Golf is a very popular sport that requires a lot of experience, skill, and technique, but also the right equipment. Apart from the clubs that you have to bring, there is also the need for your own golf balls. Like most sports, golf too revolves around a ball-related mechanic. Golf balls have a long and interesting history with many changes and advancements made to them over the years. As the sport and the industry around it changed, so have the balls.
Today, they are much better and easier to deal with than back in the day, but there are also many different brands and types. In this article, we will explore the composition, history, and types of golf balls and talk about the differences between two of the most popular varieties. Both are made by the same brand, TaylorMade, and they are the TP5 and the TP5x.
Composition and Design
Golf balls are made up of several layers each of them with a different purpose. The outermost layer, known as the cover, is typically made of either surlyn or urethane. Surlyn, popular and common in but a few industries outside of golf is a type of thermoplastic that is durable and provides a good amount of spin. Urethane is a much more widespread material. It is softer and it provides a better feel and control.
The middle layer is known as the mantle and is made of materials such as rubber or ionomer. This middle part is responsible for controlling the spin and it adds distance to the ball. The core, which is located at the very center of the ball, is typically made of rubber or synthetic materials and it is responsible for determining the compression of the ball.
This affects the ball’s distance and feel. As you can see, there is much more to it than what initially meets the eye. A lot of thought and planning goes into design.
Golf balls have come a long way since their earliest days. The entire sport has evolved tremendously so the balls had to follow suit. The first golf balls were made entirely from wood, just like the clubs. They were used in Scotland in the 17th century when the sport started to take off.
These balls were handmade and were not very durable, often breaking apart after just a few holes. They also took a long time to make due to the limited technology and skill of those responsible.
In the 19th century, golf balls began to be made from gutta-percha, a type of rubber that was durable and had good bounce, both very important traits for something that needs to be hit. This led to the development of the first standardized golf ball, which became known as the gutty. The gutty was used until the early 20th century when it was replaced by the Haskell ball. This legendary ball was made from a rubber core surrounded by multiple layers of thread and gutta-percha.
During the middle of the 20th century, golf balls began to be made with synthetic materials as they were more and more available. This is when the Balata and Surlyn came into the picture, materials that allowed for greater control and consistency in golf balls. The change led to the development of the modern golf ball we all know and love today. Quite a long and interesting history for something that familiar and common, right?
Types of Golf Balls
There are several types of golf balls worth knowing about. Of course, each of them is designed for a different purpose in the sport, and not all are mutually interchangeable.
- Distance balls are designed for maximum distance, obviously, and are typically made with a hard outer layer and a large, high-compression core. This allows them to travel further and to survive being hit stronger.
- Multi-layer balls combine the features of distance and spin balls into a hybrid that takes the best of both worlds. These balls are designed for players who want both distance and control, but not too much of either.
Golf balls are an essential part of the game of golf, and have come a long way since their earliest days. Today, in the modern iteration of the game, they are made with advanced materials and technologies in order to give golfers a better playing performance.
Golf balls are designed to suit the needs and preferences of all types of players regardless of what they enjoy, want, or need. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced golfer, choosing the right golf ball can make a big difference in your game. Luckily, the choice is quite diverse.
The TaylorMade Golfing Brand
TaylorMade is a very well-known golf brand that has been producing high-quality golf equipment for almost half a century, since 1979. The company was founded by Gary Adams who created the first metal wood club. Before that, they were exclusively made from, well, wood.
Metal woods quickly became popular among golfers due to their increased distance and durability so naturally, Adams went further. He changed the sport once so of course his company could do it again.
TaylorMade’s golf balls are widely recognized and well-known for their superb performance and innovation. The company offers a wide range of golf balls to suit very different player preferences and skill levels.
For example, their most popular balls, the TP5, and the TP5x are designed for players who want maximum distance and control. On the other hand, their Tour Response golf ball is designed for players who want a softer feel and better spin control around the greens.
TaylorMade and its balls are also known for their use of advanced technologies. They have made some of them their staples, like the “Speed Layer System” that maximizes ball speed and distance, or the “High-Flex Material” that provides better control and spin. In addition to these advancements, the company’s golf balls are a favorite of many professional golfers on the PGA Tour, a testament to their quality and performance.
Overall, the brand is a very respected and trusted name in the business that offers a wide range of high-quality golf balls, but also other equipment. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced golfer, TaylorMade has a golf ball that can help you take your game to the next level. You are in good hands whenever you choose to pick one of their products.
