By now you've probably seen the ad's on T.V. or the new boxes in your favorite golf store and have been wondering what's up with the new balls from Titleist. The all new Titleist Velocity Golf Ball was released about a month ago, along with the new Titleist NXT and NXT Tour S balls. I had an opportunity to try this ball out a few weeks prior to it's public release and at the time I didn't really take it too seriously. It was a cold, windy day on the course, which made for really poor playing conditions, let alone trying to test out a new golf ball for the first time. The next opportunity I had to play I took a sleeve out and played it side by side with my old, trusty friend the ProV1x.
The first thing I noticed with the Velocity is that the cover is very similar to that of the ProV1 line. While the Velocity doesn't have a urethane cover, it's new NaZ2 outer skin is extremely soft and it doesn't have that 'clicky' sound you associate with a hard, lower end golf ball. Just knocking two balls together in your hands, you can tell that it's going to have a good feel off the club face. If a ball doesn't sound right to me, no matter how well it performs, I'm probably not going to play it. Sounds strange, but I don't need any other distractions out there. I want it to feel and sound right when I hit it. The Velocity definitely sounds good off irons and metal woods.
Off the Tee
Ok, this is where the rubber meets the road as far as most players are concerned. "How much more distance will I get from the Velocity"? I can hear you saying it now. Well don't worry, you won't be disappointed. Every ball that hits the market is undoubtedly going to claim that you will see huge increases in distance. I can't remember the last ball that came out touting, "Same Distance That You Got From Our Previous Model". Because of this, it's easy to be skeptical about any major distance gains. Folks the Titleist Velocity IS LONGER OFF THE TEE THAN A ProV1x! There, I said it. Through the course of the round, I played at minimum 2 tee shots with both Velocity & ProV1x. I saw an average of 8-10 yards more distance with the Velocity. Now that's HUGE. I realize that this can come down to good swings and bad swings, but I'm measuring this statistic on drives where I felt I hit both balls as well as I possibly could. The Velocity was designed to reduce spin, which is really good for you guys who tend to have higher launching drives. Not only will this help get your more distance, but for the slicers, the side spin will be reduced greatly as well, helping to keep your errant shots closer to the fairway. I hit the ball fairly high off the tee and I could visibly notice that the ball had a more penetrating flight than the ProV1x. I liked this immediately. Players with lower swing speeds will still be able to get this ball out there because of the new core design of the Velocity.
Getting the extra distance off the tee is great, but if the ball doesn't play well with irons and wedges, then it's a failure in my opinion. Like I said before, the Velocity has a great sound and feel off the club face. This is consistent with iron shots as well. On low to mid iron shots, the ball jumps off the club face and feels good. With wedges, you will really feel how soft the cover is, nearly identical to a ProV1x in my opinion. Again, I noticed myself hitting too much club with this ball, which really surprised me on a few occasions. One hole, a 165 yard slightly downhill par 3, normally plays as an 8 iron for me. I hit the Velocity over the green by about 15 yards O.B. Yeah, I wasn't quite expecting that. I definitely do not don't see myself hitting 165 yard 9 irons, but with this ball it just may be in the cards from now on.
On the Greens
Now here's the biggest difference I saw with the Velocity in comparison to the ProV1x. When I hit a well struck iron shot, the Velocity would hit the green and take a forward bounce, landing around 3-5 feet from it's initial pitch mark. This was consistent nearly every green hit. For me, with a ProV1x, it would generally spin back anywhere from a foot to 10 feet, depending on the green. The fact that the Velocity was that predictable on where it would end up on the green is a really big deal. Again, my launch angles are generally high spin producing, so playing a ball which can help control the spin is a must. The ProV1x almost spins too much for my swing conditions and it can be difficult to control where it ends up on the greens. The Velocity takes out this variable. Hit it just short of pin high and it should release enough to be right up even with the flag.
I had considered playing the NXT Tour years ago, because it was also longer off the tee for me than a ProV1, however on and around the greens it felt like a 1987 Top Flite XL. Hard as a frickin rock. Initially I was worried that the Velocity would just be a replay of that scenario. A little extra distance, but nearly unplayable for chip shots and putting. WRONG!. The Velocity has the exact same feel as a ProV. Soft, nice sound off the putter face. Rolls great. Nearly no difference on the green whatsoever. The Velocity has the alignment line that the ProV's have, so you're not giving that up either. Overall, it performed equally as well as the ProV1x on the putting surface.
Well if you read this entire review, you probably already know my conclusions. The Titleist Velocity is a huge winner and I'm going to be replacing the ProV1's with it from now on. The crazy thing is that this ball, which is a 100% new design from the ground up, is that it wasn't meant to be a ProV1 replacement by any means. It's actually not even supposed to be on the same level as Titleist's new NXT line. The Velocity is one step above the lousy DT SoLo, which is a piece of junk if you ask me. So how can it perform this well? I'm still asking myself the same thing. I think the Titleist engineers seriously underestimated how good of a ball they created. I'm worried that once they figure out that this ball really performs better than it's supposed to, that we'll be paying $48.00 a dozen instead of the $25.00 a dozen you will pay in most golf shops. If you play a ProV1 or ProV1x currently, you really owe it to yourself to try out the Velocity. I can almost guarantee you will get a distance gain and more consistent results from iron shots. Everyone has different swings and playing conditions, so this should be considered, but for the price, it's definitely worth trying a dozen and testing them for yourself. It's easy to get caught up in the ego thing of "I have to play the ball the pro's play". Hell, I've been guilty of that myself. But let's face it, most of us aren't anywhere close to that level. So finding a ball that fits your swing and game is so very important. Even lower handicap golfers will find this ball a great fit. If you like to have a super duper mega spinning golf ball, the Velocity isn't for you. But if you want a ball that goes a long ways, feels good on the greens and is very controllable, the Velocity is right up your alley. Oh and another cool feature I almost forgot, you can get the bitchin double digit numbers on the Velocity. Now that should put you over the top.
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