Which is more difficult: Winning a major championship or betting against Pro V1x loyalist Yani Tseng at this week's Kraft Nabsico Championship?

Last year, Yani closed with a 4-under 68 at Mission Hills' Dinah Shore Tournament Course, two-putting the 18th green for a one-shot victory and first Kraft crown. She then plunged into the pond that surrounds the 18th green, a traditional celebration by the winner of the LPGA's first major championship of the season.

Yani went on to win the Ricoh Women's British Open a couple months later, rolling in her Pro V1x golf ball for par from 6 feet on 18 to win by one at Royal Birkdale. It marked her third major title at just 21 years of age and led to her being named the 2010 LPGA Player of the Year.

This year started with much of the same, specifically a five-shot victory at the season-opening Honda LPGA Thailand.

"I feel really excited to come back (to the Kraft). Especially walking on the 18th hole I see my name was on the walk of champions, and it was so exciting, brings me lots of good memories to walk down the 18th hole," Yani said earlier this week. "And then I just came over, and that's the water I jumped in. My caddie threw a coin to wish I could win the tournament this week, too."

Yani spoke to Team Titleist recently about the keys to winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship, which you can watch in the above video.

She also spent some time talking about the course during her pre-tournament press conference:

On course management… "I think the par-5s are very exciting. They're reachable par-5s for us. And then some of the holes are dogleg left and dogleg right and that's more exciting. It's not like driving every hole; you need to hit a 3-wood, hit a rescue off the tee. It's a very (strategic) golf course, and you just need to play smart. And sometimes – I'm an aggressive player but I couldn't be aggressive. If you be aggressive on some of the holes it's not good, so I just need to learn how to play smarter this week."

On the length of the rough…  "It's so thick. Even the first cut was thick, too, and I just kind of hit some shots on the first cut of rough. Some of the balls didn't roll so much but some did, so it's very hard to adjust, so I just do my best to see how I can control in the rough. Just hopefully it will stay on the fairway all the time."

We received a lot of great questions from Team Titleist members during last month's new Pro V1 and Pro V1x Live Webcast, which covered a multitude of topics such as dimple design, spin, swing speed, player benefits and finding the best golf ball for your game. (You can watch the Webcast replay here.)

With the golf season kicking into high gear (and the snowy remnants of a tough winter finally melting away), we thought it would be a great time to follow-up with the Titleist golf ball R&D team on the questions our experts weren't able to get to during the 30-minute broadcast.

As usual, the R&D team provided us with a lot of great info and insight, which you can read in the Q&A below.

• • •

Team Titleist: Many Team Titleist members are curious how the new Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls compare to the previous generations.

Dan B. (as well as Bill B., Bill W., Bill L., Todd S., Brian L., Pat H., Peter Q., and the list goes on) is wondering: “In what areas have you improved upon and what new innovations can we expect to see in the new Pro V1 and Pro V1x?”

Titleist Golf Ball R&D: With the new Pro V1 we’re incorporating two new features in 2011. The first enhancement we’ve made is to the core technology. It’s an innovative, new ZG process core technology that allows us to produce the most uniform core we’ve ever made. This process also enables us to take our already high quality standards to the next level when it comes to core-to-core uniformity. The new Pro V1 also has an increase in spin compared to the prior generation. We’ve also changed the dimple design to a spherically tiled 352 tetrahedral dimple design which results in a penetrating and more consistent flight.


With the new Pro V1x, we have the same dual core construction as the previous generation that delivers the same spin and feel characteristics Pro V1x players have come to expect. Pro V1x has entirely new aerodynamic package. We’ve implemented a new spherically tiled 328 tetrahedral design. This new dimple pattern delivers higher trajectory and a peak that is further down range. The result is increased carry distances for most players.  Similar to the new Pro V1, the new dimple design is also creating a more consistent ball flight. Throughout the testing process, players have reported outstanding performance from both golf balls in windy conditions. 

TT: This was another popular one. Gene A. (along with Dave H., Bob W. Michael K., Eagle3, Tony B., Jim A., and a host of others) wants to know: “As a Team Titleist member, I tested a sleeve of prototype golf balls in September 2010. Are these test balls the new Pro V1?”

R&D: The test golf balls that were sent to Team Titleist were prototypes that we created along the way to the final design of the new Pro V1 and Pro V1x. For us, the golf ball R&D process is non-stop. We are always developing different prototypes and test golf balls along the way. Most never make it past initial stages but we take the feedback we receive from our testers and product test panels and use it to help us continue down the path.

TT: We covered this a bit in the Webcast, but Rod B. was looking to learn more about swing speed and compression. He asked, “I have used the Pro V1 for many years. As I get older, my swing speed is slowing down, and is between 100-105. I am concerned that I cannot compress the ball like it needs to be. Which ball should I be using in the future?”

R&D: This is one of the myths we hear a lot, especially out in the field with our mobile golf ball fitting teams. The important thing to remember is that there is no single element of golf ball design or construction that determines the performance characteristics. You have to look at all elements when designing a golf ball.

As for compression, the golf ball is always going to compress when force is applied. It might compress more if you are hitting a shot with a full-swing and it might compress less with a partial swing shot, but it is still going to compress.

