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The game of golf is seemingly more associated with the equipment you play it with than most other sports. The Titleist Pro V 1 changed the game of golf. There are iconic brands of clubs and balls that resonate down through the ranks from pro to hacker. Titleist is probably at the pinnacle of golf’s manufacturers who dominate the game in terms of brand recognition and player usage of their products. According to their history, more golf professionals on the US PGA Tour have used their ball every year since 1949. That little, white, dimpled ball may appear less important because of overall size but it lies at the very heart of the game.

Pile of golf balls on grass

History of The Golf Ball

The history of the golf ball is interesting in itself. I reckon that it started with a pebble or rock washed smooth by the sea shore. If the game had its genesis in shepherds hitting rocks with sticks or crooks along the coastal land in Scotland. The first golf balls made by human beings were known to be crafted out of wood. Hardwood like Beech or Boxwood, from the fifteenth century until the seventeenth century in Scotland, was used to make golf balls. Wood on wood has a natural, if sometimes jarring, ring to it. Feathery golf balls were next on the evolutionary trail to modern times. These little leather sacks stuffed with boiled goose feathers may have been designed to fly. However, they were expensive to make and began golf’s shift to the domain of the wealthy. Featheries were the go to ball for some three centuries, until Gutta Percha arrived on the scene. The ‘Gutty’ was created out of the dried sap of the Sapodilla tree. It was cheaper and lasted much longer than a couple of rounds- of which the expensive Featheries were guilty of. The “gutty’ ruled the roost from 1848-1898. Three coats of paint adorned the Gutta Percha ball, but it was discovered that they flew further and straighter when scuffed or nicked. Players began to hammer their Gutty to create a pattern and this was the origin of dimpled golf balls. Next, was the rubber cored ball with a Gutta Percha cover. Golf balls kept being improved by trying different materials and the Balata ball was popular with pros for a number of years. Today, we have two-piece solid Syrlin covered balls.

“The rubber Haskel golf ball is the standard for the modern golf ball. The layering techniques allow for golf ball manufacturers to create golf balls with different properties that help with different areas of your game. Some balls can fly farther while some are designed to generate more spin. However some basic aspects must remain as the Rules of Golf, governed by the Royal & Ancient and the United States Golf Association, have set standards that the diameter of a ‘conforming’ golf ball cannot be smaller than 1.680 inches and the weight

cannot exceed 1.620 ounces. The ball must also adhere to having spherical symmetry.”

The Titleist Pro V 1

Golf Ball That Revolutionized The Game Titleist Pro V1

“Although Titleist introduced its game-changing Pro V1 golf ball to Tour players in October 2000, it was Woods who put modern, solid-core golf ball construction on the map.

As it turns out, it was really O’Meara who triggered Woods’ interest in a solid-core golf ball in the first place.”

There has been a lot of focus on the materials and technology used in modern drivers and fairway clubs but many in the industry point the finger at the statistics. These show that the incredible distances achieved off the tee coincided with the advent of the Titleist Pro V1 – the top of the range solid-core golf ball. It is the modern golf ball more than the modern driver that has rendered many older golf courses obsolete in terms of length. The combination of the two guaranteed the incredible lengths now achieved by golfers everywhere.

There is plenty of data — such as the USGA’s recent Distance Report — to support that new equipment does indeed fly longer and straighter. What has more of an impact, though, is a question for some. Is it the golf ball? Is it the new 460cc driver heads? Is it the shafts? Or is it golfer’s diets and workout plans that are the real culprits responsible for greater distance?
On Wednesday, 2009 Open Champion Stewart Cink took to Twitter with results from a one-off, two-ball test he conducted after finding an old wound golf ball amongst his pile of practice balls.
Remember, wound golf balls were popular prior to the 2000s and they were constructed with thread windings that wrapped around their cores. Wound balls are known now for their spin and feel, but not so much for their distance. Golf balls with solid constructions that we know today eventually replaced those antiquated wound balls.
With a Trackman handy, Cink hit the wound, Titleist Professional 90 golf ball against a new Titleist Pro V1 using his modern Ping G410 driver.

@Titleist Found a Professional 90 wound ball from the late 1990’s in the heap today at practice. Did a Two ball driver Trackman comparison between it and a Pro-v1. The balls performed similarly except for one glaring difference: Ball Speed. The wound ball was a full 8MPH slower!

That 8MPH difference translated into a 20+ yard deficit in terms of carry. I’m sticking with the Pro-v-1!!

It is interesting to observe where the power lies in golf administration and the industry as a whole. Repeated calls for limits on technological innovations for the tour pros at the top of the game have fallen on deaf ears. It leads to speculation that the game is bought and controlled by the manufacturers. Those managing the golf courses are near the bottom of the food chain and have little voice in the discussion it seems. The making of clubs and balls, and the selling of them, appears to drive the bus when it comes to the game of golf.

Callaway generated sales of $3.1 billion in 2021, with net income of $337 million. 2022 is expected to be more.

Acushnet the owner of the Titleist brand generated revenue of around $2 billion in 2021.