Titleist’s latest golf ball tech surfaces on Tour Championship range
Take a stroll down the range this week at the Tour Championship and you’re likely to see a few players hitting a new prototype ball. The red and black logos on the side of Titleist’s Pro V1 and Pro V1x would lead one to believe the equipment manufacturer has something new in the works — and they do.
Only this particular prototype won’t be leaving the East Lake range.
With television broadcasts increasing the amount of launch monitor data viewers consume, Titleist developed a new version of its Pro V1 and Pro V1x Radar Capture Technology (RCT) that’s specifically made for the doppler-based outdoor Trackman Range. From a design standpoint, Pro V1 RCT and the retail Pro V1 are identical, save for reflective spin markers printed directly onto the casing layer of the RCT that don’t affect performance.
Titleist 2023 Pro V1 Golf Balls
Initially designed for indoors, the markers helped improve Trackman’s spin detection algorithm — particularly for high ball speed/low spin rate scenarios — and required less ball flight to measure spin rate. The RCT ball found at the Tour Championship is designed to help accurately capture spin in an outdoor setting — a new wrinkle that will be on display for viewers watching today’s “On the Range at the Tour Championship” coverage (airing at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+).
In addition to offering ball-tracking technology and several launch-monitor measurables, the RCT will now grant viewers the ability to see complete and accurate analysis of any shot hit on the range at East Lake, spin rate included.
“Spin is the magical number for truly understanding the flight and movement of the golf ball,” said Fredrik Tuxen, TrackMan’s co-founder and chief technology officer. “Speed and power is getting a lot of attention, but managing and controlling spin rates is what really sets players apart. It is the key number for players to control their carry distance, curvature and how the ball reacts when landing. Titleist is an innovative and leader and shares our passion for providing golfers with the most precise data possible. They’ve helped take our Trackman Range Product to the next level with the prototype radar capture technology.”
As much as golfers tend to fixate on ball speed and distance numbers, the spin rate they’re generating plays an equally important role in optimizing any club in the bag. It’s why professionals spend hours on the range trying to shave 150 RPMs off their driver in an effort to launch ever-so-slightly lower and gain a few yards.
“Everything we do at Titleist is about precision and developing innovations that help golfers play better, more consistent golf,” said Matt Hogge, Titleist Golf Ball R&D’s Director of Product Development. “Data is a critical part of this process and partnering with Trackman has pushed both our teams to unlock technologies that measure spin as precisely as ever, wherever golfers want to practice or play.”
While Trackman Range and RCT will only be part of the broadcast coverage on the range at the Tour Championship, it’s fair to wonder how the technology could change on-course coverage in the future. Shot Tracer has added a level of gamification to the broadcasts by including the shot shape, apex, curve, ball speed and carry distance.
However, up until this point, spin rate hasn’t been part of the broadcast package because it was impossible to capture accurately without the proper technology. But with products like Titleist’s latest Pro V1 RCT ball entering the marketplace, it’s possible that we could see on-course broadcasts with even more launch monitor data points in the future, including the all-important spin rate.
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