TaylorMade Golf has a ball they're so confident in, they're not afraid to mention the No. 1 Ball in Golf by name.
At their annual sales media slash media summit in West Palm Beach, Fla., the company introduced its forthcoming TP5 and TP5x golf balls, which they claim will not only blow away Titleist's ProV1 balls in terms of distance but also keep up with any Tour-grade golf ball in terms of spin and feel inside 125 yards.
Their proof? PGA Tour rookie sensation Jon Rahm, who became just the sixth player in history to earn his Tour card fresh out of college without the need for Q-School (or, now, a year on the Web.com Tour). He did it in four starts. He signed with TaylorMade out of Arizona State, and he has been playing the Titleist ProV1 X ball. The TaylorMade ball team came to Rahm with their TP5x, the lower-spinning ball of the two, and asked him to hit shots comparing them. In a video showed to the launch and on a driving range at The Club at Ibis, Rahm proved out TaylorMade's claims. Rahm was gaining ball speed and distance with both his 7-iron and 4-iron, launching slightly higher but, more importantly, hanging on longer with less spin for extra yards -- some 6-7 yards with the 7-iron and in upwards of 13 yards with the 4-iron. A player can expect 2-4 yards of distance gain with the driver.
That's mind-blowing stuff, even for Rahm, who will work with the ball over Christmas to see if he can put the ball into play at the start of 2017 on the PGA Tour.
Alright, so how did TaylorMade achieve this? Well, they kept the five-piece construction that was in the Tour Preferred X and brought it into both balls in the line. They enlarged the core for both balls, starting with the largest component being very soft (25 compression in the TP5x and 16 in the TP5). Then, as Eric Loper, head of the ball design team, explained, they're "building speed" with each successive layer in the "Tri-fast core." Those materials in the two layers on top of the core are much harder, building up more total compression (83 for TP5, 90 for TP5x) for overall speed while allowing the soft core to continue to perform on all shots.
The top two layers of the ball -- the 20,000ths of an inch cast urethane cover and the more important secondary layer -- interact most with the ball, with the cover catching grooves and the second thermoplastic layer delivering more compression and speed throughout the core.
For most golfers, the TP5x is going to be the story, gaining yardage with mid- and long-irons. It'll force a lot of players to adjust expectations with those clubs, bringing some par 5s into their range and helping them in particular on par 3s. The TP5 player will see gains, although not nearly as monstrous.
In playing a round at The Club at Ibis with both balls, the greenside control is consistent with the Tour Preferred models, which has been competitive with the Tour-grade balls of other manufacturers (Srixon Z-Star, Bridgestone B300, Snell My Tour Ball, etc.). The mid-iron and long-iron distance gains are measurable and impressive, even in Florida, where the ball never flies.
The company is committing big resources to getting these balls in hands of golfers, seeding some 200,000 dozen balls into players' hands in 2017. They're convinced at TaylorMade that you'll want to change your ball after playing their TP5 and TP5x, and, you just might after you experience it for yourself.
The TaylorMade TP5 and TP5x golf balls will be available for $45 per dozen, available March 1, 2017.