Tested By You – Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls
The price of premium golf balls is often divisive. Some players will happily spend a little more to guarantee performance they can rely on every week; while others find more value in a bargain.
Keen to reach more club golfers and prove that its balls offer good long-term value via performance gains, Titleist had to be next up on our Tested By You schedule.
Anthony Williams, Titleist’s UK ball expert, was tasked with fitting our two readers into one of the 2017 models. He watched them hit shots through the bag on TrackMan and spoke to them about their feel and flight preferences, before making his recommendations during a sunny test day at Kings Hill GC in Kent.
The chosen duo were 5-handicapper Matthew West, looking to replace his Nike RZN Tour Platinum before stocks run dry, and 14–handicapper Steve Wilson, eager to see what a premium-priced ball could offer over his current Callaway Chrome Soft.
Armed with their new Titleist balls, Matthew and Steve then put them into play on their home courses over a number of weeks, before providing detailed and unbiased performance feedback.
Home Club: Thetford GC, Norfolk
Fitted for: Titleist Pro V1
Matt hankered after a softer-feeling ball, which put the Pro V1 in pole position on paper. As we went through the set, it soon became clear his high ball flight was costing him distance. So when it came to differentiating between the Pro V1 and Pro V1x, the lower flight and lower spin of the V1 in the long game was clearly his best option.
Matt’s feedback and on-course evaluation
We started with pitch shots during the fitting, and I liked the predictable low flight that checked up with the Pro V1 straightaway. I hit the ball quite high, and the Pro V1 also gave me a more piercing flight, which I’ve continued to notice during testing out on my home course.
It feels very soft of the putter, even softer than either the Srixon Z-Star or the Nike RZN Tour Platinum balls I usually use. While many people will love this, personally I’d prefer a firmer feel, especially on slick, contoured greens.
The control and consistency is where the Pro V1 really excels. It gave me high levels of consistent spin on shots from 80 yards and in; something I find other balls lack on half shots. This trust gives me the ability to attack the flag while remaining confident the ball will stop quickly.
I’ve always considered the Pro V1 to be fairly durable compared to other balls in its class and this years model is no different, even after playing numerous shots from the sand and chip shots from tightly mown approaches, the skin holds up really well and doesn’t suffer any discolouration.
Overall the improvements made to this years V1 are all very positive. Its better off the tee and just as consistent around the greens as its always been.
Home Club: Stoneham GC, Hampshire
Fitted for: Titleist Pro V1
We went through the same process with Steve as we would with any tour pro, starting out with pitch shots and working up to driver. Steve liked a soft feel but struggled to get any check, so straightaway we were leaning towards the Pro V1. It is softer than the Pro V1x and has more stopping power compared to our other models. Steve also preferred the lower long-game ball flight of the V1 compared to the V1x.
Steve’s feedback and on-course evaluation
The main things I was looking to gain were improved control on chip shots, and a more piercing ball flight that might potentially add a few yards. Anthony advised me that the Pro V1 would help on both counts, and in my first round it did fly noticeably lower than the Pro V1x I was trying out alongside it. I’ve also noticed that it feels softer off the face of my putter and checks up more than my Callaway Chrome Soft, which is something I certainly prefer.
I have been out and had a good number of games with the balls since my fitting and also some good practise sessions around the greens. Both the Pro V1 and Pro V1x feel very nice off the putter, very soft, which is giving me a bit more confidence to hit the ball a little firmer which I like. In terms of a difference between the two, I couldn’t really make one out, but compared to the Chrome Soft, they felt a bit softer.
Around the greens, I preferred the feel of the V1 over my Callaway, there was definitely more check on the ball so distance control was improved. Again, this gave me more confidence to pick a landing spot and trust that the ball was going to stop.
Pushing this out to pitching distances and 7-iron down the V1 and the V1x span more for me than the Chrome Soft, and the V1x seemed to have the most stopping power.
Durability wise, I was a little bit disappointed when the Pro V1 and the V1x scuffed up, but I guess this is to be expected with the softness of the ball and doing intense bunker practise. The Chrome Soft, although scuffed up didn’t appear to be as badly affected. With overall general use, the “damage” to all three balls was comparable.
Overall, I could definitely tell the difference in performance on clean hits in the Titleist Pro V1’s favour. The only thing holding me back could be durability, but if over a longer time period the Titleist ball holds out longer then I would definitely look at switching permanently.