callaway ERC Soft, TaylorMade Project (a), Wilson Duo Professional

Three-Piece (tour level): Titleist Pro V1, Srixon Z-Star, Bridgestone Tour B RX, Bridegstone Tour B XS, Pearl Pure Pro, Snell MTB Black, Vice Pro

Four-Piece (tour level): Callaway Chrome Soft, Callaway Chrome Soft X Triple Track, Pearl Pure Pro X, Snell MTB X, Srixon Z-Star XV, Titleist Pro V1x, Vice Pro +

Five-Piece (tour level): TaylorMade TP5, TaylorMade TP5x

Two-piece balls

The most basic type of construction (one-piece balls are occasionally used at driving ranges). Two-piece balls are usually cheaper and have the biggest cores, which take up all the space under the cover (the second piece).

Srixon’s AD333 is one of Britain’s best-selling balls, and it’s so popular with club golfers because it offers an ideal blend of distance, reasonably soft feel, greenside control and a very good price. It’s proof that not all golfers need tour level urethane-covered balls.

Two piece golf ball averages

Three-piece balls

10 models of our test balls are three-piece, and whilst some are aimed at tour level performance others are specifically for club golfers. The core size is shrunk to allow an extra layer to be squeezed between the core and cover.

Three Piece Golf Ball Averages

Four-piece balls

With the exception of Callaway’s Chrome Soft, all the four-piece balls here are the slightly firmer feeling “X” balls. The core is smaller than those in three-piece balls, and an extra layer is squeezed between the core and mantle.

This extra layer adds additional spin separation, which engineers often use to dial driver spin down, to help hard hitters and faster swing speed players cut spin, which in turn increases distance. And all without adversely affecting iron and short game spin and feel.

Four Piece Golf Ball Averages

Five-piece balls

Golf ball design is very complex, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that the more layers engineers have to play with, the more knobs and whistles they have to tweak.

TaylorMade’s TP5 and TP5x are the only five-piece balls in our test; both have three layers between the core and cover which all get progressively stiffer, which TaylorMade says gives greater rebound after impact. A super-soft urethane cover maximises face and groove interaction for greenside spin.

Five Piece golf ball averages

THE NUMBERS

Carry Distance vs Dispersion

Our test revealed that golf balls aren’t quite as accurate as we thought they’d be, even when hit by a robot. The reason is tolerances. Not just manufacturing tolerances of the ball, but the club that’s hitting the ball, too.

Every golfer wants to know which ball is longest, so here we combine carry distance with average shot dispersion (across all three driver speeds) to show how each might perform for you.

Carry Distance vs Dispersion

Wedge Spin

Plenty of golfers obsess about “feel”, particularly in the short game.

While our test took no part in the subjective “feel” debate, we can show which are the highest spinning balls with a wedge; 1400rpm of spin from highest to lowest is a big difference, which ultimately will affect how shots stop on a green – highlighting the importance of choosing wisely.

wedge spin

Lowest Driver Spin

Virtually all golf brands claim their latest golf ball designs are low spin (and often high launch), but which actually deliver?

See how the balls listed below compared, averaged over both 100mph and 115mph driver speeds (as low spin can be detrimental at lower speeds).

Lowest Driver Spin - Golf Ball

Cleveland RTX4

Wedge Accuracy (front to back dispersion in yards)

Accuracy in the short game is absolutely everything.

If you need to hit a wedge 123 yards, you want it to go 123 yards consistently – and stop – not fluctuate up or down by five or six yards. Titleist’s Pro V1s both scored highly when it came to consistency.

Wedge Accuracy

Compression

Brands don't always like disclosing the compression of their golf balls, so we asked PXG to run a compression test for us. It means we can show how all the balls compare in terms of feel.

108.4 - Titleist Pro V1x - Firmest

107.6 - Srixon Z-Star XV

107.2 - TaylorMade TP5x

105.9 - Pearl Pure Pro X

105.1 - Callaway Chrome Soft X Triple Track

104.3 - Snell MTB X

102.1 - Snell MTB Black

101.8 - Titleist Pro V1

101.4 - TaylorMade TP5

101.4 - Vice Pro +

100.8 - Vice Pro

100.6 - Pearl Pure Pro

99.6 - Srixon Z-Star

98.5 - Bridegstone Tour B XS

93.9 - Bridegstone Tour B RX

91.4 - TaylorMade Project (a)

90.4 - Mizuno JPX

88.4 - Srixon AD333

88.3 - Callaway Chrome Soft

84 - Wilson Duo Professional

76.1 - Callaway ERC Soft - Softest

OUR FAVOURITES

Tour Ball - TaylorMade TP5x £49.99 (per dozen)

TaylorMade TP5x golf ball

TaylorMade’s TP5s have secured a strong foothold on Tour since being introduced in 2016. DJ, Rory, Fowler, Jon Rahm and Jason Day all get paid to use one, while two other Major champions are using it unpaid. None of that influenced our results, but our numbers completely back up why these superstars play it. The TP5x would be our choice, too.

It featured among our fastest three balls for all driver speeds and was our longest at both 100 and 115mph speeds. It was also among our three most accurate balls at our fastest driver speed and when hit with an iron. And if you break down performance to two, three, four or five-piece constructions, the five-piece TP5/TPx has a distinct advantage.

For all that speed and distance performance our data shows you sacrifice 660 RPM of wedge spin against the highest spinning ball (Titleist Pro V1). But for above average swing speed players who generate extra spin, that’s likely to be of little concern. This is a brilliant golf ball.

