The Titleist Pro V1 made its debut at the 2000 Invensys Classic in Las Vegas, and three years later the first Pro V1x was released. Since then the two balls have been updated every two years, with some of those updates making the balls more similar and others making them more distinct.
With the 2017 updates to the Pro V1 and Pro V1x, Titleist is trying to make something very clear: The new Pro V1 and Pro V1x are both long off the tee and provide loads of greenside spin and control, but they do it in different ways. For every player, one of the two balls is going to fit better than the other.
Michael Mahoney, Titleist’s vice president of golf ball marketing, said the company conducted focus groups with amateur golfers and also orchestrated two-hour focus groups with players from the PGA Tour, PGA Tour Champions and LPGA, as well as PGA of America professionals. In all, more than 50 hours of conversations were recorded. Those interviews and conversations made it easier for Titleist’s engineers to get a better understanding of what players at various ability levels look for in their golf ball.
Titleist also sent six prototypes to more than 12,000 members of Team Titleist, the company’s online community of volunteer testers and enthusiasts. Mahoney said he and others at Titleist were surprised at how sensitive recreational players were to subtle differences between the prototypes and the retail balls they played, which he said dispels the misconception that most amateurs are not good enough to tell a premium ball from a lower-cost ball.
The 2017 Pro V1 is still a three-piece ball with a solid rubber core encased in a mantle layer with a cast-urethane cover. However, after Titleist heard golfers say they want more distance from the Pro V1 with the same feel, the core was updated.
“It’s easy through compression changes to deliver more speed with less spin, but we were able to maintain the compression of the golf ball and, through formulation and process change, make it lower-spinning than its predecessor and higher speed,” Mahoney said. “That combination gives you meaningfully more distance in this year’s Pro V1.”
Due to the faster, lower-spinning core and an updated 352-dimple tetrahedral dimple pattern that more evenly covers the ball, players should expect to see less spin with the new Pro V1 on woods and long-iron shots, typically through the 5-iron. However, short irons and wedge shots, which rely more on the cover to create spin, should be unaffected.
The Pro V1x keeps its dual-core construction under the mantle and its cast-urethane cover, but it gets a simple pattern upgrade for 2017. It now has 328 dimples that Titleist said are covering more of the ball’s surface, which should increase consistency.
Mahoney said the Pro V1 and Pro V1x will both go equally far off the tee, but the Pro V1 will fly lower and roll out more while the Pro V1x will fly higher and have more carry distance. The Pro V1 will feel softer than the Pro V1x because its compression is about 10 points lower.
The new Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x arrives in stores Jan. 25 for $47.99.