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Golf ball review: 2009 Titleist Pro V1x

Written by: Tony Korologos | Date: Friday, April 24th, 2009
Categories: Golf BallsGolf EquipmentGolf GearHackersReviews
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2009 Titleist Pro V1x Golf BallSome reviews I really want to take my time and play a whole bunch of golf before I write them.  This is the case with the new Titleist Pro V1x.  I’ve played roughly my last 10 rounds or so with the new Pro V1x, enough rounds to experience the ups and downs of my normal game.  For the last couple of weeks it has been ups, which doesn’t suck.

Technology

The new ProV1x has had some changes under the hood.  It is no secret that Titleist had to change the ProV1 series due to their losing a court battle with Callaway over the way the ball is made.

Four pieces/layers

The Pro V1x is a four piece/layer ball.  The first layer, in the center of the ball is called the inner core.  The inner core is 1″ in diameter and made of a material called Polybutadiene.  Polybutadiene is a highly durable synthetic rubber commonly used for tires or coating electronic assemblies.

The 2nd layer is the outer core.  The outer core is 1.55″ in diameter and also made of Polybutadiene.

2009 Titleist Pro V1x Golf Ball2009 Titleist Pro V1x Golf Ball2009 Titleist Pro V1x Golf Ball
Left: Cores – Center: Dimples and parting line – Right: Casing

Layer three is called the casing.  The casing is .035″ of ionomer, a highly durable plastic/rubber.

The fourth layer (are we done with layers yet?) is a urethane elastomer, .03″ thick.

Why all the layers?  What do they do?

All the layers join forces to produce low spin off the driver, which results in straighter shots and more distance.  The softness of the outer layers provide the control and spin the player does want in the shorter parts of the game.

How to identify the 2009 model Pro V1x versus older models

Every time Titleist comes out with a new model they change the text or decoration around the “Pro V1x.”  The current model’s decoration is as follows from left to right:

Left arrow, dot, line, Pro V1x, line, dot, right arrow
or
< • – Pro V1x – • >

The 2008 model was < – Pro V1x – >

What is different from the 2008 models of the Pro V1x?

The major change to this year’s model is the cover, due to said legal battle with Callaway.  Titleist saw that as an opportunity to improve the ball and has promoted it as such. Titleist’s PR claims more distance, higher cover durability (see next paragraph) and similar scoring performance.

The new cover is definitely more durable, but in a different way.  The new, more rubbery cover, does chew up off crisp wedges and irons.  The groove marks seem deeper, yet the cover itself doesn’t just sand right off like the previous model.  This is tough to explain.

A crisp sand wedge with the old model would simply shave off the cover, exposing the casing on the previous model.  A crisp sand wedge on the new model doesn’t shave off the cover but it does leave fairly deep groove marks.

No more seam

Another difference in the new model is the lack of a seam.  In the “old days” we used to line up the seam on Pro V1’s and get more distance.  I also liked to line the seam up and roll my putts with the line.

Staggered wave parting line technology gets rid of the seam and covers more area of the ball with dimples.  Dimples give the ball the proper “lift” and help the ball fly in the air better.

On the course

Feel

I was busy finding my game as it came out of winter hibernation with my first few Pro V1x rounds.  When I finally started making solid contact is when I knew I liked the feel of the ball on full shots.  The first few iterations of the Pro V1x were way too hard for me and my “upright granny over the top” 103 MPH swing.  I couldn’t seem to really benefit from the ball’s increased distance because I couldn’t compress it.

This isn’t the case with the newer models (not just the 2009 model). The newer models “mush” on my shots and I love that feel.  I like the feel of the ball compressing and I feel like I can control the ball more because I can sense the contact on the face of the club better.

Distance

I’m most definitely benefiting from the length of this ball.  I even out drove “Big Jim” the other day.  Big Jim has been out driving me for years.  It was nice to walk past his ball another 10 yards to mine for a change.

Short game

To me the most amazing and puzzling aspect of the new Pro V1x is the short game.  On full shots I’ve been backing up not only wedges, but mid irons as well.  Not insane, unusable backspin mind you, but much more than you’d expect from a ball more touted for it’s distance.

While chipping and pitching I’m constantly surprised by the check I’m getting.  I could almost swear I’m getting more than with a standard Pro V1, which is supposed to have more spin.  I’ve even heard my buddies commenting during my chips about how my shots are checking.  That hasn’t happened before.

Putting

My putting is the best part of my game.  Unfortunately right now, it is as bad as it has been in some time.  Too bad, because right now my ball striking is great. So until my putting is back on track I can’t make 100% accurate claims as to the putting performance of this ball.  I just won’t do it right now.

That being said, when I feel I’ve put the right stroke on it, I like putting the V1x.  It rolls true, though I’ve had distance control issues.  I think that is operator error through and not the ball.

First to ever knock one in the water on the 17th at TPC Sawgrass

I got my first samples of the 2009 Pro V1x right when they came out in Orlando at the 2009 PGA Show.  The next day I put them in play for a round at the famous TPC Sawgrass Statdium course, home of THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP.

I knocked one in the water on #1.  Yes, there’s water on #1.  I also gagged knocked one in the water on the famous 17th island green at the TPC.  Yes I’m the first to ever knock a 2009 Pro V1 in the water on that hole.  Special.  Where’s my trophy?

2009 Titleist Pro V1x Golf BallCritiques

I do have a critique with the new Titleist Pro V1x.  It is the cover.  I’ve found the overall durability of this model to far exceed previous models.  I’ve played over 70 holes with my latest one so far and it is still playable, with one exception.

As I mentioned before, wedges and shorter irons with clean grooves can really put some teeth marks into the cover of this ball.  They start to look like rows of scales on a fish.  Run your finger one way and they’re OK, but run your finger the other way and you can really feel it.  These grooves even stick out beyond the surface of the ball, making it not perfectly round.   These imperfections look to me like they’d noticeably affect putts if the putter struck them.  I could really see a putt going off line due to striking these imperfections in the surface of the ball.   I find that I’m checking the part of the ball which my putter will strike to be sure it is clean and smooth.

I’m not a pro and I don’t get these $58/dozen balls for free, so I use them until I lose them.  A pro, who may switch balls every hole, may never run into this issue.  I do run into this issue often, and it is definitely a concern.

Conclusion

The new Titleist Pro V1x is a wonderful golf ball.  I get a ton of distance with this ball and love the mushy feel I get off of full shots.  As I mentioned before, I’m constantly amazed at the check and bite I’m getting from the touch shots.

I’ll still sacrifice life and limb to recover my Pro V1x’s from a swamp full of alligators.  They’re worth it.

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