It's worth noting...

If your game is absolutely based around consistency, we can’t take anything away from both Titleist Pro V1s. If our test had focused exclusively on accuracy (dispersion) and consistency (drop-offs between each shot) the Pro V1s were right at the top of the pile (performance you pay handsomely for, it must be said at £52 per doz).

To put that into perspective there’s 1.44 yards of dispersion difference between the Pro V1x and TaylorMade’s TP5x (across all driver, iron and wedge situations), yet the TaylorMade gains 3.63 yards in carry (across all five test situations) – a trade-off that Tour players and elite amateurs apparently are happy to make.

Amateur Ball - Callaway ERC Soft £34.99 (per dozen)

Callaway ERC Soft golf ball

If we had to pick one ball from our test that performed really well for everyday club golfers – at a price that doesn’t make you wince when you knife one into the water – Callaway’s new ERC Soft would be it.

It racked up a T2 longest carry distance at 85mph (with a driver), along with a T3 longest carry at 100mph (with a driver) and a second longest iron carry distance… you see a trend emerging. Yes, you drop 874rpm of wedge spin for that distance against the very highest spinning wedge ball (Pro V1x), but you gain two yards with your driver and irons – and keep an extra £17.01 in your pocket for every dozen you buy.

Throw in the Triple Track Technology – the clever alignment lines that have won on the PGA Tour this year on the Chrome Soft X – and it’s a complete club golfer’s ball for a huge range of handicap players.

Anyone who keeps an eye on the internet for golf equipment news will have seen recently how Callaway has taken a hit because the cores in some of their balls were not properly centred. The issue even forced CEO Chip Brewer to promise the brand will do better. We hit 180 Callaway balls during testing – and cut several in half to see if the cores were centred. While ERC Soft wasn’t the most accurate ball, it was spot-on our test average dispersion, for the two driver speeds (85 and 100mph) it was designed for.

Mail Order Ball - Snell MTB X £29.99 (per dozen)

Snell MTB X Golf Ball

It’s no surprise our test results show how Snell balls are so comparable to the leading tour brands. Creator Dean Snell worked on the original Pro V1 and TaylorMade’s first-ever tour ball, the Tour Preferred, so he knows a thing or two about optimising tour-level balls.


Putting dispersion data aside, our numbers have the MTB X down as very closely matched and even out in front of the Titleist Pro V1x in certain speed and carry denominators. That tells us the performance – and 12p-per-yard cost, versus Pro V1x at 21p – makes it very attractive to the smart and savvy golfer.

A first and two second place rankings for ball speed among our three driver speeds means the ball is fast. And that speed translates to distance, too. X was comfortably above our test averages and did particularly well at our fastest driver speed, which probably says it’s at home in the hands of above-average swing speed players.

Snell promises his balls offer tour-level performance at an affordable price, and we’d have to agree. If you need to know, the dispersion average (across all five situations) was 3.22 yards wider than the very best (Titleist Pro V1x).

Under £25 a dozen - Srixon AD333 £24 (per dozen)

Srixon AD333 golf ball

To be fair there are only two balls within our test with an RRP of £25 or less (unless you buy mail order in bulk), but we know lots of club golfers buy at this price point. Srixon’s new AD333 has had a great run as the UK’s best-selling two-piece ball – and based on these results, we can see why.

Be under no illusion, the AD333 isn’t the longest ball available – why would it be considering the price tag? But it’s consistently up there within a yard or two of our test averages, which are averages containing premium, tour-level opposition costing twice as much.

The real win for AD333 comes when pulling a wedge from the bag. Incredibly, it’s generating just 228rpm less backspin than our highest spinning ball (Pro V1x) and it’s doing that from a two-piece construction for well under half the cost of the premium Pro V1x.

How did we choose AD333 ahead of the Mizuno JPX (the other £25 golf ball)? It’s overall dispersion is nearly four yards tighter and a three per cent higher wedge spin just about sealed it. AD333 is, though, three yards down on the JPX for overall carry distance across our driver and iron categories.

THE NUMBERS - EACH BALL

Bridgestone Tour B XS £38.99 (per dozen)

Bridgestone Tour B XS

Bridgestone, more than any brand, insist a ball fitting should be a part of any golfer’s set up. So they’ve designed four “tour” level balls, which are designed to optimise distance or spin, at above or below 105mph swing speeds. The XS is Tiger Woods’ ball. A three-piece construction and urethane SlipRes cover deliver spin control on all shots.

Construction: 3-Piece / urethane cover (injection moulded)
Compression: 98.5
Cost per yard: N/A

85 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: N/A  Backspin: N/A  Carry Distance: N/A  

100 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: N/A Backspin: N/A Carry Distance: N/A

115 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 164.7 MPH Backspin: 2341 RPM Carry Distance: 292.1 YDS

7-IRON
Ball Speed: 111.1 MPH (2ND FASTEST) Backspin: 5466 RPM Height: 27.2 YDS Descent Angle: 43.9° Carry Distance: 156.7 YDS

WEDGE
Backspin: 7824 RPM (2ND HIGHEST) Dispersion L - R: 5.1 YDS  Dispersion F - B: 2 YDS Carry Distance: 118.5 YDS

Bridgestone Tour B XS - Test notes

We tested at the speed XS was designed for, so it featured in the 115mph driver, iron and wedge categories. XS specifically targets extra spin. It gave the tightest driver dispersion at 115mph (10.4 yards), and produced our second highest wedge and iron backspin numbers. So stopping shots on the dancefloor won’t be an issue.

