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Countless times a day, Titleist golf balls are launched from earth, propelling upwards and onwards in a matter of seconds.

??Ever wonder what makes them go? ?

Golfers, their golf clubs and golf swings certainly have a lot to do with it. Not to mention all of the technology, innovation and R&D that gets added to the equation when it comes to making the #1 ball in golf.??

However, a golf ball's main source of energy is its core. ?

Since we’re a rather curious bunch here at Team Titleist, we decided to head downstairs to the Golf Ball R&D department in order to improve our core competency. ??Here's what we learned from the experts...

 The core is a high-resiliency rubber composition that makes up the center and largest component of every Titleist golf ball. ??In the Titleist R&D department, an entire team of chemists and engineers has been dedicated to formulating cores and advancing the technology (such as the Titleist Pro V1's new ZG Process Core Technology) that helps power the most played golf balls at every level of competitive golf. 

"Plain and simple, the core is the engine of the golf ball," says Bill Morgan, Senior V.P. of Titleist Golf Ball R&D.

??The core's main ingredient is Polybutadiene (pol-ee-byoo-tuh-dahy-een), a synthetic rubber that produces a high-energy return and can be manufactured to a number of desired characteristics. ?

"Stiffness, compression, resilience, size, whether it's a single core or a dual core," says Morgan, "all of those things factor into performance characteristics of the golf ball."

??Spin rate (control), initial velocity (distance) and compression (feel) are all affected by differences in core construction. ?

 In addition to the base rubber, cores contain cross-linking agents that will increase resiliency (speed) when cured, peroxides to catalyze that cross-linking, and fillers to adjust the weight.
(The USGA rules of golf allow for golf balls weighing as much as 1.620 ounces, and since the core is the largest component, the overall weight is adjusted here.) ?

"Generally speaking, every element that you add to a golf ball changes multiple characteristics of the ball," Morgan says. "So you balance what a particular compound or dimension does against performance characteristics, and you're trying to match that to golfers' needs." ?
The Titleist Pro V1 golf ball features a single solid core, 1.530 inches in diameter, constructed with Titleist's new and innovative ZG Process Core Technology. ??The ZG Process, which took over five years to develop, has resulted in Titleist's most uniform core ever constructed – from within the core itself, from core to core within the press and from press to press.

The transformation from uncured rubber to the engine of a Titleist golf ball takes less than 15 minutes at over 300º F. ?

"It’s the most consistent golf ball that we’ve ever made," says Brian Comeau, Manager of Materials Research in R&D.

Other features of the Pro V1 include a responsive Ionomeric Casing Layer (.045 inches thick), high-performance Urethane Elastomer Cover and spherically-tiled 352 tetrahedral dimple design. ??The result is a golf ball that provides exceptional distance and durability, increased spin control and a more consistent, penetrating ball flight. ?

"It's important to remember that no single element of design can determine the performance of the golf ball," says Comeau. "There needs to be a symbiotic relationship between all of the elements, from the core to the intermediate layer, to the cover and dimple patterns." ?

 The Titleist Pro V1x golf ball has a large, high velocity solid dual core with soft center, as well as a responsive Ionomeric Casing Layer (.035 inches thick), high-performance Urethane Elastomer Cover and spherically-tiled 328 tetrahedral dimple design. ??

This combination delivers very low spin off the driver and long irons, a higher trajectory that contributes to longer distance and a consistent ball flight that cuts through windy conditions.

The new Titleist NXT Tour, NXT Tour S, Velocity and DT Solo golf balls also feature different core, cover and dimple design variations that contribute to their relative performance characteristics.

 The new NXT Tour, which delivers excellent scoring performance exceeded only by Pro V1 and Pro V1x, has a large dual core, three-piece construction that features a slightly smaller, soft center and higher volume outer core layer. Its soft, thin Fusablend cover features a new spherically tiled octahedral design with four axis of symmetry, and 302 dimples in five different sizes.

The result is a combination of long, consistent distance, commanding short game spin and control, soft feel on all shots with excellent durability.

The new NXT Tour S – featuring a new, proprietary low compression and highly resilient core – was created for golfers seeking NXT Tour-like performance with a softer feel. (This ball is also available in high optic yellow.)
 
In creating the new Titleist Velocity golf ball, R&D implemented exclusive high-speed LSX core technology to produce the highest velocity core formulation of any Titleist golf ball.

The Velocity is encased in a NAZ2 cover formulation featuring a 332 icosahedral dimple design that delivers high initial ball speed on all full swing shots and playable feel in the short game. It all adds up to a soaring, tight, consistent ball flight and deep downrange peak trajectory.

The new DT SoLo was developed with one objective in mind: Design the softest compression feel possible, while continuing to deliver the long distance and control that are the DT SoLo players have always counted on.

The cover blend of two soft Surlyn ionomers, in combination with the soft, fast core and 392 icosahedral dimple design aerodynamic package, provides a penetrating ball flight with long roll out for excellent total distance.??

We hope you enjoyed this brief journey to the core of the Titleist family of golf balls. Click here to get some more information on the current line-up.

Sunday evening at Augusta National, with the world watching and his Titleist Pro V1x surrounded by pine straw, leaves, patrons and trees to the right of the 10th fairway, Bubba Watson settled in to hit the shot of his life.

"Before I even got to my ball, I was already looking at the gap (in the trees)…," he said. "I saw how everybody was standing… And they gave me a perfect line for the draw."

He couldn't see the flag, but that didn't matter. As long as he made the proper swing, Watson knew exactly how his Pro V1x golf ball would perform.

And the execution was perfect: His Pro V1x launched through that gap, making a hard right curve around the trees. It hooked about 40 yards in all, landing softly on the putting surface, inside 15 feet from the hole.

 Fans everywhere reacted as if a magician had just pulled Amen Corner out of his hat. 

Two putts later, Watson was a major and Masters champion, officially winning with a par on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff with former Open champ and fellow Pro V1x loyalist Louis Oosthuizen

Watson closed with a 4-under 68, dropping in his Pro V1x for consecutive birdies on Nos. 13-16 to tie Oosthuizen at 10-under 278. Oosthuizen posted a final-round 69, which included the Masters' first double-eagle on the par-5 second hole, his Pro V1x #4 finding the hole from 260 yards.

"It feels – it's just – I've never had a dream go this far… so I can't really say it's a dream come true," Watson said of his fourth-career PGA Tour victory.

"I don't even know what happened on the back nine," he said, sitting in the Masters media center. "I know I made bogey on 12 and then I birdied four holes in a row.  Nervous on every shot, every putt. Went into a playoff.  I got in these trees and hit a crazy shot that I saw in my head and somehow I'm here talking to you with a green jacket on."

Watson's victory highlighted a three-win week for Titleist Pro V1x players around the world, including wins by Andres Gonzales (Nationwide Tour) and Scott Hend (Asian Tour). 

Titleist golf ball players have combined for 41 wins to date in 2012, more than six times the nearest competitor with six and more than all competitors combined.

 Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x players have also won 11 out of the PGA Tour's first 16 events to start the season.

In total, 4,600 players have teed up Titleist golf balls in events across the worldwide professional tours, more than six times the nearest competitor with 707 and more than all other golf balls combined.

"You don't play the ball if you don't have confidence in it," Watson, who finished T-4 in Greens in Regulation (73.6 percent) for the week, has told Team Titleist.

"If it doesn't feel good to you then you're not going to perform well. For me it's been 20 years and it's still performing well."

The soft feel, higher trajectory and spin characteristics of the Pro V1x give Watson the confidence necessary to work the ball and execute his highly-creative, now world-famous shots, allowing him to land the ball softer and stop it quicker on the PGA Tour's firm greens.

"If the ball doesn't feel right in your hands it's going to be harder to spin," he said, "it's just not going to feel good and it's going to be harder to hit one close."

Watson was one of 53 players at Augusta National that relied on Titleist golf balls for their success, more than four times the nearest competitor with 11 and more than all other golf balls combined. Titleist was also first in iron sets (26); sand, lob and approach wedges (91); and putters (29).

Six out of the top 10 players on the final leader board were Titleist golf ball players, including including Lee Westwood (Pro V1x, T-3), Ian Poulter (Pro V1x, 7th), Padraig Harrington (Pro V1x, T-8) and Titleist Brand Ambassador Adam Scott (Pro V1x, T-8). 

At the 2012 Masters Tournament, more players are trusting Titleist golf balls in their quest for a green jacket than any other golf ball.

Fifty-three players in the field at Augusta National are relying on Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls for their success, more than four times the nearest competitor with 11 and more than all competitors combined.

Titleist is also first in iron sets (26); sand, lob and approach wedges (91); and putters.

Through the first three months of 2012, Titleist golf ball players have combined for 38 wins across the worldwide professional tours, more than six times the nearest competitor with six and more than all other golf balls combined.

On the PGA Tour, Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x players have won 10 times this season, nine more than the nearest competitor with one.

Hello, friends. Before you settle in for a weekend of Masters viewing, check out Team Titleist's photos from the practice rounds and Par-3 Contest, the most popular Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the season.

Click on the image below to launch the slideshow, and have a great weekend!

Question: What do Titleist Brand Ambassadors Webb Simpson, Kyle Stanley, Scott Stallings and Brendan Steele have in common – besides all of their last names beginning with the letter "S?"

Answer: They are all making their Masters debuts this week, each having won for the first time last year on the PGA Tour.

So, what's it like to find an invitation to the Masters in your mailbox?

Team Titleist caught up with Webb and Scott recently to talk about their tickets down Magnolia Lane and what they've learned from their early practice rounds at Augusta National.

See what they had to say in the above video.

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