Well, it is now officially Spring in the northern half of the world and it is time once again for my Spring Golf Ball Round-up. As always, this is a look back at the two or three golf balls that were standouts for me in the 2013 season. I try to get this review out early, so you can take advantage and pick-up the top balls from last summer at pretty deep discounts.
This is the time of year when all the major golf manufactures reduce the price of last year’s equipment to make way for all the shiny new and improved equipment for this year. It is also a great time of year to get some awesome deals. Golf balls are one of those items and the deep spring discounts as in full bloom.
A little philosophy. I like to buy golf equipment and I really like to buy golf equipment on sale. For instance my new Taylormade R1 Black is even better to me because I picked it up for under $200, new. The same is true for golf balls. So let’s get started.
Category 1: Balls the pros play.
Our first category are those really expensive pro golf balls that all the manufacturers spend huge $$ promoting. My third place ball is the Titleist Pro V1, not the V1x but the V1. This ball is just remarkable for its feel and greenside approaches. For short game, this ball is still the gold standard for soft feel and great distance. The 2013 ball is on sale if various locations, but these are not really bargain hunter balls, Titleist is still the king of this category and it is good to be king.
My number two ball from 2013 in the pro ranks is the Taylormade Lethal. I grew to love this golf ball in 2013. Soft but long, the Lethal is by far the best Taylormade ball I have played to date. Where is really won me over was in the fall and winter. This ball felt soft when others felt crispy. There is a great feel you can get with a driver where you feel the ball compress and rebound. Where I think this ball shines in mid range approaches. It is my favorite ball with a 7 iron in my hand. You can also get these at a great price right now, TGW.com has them for $29.99 USD a dozen.
My number one pro ball for 2013 is the Callaway Hex Chrome +. This ball just keeps impressing me. In my latest round on March 21, 2014, I played the Chrome + and had one of my best driving rounds since I got my new R1. The Chrome + is long, really long, this ball rockets off the driver, yet it has really great stopping power on the green. This ball played great all year long in lots of different conditions and It just kept finding its way into my rounds. This ball is soft but not as soft as the Lethal or Pro V1, but when it gets just a little warm out and this ball lights up. Right now you can find them for $31 USD at TGW.com.
Category 2: Golf Balls designed for average golfers
This category of golf balls is really the most exciting and most competitive. All the major manufacturers have to compete for our golf ball dollars and they have been giving us increasing value and playability over the years. My three examples certainly show this.
My third choice in this category is the Titleist DT So Lo. I know, it is such a cheap ball, but that is just the price, in terms of capabilities, this is a great golf ball for anyone in the 15 handicap range. Long and soft, this ball actually does both well. High launch characteristics help the average golfer get the ball up fast and land it soft. That is the real strength of this ball, is in the greenside playability. It does not spin a lot, yet it will spin a bit. It has a great drop and stop feel on short irons. For $20 a dozen you just can’t go wrong.
My second choice in this category is the Bridgestone e6. I really like this ball overall. Soft but with some characteristics of the more expensive pro balls. This ball has great distance and really great flight characteristics. If you are someone who suffers from a slice or hook, try these balls they will help. The ball has limited side spin and a great greenside feel. It feels light yet more substantial than the DT So Lo for example. It also comes in white, orange and yellow colors for the adventurous. At $26 a dozen, a bit more than the DT So Lo, but worth it if it fixes a slice!
My number one ball in this category again this year is the Titleist Velocity. If you want distance, this is your ball. High penetrating flight and pretty good short game characteristics make this a popular ball in all the pro shops with good reason. It has the best pop off the driver of any ball in this category that I have played. With low spin you will have to adjust your approach shots to account for more roll-out. But that is kind of the point of this ball. With most armatures coming up short on their approach shots, getting additional roll-out can actually be a positive thing. Real fun, really long, Titleist has a real winner with this ball, I can’t wait to try the 2014 version. You can currently pick up a dozen for $26 USD.
Cheers and here’s to hitting them long and straight!