But all that stopping power means it gave up 10 yards of driver distance against the very longest balls here.

Bridgestone Tour B RX £38.99 per dozen

Bridgestone Tour B RX golf ball

All the same tech as Tour B X (Bridgestone’s tour distance ball for 105mph+ swings), but designed to perform for golfers who swing at less than 105mph. A graduated core compression, which gets firmer towards the perimeter, gives consistent compression.

Golfers who put a premium on spin control over distance should look at the Tour B RXS. 

Construction: 3-piece / urethane cover (injection moulded)
Compression: 93.8 
Cost per yard: N/A 

85 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 120.7 MPH  Backspin: 2923 RPM  Carry Distance: 191.8 YDS  

100 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 143.1 MPH Backspin: 2220 RPM Carry Distance: 247 YDS (TIED 3RD LONGEST)

115 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: N/A Backspin: N/A Carry Distance: N/A

7-IRON
Ball Speed: 110.2 MPH Backspin: 4309 RPM Height: 28 YDS Descent Angle: 43.3° Carry Distance: 160 YDS (1ST LONGEST)

WEDGE
Backspin: 6435 RPM Dispersion L - R: 5.6 YDS  Dispersion F - B: 2 YDS Carry Distance: 119.8 YDS 

Bridgestone Tour B RX - Test notes

Our data shows brilliantly how the RX targets distance. There’s a tiny amount of difference, but RX was longest at our 85mph driver swing speed and tied 3rd at 100mph. It was also, by 0.1 of a yard, longest when it came to iron distance.

Twinning all that distance with spin isn’t really possible, so the trade-off is 900rpm less wedge spin (than our test average) and 1,431rpm less than the highest spinning wedge.

Callaway Chrome Soft £38 (per dozen)

Callaway Chrome Soft golf ball

Its four-piece construction has a graphene (the strongest, lightest material known) infused core and a soft urethane cover. Callaway say softer golf balls compress easier on off-centre hits, which means you get extra forgiveness and excellent distance across the face.

Softer and straighter than the Chrome Soft X, which Mickelson and Molinari use.

Construction: 4-piece / urethane cover (injection moulded)
Compression: 88.3
Cost per yard: 0.16p

85 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 120.9 MPH  Backspin: 3249 RPM  Carry Distance: 188.8 YDS  

100 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 142.7 MPH Backspin: 2518 RPM Carry Distance: 242 YDS

115 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 162.9 MPH Backspin: 2226 RPM Carry Distance: 290.3 YDS

7-IRON
Ball Speed: 111.3 MPH (1ST FASTEST) Backspin: 4940 RPM Height: 27.6 YDS Descent Angle: 43.9° Carry Distance: 159.5 YDS

WEDGE
Backspin: 7066 RPM Dispersion L - R: 4.5 YDS  Dispersion F - B: 2 YDS Carry Distance: 120 YDS 

Callaway Chrome Soft - Test notes

Chrome Soft is a favourite among club golfers as the 88 compression is 13% softer than the Titleist Pro V1, which ensures decent feel.

The robot uncovered how driver distance numbers were a fraction below our test averages. A sizeable dispersion with the driver and the widest with an iron (10.9 yards) show Chrome Soft probably isn’t the most accurate ball. Interestingly, though, Chrome Soft had the fastest ball speed when hit with an iron.

Callaway Chrome Soft X Triple Track £39.99 (per dozen)

Callaway Chrome Soft X Triple Track

Mickelson, Schauffele, and Molinari all use the Chrome Soft X, primarily as it offers greater workability than the Chrome Soft. A graphene-infused dual-core maximises compression energy, while minimising driver-spin and promoting high launch for extra distance.

Triple Track lines help alignment on the green and off the tee.

Construction: 4-piece / urethane cover (injection moulded)
Compression: 105.1
Cost per yard: 0.17p

85 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 121.5 MPH  Backspin: 3506 RPM  Carry Distance: 187.9 YDS  

100 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 144.3 MPH Backspin: 2524 RPM Carry Distance: 245 YDS

115 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 165.2 MPH Backspin: 2331 RPM Carry Distance: 293 YDS

7-IRON
Ball Speed: 110.7 MPH Backspin: 5251 RPM Height: 27 YDS Descent Angle: 43.7° Carry Distance: 157 YDS

WEDGE
Backspin: 7536 RPM Dispersion L - R: 2.1 YDS  (2ND MOST ACCURATE) Dispersion F - B: 2 YDS Carry Distance: 118.2YDS 

Callaway Chrome Soft X Triple Track - Test notes

Rumour has it Chrome Soft X Triple Track is the exact same formulation the majority of Callaway’s tour players use.

Our data has the X between 0.6-2.3mph faster than the Chrome Soft when hit with a driver (across three speeds), which is substantial and worth remembering when you realise it spins more with a wedge than any of the other Callaway balls (and 200 RPM more than our test average) we tested.

Callaway ERC Soft £34.99 (per dozen)

Callaway ERC Soft Golf Ball

Distance balls used to feel like rocks, but Callaway say the new ERC Soft combines distance and soft feel in a single ball. The three-piece ERC Soft has a large graphene-infused dual core, which delivers high launch and low spin on full shots.

A new hybrid cover delivers performance between traditional ionomer and urethane. Triple Track lines aid your alignment.

