TaylorMade Golf Balls for 2016
Recently, Taylormade announced three new golf balls for their lineup for 2016 which include enhancements to the already widely popular Project (a) golf ball and slight tweaks to their tour-line, Tour Preferred and Tour Preferred X. With the competition within the golf ball segment as fierce as ever, any upgrades made must provide the player with improved performance, either from the tee or around the green.
The new incarnation of the Project (a) will feature a signature change in compression level from the previous generation. The new ball will now be a 70 compression REACT core compared to high 80’s of its predecessor. So, not only will the ball feel softer overall, but it will make it more playable for the average golfer, especially in terms of lowering spin off the driver and longer clubs in the bag.
The cover is constructed with Taylormade’s new SoftTech urethane technology which will give players more control on touchy wedge shots around the greens and with their mid-to-short irons. Despite the changes, the overall target market of the ball has remained unchanged. Project (a) will be aimed at the recreational, competitive golfer who is looking for the performance benefits of a tour-level golf ball at an attractive price that won’t break the bank.
The 2016 version of the Tour Preferred golf ball will feature an 80 compression core, which is softer than before, and an overall 4-piece construction with a mantle layer that is 65% more flexible than the previous model. What this allows the ball to do is maintain its speed consistency through the core and mantle, providing more reliable distance on tee shots and longer clubs. The SoftTech urethane cover gives players optimal greenside control and superior feel that the game’s best players expect in a high-performance golf ball. Compared to the Tour Preferred X, the Tour Preferred will feel softer and see a slightly higher launch profile and more spin with the mid-to-long irons for softer landings around the green.
Tour Preferred X
With a tour player lineup like that of Taylormade, it pays to have the feedback of the best players in the world, and that is exactly what they did with the 2016 Tour Preferred X golf ball. Taylormade developed over 40 prototypes of this golf ball for testing on Tour and what came out of it was the new and improved 5-piece, TP X. This ball will give the better players a lower, more penetrating ball flight with the driver and longer irons and a more controlled trajectory, especially in windy conditions, with the short irons and wedges. Compared to the non-TP model, the X will feel firmer (87 compression on the TP X compared to 80 on the TP) and provide lower spin with the long clubs without sacrificing the exceptional spin around the green.
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Chris Wadwick has been a Class “A” member of the PGA of America since 2011. He is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in Business Administration. He brings a deep understanding of the inner workings of the golf business, especially club fittings, product knowledge, and visual merchandising, working for Dick’s Sporting Goods for over 7 years and Occoneechee Golf Club for more than three years, prior to that. When he is not in the office, you can always find him at a nearby golf course, attending games at his alma mater, or spending time with his wife and four dogs.