Sunday, November 2, 2014

Product Review: The Ball

Hard to believe, but the holiday season is quickly approaching. Halloween is tomorrow and many stores already have their Christmas decorations on display. With that in mind, we thought we'd kick off the 2014 Holiday Gift Guide with a golf ball that’s built for distance off the tee, but possesses the superior feel and spin necessary to score from within 150 yards.

The Technology
The Ball ( gets its distance from the core, which boasts yardage-producing tungsten, while featuring just the right compression to get the most out of it.

The multi-blend ionomer mantle promotes high initial velocity and low a launch angle - generating lower spin for longer distance off driver.

Last, but certainly not least, the cover is cast urethane with 318 dimples. A slow cure ensures the strongest chemical bonds, increasing durability and performance. Urethane provides a soft feel and good spin with wedges and short irons. It also produces more "grab" on an iron clubface, resulting in more spin and fewer flyers.

The Inspiration
Co-Owner Josh Coughlin studied the industry before jumping in with both feet.

“We saw an opportunity in the market for a sub $40 three-piece urethane ball which had great overall performance like many of the balls that are well above the $40 price point,” he said. “We wanted to make a ball that could be played from tee to green and have great durability to give the best value to our customer.”

The Test
Without naming names, we tested The Ball next to two balls from the industry’s leading producer. One was the “top shelf” option. The other was a step down, but very popular among weekend golfers. In price point comparison, The Ball falls in between, but closer to the “budget” ball.

Sound is often a great way to differentiate between quality balls. Drop a budget ball and premium ball on concrete and there’s a sharp contrast in sound. Budget balls are generally very “sharp,” while premium balls are somewhat muted because of their softer cover.

Taking that test to more practical levels - an 8-iron and putter - The Ball matched sound and, more importantly, feel of the premium level.

Distance is a little trickier to judge because of the “user error” that comes into play. With no use of a robot to make precise swings, we’re left with a more subjective test. I can say this: The Ball jumped off the clubface without having to over swing in order to achieve proper compression. Some premium options require a swing speed in excess of 100 mph to compress the ball and get maximum productivity. I felt I was compressing The Ball even when swinging under 95 mph - a more practical speed for the majority of golfers.

The Feedback
Having been on the market for less than a year, many golfers have yet to hear of The Ball, let alone have a opportunity to tee it up. According to Coughlin, those who’ve played it have liked it.

“Initial feedback has been great from the review/blog community, as well as our customers,” Coughlin said. “To me, the true test is re-orders from customers. People may give the ball a try, but if they don't come back and order more, that speaks to their true feelings of the ball. Bottom line. the ball has to perform and we have seen great retention of our customers, some placing four or more separate orders since our launch in late February.

American Golfer recommendation: You never know what the right ball for your game is until you put several in play for a round (or two). Just because Rory or Phil play a certain ball, doesn’t mean you should automatically follow suit. At $34.99 a dozen, it’s worth placing an order and seeing if The Ball is the ball for you. After your first round you may be shouting “I Need The Ball!

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