I'm teeing up this unpopular opinion for all to see - I love yellow golf balls. And I'm hardly alone in my thinking.
Brian Cairns has been laughed at, teased and harassed for using a yellow golf ball in competition for more than a decade. Cairns, a long-time PGA pro from Michigan who spends winters teaching in Florida, began using Srixon’s yellow golf balls 11 years ago.
“They used to laugh … until you win with them,” said Cairns, who has won the Michigan Open four times.
The 54-year-old pro -- who has played in seven PGA Tour events, including three PGA Championships, and multiple majors on the PGA Tour Champions circuit -- might eventually get the last laugh. He’s predicting a yellow golf ball revolution after the announcement that the Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x – the most popular balls in golf -- are now available in high optic yellow.
“I was surprised it took Titleist so long,” Cairns said. “I guarantee that 25 or 30 percent of golfers will start playing yellow golf balls (right away). I think it will change practically overnight, without a doubt. It won’t be so funny anymore.”
This is a trend I can support. I’m a huge fan of playing a yellow golf ball, especially from Srixon and Bridgestone. I tend to score lower, and feel more comfortable, playing with a yellow ball. I don’t have any scientific data why, other than the fact that I seem to make more consistent solid contact and tend to make more putts. It must be psychological. Cairns agrees.
“The color itself portrays a different mood,” he added. “I don’t know if it is right or wrong, but if you see yellow in the air, it will change your attitude. That’s what Srixon told me. Whatever the case, I’ve always been able to see it (better).”
Golf ball companies are competing to find more visually stimulating golf balls to cater to the aging population of the stereotypical golfer. Volvik has introduced all sorts of colored balls. Callaway’s soccer ball-patterned Chrome Soft Truvis golf ball has been popular. And most recently, TaylorMade released the TP5 Pix golf ball, a model that features “advanced visual technology”, a white ball that appears to have red-yellow-black Xs on them.
My colleague, Mike Bailey, played the yellow Srixon Z-star religiously for six years.
"I loved the way they looked in the air, and you could always identify your ball from the rest of the players in the group," Bailey said. "But then one day, I just grew sick of it and started playing white again. I've dabbled with the Callaway soccer ball -- I like that you can see the way the ball spins around the greens -- and I'm intrigued by the new TaylorMade pattern."
George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, just landed his first ace with a yellow ball.
Whether yellow or any other color or pattern goes mainstream probably depends on how many Tour players jump on board. After all, tennis used to play nothing but white balls before yellow became the standard. Using a colored ball on the PGA Tour isn’t a new phenomenon. Jerry Pate used an orange ball to win the 1982 Players Championship. It led to his memorable jump into the water along the 18th hole with then-Tour Commissioner Deane Beman and architect Pete Dye.
No stranger to colored balls himself, Bubba Watson put the yellow Pro V1x immediately into play this year and currently sits second on the Tour in driving distance at 314.4 yards. Kyle Jones and Rory Sabbatini have also teed up yellow Titleist balls on Tour. Scott Gutschewski and Zac Blair have followed suit on the Web.com Tour. Kirk Triplett won the PGA Tour Champions’ Hoag Classic with a yellow Titleist. Fellow old guys Mark Calcavecchia and Ken Tanigawa have tried them, too.
“I’m loving the new Pro V1x Yellow," said Watson, who used to play a pink ball by Volvik. "There’s just something about that bright yellow finish where I feel like I can see it better. For me it was a no brainer.”
Cairns has convinced several fellow PGA pros his age to use yellow balls. None of his younger students have taken the bait, however.
"(My friends) play with yellow balls and say, 'Why didn’t I do this years ago?'," he said. "They couldn’t believe how much easier it is. It’s so easy to see the ball. The juniors try it but no one is willing to go off to college with a yellow ball. The peer pressure is too great."
Have you ever used a yellow golf ball? Did you play better? Let us know in the comments below.