Sales of alignment golf balls are on a steep upwards trajectory. Callaway started the trend with their Triple Track Chrome Soft, which has now spawned a new range of putters in 2020.
As well as Tour endorsement – Phil Mickelson uses Triple Track, while Rickie Fowler helped design the TP5 Pix – Callaway say 86% of golfers align putts more accurately using such a ball. Many of us already draw a line on our ball with a Sharpie, but these wonky DIY attempts don’t cut the mustard compared to the kind of visual technology major brands are developing. But does it work?
Do alignment style golf balls actually help you hole more putts?
We used lockdown to find out.
TESTED: Best 2020 Driver
How we did it
TG Equipment Editor Simon Daddow used a PuttOut home putting mat and trainer to hit putts from six feet. We used a plain white ball plus a Chrome Soft Triple Track and a TP5 Pix, lining up the marked balls as we would on a green.
We hit 200 putts with each ball over a week, which meant we had good and bad days, just like on the golf course. After 10 putts we switched balls and moved to the opposite end of the mat, avoiding line repetition. Simon used his own PXG Operator putter which has a long, bold sightline.
TaylorMade TP5 Pix golf ball
RRP: £49.99 per dozen
Just getting the TP5 Pix to market is a serious achievement, so complex was it to design and manufacture. Twelve strategically spaced images, each with a single side in co-designer Rickie Fowler’s trademark orange, give feedback on roll and the quality of your stroke. TaylorMade say it tells you instantly if putts have started on your intended line.
A single TaylorMade logo (golf balls normally have two) and side stamp visibly highlight alignment, too. Fowler will play this ball on the PGA Tour, and rumour has it Dustin Johnson and Matthew Wolff are exploring its potential, too.
VERDICT: TaylorMade TP5 Pix golf ball
The real beauty of the Pix is how it builds a training aid into a ball that’s played by tour stars. Every time you hit a putt you get feedback on whether you’ve hit it true, with the ball running end over end.
If you don’t see the orange-sided graphics showing the ball’s path to the hole, and the graphics rotate in a wonky line, your stroke needs some perfecting. In all honesty, combining Triple Track with the Pix would be the ultimate alignment golf ball, but as our stats (below) show we holed 12% more putts with the Pix than a non-alignment golf ball, missing just seven putts in 200 attempts. Seriously impressive.
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Callaway Chrome Soft golf ball
RRP: £39.99 per dozen
For 2020, Callaway’s Triple Track is available on both the standard and X Chrome Softs (as well as a range of Odyssey putters). Both are four-piece balls with urethane covers, and Callaway say the Vernier Hyper Acuity tech is an adaptation of the same visual aid pilots use to line up jets on aircraft carriers. The combination of blue and red, their spacing and thickness are all crucial in how the brain processes alignment clues.
VERDICT: Callaway Chrome Soft golf ball
We just couldn’t miss with the Triple Track! It’s long lines sat beautifully in front of our putter, and the combination of the colours and spacing naturally draw and hold your attention while addressing every putt. The lines flow perfectly from a putter with an alignment line that runs all the way to the top edge, just like a number of Odyssey’s new Triple Track models.
Simon usually draws crosshairs on his ball, but the consistent width of the Triple Track lines made it so much easier to visualise the line and stroke path. Simon’s a pretty good putter anyway, and while results would be a little different on a green that wasn’t as flat or smooth as our mat, holing 199 of 200 putts from six feet was completely unexpected.