Construction: 3-piece / hybrid mix cover
Compression: 76.1 - SOFTEST BALL IN THIS TEST
Cost per yard: 0.14p

85 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 120.9 MPH  Backspin: 2980 RPM  Carry Distance: 191.6 YDS (TIED 2ND LONGEST) 

100 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 142.3 MPH Backspin: 2121 RPM Carry Distance: 247 YDS (TIED 3RD LONGEST)

115 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 162.5 MPH Backspin: 1980 RPM Carry Distance: 293.9 YDS

7-IRON
Ball Speed: 110.8 MPH Backspin: 4581 RPM Height: 27.9 YDS Descent Angle: 43.7° Carry Distance: 160.4 YDS (2ND LONGEST)

WEDGE
Backspin: 6992 RPM Dispersion L - R: 4.1 YDS  (3RD MOST ACCURATE) Dispersion F - B: 2 YDS Carry Distance: 119.9YDS 

Callaway ERC Soft - Test notes

The softest ball in our test. While ERC can’t boast of super-fast ball speeds, it was among our longest two balls at 85mph (driver), and T3 at 100mph (driver) as well as placing 2nd for iron carry, which is pretty impressive, especially at this price point. Dispersions for all but the 100mph swing speed (driver) were a fraction above our test averages, too. A great choice for price-conscious club golfers, and the Triple Track alignment lines are a big added bonus.

Mizuno JPX £25 (per dozen)

Mizuno JPX Golf Ball

Mizuno say two-piece ball tech has reached a point that golfers now struggle to tell the difference between this and a tour ball. JPX is optimised to improve ball speeds for mid to low swing speeds and gives a really smooth feel.

It has a large but low compression core, which Mizuno say gives a nimble feel. Micro dimples improve aerodynamics.

Construction: 2-piece / surlyn cover
Compression: 90.4
Cost per yard: 0.10p

85 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 121.2 MPH  Backspin: 3094 RPM  Carry Distance: 191.3 YDS 

100 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 143.3 MPH Backspin: 2187 RPM Carry Distance: 248 YDS (2ND LONGEST)

115 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 164.1 MPH Backspin: 2106 RPM Carry Distance: 295.3 YDS (3RD LONGEST)

7-IRON
Ball Speed: 110.7 MPH Backspin: 4954 RPM Height: 27.8 YDS Descent Angle: 43.9° Carry Distance: 158.2 YDS

WEDGE
Backspin: 7419 RPM Dispersion L - R: 4.7 YDS  Dispersion F - B: 2 YDS Carry Distance: 118.6YDS 

Mizuno JPX - Test notes

Two-piece golf balls have a reputation for being hard and aimed solely at distance. The Mizuno certainly challenges that, as its 90 compression is lower than a Pro V1! JPX put in some decent carry numbers at mid and high speeds with the driver, and a very impressive, above average spin number with the wedge.

Our only concern would be the second highest average dispersion (13.46 yards) of the whole test (across five situations).

Pearl Pure Pro £28.99 (per dozen)

Pearl Pure Pro Golf Ball

Pearl have come from nowhere in the last three years through direct sales on the net. The Pure Pro’s 3-piece construction boasts similar brand names and materials (Urethane, Dupont and polybutadiene) as premium-priced alternatives.

Pearl say the Pure Pro is slightly shorter with all shots, but you get a softer feel and higher iron and wedge spin.  

Construction: 3-piece / urethane cover (cast)
Compression: 100.6
Cost per yard: 0.12p

85 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 120.7 MPH  Backspin: 3367 RPM  Carry Distance: 187.4 YDS 

100 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 143 MPH Backspin: 2551 RPM Carry Distance: 242 YDS

115 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 164 MPH Backspin: 2283 RPM Carry Distance: 291.4 YDS 

7-IRON
Ball Speed: 110.3 MPH Backspin: 5115 RPM Height: 27.1 YDS Descent Angle: 43.6° Carry Distance: 156.7 YDS

WEDGE
Backspin: 7245 RPM Dispersion L - R: 5.5 YDS  Dispersion F - B: 3 YDS Carry Distance: 118.7 YDS 

Pearl Pure Pro - Test notes

The Pearl produced numbers slightly below our test averages for driver and iron distance and wedge spin performance, too.

Our Foresight GC Quad data was verified with Trackman, that measures the whole ball flight, which allowed us to see how the Pro was either more susceptible to range conditions (wind) or its construction was less stable/consistent from ball to ball. The result was bigger observable misses on Trackman.

Pearl Pure Pro X £28.99 (per dozen)

Pearl Pure Pro X golf ball

Pure Pro X has a 4-piece construction and across the board gives a slightly firmer feel compared to the three-piece Pure Pro.

That firmer feel means extra distance and a little less iron spin, but short game feel and control is maintained thanks to a thin urethane cover. The X is Pearl’s answer to any “X” style tour ball on the market.

Construction: 4-piece / urethane cover (cast)
Compression: 105.9
Cost per yard: 0.12p

85 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 120.9 MPH  Backspin: 3207 RPM  Carry Distance: 189.5 YDS 

100 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 143.8 MPH Backspin: 2355 RPM Carry Distance: 247 YDS (TIED 3RD LONGEST)

115 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 163.4 MPH Backspin: 2051 RPM Carry Distance: 294.6 YDS 

7-IRON
Ball Speed: 110.5 MPH Backspin: 4882 RPM Height: 27.3 YDS Descent Angle: 43.5° Carry Distance: 158.3 YDS

WEDGE
Backspin: 6825 RPM Dispersion L - R: 6.9 YDS  Dispersion F - B: 3 YDS Carry Distance: 119 YDS  

Pearl Pure Pro X - Test notes

While Pearl’s Pure Pro ball came up just short of our test averages, the X came up consistently above them, which is good considering they’re the lowest priced ball we tested.

