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Golf Balls and Grooves

"Are you making any changes in ball construction to combat the new groove standard instituted by the USGA for Condition of Competition events?"

This has been among the most frequently asked questions by golfers and media alike when discussing the new "groove rule" that commenced on January 1, 2010 on the worldwide professional tours.  The Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x are the most played golf balls across every major worldwide professional tour and in amateur events.  Based upon our research with Tour players, club professionals and better amateurs, they will continue to be the most played as players now compete with the new grooves.

The variables contributing to the golf shot are, in order of magnitude: 1) the player; 2) the golf club; 3) the golf ball.  Through extensive player and machine testing, we have determined the part of the game the groove changes will affect most is shots from the rough inside 100 yards, where there will be a 30 to 50 percent loss of spin for most players.  Spin on iron tee shots and full fairway shots will be virtually unaffected.  According to 2009 PGA TOUR player data from ShotLink, less than four percent of all shots during a round are struck from the rough within 100 yards from the green.  That translates to about three shots per round on a par 72 golf course.

It doesn't make sense to change the spin characteristics of the golf ball, affecting every shot, to compensate for a groove change affecting only a few shots per round.

Further more, it is impossible to fully compensate for a 30 to 50 percent reduction in spin without dramatically altering every other aspect of ball performance, notably causing a significant distance loss.  Rather than change their golf ball, we understand most players will address the issue through increased emphasis on trajectory control for those few shots from the rough by altering their swing technique and/or adjusting wedge specifications (loft, lie, bounce).  

While every player and situation is different, the amount of spin generated is dependent on the player and their technique, the type of shot being hit, the club specifications and the play conditions.  In any golf shot, the player is the most influential variable followed by the influence of the club, and for this reason, changes in the design and construction of the current Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls as a result of the new groove standard are not necessary.

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