Titleist has long been the No. 1 name in golf balls. That’s part of the reason why you have seen so many companies take aim at the leader. Heavy lies the head that wears the crown.
While Titleist, particularly with its Pro V1 and Pro V1X models, continue to be big sellers, several usurpers have gained ground. Specifically, TaylorMade’s TP5x and Callaway’s Chrome Soft have bitten into Titleist’s lead, at least in the category of premium balls.
Another company, Bridgestone, has been attempting to make headway for several years versus the king, Titleist. One of Bridgestone’s fine balls, the B330 RX is not a perfect comparison to the ProV1. But they are close enough to warrant a side-by-side comparison.
- The Amatour Core is 28% softer than the average tour ball core and utilizes a steeper gradient in softness from the inner part of the core to the outer region, resulting in faster ball speed and more reduced spin off the driver than ever before.
- The newly formulated SlipRes Cover has the highest friction coefficient rating possible for maximum greenside spin AND reduced spin off the driver for longer distance. SlipRes also delivers a self-repairing cover for longer playability.
A note before we do a deeper dive on the B330 RX. This ball has been phased out and replaced with the Tour B-series of balls. The new Tour B RX is almost the same ball, if you have difficulty finding the discontinued B330 RX.
While this ball is excellent overall, it is specifically designed for a certain type of player, the mid-handicapper. Many players in that category are quite competitive with single-digit handicappers with one glaring exception: length off the tee.
When Bridgestone released this ball in 2008, it was marketed as being Tour quality but designed for lower swing speeds.
No matter how good you are from 100 yards and in, if you often find yourself 30 to 40 yards behind your fellow golfers, you will be playing at a disadvantage. Bridgestone aimed to reduce that deficit with a gradational compression core. The lower the compression a golf ball has the greater the rebound effect, thus producing longer shots.
Of course, there is a trade-off in feel and overall performance for low-compression balls. Bridgestone attempts to have it both ways by gradually changing the compression in the different layers of the ball. This innovation is typical these days, but it was revolutionary more than a decade ago.
Simply put, the B330 RX travels farther and straighter with its reduced spin and mid-level launch angle. While it does not perform badly in the short game, it does not have the stopping power of other premium balls.
Bridgestone’s SlipRes cover is quite durable and, according to the company, has the highest friction coefficient rating possible. This helps overcome the disadvantage it has in the short game.
The 330 in the name references the dimple count, which are arranged with smaller dimples inside surrounded by larger patterns. This design is intended to reduce drag and improve runout for greater distance.
In short, this remains an excellent ball and one that changed the game for golf balls on its release to the public.
- Extraordinary Distance with Consistent Flight
- Very Low Long Game Spin and Penetrating Trajectory
There is a reason why the Pro V1 is such a big-time seller. It remains one the best overall performers of any golf ball on the market.
The Pro V1 is designed for those pros, as well as single-digit handicap amateurs. While less advanced golfers can still get good performance from this ball, there is an excellent reason why better players love it.
Distance balls often have lower compression rates than the 90 or so that the Pro V1 carries. The lower compression means slower swing speeds can compress the ball more easily, resulting in greater distance. However, if you can generate club-head speeds of 100 miles per hour or greater, you will have no trouble compressing the Pro V1.
That means golfers using the Pro V1 with sufficient swing speeds lose no distance to so-called “distance” balls. And they gain plenty.
The Pro V1 remains one of the softest feeling balls on the market. And it has sufficient spin that proficient golfers can turn the ball in either direction without much effort. That added spin also helps the ball stop on command on approach shots.
And Titleist is not resting on its laurels. The newest version of the Pro V1 has a 17 percent thinner cover. The effect is added spin without losing any spin or control. While the cover got thinner, the casing layer got thicker. This is the layer that is the difference-maker when it comes to optimum spin.
It is easy to take a particular stance on which of these two balls is best for you.
While that last paragraph is apt, it does not tell the entire story.
For example, while most mid-handicappers are experienced golfers who have lost a bit of length as they have aged, there are plenty who shoot a similar score with a much different game. Younger golfers in particular sometimes can hit the ball with anyone off the tee, but struggle around the game. Or maybe you are a mid-handicapper who still likes to work the ball in either direction when the situation calls for it. Golfers in those latter two categories might well sacrifice distance and go with the Titleist Pro V1.
Or maybe you are a mid-handicapper who plays the majority of your rounds on a shorter course that demands greater shot-making. Again, this tends to lead you toward Titleist.
One area where Bridgestone is the clear choice is price. While not the cheapest on the market, it is less expensive than Titleist. For some golfers, that matters, as golf can be an expensive hobby.
Bottom line is that these are two excellent golf balls. Even a mid- or high-handicapper will find something to like about the Titleist Pro V1. And Bridgestone’s B330 RX changed the way golf balls are made, which is not to be dismissed.