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Your golf ball is the one piece of equipment you use on every shot. And while this expression is perhaps a bit tired and overused, it is undoubtedly true. But the process of choosing the best golf ball for your game is often overlooked by many recreational golfers. Sure, picking up a fresh sleeve of balls from the pro shop may not be as thrilling as unsheathing a brand-new Stealth driver on the opening tee box—but the golf ball you choose to play often says more about your game than any club in your bag.
There’s a reason why the best players on Tour go through a rigorous testing process each year to find their perfect golf ball. There’s a reason why the choice of golf ball is a major topic of discussion in Ryder Cup two-ball matches. And there’s a reason why TaylorMade has put decades of research, testing, experimentation, and refinement to create a family of 2022 TaylorMade golf balls that are specifically engineered for specific types of golfers.
Golf balls are NOT created equal. And it’s time to find the ball that fits your swing—and your game—the best.
With all of the variations of golf balls out there, it may feel daunting to even know where to start. Every hacker, range rat, and scratch player will have their opinions on the “best golf ball.” But ultimately, what is best for them is unlikely to be perfect for you. Instead, we recommend looking at the science, engineering, and technology within each type of TaylorMade golf ball to begin narrowing down your search.
Here are a few of the key elements to consider:
Golf Ball Construction
The physical makeup of a golf ball is often the greatest differentiator when it comes to performance. Most of the golf balls you’ll stumble upon as you stroll through a red-staked area on the course are comprised of 3 layers. A few will have 4. Some will have just 2… but the ONLY golf balls that are engineered with a proprietary 5-layer construction are the TaylorMade TP5 and TP5x golf balls.
In most 3- and 4-layer golf balls, a sacrifice needs to be made between maximizing distance and optimizing greenside spin/feel. However, TP5/TP5x’s Tri-Fast Core promotes longer carry and lower drag while the Dual-Spin Cover features an ultra-soft, highly durable cast urethane cover that is ideal for short-game performance.
The bottom line:
If you care about truly getting the most out of every swing from tee to green, the 5-layer construction of TP5 and TP5x offers more dynamic performance than any ball in golf.
Golf Ball Cover
If you’ve been around the game for much time at all, you’ve likely heard other players talk about cast urethane golf balls. Over the years this high-performance cover material has become synonymous with Tour-caliber performance.
And there’s a reason for this. Cast urethane provides a premium feel and better spin around the greens—a tangible improvement compared to its cheaper, polymer counterpart. Until recently, cast urethane covers have been reserved for top-of-the-line Tour golf balls. But now, TaylorMade’s Tour Response offers Tour-quality performance, for less money.
If you’re in the market for ultimate peak performance, you still can’t beat TP5 and TP5x. But if you’re looking to bridge the gap between what’s used on Tour and whatever’s rattling around in your bag, TaylorMade Tour Response will give your game a major upgrade.
Golf Ball Core
For golf balls, when it comes to driver and long-iron performance, it’s what’s inside that counts. For example, the Tri-Fast Core in TaylorMade TP5 and TP5x is engaged when struck by longer-range clubs, unlocking greater carry distance and less drag.
At the other end of the spectrum, the TaylorMade Soft Response—as the name suggests—offers a much softer core, which is ideal for golfers with slower swing speeds.
Once again, there’s no denying that TP5/TP5x boast the most complete performance—and its unique Tri-Fast Core plays a big part in that. But if you’re a slow-to-average swing speed player, Soft Response is a great way to gain distance while maintaining the soft feel that many golfers prefer.
Golf Ball Spin
While most golfers are likely to focus on distance as the primary metric as they weigh the performance of any piece of golf equipment, spin is arguably the most impactful measurement of all.
Suboptimal spin is often the root cause of our most common misses. When your drive slices off to the right, your RPMs are likely maxing out and accentuating miss even further. If you find yourself hitting the occasional duck-hook, you may not be getting enough spin. The same goes for approach shots that balloon up into the air (too much spin) and shots that shockingly sail over the back of the green (not enough spin).
Finding the perfect sweet spot when it comes to your spin is a crucial part of optimizing your performance. It will directly impact distance, distance control, dispersion, and more. And while a proper clubfitting is a great way to fine-tune your spin metrics throughout your bag, you can also make drastic improvements in one fell swoop by choosing the best golf ball for your swing.
