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
  • Getty Images

    Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

    The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

    The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.

    This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

    After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

    “I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

    Getty Images

    Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

    Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

    “I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

    To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

    “More punishment,” he said.

    Getty Images

    DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

    Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

    Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

    It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

    With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

    Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

    Getty Images

    TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

    • Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

    • This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

    • Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery

     


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    • In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

    • At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

    • Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

    • My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.