The above mentioned terms are commonly used when manufacturers try to “sell” you their golf ball. Many of these terms are consistent will all balls and then modified to create a competitive advantage but more importantly SELL YOU MORE BALLS. I am in full agreement that each year technologies advance, innovations are realized and our golf equipment advances. As we approach the 2018 US Open and the midpoint of the season I think it’s appropriate to review the Best Golf Balls of 2018
I bet many of you are surprised to see this ball on the list, but I call this the “sleeper” of the bunch. This ball is absolutely perfect for that mid-handicapper who wants performance, but occasionally experiences a chili pepper (email me if you need clarification what that means). The 3rd generation Project (a) golf ball is the best one they have produced yet (I would certainly hope so…) TaylorMade tweaked the core just a bit to make the center softer and the outer layer firmer which improves speed and creates additional energy which is retained by it’s outer core. It is still a 3-piece ball and a 322 dimple, urethane cover which gives tour technology and a soft feel.
A newcomer to the list at #9 is the 2018 Vice Pro Plus boasts 4 layers which provides lower driver launch and spin for longer drives (Remember: Low spin on drives and High spin on low irons and wedges.) These balls are perfect for golfers with a medium to high swing speed. The Vice Pro Plus has the exact same urethane cover which is a must with any premium “x” ball. The Vice Pro Plus will be slightly longer that the “x” balls out there but you will lose the control around the green. These balls are hot, VERY hot.
Srixon is getting close, very close, to the top of this list as every year they learn and get better. They are creating a great all-round golf ball that has been made with 13% softer core than other generations of Srixon balls which gives great spin and control on the green. They have gone back and forth on number of dimples but have decided on 338 for this version. This reduces drag and creates a bit more glide in the second part of the flight to keep the ball in the air a bit longer. Srixon has also added a DOUBLE urethane cover which gives additional friction and spin. Double urethane cover?? The second cover is a urethane “coating” that creates even more control, balance, and reliability. Really like this ball, just don’t LOVE it yet! Also, do you know Srixon owns Cleveland??
Huh? Is that a typo? No it’s not. Bridgestone has dropped it’s “330” and just went with the “BX.” I figure you are going to ask me why, so I’ll just tell you. Marketing. Yes, Marketing, although Bridgestone claims that have softened the urethane cover of the tour balls which provides lower driver spin and increased feel and accuracy. Which adds velocity for more distance. This ball is basically the same ball it’s ever been which is good news to myself and Tiger who really like this ball. I was a bit worried that Bridgestone was going to alter an already great ball but I am happy to report that it is the same that it has always been and I am fine with that.
Over the years I have been impressed and disappointed with Callaway, but I am happy to say that I am impressed with their advancements with their Chrome Soft line of golf balls. Callaway has made a larger inner core which gives more speed and control. Using a new material called “Graphene” the outer layer of this great ball gives more strength than the previous versions. The performance of this ball is very similar than previous generations which shows that Callaway is keeping up, not disappointing, but keeps me waiting to be impressed.
I still like the Chrome Soft over the Chrome Soft X, not because I’m an “x” guy but because Callaway really hasn’t proved that their ball deserves the “x” designation. The Chrome Soft was about to take off as the SINGLE ball solution not needing an “x” or a “1” or whatever BUT they gave in to pressure and have joined the ranks as an “x.” Well….now they need to back it up and I think they will but not this year. The current and (original) Chrome Soft is a great ball!
TaylorMade has done a great job with the TP5/TPX golf balls. TaylorMade has made a big deal of having 5 layers in this golf ball which is fine but do you realize that it’s predecessor the Tour Preferred also has 5 layers? The five layers enable the ball to preform differently with short irons and driver as it has a higher ball flight and lower spin. The durability of the cover is about average for the premium ball sector and I like the fact that every ball looked exactly the same 360 degrees around the cover. The TP5X shows to go farther and keeps a more consistent launch angle.
Are you shocked? I’m not. Do you ever wonder why the ProV1/X balls feel and look different from other balls? They use laser etching which creates a precisely unique ball different from every other ball. That’s great and all but where is the actual difference? Enough of this technical talk and give me the answer! Well, it’s pretty simple….start at the green and work yourself back to the tee box. Where you will notice the biggest difference is on the green as the ProV1x is softer and gives additional spin compared to the ProV1 is a bit harder and gives less spin around the green. The ProV1 will give you a few more yards off the tee as the harder cover will allow for greater distance.
Golf in 2018 is exciting. I love watching progression in the players, equipment, and the courses. Above I have outlined everything you need to know for golf balls in 2018 and I look forward to receiving your feedback and comments.
Kent Evans is a passionate golfer and Sr Golf Writer at Two Guys with Balls. Kent blogs about various golf topics that interest him.