If you need to reduce your driver and iron spin, TP5x and Tour Response are among the lowest-spinning balls in golf. But an important distinction between these balls and ultra-low spinning “distance balls” is that you’ll still be able to maintain shot-shaping ability and soft feel thanks to their cast urethane cover. On the flip side, if you find yourself needing more spin, TP5 offers more spin than its TP5x counterpart, which can greatly improve your control if your miss tends to be a knuckle-hook.
The bottom line:
You likely know if you’re a “high-spin” or a “low-spin” player. Based on where you fall on the spectrum, we suggest that you start with a golf ball that’s specifically engineered to counteract your tendency. And whether you’re browsing TaylorMadeGolf.com or looking at golf ball packaging in your club’s pro shop, we provide simple callouts and comparisons to help you decide where to start.
Golf Ball Color and Cosmetics
Although brightly colored golf balls and golf balls with unique designs may seem like a novelty, there is actually definitive testing that has shown tangible performance benefits from cosmetic golf ball variations. Similar to the various colors, shapes, and sightline designs on putters, the cosmetic features of your golf ball can help you unearth the perfect fit for your eye—particularly when it comes to your putting performance.
Whether you’re looking at TP5/TP5x, Tour Response, or Tour Soft, you have the ability to order them in a high-contrast yellow that can improve your ability to make good contact with the ball (and importantly, help you find the ball when your match is on the line).
But if you’re looking for a more dynamic performance upgrade, there are a few additional options for you.
TP5/TP5x pix golf balls come standard with a Tour-validated visual technology that not only enhances visibility, but it also provides immediate feedback on your putts with its ClearPath Alignment. A few shots around the green and a couple putts rolled is all you’ll need to see the difference in what this variation brings to the Most Complete Tour Ball.
New in 2022 is TaylorMade’s Tour Response Stripe golf ball. Where the ClearPath Alignment of pix provides subtle feedback on putts, the 360° ClearPath Alignment feature is the boldest, most advanced alignment feature we have ever put on a golf ball. This next-gen visible technology of Tour Response Stripe™ wraps around the center of the golf ball to help you aim putts better, faster and more consistently, all while providing immediate feedback on the quality of your roll. A lime yellow finish offers enhanced visibility.
Not only can colored golf balls and pix designs be a fun way to distinguish your game, they can also provide measurable performance improvements. If you’re already playing TP5/TP5x, then pix is the perfect way to see how the addition of visual feedback impacts your scores. But if you need more putts to start dropping, then Tour Response Stripe could be a complete game changer.
Want a personalized look? Sign for our innovative ball subscription program and get free personalization with a number of your choice, logo and added text. Sports fans get rep their favorite teams and players with our catalogue of NFLPA, NBA and Collegiate TP5/TP5x golf balls.
Once you have an idea which golf ball will have the greatest impact on your game, it’s time to put that theory into practice. As mentioned earlier, there’s a reason why Tour players go through a detailed testing process before putting a new ball in play.
When it comes to judging performance and ball testing, there’s no better guide than the golf course. An excellent place to start is with your mid irons. If the pace of play allows, grab two different clubs and hit them both from the same distance. For example, hit a soft 7-iron and a hard 8-iron into the same pin. Judge the carry distance and feel, and see how the ball comes into the green. This exercise provides a good barometer for how the ball will perform on the different shots you’ll need around the golf course.
Then head to the green and put yourself in various short game situations. See the reaction of the ball as you try to hit different shots. For instance, the flop, the low checker, your standard pitch, and a little chip & run. Gauge each of these and determine whether the ball meets your standards. For a more in-depth look at how to test a golf ball, check out this video with our very own Chris Trott.
After assessing a golf ball’s performance technologies and testing it out on the course, you should be in a perfect position to make a confident decision about what golf ball is best for your game. Once you have that optimal combo of clubs that fit your swing and a golf ball that suits your playing style, you’ll be on your way to playing the best, most enjoyable golf of your life.
Your golf ball is the one piece of equipment you use on every shot. So, next time you’re set to play, make sure you’re teeing it up with a golf ball you know will bring out the best on every swing.