Pro V What?????
Recommend this product?
Similar to the Pro V1 and Pro V1X lineup offered up by Titleist, Wilson Staff has now upgraded the FG Tour Line of balls to read FG Tour and FG Tour X. Just as the FG Tour was a slightly softer version of the Pro V1—75-78 compression vs. 85, the FG Tour X is slightly firmer feeling than the Pro V1X—92-95 Compression Rating vs. 90. It does take an average driver swing speed that clocks in at least as high as 95 MPH to take full advantage of this new offering, but if you possess it, this ball will reward you with some serious performance. I figured testing this ball was going to be problematic for me unless I took it to one of my favourite testing courses, an old Don January Design that features crazy dog legs, lots of water, plateaued greens, forced carries, and false angles off the tee box. I did a head to head of the Pro V1X vs. this ball, and here are the results.
Distance—Wilson Takes It
The Wilson not only tended to carry a little further off of the driver and fairway metals, but it also had better roll out tendencies. Since this course is an older track, and the pro is a friend of mine, I was able to lock in a time where I could play best ball against myself, and even take Mulligan’s if a ball didn’t give me a good read of what it was actually going to do. The Par 5’s on this course are the only holes that offer wide open fairways, and it was here where some serious grip it and rip it type swings, with no worries about whether either ball was using it’s tree or water radar that day would be the best bet for out and out distance calls. The Wilson had a slightly flatter trajectory in these situations, which is what surprised me when it carried further. It’s slightly more boring trajectory was a definite clue that the roll out category was going to be all Wilson. Still, we are talking 9 maybe ten yards on the best drives, but usually the standard corporate hype of 4-7 yards held true.
Line Holding Capability--Toss Up
One thing you learn quickly if you play golf in Texas, is that the wind plays a major part in the natural defenses and design patterns used by the course architects out here. At another Don January design I play at, several of the regulars can quote you percentages of days that certain prevailing winds play a positive or negative factor on any particular given hole. But I digress.
In the test course's case,however, it is used as a way to help steer a dog leg if you are familiar enough with the course. That’s because this course actually lies in a slight valley where the winds swoop in and can become your best friend or your worst enemy, depending upon your natural ball flight. Because of this, there are a couple of shorter Par 4’s on this course that are set up for sucker plays.
If you are silly enough to try to saw the dog leg off with a monster drive, be prepared for a slight wind gust of a mere 10-15 MPH to swoop down and play more like a 2 or 3 club wind and blow your calculations into...”The best laid plans of mice and men “ ..category. Both balls proved more than up to the task as far as facing down a wind, or using it to gain advantage. A defiite toss up that speaks very highly of both of them.
Green Holding—A Slight Tip Of The Hat To Titleist
Both balls are very good at slamming on the brakes. Never is that more apparent than when one is taking a shot at a small green on a short par 3 from a very highly elevated tee box. Now under the current conditions of rock hard, super slick, super-fast, winter greens, neither ball was able to perform the Duncan Yo-Yo ball on a string trick and backspin towards the hole at impact, but the Titleist had just a shade more “Plop” to it. When it landed in such conditions, and believe me, with an empty course they both got 3 tries apiece at the hole, the Titleist either “Plopped and Stopped” or One Hopped and Stopped. The Wilson Short-Hopped and Stopped each time. Thus, the one time the Titleist Plopped and Stopped, gave it a very slight edge.
Putting and Wedge Feel—Wilson Hands Down
Now I know that the Titleist, at least from an elevated tee box, seemed to have a little more greenside etiquette, but there’s more to a course than just one elevated par 3. The Wilson seems, despite its higher compression, and slightly firmer feel, to have just a shade more “Cling” to it. Off of the putter’s face, Cling is something I prize very highly. It is very important to my ability to take full advantage of distance control on any given day. Without that cling, I have a hard time adjusting for any variations in putting stroke tempo, or green speed. The greens were hard, slick, and fast that day. It was like putting on ice. The Pro V1X seemed to “Pop” off of my putter’s face. Now keep in mind, we are talking “Pop” relative to a multi-layer ball, but none-the-less, when greens are that slick and fast, it’s hell to adjust and get a downhill putt to perform like it should if you don’t have that split-second of clingy feel when the putter's face and golf ball come together.
I value crispness as much as I do “Cling” when it comes to wedge shots. There is a distinct “Click” that you both feel and hear simultaneously on a well struck wedge shot. The Wilson's audible cue just seemed to time slightly better. Once again, it was that slightly “Poppy” feel of the Pro V1 X that played hob with my ability to pass judgment, pre-ball flight, on what type of impact I just had. I realize that I am splitting hairs here, but the fact of the matter is, the price of premium golf balls is no laughing matter, and the Pro V1 and Pro V1X are so well ensconced upon the throne of multi-layer king of balls, that hair-splitting is the only way for any ball from any maker to make any sort of inroads here. The Wilson earned these little hair splitting awards—they were not a gift. Besides, I value my credibility as a Golf Reviewer.
Overall—Slight Nod To The Wilson
Not only did the Wilson come out ahead a few more times in different categories, but she is still priced less than The Titleist. Stores that refused to carry The Original Wilson Staff FG Tour Ball, are now having to re-think that decision, and to stock this newer offering of its corporate sibling as well. At a street price of $38 to the Titleist’s $45, I’d say that the extra performance plus the $7 savings is almost a gimmee. Still, I am not scoffing at the Pro V1X. I never have, and I never will. The Pro V1 and Pro V1X remain the gold standard by which ALL multi-layer balls are judged. It just so happens that this time, the Pro V1 X, at least for now, got beaten at her own game.
I'd like to thank my CL Abraham for providing me with the product link that made this review possible.