TaylorMade Project (a) Golf Ball
Soft golf balls are the rage right now. That’s great for me as they don’t aggravate my tennis/golfer’s elbow and my driver swing speed is around 100mph. The problem with many of the softer balls which have been produced over the last few years is that they don’t have good spin characteristics in the short game end of things. That’s where balls like the TaylorMade Project (a) are filling the gap. The (a) in the name stands for “amateur.” The ball is designed for amateur swing speeds but has a cover design and materials which produce “tour” level spin and feel in the short game.
The Project (a) is a 3-piece ball, meaning it has three separate layers. Each layer gives the ball certain performance characteristics.
Most “tour” or high quality golf balls feature a thin cover made from a material called urethane. Urethane is found in the covers of nearly every great golf ball, but not often found on the covers of amateur balls. The Project (a) ball does feature a soft urethane cover. This is what gives this ball far more spin from 30 yards an in than most mid-level amateur golf balls.
The next layer is the mantle layer. This layer also contributes to the ball’s short game spin.
The innermost layer, called the core, is the powerhouse of the ball. The core gives the ball its distance and feel on full shots, and especially off the driver.
My unscientific and rough measurement of the ball’s compression via a very cool golf ball compression measuring tool called the Hexcaliber, shows the ball to be just above a 90.
TaylorMade Project (a) Golf Ball Compression Measurement
In the “old” days tour swing speeds matched up with balls having 100 compression or higher. Amateur golf swing speeds were between 85-100, and women’s balls around 80 compression. These days there are many balls in the 80 range, and even some down at 50 or less.
Hands-On – On The Course
I’ve quite enjoyed my testing rounds with this ball. The elbow feels great. Harder golf balls beat up my golfer’s elbow, which is why I can’t play them. No issues with this softer ball.
The compression level of this ball works well with my very amateur swing speed. I have plenty of distance. Plenty. Like I mentioned, I top out at around 100mph but can get it up to maybe 105 if I’m swinging hard.
The feel the ball has on iron shots is great. I can feel the ball compress and I can sense the control I have when working the ball either direction or trying to control my “traj” (trajectory).
As advertised this ball is great from not only 30 yards and in, but I’d say from 100 yards and in. Short game is my achilles heel but I’ve had success chipping and pitching with this ball and getting that little bit of bite around the greens.
I’ve found the TaylorMade Project (a) golf balls on Amazon for under $32 per dozen, which is close to half the price of some “tour” balls. And for the amateur this ball may be better than those more expensive balls due to the slightly lower compression. The cover is the same.
If you’re a regular golfing Joe with an average swing speed who needs an affordable high performing golf ball, the Project (a) could be the ticket. These could also be good balls for some of the better lady golfers.
Father’s Day is coming up by the way. A box of TaylorMade Project (a) golf balls would make a great Father’s Day golf gift.
Today I began my testing of the new TaylorMade Tour Preferred golf ball having completed my testing of the Project (a) ball. The TP is a “tour” level ball, meaning their highest performance and most expensive. Today’s round was the first of several I’ll be doing with this ball, like I do when I test any golf ball. No one-hit reviews here.
TaylorMade Tour Preferred Golf Ball
Stay tuned for my review on the TaylorMade Tour Preferred ball soon.
This weekend I did some short game and putting practice. I chose to use some golf balls sent in by Sightball, which have six crosshairs on them as seen below.
If you can’t aim with this ball, take up another sport…
The balls themselves are not “tour” level golf balls. They are not ProV1’s or anything like that. I wouldn’t play these in a regular round of golf, but that’s not the point. These are best suited for practice and improving setup.
Using the six aiming markings on the ball one can gather some great setup and swing path information quickly and easily. Recently I did some testing of my putting stroke via the 3Bays GSA Putt app, and noticed that my putter face was open 1 to 2 degrees at impact most of the time. The Sightball confirms that as seen below. Without the marking lines I couldn’t see the alignment issues as clearly.
By looking at the Sightball and the alignment of my putter face and center mark, I can easily tell if my putter is square
Post-impact the ball can give some great feedback as well. The golfer can gain great feedback as to the roll of the ball when aided by Sighball’s markings.
I have no problem with the balls or the product itself. They serve their purpose well. That said, the branding, packaging and Sightball website should be blown up and redone. It needs a total facelift.
At $14.95 for a half dozen, one might consider marking shag balls with his own alignment markings. Those markings will not be as accurate, durable, and sharp as the ones Sightball comes with. I can certainly see an instant alignment benefit by using an alignment ball like Sightball. If you have alignment issues, especially with the putter, these would be very beneficial to improving your setup.