Impressively, the X posted the smallest iron dispersion (just 3.8 yards). X is lower spinning with the wedge, 400rpm less than the standard Pearl and 500rpm down on our test average, so make sure you don’t have issues stopping shots in the short game.

Snell MTB Black £29.99 (per dozen)

Snell MTB Black Golf Ball

Founder Dean Snell has more than 28 years’ experience designing golf balls (including the original Pro V1). He holds 40 US patents and, before entering the golf industry, worked in aerospace.

MTB black has a three-piece construction, with a low compression core for distance and soft feel, and a urethane cover for excellent feel and short game control.

Construction: 3-piece / urethane cover (cast)
Compression: 102.1
Cost per yard: 0.12p

85 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 121.6 MPH  Backspin: 3397 RPM  Carry Distance: 189 YDS 

100 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 144 MPH Backspin: 2568 RPM Carry Distance: 244 YDS

115 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 165.6 MPH Backspin: 2278 RPM Carry Distance: 294.9 YDS 

7-IRON
Ball Speed: 110.9 MPH Backspin: 5182 RPM Height: 27.3 YDS Descent Angle: 43.8° Carry Distance: 157.6 YDS

WEDGE
Backspin: 7388 RPM Dispersion L - R: 4 YDS  Dispersion F - B: 3 YDS Carry Distance: 118.8 YDS

Snell MTB Black - Test notes

See MTB Black as a Titleist Pro V1 at almost half the cost and you won’t go far wrong. Our data has the pair inseparably close for driver speed, spin and distance, as well as logging iron and wedge performance similarly neck-and-neck.

It’s no surprise owner Dean Snell worked on the original Pro V1. Not the fastest or longest, but very close to being the most accurate (3rd overall) – certainly a premium tour-level ball for less than premium prices.

Snell MTB X £29.99 (per dozen)

Snell MTB X Golf Ball

Unlike most “X” style balls, the MTB X is made in three pieces instead of four.

Snell say a smaller core generates lower spin and faster ball speeds. But a thicker and firmer mantle layer (between the core and cover) generates more iron spin, so approaches will stop on a green.

Expect a firmer feel than the MTB Black. Only available to buy online.
 

Construction: 3-piece / urethane cover (cast)
Compression: 104.3
Cost per yard: 0.12p

85 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 121.9 MPH (1ST FASTEST) Backspin: 3319 RPM  Carry Distance: 189.9 YDS 

100 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 144.8 MPH (2ND FASTEST) Backspin: 2549 RPM Carry Distance: 246 YDS

115 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 166.2 MPH (2ND FASTEST) Backspin: 2231 RPM Carry Distance: 297.2 YDS (2ND LONGEST)

7-IRON
Ball Speed: 110.9 MPH Backspin: 5088 RPM Height: 27.6 YDS Descent Angle: 43.9° Carry Distance: 158.2 YDS

WEDGE
Backspin: 7425 RPM Dispersion L - R: 5.7 YDS  Dispersion F - B: 3 YDS Carry Distance: 119 YDS

Snell MTB X - Test notes

A ball speed among the three fastest (combined driver speeds) speaks for itself, as does a 2nd place for carry distance at 115mph.

The X has a slightly firmer compression (104) than the MTB Black, and because spin numbers are so close between the pair (with driver, iron and wedge), it’s probably best to select one based on the feel you prefer, rather than read too much into the data between the two balls.

Srixon Z-Star £44.99 (per dozen)

Srixon Z Star golf ball

Srixon not only pride themselves on creating a better Z-Star every two years, they love proving it’s better through data.

Both Z-Stars balls have a core that’s softer in the centre and gets gradually firmer towards the cover. Srixon say the Z-Star is optimised for swings over 90mph (with a driver), while the XV performs at its optimum at 100mph+ speeds.

Construction: 3-piece / urethane cover (cast - injected)
Compression: 99.6
Cost per yard: 0.19p

85 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 121.3 MPH  Backspin: 3336 RPM  Carry Distance: 188.8 YDS 

100 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 143.6 MPH Backspin: 2515 RPM Carry Distance: 244 YDS

115 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 164.2 MPH Backspin: 2275 RPM Carry Distance: 291.7 YDS 

7-IRON
Ball Speed: 110.7 MPH Backspin: 5074 RPM Height: 27.3 YDS Descent Angle: 43.7° Carry Distance: 157.7 YDS

WEDGE
Backspin: 7489 RPM Dispersion L - R: 6.7 YDS  Dispersion F - B: 2 YDS Carry Distance: 118.8 YDS  

Srixon Z-Star - Test notes

We come up with test averages to compare products side by side, and averages are based on data rather then opinion. The idea is that some products have to fall below average to make the system work.

On this occasion Z-Star is one such product, but we think it’s because non X style tour balls, are primarily based on delivering feel over performance. Z-Star posted driver and iron numbers below average, with wedge spin creeping just over our test average.

Srixon Z-Star XV £44.99 (per dozen)

Srixon Z Star XV golf ball

Open champ Shane Lowry is among a host of Tour players who use the XV.

