TaylorMade Project (a) golf ball

This week at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, an (a) next to a player's name on the leaderboard denotes that he or she is an amateur, not a professional golfer. Kid Rock, Andy Roddick, Kelly Slater, Wayne Gretzky – they all get an (a) next to their name.

So it makes sense that TaylorMade chose this week to release a new ball specifically designed with amateurs in mind, the Project (a).

"Our engineers wanted to create the best performing golf ball for amateurs," said Lindsay Main, TaylorMade's product marketing manager for golf balls. "In studying those players, we learned that they spin the ball at half the rate that Tour players do into the green, so they need a ball that spins the ball a lot more from 100 yards and in."

Main said that off the tee and with long irons, the three-piece Project (a) is designed to maximize distance by reducing spin, but with mid- and short-iron shots the Project (a) spins more.

"Because they don't generate spin, amateurs can't stop it close to the pin," Main said. "So this ball, being a three-piece construction with a cast urethane cover, generates a lot of spin on shots hit into the green."

Like TaylorMade’s just-released premium balls – the Tour Preferred and Tour Preferred X – the Project (a) ball features TaylorMade's newest cast urethane cover technology, Soft Tech, which the company says helps the ball bite into the grooves more effectively. The company also says it increases durability.

For fast swinging players, the Project (a) could spin too much off the tee, so TaylorMade says Tour Preferred and Tour Preferred X could be a better fit. However, for mid- and slow-swinging players, the company thinks it has created something anyone with an (a) next to his or her name should enjoy.

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