FIRST LOOK: Titleist’s 2023 Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls
Titleist’s 2023 Pro V1 and Pro V1x will be available globally on Jan. 25 for $54.99 per dozen. The colors include white (play numbers 1-4, 5-8 or all the same play numbers 00 or 1-99) and optic yellow (play numbers 1-4).
The beauty of having a substantial R&D department (and budget) is the opportunities it offers to push design limits. In recent years, Titleist has used technologies from its cutting-edge CNCPT club line to take TSR metalwoods and T-Series irons to new heights.
On the ball side, Custom Performance Options (CPO), like the Pro V1 Left Dot and Pro V1x Left Dash, have allowed Titleist to test out new materials on the PGA Tour to gauge their performance in a competitive setting.
Depending on how they perform, some of the materials inside a CPO can eventually make their way to retail. For example, the high gradient core designs found inside the 2023 Pro V1 and Pro V1x were inspired by Left Dot and Left Dash.
For those who’ve never heard the term “high gradient” before, it’s a core construction that features progressive firmness levels designed to decouple long game spin and shot game spin. When paired with the Pro V1 and Pro V1x core designs, high gradient can lower long game spin without altering zip around the green.
It’s essentially a best-of-both-worlds scenario for golfers.
“We know that gradient is something we can use to drive down long game spin,” said Mike Madson, Titleist’s senior director golf ball research and engineering. “Having the right chemistry and process to make it consistently — that it fits within the golfer demand for that particular cycle. And that we can make it work with all the different pieces that we’re looking to achieve. Because you can’t just change one thing without affecting other things, to some degree.
“High gradient is something that’s been in Left Dot for a little while now. It’s something we’ve been exploring and feel like we now have it in a good place for the Pro V1. That, potentially, could change the utilization of Left Dot. We’re going to see what the first few months of this year look like and see if the new Pro V1 necessitates a revisit, or need, for Left Dot.”
With the three-piece 2023 Pro V1, the ball is still designed to generate a more penetrating launch, when compared to Pro V1x, with improved feel and short game spin. A casing layer sandwiched between the cast thermoset urethane cover and high gradient cover helps negate excess spin without negatively affecting spin and control.
The four-piece 2023 Pro V1x has the same high-gradient core material in a dual design. Only instead of a single core found on the Pro V1, the V1x is constructed around two different cores for a very important reason.
“The benefits of high gradient are the same for [Pro V1x] as they are for [Pro V1],” said Frederick Waddell, Titleist’s director of golf ball product management. “But we get there in a slightly different way. The original intent of the dual-core was to drive the high gradient differential within the core. By having two different core materials, you can give them two completely different chemistries and processes. The dual core creates that differential to help drive that long game spin down.”
The inner core volume was also increased from 1″ to 1.13″. While it might not sound like a massive uptick in size, the expansion translates to 44 percent more material in the center core to lower long-game spin and improve stability while in flight.
From a flight and spin standpoint, Pro V1x is designed to launch higher and spin more with the iron and wedges than Pro V1. That being said, it still offers lower spin at the top of the set.
With high gradient playing a major role in the construction of both models, Titleist is stressing the importance of testing both balls to confirm you’re playing the proper model. In Will Zalatoris’ case, he moved from the previous Pro V1 into the 2023 Pro V1x after noticing an uptick in driver distance with a more stable flight through the wind.
“We are seeing a lot of Left Dot players try the new V,” Waddell said. “A lot of the core technology is very similar, but you get the benefit of more greenside spin and control. We want players to try both because as you test them, you’ll find the ball that’s right for your game. It may not be the one you’ve played in the past.”
Want to overhaul your bag for 2023? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf.