Custom fitting: Which Titleist ball is best for you?

Equipment

We all know Titleist produce quality balls, but are you sure you know which one suits your game the best? Four NCG readers find out...

Which ball is best for you and have you ever considered what you might be missing out on with others on the market?

Are you looking for maximum distance off the tee? Or is spin on your approach shots the most important factor? Maybe you are seeking better feel when chipping and putting?

For many durability is the key. And for others still, it simply comes down to economics and value for money.

All of these are really good reasons to make a choice, but what really matters is that having reached a conclusion you get the ball you are looking for.

And unless you go through a fitting like this or do some extensive testing of your own then it’s hard to know for sure.

Perhaps, like many of us, you are the kind of golfer who automatically reaches for a Pro V1 whenever a competition comes along. And if so, that’s great it’s overwhelmingly the most popular ball in golf, both with amateurs and on tour for a reason.

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But do you actually know what you are gaining in terms of performance, beyond the confidence of knowing you are using the best and a ball that has won countless Majors?

Or maybe you don’t believe there is really that much of a trade-off at all in performance between a premium ball at £50 per dozen and a budget one at a fraction of the cost.

We know these are questions that deserve answering.

So for some straight-talking and to find the answers, we invited Titleist’s custom fitting specialist Richard Harries to Moor Allerton Golf Club in Leeds to give four of our readers the benefit of his expertise.

The idea was to empower them with some key information then let them test out the theory for themselves and put the balls into practice.

Here’s what happened.
For some straight-talking and to find the answers, we invited Titleist’s custom fitting specialist Richard Harries to Moor Allerton Golf Club in Leeds to give four of our readers the benefit of his expertise.

THE TESTERS

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BEFORE

Current ball: Titleist Pro V1
What he says: I’ve always played Titleist balls. I did have a go with the new Nike ball but found I had more control with my Titleist. There wasn’t much difference in distance.
What he looks for: Control is most important for me, it’s not really about distance. I trust Titleist and I’m comfortable with them.
New ball policy: I always use a new ball in a competition.

AFTER

Recommended balls: Pro V1 and Pro V1x
Selwyn’s findings: I’ve always played Pro V1 and this just confirmed it. The x felt a bit firmer off the face when putting.
Richard says: The x does generally fly a little higher but with lower spin. He is also used to the Pro V1 and that does come into it.
Verdict: Pro V1

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BEFORE

Current ball: Bridgestone e6
What he says: The e6 was recommended to me by James, our club pro.
What he looks for: Round the greens I want control. But I don’t want a ball that is so soft that it costs me distance off the tee.
New ball policy: It’s a new ball in a competition.

AFTER

Recommended balls: Pro V1 and NXT Tour S
Stuart’s findings: I hit the NXT Tour S best. I just hit better shots with this ball. It might be psychological. I couldn’t see any difference on the greens. The Pro V1 felt a bit softer on full shots.
Richard says: Stuart launched his pitch shots higher, which suited the the NXT Tour S as he wasn’t reliant on spin. I agree this is a good ball for him.
Verdict: NXT Tour S

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BEFORE

Current ball: Titleist Pro V1
What he says: I was using the NXT Tour and it wasn’t bad at all. I liked the sound and feel but it didn’t seem to last very long so I swapped back.
What he looks for: I’m always after a little bit more distance.
New ball policy: A new ball for a competition

AFTER

Recommended balls: Pro V1 and NXT Tour S
Geoff’s findings: There was a real difference between the two. I much preferred the NXT Tour. The flight was better every time out on the course and it felt just as soft. It maybe sounded a little bit harder. It definitely went straighter!
Richard says: I’m a great believer that if someone just gets on with a ball and likes the feel then that is job done.
Verdict: NXT Tour S

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BEFORE

Current ball: Nike 20XIx
What he says: I’ve always been a Nike man. This ball gives stability in the wind and is long off the tee.
What he looks for: Control and distance.
New ball policy: 18 holes then change presuming I haven’t lost it by then!

AFTER

Recommended balls: Pro V1 and NXT Tour
Craig’s findings: It was Pro V1x all day long. I lost maybe 15 yards of distance with the NXT, and there wasn’t as much feel when I was chipping. I was impressed with the Pro V1x so I’m going to do some testing against my Nike!
Richard says: We knew really he’d go with the Pro V1x. The spin would have been very low with the NXT and especially with Craig’s natural draw, so that’s what cost him distance.
Verdict: Pro V1x

The fitting process

Richard Harries explains the principle differences between the various balls in the Titleist range and outlines the brand’s fitting philosophy when it comes to balls

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Ball fitting is relatively new for us, says Richard Harries.
We are a green-to-tee ball-fitting company. It’s not all about speed and spin it’s about your preferences, like colour and feel and price. The fitting element is all about performance but your preferences are at least just as important.
There are a lot of myths about Pro V1 and x. ˜I don’t hit it hard enough to compress it’ is a comment I hear a lot but although it feels different you can’t even see it on super-slow-motion cameras.
Our testers were invited to do some chipping and putting with all the balls from the Titleist range to compare the feel and performance.
Richard then used a TrackMan launch monitor to watch each player hit full shots with a range of clubs from wedge to driver.
While assessing the data, each tester had the chance to tell him what they thought of the feel and flight.
Richard then recommended two balls for each tester to take out on to the course to play some holes with and offer feedback.

  • With thanks to Moor Allerton Golf Cub in Leeds for the use of their facilities, and particularly head professional James Whitaker – www.magc.co.uk

All photography by Joe Whitley

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