Its four-piece construction is 12 points firmer than the regular ball (Z-Star 90, XV 102) which helps it launch higher, while a 388 speed dimple pattern keeps it in the air for longer, later in the ball’s flight.

A fourth-gen SpinSkin coating helps the cover grip iron and wedge grooves.

Construction: 4-piece / urethane cover (cast - injected)
Compression: 107.6
Cost per yard: 0.19p

85 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 121.7 MPH (3RD FASTEST) Backspin: 3411 RPM  Carry Distance: 188.7 YDS 

100 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 144.9 MPH (1ST FASTEST) Backspin: 2624 RPM Carry Distance: 245 YDS

115 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 165.9 MPH (3RD FASTEST) Backspin: 2339 RPM Carry Distance: 294.4 YDS 

7-IRON
Ball Speed: 110.9 MPH Backspin: 5413 RPM Height: 27.3 YDS Descent Angle: 43.8° Carry Distance: 156.8 YDS

WEDGE
Backspin: 7805 RPM (3RD HIGHEST SPIN)Dispersion L - R: 4.3 YDS  Dispersion F - B: 3 YDS Carry Distance: 118.2 YDS  

Srixon Z-Star XV - Test notes

A tour-level performance across the board. XV was among the fastest three balls on test in each of the driver categories, which says it’s quick.

XV also featured among the three highest spinning iron and wedge averages, meaning it will stop shots on the dancefloor, too. Overall dispersion (for all five test situations) was almost spot on our test average. The second firmest ball on test.

Srixon AD333 £24 (per dozen)

Srixon AD333 golf ball

Srixon launched the 9th generation AD333 in August and, over the years, it’s been Britain’s biggest-selling 2-piece ball.

A new urethane coating on the Ionomer cover digs into wedge and iron grooves for more control and stopping power. The big core gets firmer towards the outer edge, which Srixon say delivers extra ball speed but also ensures excellent feel.

Construction: 2-piece / Ionomer cover
Compression: 88.4
Cost per yard: 0.10p

85 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 121.1 MPH  Backspin: 3279 RPM  Carry Distance: 188.9 YDS 

100 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 143.2 MPH Backspin: 2484 RPM Carry Distance: 244 YDS

115 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 163.9 MPH Backspin: 2325 RPM Carry Distance: 290.4 YDS 

7-IRON
Ball Speed: 111 MPH (TIED 3RD FASTEST) Backspin: 5299 RPM Height: 27.4 YDS Descent Angle: 44° Carry Distance: 157.4 YDS

WEDGE
Backspin: 7638 RPM Dispersion L - R: 5.1 YDS  Dispersion F - B: 2 YDS Carry Distance: 118.7 YDS  

Srixon AD333 - Test notes

Many golfers assume two-piece balls don’t spin in the short game, but our wedge data suggests otherwise. With 7,638rpm of spin with a wedge the AD333 is 300rpm above our test average and right alongside a tour-level Pro V1.

The Srixon isn’t short, either. Factor in a lower-than-average dispersion (across all five test situations) and it’s a really impressive performance from the new AD333, which comes in at just £24 a dozen.

TaylorMade TP5 £49.99 (per dozen)

TaylorMade TP5 golf ball

Five layers gives designers more room to tune performance. The TP5’s Tri-Fast Core has a compression of just 16, whereas TP5x is 25.

TaylorMade say TP5 is more workable, gives a mid-ball flight (lower than the TP5x), feels slightly softer than the TP5x and offers a little extra spin in the short game (300rpm from 100 yards).

Construction: 5-piece / urethane cover (cast)
Compression: 101.4
Cost per yard: 0.21p

85 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 121.6 MPH  Backspin: 3408 RPM  Carry Distance: 189.1 YDS 

100 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 144.3 MPH Backspin: 2571 RPM Carry Distance: 245 YDS

115 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 165.2 MPH Backspin: 2342 RPM Carry Distance: 292.7 YDS 

7-IRON
Ball Speed: 111 MPH (TIED 3RD FASTEST) Backspin: 5343 RPM Height: 27.4 YDS Descent Angle: 44° Carry Distance: 157.2 YDS

WEDGE
Backspin: 7639 RPM Dispersion L - R: 5.6 YDS  Dispersion F - B: 3 YDS Carry Distance: 118.6 YDS  

TaylorMade TP5 - Test notes

Don’t be alarmed at how the TP5 appears to be outgunned by the TP5x in lots of departments – TP5 has a five-point lower compression to cater for pros and elite amateurs who want extra feel and spin throughout their game.

It means that if you put a premium on maximum spin in your approach play, it’s the best TaylorMade have to offer. Interestingly, at the slowest driver speeds, TP5 along with Pro V1x were the two most accurate balls.

TaylorMade TP5x £49.99 (per dozen)

TaylorMade TP5X ball

TP5x, like the TP5, has a new high flex material under the cover, which reacts like a tightly wound spring at impact to boost ball speeds. TP5x gives a firmer feel (97 compression, the TP5 is 85), and generates higher launching iron shots.

While Rory McIIroy and Rickie Fowler use the TP5, Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Jason Day all swear by the TP5x.

