The Masters may be a tradition unlike any other, but coming in a close second is Titleist bringing the newest version of its Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls to Las Vegas every two years for their PGA Tour debut.
On Monday the tradition played out once again, as pros were given their first chance to practice with the final version of the ball at TPC Summerlin. Several players in the field this week at the Shiners Hospitals for Children Open are expected to switch to the balls, but the newest Pro V1 and Pro V1x likely will not be available to the public until late January.
The three-piece Titleist Pro V1 and the four-piece Titleist Pro V1x are the most-played golf balls on every professional tour. During a typical week on the PGA Tour last season, about 70 percent of the field used one of the two urethane-covered balls, with that percentage rising to 80 percent at some events, such as last season’s John Deere Classic, where 126 of the 156 players in the field (81 percent) played a Pro V1 or Pro V1x.
Titleist created more separation between the 2017 versions of the Pro V1 and Pro V1x balls, touting that the Pro V1 generated a lower ball flight off the tee and with long irons while the Pro V1x flew higher with woods and long irons. Titleist said both balls would create the same total distance, but the Pro V1x would do it with more carry distance while the Pro V1 would land sooner and roll out more.
Fordie Pitts, Titleist PGA Tour rep for golf balls, gave prototype samples of the balls to several players during the FedEx Cup playoffs in September. Many golfers said they looked forward to trying the balls at home after the playoffs, including Justin Thomas, who told Pitts at East Lake before the Tour Championship that he wanted Titleist reps to come to his home course for a full day of offseason ball testing.
Titleist also seeded versions of the new Pro V1 and Pro V1x to some members of Team Titleist, an online group of recreational players, and solicited their comments and feedback on balls marked 2019 Proto.