We also like to remind golfers during the education process that when we are developing golf balls we are designing them for all shots, with all of the clubs in a golfers bag. Within any particular golfer’s game, he or she utilizes a variety of shots that require large variation in swing speeds. The golf ball has to perform for all shot types and the varying swing speeds with which those shots are hit.

That’s why we look at the entire game with our fitting process and not just one performance attribute like driver swing speed.  Our goal in golf ball design and fitting is to help golfers shoot lower scores. The best way for golfers to do that is to get out on the course and see how well they can execute shots into the green. 

TT: Nathan S. asks, “What is the predictable shelf life (of a Titleist golf ball)?”

R&D: Today's Titleist golf balls can be safely stored for five years or even more, as long as they're kept away from excessive heat. Attics and cars, for example, can get very hot during the summer and can dramatically shorten a ball's life. Normal indoor conditions should be fine for storage.

One thing to consider though is that golf ball technology is improving rapidly and we are continuously raising the bar, so if you're playing balls that were made more than a couple of years ago, you may be missing out on some significant improvements that have been made to that model.


TT: We also received a few questions on temperature and its impact on golf ball performance. Bill W. asked, “Will temperature effect either of these golf balls in different ways?”

R&D: If you are playing with cold golf balls you’ll see distance loss. We recommend playing with room temperature golf balls. However, the other factors that typically accompany cold-weather golf (i.e. wearing more layers, frozen ground, wind, etc.) might have a bigger impact on a golfer’s overall performance.

TT: Last question. We know this used to come up in the past before the introduction of the staggered wave parting line, but Bob B. wants to know “Is the AIM sidestamp on the seam of either the Pro V1 or Pro V1x?”

R&D: With the introduction of the staggered wave parting line, there isn’t a “seam” in the dimple pattern on either the Pro V1 or Pro V1x. The AIM sidestamp is printed on one of the three staggered wave parting lines that exist on both Pro V1 and Pro V1x. The existence of these three parting lines (one real, two false) allows us to deliver three axes of symmetry on both golf balls and contributes to the most consistent flight we’ve ever delivered.

• • •

We hope you enjoyed this deep dive into golf ball technology. Don’t forget to check out the Webcast replay here if you haven’t already and stay tuned for our next live Webcast.

Team Titleist: In the News

Team Titleist was the subject of two articles featured over the weekend in a pair of Massachusetts-based publications.

The New England Business Bulletin
published an article March 25 titled "Building brand loyalty, one golfer at a time."  (You can read that article at this link.)

The Standard Times
of New Bedford, Mass., (a sister publication of the New England Business Bulletin), printed the story "One-on-one marketing is a hit with Titleist and its fans" in its March 27 edition. (You can read that article at this link.)

It's been an exciting year since the launch of Team Titleist in March 2010, and we couldn't have built such a strong community without all of your participation, feedback and support.

Thank you!

It's officially major championship season, folks – and Team Titleist is excited to be at the LPGA's Kraft Nabisco Championship this week to help kick things off!

We're especially excited to meet up tomorrow at Mission Hills Country Club with two-time major champion and Pro V1 loyalist Cristie Kerr, who will who will be taking a break between practice sessions to answer questions submitted from members of Team Titleist.

Cristie is fresh off a final-round 7-under 66 at last weekend's Kia Classic, where she placed T-3 for her third-consecutive top-9 finish of 2011.

Last season, Cristie captured the second major championship of her career with a record-breaking 12-shot victory at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, arguably the most dominating performance of 2010.

And, of course, Cristie would love to grab major No. 3 this week at the Kraft, where she has recorded five top-5s since 2004, including finishes of T-5 and T-2 the last two years.

Do you have a question for Cristie? Then just ask!

She will be selecting her favorite questions to answer, so post your best question in the comments section below and check back later this week to see if yours was picked.

Thanks!

Golfers can learn to train like a tour pro this season as "Golf Fitness Academy presented by Titleist" returns to Golf Channel for its seventh season with a 10-show series helping golfers maximize performance through fitness.

Hosts Dr. Greg Rose and Dave Phillips, co-founders of the Titleist Performance Institute, offer useful tips that directly relate to producing a better all-around golf game.

The new season debuts tonight, Monday March 28th, at 6:30 p.m. EST on Golf Channel – when Dave and Greg will introduce you to the "4x4 Matrix" with "4 Positions” and “4 Types of Resistance” to help you build a better workout routine.

You can watch a preview of tonight's episode in the video below:

 

• Dr. Greg Rose is a board certified Doctor of Chiropractic who also holds a degree in Engineering, helped pioneer the field of analyzing computerized 3-D motion and how the body works during the golf swing. He specializes in strength and conditioning, manual therapy, rehabilitation, nutritional supplementation and therapeutic exercises as they relate to golf, and has worked with more than 500 professional and 3,000 amateur golfers to help them reach their peak performance.

• Dave Phillips is a PGA Professional and consistently listed among GOLF Magazine's Top 100 Teachers. Considered to be one of the world's premier instructors, Dave applies his expertise in computerized swing analysis and biomechanics to create a clear picture of what happens during the golf swing. Born in England and raised in Africa and Australia, Dave has had the unique experience of playing with and instructing some of the game's greatest golfers worldwide.

 

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