Golf Balls Combine Distance Feel

By George WhiteJanuary 29, 2004, 5:00 pm
Its so much easier to find a good ball these days. Either youre a professional and use one meant especially for a player who hits it four miles off the tee, or youre like 99.9 percent of the rest of us and use a ball that plays well with a 220-yard drive.
 
Not so in past years. There were distance balls, which went a long way but had rock-hard covers and were impossible to control. Or, tiring of that, you had more expensive balata balls, which had a soft cover and spun a lot with the short irons, but which were always cut and just didnt go very far. Pick your poison, Ace!
 
Companies exhibiting at the PGA Merchandise Show this week have demonstrated that you can have it both ways. These golf balls possess the distance, but also possess a delicate feel. And thats just for the amateur ' the 99.9 percent of the golfers who play the game.
 
The following is a sample of the wares of among the golf-ball exhibitors:
 
CALLAWAY ' A relative newcomer to the ball-manufacturing business, Callaway comes to battle with the HEX Aerodynamics. This is the main feature of Callaways HX Tour and refers to the indentions on the balls surface. Callaway claims to have replaced the traditional dimples with the HEX pattern.
 
The revolutionary surfaces, featuring 38 facets of each HEX pattern, combines to deliver a ball that travels the maximum distance with great consistency. The HEX offers low-speed lift and less high-speed drag. Translation: the ball flies better than your fathers old rock.
 
Callaway offers a very wide variety of golf balls. At the top of the line is the HX Tour ' its Callaways most technologically advanced. It has a very thin cover and very large core, which gives the better player all that he could ask for in a ball.
 
Callaway Red is meant for more distance, Callaway Blue more spin. They are both three-piece balls, meaning they have a large core, a firm boundary layer and a soft cover. Big Bertha Red and Blue are two-piece balls ' the core and the cover, Red for more distance, Blue for more spin. And the Warbird golf ball is a two-piece which comes advertised as hard-working with above-average distance.
 
TOP-FLITE ' The brand just purchased by Callaway, but still very much a ball manufacturer with a widely recognized name. Top-Flite has two top brand names ' the Strata and the Infinity.
 
Top-Flite Strata Tour PremierThe Strata was first introduced in 1996 and consists of four balls: the Strata Tour Premier offers high spin, remarkable distance and soft feel. The Strata Tour Soft has a different spin for woods, which spins at a low rate - and the irons, which produces a high spin.
 
The Strata Tour Ace, the top of the line at a suggested retail price of $54, has a four-piece design for staggering length with a cover that allows the one hop and stop on the greens. And the Strata Tour Straight has a coating that is designed to reduce sidespin that the amateurs predictably impart.
 
The Infinity ball has three different offerings ' Awesome Distance, which is, as its name suggests, the distance ball; Absolutely Straight, with the specialized cover which reduced hooks and slices; and Ideal Spin, combining high spin around the green with maximum distance off the tee and maximum distance.
 

SRIXON ' It may surprise you that this company has been making golf balls for more than 70 years. But only lately has the Srixon brand became widely known in the U.S.
 
The UR-X is Srixons new offering for 2004. Its big selling point is its extremely thin cover (0.03-inches thin) combined with the largest core on the PGA Tour. The UR-X is composed of 96 percent rubber, the material that gives the ball its distance and velocity.
 
The Hi-Brid Tour features a large inner core which is very firm and gradually becomes softer the closer to the cover, giving a high launch angle and low spin ' which translates to greater distance. The Pro UR has a solid rubber boundary layer which feels softer and is more resilient than the traditional plastic boundary layers. This leads to longer distance for golfers of all abilities.
 
The AD 333 is a two-piece ball that has high initial velocity, and greater roll. At the same time, the AD 333 has a soft feel, spin and control for excellent playability. And the Soft Feel ball utilizes the soft-feel touch combined with exceptional distance. This is the ball for the majority of higher-handicap players with low swing speeds.
 
SLAZENGER ' This company features five golf balls, all at a more economical price point than its higher-priced cousins.
 
The Raw Distance Condition is touted as golfs first all-weather ball built to overcome rain, cold, wind and dense air conditions. The Raw Distance Black is the longest raw distance ever. Project Money is a low-compression ball for players with a low-to-medium swing speed (primarily high-handicap players.)
 
The Raw Distance Fusion is a distance ball with a soft feel ' it has a Softane cover. And the Raw Distance Tour is Slazengers high-end offering. It is the perfect blend of distance and tour feel.
 
Our target is not the ultimate club champion, says Trent Bowles, the Slazenger product manager. This ball is more likely used by the consumer looking for enhanced performance through a brand they are proud to play.
 
Of course, there are many more. Titleist, for example, didnt come to the Show, but they have several different balls. But when it comes to golf balls, you can get one which has greater spin, you can get one which flies a great distance, or you can get one which, supposedly, has a combination. They have different names for their many different covers and different cores. They have a variety of different dimple patterns. But heres the basic theme this year ' all the balls are good. You just have to choose the brand ' and make ' the best suits your game.
 
Related links:
  • Full Coverage of the PGA Merchandise Show
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    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

    The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up right where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

    "Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

    Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

    It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

    Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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    Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

    SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

    Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

    He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

    Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.



    The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

    ''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

    Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

    ''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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    13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

    Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

    “An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”



    Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

    Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

    Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

    Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    “I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

    Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

    “Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

    This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.