Construction: 5-piece / urethane cover (cast)
Compression: 107.2
Cost per yard: 0.20p

85 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 121.8 MPH (2ND FASTEST)  Backspin: 3175 RPM  Carry Distance: 191.6 YDS (TIED 2ND LONGEST) 

 100 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 144.7 MPH (3RD FASTEST) Backspin: 2336 RPM Carry Distance: 249 YDS (1ST LONGEST)

115 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 166.3 MPH (1ST FASTEST) Backspin: 2110 RPM Carry Distance: 300 YDS (1ST LONGEST)

7-IRON
Ball Speed: 110.8 MPH Backspin: 4814 RPM Height: 28 YDS Descent Angle: 43.9° Carry Distance: 159.1 YDS

WEDGE
Backspin: 7206 RPM Dispersion L - R: 5.2 YDS  Dispersion F - B: 3 YDS Carry Distance: 118.8YDS  

TaylorMade TP5x - Test notes

Just 0.2 of a yard prevented TP5x being the longest carrying golf ball for all three driver swing speeds, so it’s no surprise this ball is among the fastest three balls in each of the categories.

Dispersion-wise, TP5x delivered across the board too, posting 4th position for all five test situations, just 1.44 yards wider than the best (Pro V1x). You give up 400rpm of wedge spin to get extra distance performance over the TP5.

TaylorMade Project (a) £39.99 (per dozen)

TaylorMade Project A golf ball

Since its inception in 2014, the Project (a) has always aimed to give club golfers tour-level performance at an affordable price.

The three-piece construction has a large soft inner core, which removes unwanted long game spin and gives a soft feel. A stiffer outer core helps the soft urethane cover pinch the club face and grooves, giving more control.

Construction: 3-piece / urethane cover (cast)
Compression: 91.4
Cost per yard: 0.17p

85 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 120.8 MPH  Backspin: 3327 RPM  Carry Distance: 188.3 YDS 

100 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 143.2 MPH Backspin: 2331 RPM Carry Distance: 246 YDS

115 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 163.5 MPH Backspin: 2226 RPM Carry Distance: 291.5 YDS 

7-IRON
Ball Speed: 110.9 MPH Backspin: 4789 RPM Height: 27.9 YDS Descent Angle: 43.8° Carry Distance: 159.3 YDS

WEDGE
Backspin: 7099 RPM Dispersion L - R: 5.4 YDS  Dispersion F - B: 2 YDS Carry Distance: 118.9 YDS  

TaylorMade Project (a) - Test notes

To put Project (a) into context, it’s aimed at amateurs (hence the ‘a’) so its numbers should be compared to the Wilson Duo Professional and Callaway ERC Soft.

It might not have quite have the carry distance of the ERC Soft, but it’s comfortably above our test average (barring the 115mph driver swing speed), who it’s not really aimed at.

Interestingly, it gives up 600rpm wedge spin versus TP5 and 200rpm compared to the TP5x.

Titleist Pro V1 £52 (per dozen)

Titleist Pro V1 golf ball

Pro V1 has changed a lot since it was launched in 2000, and this latest version was launched in January 2019. It’s a three-piece ball with a urethane cover.

It gives very low long game spin, and a more penetrating ball flight than the Pro V1x, while it also gives a very soft feel. Justin Thomas, Adam Scott and Tony Finau all play the Pro V1.

Construction: 3-piece / urethane cover (cast)
Compression: 101.8
Cost per yard: 0.21p

85 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 121.3 MPH  Backspin: 3307 RPM  Carry Distance: 189.1 YDS 

100 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 144.4 MPH Backspin: 2445 RPM Carry Distance: 247 YDS (TIED 3RD LONGEST)

115 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 165.4 MPH Backspin: 2271 RPM Carry Distance: 294.5 YDS 

7-IRON
Ball Speed: 110.3 MPH Backspin: 5309 RPM Height: 27.1 YDS Descent Angle: 43.7° Carry Distance: 155.9 YDS

WEDGE
Backspin: 7564 RPM Dispersion L - R: 5 YDS  Dispersion F - B: 1 YDS (TIED MOST ACCURATE) Carry Distance: 118.3 YDS  

Titleist Pro V1 - Test notes

What many consider to be the benchmark for modern golf balls struggled to feature among our best performers for fastest, longest (it tied 3rd longest with three other balls at our 100mph swing speed) and most accurate driver or iron performance.

We reckon that’s down to Pro V1 putting a premium on feel over distance. Most golfers wouldn’t expect to see the Pro V1x generating 300rpm more wedge spin, either.

Titleist Pro V1x £52 (per dozen)

Titleist Pro V1x golf ball

Pro V1x is a four-piece ball with a urethane cover. Like the Pro V1, it offers low long game spin to help maximise distance, but Titleist say the X  flies higher and spins more with iron shots. It also gives a slightly firmer feel.

Pro V1x used to be the more played on tour, but recent figures now show a much more even split between both Titleist balls.

Construction: 4-piece / urethane cover (cast)
Compression: 108.4
Cost per yard: 0.21p

85 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 121.4 MPH  Backspin: 3402 RPM  Carry Distance: 188.6 YDS

100 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 144.5 MPH Backspin: 2492 RPM Carry Distance: 246 YDS

115 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 165.6 MPH Backspin: 2289 RPM Carry Distance: 295 YDS 

7-IRON
Ball Speed: 110.5 MPH Backspin: 5521 RPM Height: 26.9 YDS Descent Angle: 43.7° Carry Distance: 155.6 YDS

WEDGE
Backspin: 7866 RPM (HIGHEST SPIN) Dispersion L - R: 1.4 YDS  (MOST ACCURATE) Dispersion F - B: 2 YDS (TIED MOST ACCURATE) Carry Distance: 117.5 YDS

Titleist Pro V1x - Test notes

Pro V1x was the firmest golf ball (108 compression) in our test, which you might think translates to the fastest ball speeds… it doesn’t.

