If you have any doubt that the new golf ball is largely complicit in your ability to take it deep you need to read the attached article by Andrew Rice. A recent posting on Geoff Shackelford’s site brings back to light this informal study done back in 2011 by Andrew Rice on the how much of the gain in distance we enjoy is the result of the change in golf ball technology.
Andrew did his testing with Titleist golf balls, the industry leader, comparing the old wound Professional 90 and Tour Balata 100 (of blessed memory from around 2000) to the layered Pro V1 392 and the most recent Pro V1. His conclusions on reading into this data seem irrefutable. There is a solid 10% gain in the average distance of these balls and almost a 5% gain between the original Pro V1 and the most recent upgrade. Check out the data for yourself.
(Click to read Andrew Rice’s fascinating study on distance improvements of Titleist balls)
In the comments from the peanut gallery below the study it is pointed out that the shelf life of the Professional 90’s and Tour Balata 100’s has probably been exceeded and could account for some distance degradation. Also the difference in the technology of the current driver used for the study may has something to say as well, but this latter point would confer relative distance advantage to both generation of balls.
For you techno wonks out there Andrew’s comments on spin rate and smash factor readings of the balls is interesting as well.
Bottom line for all of us is that these balls are nuclear and a 10% gain in distance puts the golf course at a significant disadvantage to our normal play. No wonder the greens at your place keep getting faster and the cup positions are closer to the edges even on Wednesdays.