The TP5 VS TP5X
The TP5 and TP5x golf balls are two of TaylorMade’s most popular and advanced golf balls. The fact that they are so similarly named only adds to their fame and widespread success, so let us talk in-depth about their differences. Following is an overview of their features, uses, and main differences.
Features and Differences
Both the TP5 and TP5x golf balls are designed with 5 layers. The 5-layer construction is what the “5” in their names stands for. Such a design allows for different materials and technologies to be used in each layer maximizing the performance across a range of different shots. This already makes them a great option for any golfer.
The outer layer of both balls is made from a soft cast urethane cover that provides a great feel and control around the greens and all the way into the holes. The inner layers are made from high-flex modulus and tri-fast core, materials that provide increased speed, reduced spin, and better distance. Again, all top-of-the-line features that a golf ball should have.
The main difference between the TP5 and TP5x golf balls is their compression. The TP5 has a lower compression than the TP5x, which means it is softer and provides more spin. The TP5x has a higher compression, which means it is firmer and provides more distance. So if you want increased spin and do not need distance, pick the one without the X in the name. For firmness and more distance, go with the X.
In addition to their different compressions, the TP5 and TP5x golf balls also have different dimple patterns. The TP5x has a more aerodynamic dimple pattern that helps it to reduce drag and increase distance. It is all about distance after all so the extra aerodynamics make sense. On the other hand, the TP5 has a softer and more responsive feel that the TP5x lacks since it aims to provide increased speeds and longer shots.
The Pros and Cons
It is often customary to give the positives and negatives whenever there is a debate to be settled and when differences need to be explained in detail. The rundown of the benefits and drawbacks is also a great way to quickly and effectively choose between the two options and realize what it is you truly need.
- Soft and responsive feel, good for players who prioritize feel and spin near the green
- Lower compression allows more spin and control on approach shots and chips
- Tri-Fast core technology gives improved accuracy and consistent flight
- More affordable
- Does not provide as much distance as the TP5x
- Not so suitable for players with high swing speeds (they need a firmer ball)
- Firmer feel and higher compression, good for players who prioritize distance with tee shots
- The more aerodynamic dimple pattern helps with drag reduction and increases ball speed
- More speed leads equals more distance and improved performance with long shots
- Suitable for players with high swing speeds
- Higher compression is not suitable for players who want extra spin and feel around the greens
- Does not offer as much control and spin on approach shots and chips
It is very important to point out that the choice ultimately depends on the player’s individual preferences and needs, as well as what they want to achieve on the course. Golfers who prioritize feel and spin will definitely want the TP5 while those who want distance should pick the TP5x.
Testing both balls is highly recommended in order to see which one works best for your game. Players who do not want spin/feel not distance should not stress about picking a specific one. Either will do because they are both high-quality balls.
Is Using Both a Viable Option?
Of course, you can also use both during the same round of 18 holes. But is it a good idea? Yes, it is possible to use both the TP5 and TP5x golf balls and many players do it? Some golfers choose to switch between the two balls depending on the specific shot or situation they are facing on the course.
For example, a golfer might choose the TP5 for approach shots and chips around the green where they need more spin and control in order to get near the hole easier. Then, they could switch to the TP5x for tee shots and long approaches with the next hole where they need more distance at first.
The key is understanding the differences between the two balls and how they perform for your game. Just like you use different clubs at different stages, having balls that specialize in certain moments is always a benefit. Test it out yourself by bringing both balls and using them accordingly, in different situations on the course, and see the results. You can then make a decision on which ball to use in different situations and whether or not you even need to pick between the two.
Ultimately, the goal is to use the ball that helps you play your best golf and gives you the best chance to score well and win. If that means using a combination of the TP5 and TP5x golf balls, then go for it. If it means always sticking with one, that is perfectly fine too!
Stars Who Use Them
Many professional golfers use the TP5 and TP5x golf balls on the PGA Tour. The TP5 is used by none other than Rory McIlroy, a four-time major champion and a TaylorMade staff player since 2017. He still uses it today. Dustin Johnson is the former world number one and another TaylorMade staff player.
He has been involved with the brand since 2016 and currently uses the TP5 ball. Five-time European Tour winner Tommy Fleetwood has been a TaylorMade staff player since 2018 and he also currently uses the TP5 ball.
When it comes to the TP5x, it is the favorite of Jon Rahm, the current world number one. He has been a TaylorMade staff player since 2017. Collin Morikawa, two-time major champ, uses it too. He has been involved with the brand since 2019. Matthew Wolff is another star whose preference is the TP5x. The rising star of the PGA Tour has been with the brand ever since he went pro in 2019.