For years, picking a golf ball came down to price or performance.
If you wanted performance, you’d pay more for a tour ball with a urethane cover (that was likely to be too firm for many club players to compress). If price was your key factor, you’d compromise on feel, sound or spin buying a ball with a lower spinning surlyn or ionomer cover.
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But times have changed, and in 2020 the urethane covers traditionally only found on tour balls are now found on several “club golfer” models, too.
TaylorMade launched the urethane-clad Tour Response at the start of the year, and they promised the 70 compression (a Titleist Pro V1 is over 100) brought tour-level performance to club golfers at a compression – and price – that suited their swing speed and wallet. To find out if they deliver, we asked four TG readers to put them to the test.
From left to right below:
Brian Tracy (5) Adam Harris (11) Richard Fitzpatrick (15) Geraint Ingram (11)
Which ball do you usually play and did you see any initial difference switching to the Tour Response?
BT: I’m a TaylorMade TP5/TP5x man. I don’t really like ultra-soft or clicky balls, but the TP5 sits nicely in between. I’ve not noticed any drop in performance switching to the Tour Response. In fact, I’d say the durability is better – I’ve played some for three rounds before any marks appeared on them.
RF: I play a Titleist Pro V1, but if a less expensive golf ball can be adapted to improve the traits of my game, I’m all for it. From the off it seemed like approaches into greens felt softer and had more spin and control with the Tour Response, which I really liked.
AH: I could definitely feel the Tour Response was a bit softer than my usual Pro V1, I was impressed with the sound. The cover was also really durable and held up over a number of rounds.
GI: I usually play a Pro V1 as I like the feel off my wedges and putter. But I have to give it to the Tour Response, they were great around the greens. I felt like I was more confident and decisive when pitching and chipping.
How did they perform with the driver, irons and in the short game?
BT: There was zero difference for me with the driver. When it came to the irons I liked the feel as they’re not harsh like some mid-range golf balls. I usually discount balls on their short game performance, but spin from the wedges was comparable to my TP5 and I thought feel in the short game and on the greens gave real confidence.
RF: With the ground being so hard recently it’s hard to say for sure, but I reckon my usual ball gave more bounce-back energy and was a little longer with the driver. For iron play and in the short game the Tour Response was better than my Pro V1; it was more responsive and seemed to land softer. I felt I could be more aggressive when chipping with it, too.
AH: There’s no doubt the Tour Response was hot off the driver and irons. If I had to call it I’d say spin was a little higher from the tee and lower around the green, but they were responsive when playing approaches into greens.
GI: Tour Response performed just as well as my usual ball with the driver. I felt though iron approaches, which would usually be short of their pitchmark with my usual ball were often just behind the pitchmark with the Tour Response.
TaylorMade Tour Response £39.99 a dozen
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Tour Response is £12 cheaper than the leading tour ball; is that a fair price? And would you recommend them?
BT: I’m very happy to continue using the Tour Response, especially the yellow ones, and if I’m a five handicap saying that, it has to be a recommendation. Shopping around on price is key – some retailers have the difference as close as £5 a dozen, which means the saving won’t be enough to tempt some better golfers.
RF: It’s a fair price for a very responsive golf ball. As a mid-high handicapper I’d definitely recommend them. My plan is to continue using them during the summer and into winter and keep gauging how they help my game.
AH: The Tour Response is a good quality ball. I’ve been impressed with the performance so I’d have no hesitation in recommending them to friends; they’ll suit a wide range of club golfers’ games and budgets. I wouldn’t rule out playing them once my current supply runs out.
GI: The Tour Response is well positioned in terms of performance and price. In the short game and durability wise it offered more than I was expecting so I think it will be a difficult decision whether I stick with my old ball or switch to the Tour Response.
Review written by: Simon Daddow
Job title: Today's Golfer - Equipment Editor