The Pro V1x didn’t feature among our fastest or longest balls in any category. It was, though, the most accurate in overall dispersion (0.68 yards better than the 2nd placed Vice Pro), and generated the highest wedge and iron spin of any ball in the test.

Vice Pro £29.88 (per dozen)

Vice Pro golf ball

Vice is only available online, and by removing the middle man’s margin (the retailer), it means golfers get a premium product for less.

The Pro’s three-piece construction, along with its urethane cover, is just like you’ll find in popular tour balls, so Vice insist performance is as good as any comparable model. The Pro optimises distance for mid/high swing speeds.

Construction: 3-piece / urethane cover (cast)
Compression: 100.8
Cost per yard: 0.12p

85 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED:
Ball Speed: 120.8 MPH  Backspin: 3426 RPM  Carry Distance: 187.3 YDS

100 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED:
Ball Speed: 143.4 MPH Backspin: 2534 RPM Carry Distance: 243 YDS

115 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED: 
Ball Speed: 164.1 MPH Backspin: 2387 RPM Carry Distance: 289.8 YDS 

7-IRON
Ball Speed: 110.3 MPH Backspin: 5274 RPM Height: 27 YDS Descent Angle: 43.7° Carry Distance: 156 YDS

WEDGE
Backspin: 7469 RPM Dispersion L - R: 4.4 YDS  Dispersion F - B: 3 YDS Carry Distance: 118.4 YDS

Vice Pro - Test notes

Vice were first to offer a credible tour level ball via mail order and while we can’t say the Pro out-performed our test averages for driver or iron distance, it did produce above average wedge spin and both balls were incredibly accurate.

Both Vice balls’ average dispersion (across five situations) were below double digits (the only brand to do so), which is great if your game is based around accuracy and consistency.

Vice Pro+ £29.88 (per dozen)

Vice Pro Plus golf ball

The Plus has a four-piece construction, along with a urethane cover just like other tour balls. This extra layer (over the Pro) allows driver launch and spin to be dialled down for better players who own medium to high clubhead speeds.

Both Vice balls have a 336 dimple pattern, which they say gives a stable flight and with minimal dispersion, even in the wind.

85 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 121.2 MPH  Backspin: 3435 RPM  Carry Distance: 187.7 YDS 

100 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 143.9 MPH Backspin: 2578 RPM Carry Distance: 244 YDS

115 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 164.7 MPH Backspin: 2389 RPM Carry Distance: 290.8 YDS 

7-IRON
Ball Speed: 110.5 MPH Backspin: 5289 RPM Height: 27 YDS Descent Angle: 43.9° Carry Distance: 156.6 YDS

WEDGE
Backspin: 7604 RPM Dispersion L - R: 5.3 YDS  Dispersion F - B: 4 YDS Carry Distance: 118.7 YDS

Vice Pro + - Test notes

For any golfers looking for alternatives to expensive Titleist Pro V1x balls, Vice Pro+ should be on your radar.

Our numbers have the pair pretty evenly matched, with just a couple of yards’ difference at 100mph and four yards’ gain in favour of the Titleist at 115mph. Feel-wise the Vice is 4-7 compression points softer than leading ‘X’ style tour balls, but this, though, doesn’t mean more wedge or iron spin.

Wilson Duo Professional £29.99 (per dozen)

Wilson Duop Professional golf ball

A great example of a club golfer’s golf ball. It doesn’t cost the earth, but feels great thanks to a low 60 compression.

A soft, low compression core spins less off the driver – great for distance, but not ideal for generating spin in the short game. So a thin cover and hard mantle combination give players the spin expected into and around the green.

Construction: 3-piece / urethane cover (cast)
Compression: 84
Cost per yard: 0.12p

85 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 121.3 MPH  Backspin: 3095 RPM  Carry Distance: 191.1 YDS

100 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 143.5 MPH Backspin: 2342 RPM Carry Distance: 246 YDS

115 MPH DRIVER SWING SPEED
Ball Speed: 163.6 MPH Backspin: 2293 RPM Carry Distance: 290.3 YDS 

7-IRON
Ball Speed: 110.9 MPH Backspin: 4684 RPM Height: 28.2 YDS Descent Angle: 43.9° Carry Distance: 160 YDS (3RD LONGEST)

WEDGE
Backspin: 6839 RPM Dispersion L - R: 4.2 YDS  Dispersion F - B: 3 YDS Carry Distance: 120.6 YDS

Wilson Duo Professional - Test notes

Wilson’s Duo tries to blend long game distance with short game spin at a decent price. An above-average performance at moderate and average driver speeds and a top three longest iron carry says it’s well suited to average golfers.

An above-average (12.88 yard) dispersion across all situations is a slight drawback, but this was skewed by a 115mph driver appearing to overpower the ball at a speed it wasn’t really designed for.

THE NUMBERS -COMPARISON TABLES

• 85 MPH Driver Data

85MPH Driver Data

• 100 MPH Driver Data

100 MPH Driver Data

• 115 MPH Driver Data

115 MPH Driver Data

• All three driver swing speeds average

Three Driver swing speeds data

• 7 Iron Data

7 iron golf ball data comparison

• Pitching Wedge Data

Pitching Wedge ball spin comparison

 

Cleveland RTX4