Titleist NXT Tour, NXT Tour S golf balls

The Titleist NXT Tour and NXT Tour S golf balls are updated for 2014.

Titleist debuted new versions of its NXT Tour and NXT Tour S balls Wednesday at the PGA Merchandise Show, with a focus on feel.

"Our goal with the NXT Tour was to make a softer golf ball," said Bill Morgan, Titleist's senior vice president of golf ball research and development.

To help make that possible, Morgan said Titleist re-proportioned the polymers used in the Fusablend cover material applied to the new three-piece NXT Tour, making it softer than its predecessor.

Typically that would make a ball spin a little more. However, Morgan said the outer portion of the new NXT Tour's dual core was made softer.

"That tends to lower compression a little bit," he said. "That lowering of compression lowers spin. Overall, with the longer clubs, this ball really spins very close [to the last generation NXT Tour] because those two changes are working against each other."

According to Morgan, golfers can expect the updated NXT Tour to fly slightly lower, but feel much softer.

"For most golfers on most shots, the flight, the distance and even the spin are very similar to the Pro V1x, but they feel different," Morgan said, comparing the new NXT Tour to Titleist’s premium, tour-level ball. "When you get to the shortest part of the game, NXT Tour does not have that soft, urethane cover. So for a lot of the game, NXT Tour and Pro V1x are very close."

Morgan said that the NXT Tour S is an even-softer version of the NXT Tour.

"For golfers who have already made the decision to play an NXT instead of a Pro V1 ball, now when they compare these two, NXT Tour S is softer, which for many golfers increases their sense of control," Morgan said.

Spin comes from the core's ability to be compressed and the flexibility of the cover, Morgan said. The NXT Tour and NXT Tour S have covers made from similar materials and are about the same thickness, but the NXT Tour has a dual core design while the NXT Tour S has a single core that is much softer.

"When you do that," Morgan said, "it creates a lower compression. But because the outer surface of the NXT Tour S core is quite a bit softer than the outer surface of the NXT Tour core, in the short game it really feels a lot softer."

NXT Tour S should provide golfers with the same distance off the tee that they will get from the NXT Tour, according to Titleist.

Both NXT Tour balls will retail for $33.99 per dozen when they arrive in stores starting today.

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