Titleist Pro V1/V1x 2017 -- How the best-selling golf balls in the game keep getting better

By Jeffrey A. Rendall, Images courtesy of Titleist

FAIRHAVEN, MA – It’s not often these days that you begin talking about a golf product by discussing its seventeen-year history, but then again, not many golf balls have the kind of stellar record that Titleist’s Pro V1 and Pro V1x offer.

Golf ball manufacturers typically introduce new models every year or two – complete with incremental improvements in cover and/or core technology. A lot of talented folks are charged with the responsibility of making an already excellent product even better at these companies -- and they usually produce.

In Titleist’s particular case, they introduce a “new” Pro V1/V1x duo every couple years, but keep the name the same. That’s probably because “Pro V1/V1x” has become virtually synonymous with top-tier performance and consistency in the golf world.

There are many quality golf balls on the market today and there are solid arguments for wanting to try each one. But there’s no disputing that the Titleist Pro V1/ V1x has cornered the industry in terms of brand recognition. Any golfer who’s been in the game for a while knows what a Pro V1/V1x is – and that’s a good thing for the company.

Titleist says the 2017 versions of the golf balls “are the most advanced, best performing golf balls ever stamped with the Titleist script. Precisely engineered using the most sophisticated golf ball technology, new Pro V1 and Pro V1x provide total performance for every player and deliver unmatched quality and consistency.”

Naturally, the company says the balls “continually set the standard for golf ball performance through relentless research and development innovation and an industry-leading manufacturing process. Advancements for 2017 include new core and aerodynamic designs.”

Those aren’t just words, either. Titleist’s bread and butter lies in golf balls, and since the Pro V1/V1x are its flagship franchise, they receive a lot of attention from development staff. The company says over 1,100 associates (with an average tenure of 20 years) comprise its Operations team, which is responsible for developing and testing the balls.

That’s right – 1,100 people. Think about that the next time you put a tee in the ground. It ain’t like the old gutta percha balls, that’s for sure.

How do they just keep getting better every two years? Michael Mahoney, Vice President, Titleist Golf Ball Marketing explains: “Every time we set out to develop new Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls, our challenge is to set an even higher benchmark for golf ball performance. We are constantly in the field talking to golfers of all skill levels about what we can do to help them shoot lower scores.

“At the same time, the Titleist Golf Ball R&D and Operations teams are working together to develop new golf ball technologies that deliver performance golfers may not yet realize they need. It’s because of this ownership and commitment at every step of the process that we’re able to deliver meaningful performance improvements and make the best golf balls in the game even better.”

Do golfers really not realize they need performance? I’m not sure about that one, but Titleist works overtime to make sure their golf balls pass the test regardless.

But which model to choose?

Bill Morgan, Senior Vice President, Titleist Golf Ball R&D, explains “No matter their playing ability, golfers have a simple choice when it comes to choosing the best golf ball for their game.”

“Either Pro V1 or Pro V1x will give you the best opportunity to shoot your lowest score. The decision purely comes down to flight, feel and spin. As we’ve told the pros, while you may consider yourself a ‘V’ or an ‘X’ player, we think this is a great time for you to reevaluate both Pro V1 and Pro V1x to see which 2017 model is the best fit for your game.”

Titleist says golfers will notice differences in flight, feel and spin. “Pro V1 flies lower with a penetrating trajectory and feels softer. Pro V1x flies higher, has a slightly firmer feel, and spins more on iron shots.”

We’ve tried every reiteration of both balls and have come to prefer the V1x over the years. Simply put, it just seems to go farther and perform better around the greens for us – in our very unscientific trials, of course.

We’re long-hitting mid-handicappers who wouldn’t necessarily be the type of players targeted for the top golf balls of every brand – but Titleist says the Pro V1/V1x are designed to make all players’ games better, not just pros or low handicappers.

Value is found in many ways – and if the balls last longer, you spend less money in the long run.

But are they really better than the previous models introduced in 2015?

Yes, according to Morgan. The 2017 versions’ advancements in both dimple design and hob production combine to produce new Pro V1 and Pro V1x models that deliver a more aerodynamically consistent flight.

“If a golfer hits a number of golf balls, they will fly through a ‘window’ in the air. What we’ve done with 2017 Pro V1 and Pro V1x is make that window smaller, which is the result of a more consistent flight,” Morgan said. “We go to great lengths to ensure that Pro V1 and Pro V1x are precision equipment. We know golfers depend on that consistency on every shot in their round.”

Seeing as the company boasts the loyalty of both Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth (among others), you have to figure something’s right with the balls.

We tried both balls in a variety of playing conditions and found them to offer typically excellent Pro V1/V1x execution. As described above, the V1x does feel a little firmer – and for us, seemed slightly more controllable around the greens.

We didn’t look at a launch monitor for additional feedback. As we have for years, we like the V1x a little better – but that may be because of our preconceived bias towards that particular ball.

I made a hole-out eagle with a V1x a few years ago – the shot that pays you back, right?

The only way to tell how a ball works for you is to use it consistently. We recommend trying all of the balls (Titleist and otherwise) to see which ones you prefer. For those of us who don’t play golf for money, it’s all about personal preference and which ball you believe will help you get the ball in the hole the most often.

Confidence is everything.

The folks at Titleist clearly believe their Pro V1/V1x ball will be the one you’ll choose – and they’ve put a lot of resources behind that belief. Give it a try and see for yourself.


Titleist 2017 Pro V1/Pro V1x Golf Balls

Available at a golf or sporting goods store near you.

Customized options are available.

For more information on the latest Titleist products, check out the company’s website: http://www.titleist.com/

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