Volvik “White Color” S3 Golf Ball
Ya gotta love how funny the language barrier can be sometimes. Case in point is this review of the “White Color” S3 Golf Balls from Volvik. Volvik, I believe a South Korean company, is a maker of very colorful golf balls. I’ve seen Volvik’s transparent models, brilliantly colored models, chrome models… you name it. I guess when you make so many varied and unique colors, you have to call the white ball a white ball.
The white color of this ball is vibrant and glows in light unlike other golf balls due to a hint of pearlescent blue color mixed in. The ball is easier to spot on the course than a typical other white ball.
White isn’t the only feature of this golf ball. This is actually a “tour” quality ball, meaning it is high performance with high spin and feel. The outer layer or cover of the ball is made of the material most top golf balls use, urethane. Urethane is where the ball gets its stopping and short game spin and softer feel around the greens.
The inner cover is the 2nd layer of three in this ball. This layer provides some distance qualities and also helps produce controlling spin.
Finally the core or center of the ball, yes like the core of the earth, is the power center. The elasticity or rebounding effect of the core gives the ball its distance and solid feel off the driver.
On The Course
I’ve enjoyed playing many rounds with the White Color ball. I poke fun at the name and tell my friends who are looking for my ball in the bushes to look for the “white color” one. It provides us some clean entertainment.
Seriously though, the ball performs very well in both the distance and control categories. It is a solid all-around ball.
Feel-wise the ball is a little harder and heavier than balls I typically play, but that is likely why the ball is so durable. Despite the soft “tour” cover these last forever. You’re more likely to lose one in the bushes or a lake long before you could wear one out.
I’d rank the White Color ball’s performance at about 80-90% of Titleist ProV1’s, Bridgestone B330’s, and other high-end golf balls. Close but not equal. The White Color S3 is a solid golf ball for mid to lower handicap golfers.
I recently learned a new lesson: don’t judge a golf ball by its cover. Typically I can tell if I will like a golf ball by simply feeling the cover. I can feel if the cover is soft and tacky, and if I can dig a fingernail into it a bit I know I’ll usually like it. When the Vision ProSoft golf balls came in for review they almost went to the giveaway pile because the cover didn’t feel soft. Almost.
The covers on the ProSoft are not as tacky or soft feeling to the hand, but then again you don’t hit golf balls with your hands. I’m glad I gave these a shot, so to speak. This is definitely a ball worth taking a closer look at.
Vision Golf Balls are originally from Australia. They’re fairly new to North America. They make all sorts of highly visible balls in a few different colors, thus the “vision” name.
Typical “tour” balls, the higher-end balls with more spin, have urethane covers. The cover on this ball is what Vision calls “durathane.” As in durable. I have a ball which has gone 45 holes and it looks like new, so yes these are very durable.
The core or center of the ball uses similar technology found in golf clubs, perimeter weighting. Moving the weight more toward the outside of the ball and away from the center reduces driver spin and increases distance.
The dimple pattern of the ball provides aerodynamic qualities to the flight, carry, dispersion, and helps with distance.
I’ve felt no drop in performance after switching from a large brand’s best “tour” ball to the Vision ProSoft. I’ve gained a ball that lasts longer as the durability of the ProSoft is remarkable.
I love the feel of this ball off of about every club in the bag, putter included. The ball compresses well on the driver, providing some great feedback. You know when it is launched. Chipping and pitching the ProSoft around the greens is nice as well.
This ball is as long as any I’ve played. Last Sunday I had a record 400 yard drive on the par-4 10th hole at Valley View with the ProSoft… Pin high in one. Yes, the ground was hard and the shot was slightly downhill, but still. 400 is 400 no matter how you slice it. No I’m not that long. No I don’t hit them 400 every time. My average is 289.
One last and cool thing: The logo and numbers on this ball are large in size and unique color/style. This ball is very easy to identify, even from a distance. “Mine’s the long one in the middle of the fairway, Bob.”
Can Vision Compete?
This ball is more durable than any tour quality ball I can think of, and the performance is not compromised as is usual with more durable golf balls. Performance-wise this ball can compete with or beat any performance ball from Titleist, Bridgestone, Srixon, Callaway or TaylorMade.
Whether the company can compete for shelf space in an already flooded golf ball market is unknown. I hope they can. At $39.99 a dozen their price point might be a little too high for regular golfers to be willing to take that chance.