Vice is a relatively new company out of Germany that is known mostly for its golf balls, although it sells apparel also.
Opening shop in 2012 and only hitting the market in the United States in 2015, Vice balls are still pretty much an unknown to many golfers.
Vice seems determined to make its name with a two-pronged approach. One is a limited inventory, with the other being selling directly to the public.
Vice makes five different balls: Pro, Pro Plus, Pro Soft, Tour, and Drive. It says it wants to limit the variety of balls so they can apply individualized attention to the design and construction of each. For what is a relatively small company, this makes perfect sense.
And it seems to be working. Vice balls all appear to be of high quality.
The other approach is selling directly to the public. Vice feels like it can cut costs for its premium balls. That might have been an uphill battle decades ago. But with the online marketplace being widely accepted, this too seems like a solid idea. And Vice balls are generally less expensive than other premium balls.
We are going to look at two of their balls, the Pro and Pro Plus, review their differences and help you decide which one is best for you. Both the Pro and Pro Plus are intended for a large percentage of the golfing public, so chances are one of the two will fit your game.
The Pro ball from Vice is engineered for distance. It has a three-piece urethane cover that is coated with a special material called BJ13 to help make it more durable.
A different technology, which Vice refers to as S2TG, helps create flight with lots of spin. This high spin rate means it will stop quickly on the greens. The outer two layers of the three-piece construction are very thin, leading to a large core that is also designed for great ball speed.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the Pro and Pro Plus is in the dimples. The 318 dimples in the Pro is fewer than most and fewer than in the Pro Plus. Of course, fewer dimples means larger dimples since they must cover the same amount of surface area.
Vice claims this number and configuration of dimples provides for a more stable trajectory by reducing air resistance.
The Pro series of balls are about average when it comes to compression rate, coming in at 95. At the very least, you will need to generate decent swing speeds to compress the ball properly.
Like most other golf balls, the Pro has added a line on the ball to aid in putting alignment. This has become so common as to be expected among premium and non-premium balls alike. Vice seems awfully proud of this line, but it is likely no better or worse than those on most balls.
Most users seem happy with the Pro balls, with complaints coming mostly in two areas: lack of durability and poor feel on the greens. The former could be a result of inconsistency in manufacturing as it is hardly a universal complaint. The latter likely boils down to personal preference.
Vice Pro Plus
The differences between these two balls range from slight to stark to nonexistent.
The number of dimples in the Pro Plus is 336. That may seem like a small difference. It isn’t. It’s roughly five percent more and that can have a dramatic difference in performance. Of course, more dimples mean smaller dimples.
The result is a lower launch angle with less spin and a more penetrating flight.
Another significant difference is that the Pro Plus has a four-piece construction. This, too, is intended to keep the ball’s trajectory lower.
The compression rate is lower, but at 85 it still is not low enough for slow swing speeds to compress the ball. This is not a dramatic difference and the ball still is intended for at least moderate swing speeds.
As far as the negatives, you might find the same inconsistencies in durability as in the Pro. On the greens, some golfers might prefer this slightly softer ball. It is not so soft as to feel like it sticks to the putter face.
That is all great once you arrive on the green. The lower spin rate means the Pro Plus is not going to have the stopping power that the Pro has. The good news is that lower spin means you are less likely to hit wayward shots either left or right.
These balls both offer up plenty of value with its combination of performance and price.
Where might these balls fall short? First off is the complaints about durability. These are not widespread but come often enough to be concerned. Still, you have an excellent chance at getting well-constructed balls.
Second is customer service. Cutting out the middle man may lower the price a bit but it means it’s all on Vice when inevitable problems arise. That could be tough to handle for a small company. On the other hand, being small means it can be more nimble in its decision making.
Who might benefit from these balls? They are both mainly intended for low to mid-handicappers. If you have a slower swing speed, regardless of your handicap, you might have trouble compressing either ball sufficiently.
Overall, these are quality golf balls that have made their mark on the game in a short time.