What You Need to Know: Titleist Tour Speed, Tour Soft Golf Balls | Golf equipment: clubs, balls, bags
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW: Titleist updates its Tour Soft and Tour Speed balls with improved aerodynamics on the former and a reformulated core and mid-shell layer to instill distance, feel and overall performance at a price one click more affordable than balls played in tour.
THE PRICE: Tour Speed, $40 (dozen); Tour Soft, $35 (dozen).
DEEP DIVING: The new Titleist Tour Speed, a multi-layered design with an exclusive thermoplastic urethane cover, and the Tour Soft, a two-piece model with an ultra-wide core designed for a combination of distance with a soft touch, live in this emerging price of $30 to $40. ball category. These balls aim to deliver all-around performance while living at a price just a click below the balls at the top of the pyramid.
But integrating this performance at a more moderate price requires further exploration of the technologies available to Titleist’s engineering team. It’s especially difficult when the supply chain issues plaguing the golf industry pose more challenges to these design goals than the rules of golf and the laws of physics combined.
The new generation Tour Speed has been particularly affected by supply chain issues for golf ball materials like the ionomers used in the development of the mantle or shell layer. Indeed, the project became not to improve it, but to figure out how to do it, said Mike Madson, senior director of golf ball research and engineering at Titleist.
“When our engineers create prototypes, we have a lot of different tools in the toolbox,” he said. “We have materials that we know and we can predict their performance and we can iterate around these different permutations. But the supply chain challenge got to the point where some of the tools in our toolbox were no longer there.
Madson said that means looking at new materials and new combinations and even new suppliers with the goal of just making sure the 2022 Lap Speed is at least as good as the 2020 Lap Speed.
“It required a bunch of extra testing that we don’t normally have to do,” he said. “When we work with materials that we know, we know how they’re going to perform from a durability standpoint, from a consistency standpoint. When we look at new things, we don’t know that and it created a very interesting challenge.
The result is a reformulated, high-compression core for energy that powers distance and a reformulated ionomer mantle layer that reduces spin on longer shots for better flight. The new Tour Speed also features the same exclusive thermoplastic urethane cover that is unique to the company and is called Titleist Performance Urethane. Like the original, this is a break from Titleist’s mainline Pro V1, Pro V1x and AVX models, which feature a cast urethane cover. The difference may be a little less short game spin on some shots for some players.
Together, the blend of old and new components produces a Tour Speed that gives players a penetrating flight with better spin, targeting average golfers looking for distance in a urethane cover ball at a 20% price point. lower than other Titleist urethane cover balls.
On the new Tour Soft, the design challenge was more traditional but no less complicated or constrained. Targeting an audience with a clear preference for soft feel, the hurdle was finding more yards without changing the proven success of the ultra-wide (1.60 inch) soft compression core and ultra-thin blend ionomer cover / polymer unique to Titleist. The answer came with the dimple pattern, what is called a quadrilateral dipyramid with 346 dimples. It is similar to the model developed for the Tour Speed but modified to match the slightly lower flight of the Tour Soft.
“We were really pushing the aerodynamic development on this ball,” Madson said. “The quadruple pyramid has four-way rotational symmetry around the pole, and this particular arrangement lent itself very well to the injection molding process. This version has the same number as Tour Speed but a slightly different layout. The dimple arrangements are a little different, the surface coverage is a little different.
“The best thing about the aerodynamics is that it’s free distance. You don’t have to give up any performance elsewhere. If an aero pattern gives you more distance, that’s just better.
The thin proprietary ionomer blend cover is designed to produce a better grip on the green than typical non-urethane cover balls.
The 2022 versions of Tour Speed ($40/dozen) and Tour Soft ($40/dozen) will retail May 20. Both will be offered in white and yellow (Tour Speed yellow scheduled for June 21).