Callaway has been running the show the last few years. They have been out selling everyone in every market…except one. There is a running joke that Titleist is a golf ball company that happens to make golf balls. Titleist owns the golf ball market and its not even close. On Sunday, Titleist debuted a new commercial showing off their new golf ball and comparing it to other tour level balls. Harry Arnett, VP of Marketing for Callaway, didnt appreciate it and took the first shot in a new golf ball war on Twitter.
A little tech information
Golf balls come in a different combination layers and covers. Tour balls have 3,4, or 5 layers. The Pro V has 3 layers. ProV1x has 4 layers and the Taylormade TP5 has 5. Generally speaking more layers equal more spin . Less layers equal more distance. Obviously how they make the layers can make a difference as well. Distance balls like a Pinnacle or an old school Top Flite are 2 or 3 layers. This is to reduce spin and increase distance.
The other important part is the cover. Tour level balls have a urethane cover. It is a soft material that makes spin rates sky rocket especially on short chips and pitches. Combine that level of spin with a multipiece ball and things can get CRAZY. Another cover used is Surlyn. It is a harder material that doesnt have quite the bite that a urethane ball has. This cover material is typically used on the distance balls.
So whats the problem?
Titleist released a new golf ball at the PGA Show called the Tour Soft. It is a 2 piece golf ball with a “proprietary” cover. Essentially it is a fancy surlyn cover. In their commercial they compare the performance and feel over every major brands tour ball. Simply put this is hard to justify. I personally have a hard time believing it spins as much as the new Chromesoft, TP5, or the Tour B series. A few months ago I think I got a Tour Soft ball to test. It felt great and performed admirably but it didnt have the greenside spin that even my Top Flite Gamer Tour ball did.
Harry didnt flat out call Titleist liars but he did call the commercial “misleading and untrustworthy”. His biggest gripe is comparing a 2 piece surlyn to a multi layer urethane golf ball. I cant say I disagree with his thoughts. It is unfair. Titleist is telling golfers they can get tour performance for half the price when in actuality they wont be getting any tour-like specs or performance.
I dont think its a good time to really mess with Callaway. Callaway is the biggest and baddest in the market right now. They seemed like they were content with their golf ball business. They knew they had a good product and just wanted to get it in golfers hands. It seems now they are really going to go after Titleist. Golfers are starting to take notice of the Chromesoft.