As this blog has covered time and time again, the balance between distance and feel is the big question mark hanging over golf ball technology. Golf companies tout their latest achievements by finding new ways to bridge this gap. But as the old saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding”. So what do the golf pros think? Below is a list of golf balls used by the top 5 players in the world:
1. Rory McIlroy – Top ranked golfer Rory McIlroy is in a transitional period. While he has played the Titleist Pro V1 throughout his professional career, reports indicate that he has signed a sponsorship deal with Nike this off season (Nike, for the record, would have Tiger Woods AND Rory McIlroy in their golf wing). Nike is in an interesting position with its golf balls – its current top of the line ball is the 20XI, yet Woods plays with the One Star Tour D, an older ball that is not available for retail. The intriguing question is whether McIlroy will endorse the 20XI, or perhaps an entirely new ball all together.
2. Luke Donald – Donald uses the Titleist Pro V1 as well (it’s not the best selling golf ball without a reason). Unlike McIlroy, he remains signed to the brand going into next season.
3. Tiger Woods – As previously mentioned, Woods plays the Nike One Star Tour D. The 20XI is the One Tour D’s upgrade, yet Woods continues to play with the older generation. The ball is not sold to the public, but perhaps Woods’ continual success will give it a retail life. Look for Golf Balls Unlimited to add this ball to its offering if and when it becomes available in the market.
4. Justin Rose – Rose plays with the TaylorMade Penta TP5 ball. This ball has been gaining popularity with golfers around the globe and many swear that it is just as good if not better than the Titleist Pro V1 ball.
5. Louis Oosthuizen – Surprise, surprise, Oosthuizen plays the Titleist Pro V1. And like Donald, he remains signed to Titleist for the upcoming season.
The biggest takeaway from the top 5 is the unwavering popularity of the Pro V1. We previously covered how much of a game changer the ball was when it debuted over a decade ago and it’s continued popularity is a testament to its unmatched quality. 86 tour winners in 2010 used the Pro V1. Although Justin Rose is the only pro in the top 5 using the Penta TP5, it is also a popular choice among pros. The most intriguing prospect on the list is how McIlroy will take to Nike golf balls next season and how he will shape a new generation of Nike golf ball technology. Needless to say, the Titleist Pro V1 is the holy grail of golf balls.