The Titleist Pro V1 golf ball celebrates a milestone weekend in the place where the craze started.
It was the 2000 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas where 47 pros put the original version in play for the first time. Billy Andrade won with it, setting a powerful wave in motion that continues today. Two decades later, Titleist is again seeding lockers at the Shriners with the newest versions of the Pro V1 and Pro V1x.
The balls are being released following a rigorous two-year development process. The prototypes, manufactured in Titleist Ball Plant 3 in New Bedford, Mass., will be carefully tested by the players to determine what model best fits their game. Titleist touts that 74 percent of all players across the major worldwide tours, including the PGA Tour, use their balls. The percentages are even higher at important amateur, college and junior events.
Like everybody else, the Golf Advisor staff has, collectively, teed up a Pro V1 or Pro V1x thousands of times. We all have a something to say about golf's most popular ball.
We've love to hear your opinion as well: Is the Pro V1 your favorite? If not, what do you play instead and why? Let us know in the comments below.
Temper the marketing hype
Jason Scott Deegan - I'll admit that, for years, I followed the Pro V1-playing herd like a little lost sheep. I played them because everybody else played them. But as I dove deeper writing about the golf industry, I became more educated about other options. When Bridgestone started promoting getting fit for a golf ball, I gave that a try and found the B330 series (released around 2016) as an adequate replacement. In recent years, improvements in TaylorMade, Srixon and Callaway golf balls have gained my trust.
As I age, too, I'm starting to believe yellow balls are the way to go, no matter what brand. I seem to play better with them. Even though I've strayed from the flock, I'm still a believer in Pro V1 balls ... as long as I'm not paying for them. I get two dozen personalized 'JSD' balls with a University of Michigan 'Block M' logo as a birthday present from my parents every year. I could choose any other brand, but I don't. Keep 'em coming mom!
Consistency is key
Tim Gavrich - Even though it still enjoys tremendous market share, the Pro V1 has never had more competition. I recently spent considerable time familiarizing myself with the ever-expanding field of direct-to-consumer golf balls, a cadre of scrappy brands that seek to steal rank-and-file golfers away from Titleist and the other big OEMs. They do this by exchewing the traditional wholesale-to-retail paradigm, enabling them to sell a dozen top-quality balls for about $30, rather than the $48 going rate for a dozen Pro V1s. I have sampled several of these upstart golf ball brands, and many of them are very good.
Even though it still enjoys tremendous market share, the Pro V1 has never had more competition. I recently spent considerable time familiarizing myself with the ever-expanding field of direct-to-consumer golf balls, a cadre of scrappy brands that seek to steal rank-and-file golfers away from Titleist and the other big OEMs. They do this by exchewing the traditional wholesale-to-retail paradigm, enabling them to sell a dozen top-quality balls for about $30, rather than the $48 going rate for a dozen Pro V1s. I have sampled several of these upstart golf ball brands, and many of them are very good.
Still, the Pro V1 is the gold (or perhaps pearl) standard. Back in college, when I was even more of a stubborn contrarian than I am now, I would willingly pay for other brands' golf balls even though my coach handed out sleeves of Pro V1s for free before every tournament round. I'm glad to say I'm smarter now, having played the Pro V1 in regular casual and competitive amateur golf for the last five years or so.
A couple of the brands I've dallied with make golf balls that fly a little bit farther off the tee and spin a little more around the green, but in my experience the Pro V1 outshines them all in two important ways: consistency and durability. Here in coastal Florida, where most days are breezy, there is nothing that flies better in the wind, especially into it. I have noticed I don't need to add much extra club against the wind unless it's really howling, and a well-flighted shot flies true. And whereas other golf balls' covers start to shred after a couple well-struck wedges, the Pro V1 holds up beautifully.
It's true that competition has narrowed the gap between Titleist and other golf ball manufacturers, but I still find them to be the best, at least for the low-handicap avid amateur.
A ball of a different color
Brandon Tucker - Purely circumstantial evidence here, but Pro V1s seem to be the most popular ball in the retail game - at least based on how many of them I find in the weeds bordering fairways on public courses around the world.
Does that make the Pro V1 the most popular ball, or simply the ball that has made its way into the bags of too many amateur hacks who probably shouldn't be playing a performance ball designed for serious players?
Even today as the ball space grows crowded with direct-to-consumer upstarts, Pro V1 is still supreme. Over the last 20 years, the Pro V1 is the golf ball that has been gifted to me the most at various golf junkets. Hosts will give a sleeve or even box of Pro V1s to an attendee who may very well be a novice golfer. (Those things are goners.)
I've determined over the years it's probably not an ideal ball for my own game. While I've never scientifically tested various ball constructions on a launch monitor, I've noticed that mishits of a Pro V1 can balloon on me, especially into the wind. Frankly it might just be mental: teeing up a soft, brand new pro V1 with water and woods bordering the fairway almost certainly causes me to swing timidly. But Titleist's recent release of a more am-friendly yellow ball had me back into the pro, Pro V1 camp. That's a ball I can get behind, and find.
For a little fun regarding the Pro V1, check out this song celebrating its popularity.