The first time I ever played TaylorMade's Project (a) golf ball was at Torrey Pines in San Diego, and I distinctly remember spinning a wedge off the green on the par-3 third on the North Course. I was shocked. I don't do that when I play. I dead hand a lot of shots and don't impart crazy spin on my wedge shots.
Despite putting too much mustard on that one swing, I really liked the ball. It gave me great feel with a cast urethane cover -- a very high quality material -- and above-grade spin at a reasonable price point. It's a good ball.
The Project (a) then was changed for Version 2, and it kind of lost some of that magic by lowering compression in 2016. Now in this new cycle, the latest version of the ball is back toward its roots. It still has a great cast urethane cover at a fantastic $35 per dozen price point. The ball now has a lower compression rating, keeping up with the trend toward soft in golf balls, so there's better feel, good distance off the tee and a more dialed-in amount of spin.
The cool thing with the new Project (a) is that it takes the cover of the TP5 ball line and puts it on here -- it's cast urethane, too -- and then has a softer core and a mantle layer to build up speed and distance for players shy of Tour-caliber swing speeds (pretty much every recreational golfer). That new softer core creates not only better feel but also kills spin with the driver, meaning the ball should go farther and straighter.
In this cycle the ball is available in white and yellow versions. It hits stores on Feb. 16.
There's also a new Project ball for 2018, with the Project (s). Basically, think of Project (s) as the TP5 to Project (a)'s TP5x, albeit with a different cover material.
This is a three-piece ball, too, but it has an ionomer (Suryln is the common name, but it's a DuPont trademark) cover. It also has a 60 compression rating compared to the 70 on the Project (a). The Project (s) will run $25 per dozen and be available April 1 in white, matte yellow and matte orange.