As someone who really likes the feel a softer ball provides (but who would also would never turn down the opportunity to get a few extra yards), I was very interested to try out the three-piece, surlyn-cover VL Pro from Hopkins Golf which the company advertises as a ball that gives players the best of both worlds: distance off the tee with soft feel and workability around the greens.
I took some out with me recently for a round at Gillette Ridge Golf Club in Connecticut.
Out of the box, or more accurately I should say out of the plastic bag (more on that later), I was really impressed with the look of the ball, a striking white, almost “shiny” appearance.
In my hand, the ball didn’t feel like it would be as soft as I typically enjoy, but right from the first tee shot (which truth be told I pushed a bit, but don’t tell) I really enjoyed the feel of the VL Pro off the club face and the feedback it gave, albeit somewhat louder than I’m used to hearing. But the sound was nothing that detracted from the performance. In fact, after a couple of holes, I don’t recall even thinking about it.
Off the driver and irons, ball flights were consistent and carried well. It had rained a ton the day before I played and the fairways were very, very saturated, so I can’t really give an accurate read on the ball’s roll out, but carry was really solid and sidespin was minimal. I would say I was probably getting a few extra yards with each club.
The VL Pro also performed well on and around the greens. I must admit that I didn’t quite experience the “bite” factor I like with my wedges. On several occasions, I opted to instead play more of a bump-and-run-type shot and experienced more success with the VL Pro in that capacity. That could just be me. Off the putter face, the ball gave great feedback and made judging distances, particularly on longer rolls, a breeze.
Earlier I said I was going to tell you more about how the balls arrived in a plastic bag instead of a sleeve or typical cardboard box. Here is where you learn about one of the major differences between Hopkins balls and other similar balls on the market: price.
At just $19.99 a dozen (and even cheaper if you buy more), the VL Pro is ultra affordable. Hopkins made affordability a priority right from the ground up. The balls arrive in a plastic Hopkins-logoed bag in a UPS shipping box. No extra packaging costs for Hopkins means no extra costs to you. Factoring in price is always part of the mindset with the company.
I recommend getting your hands on some VL Pros at www.hopkinsgolf.com and giving them a try. Hopkins says, “If you play these babies you can still afford a hot dog at the turn.” A solid ball from tee to green that also provides a great value – and a hot dog – nothing wrong with that.