If you're looking for a batch of golf balls to hammer around your local course or driving range, chances are you have at least considered a ball from TaylorMade. Particularly if you own one of their clubs, since we golfers do tend to favour uniformity when it comes to kit.
TaylorMade are among golf’s greatest all rounders. When it comes to golf clubs they do pretty much everything and they do all of it as well as any other brand. Whether it’s driver, fairways / hybrids, irons, wedges or even putters, TaylorMade products are as good as anything out there, which is why you’ll find them in the bags (yep, they do great bags too) of some of the greatest golfers on the planet, such Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy.
TaylorMade also make a pretty mean golf ball. You will probably be aware of the TP5 ball as some of the world’s leading players have been using it over recent years. The TP5 (and new TP5x variation) is undoubtedly a great ball but it is not the right ball for everyone and it’s also costs a pretty penny.
TaylorMade do some of the best golf balls of multiple types, with something to suit (almost) every handicap and budget. Here’s a breakdown of some of what they have to offer and who they are aimed at.
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Let's start with TaylorMade's flagship, premium golfball. The TP5, named after the amount of layers in its construction.
Five layers is unusual. For example, the hugely popular Titleist ProV1 is only a three layered golf ball so in comparison the tech in the TP5 ball is off the scale.
The ball is comprised of four increasingly stiff layers which produces a progressive compression. This produces the maximum energy transfer from club face to ball, while the soft urethane cover gives high spin and maximum control on iron and wedge shots.
The Tour Flight dimple pattern gives a higher ball flight, optimum level of spin as well as lower drag which helps with extra distance.
Golfers of varying ability levels will be able to get good results from the TP5 and TP5x but ultimately these are balls aimed mainly at the better level of player and you should keep that in mind. It might seem cool to use the same ball as Dustin Johnson but in reality you could be losing distance and accuracy by doing so. 'DJ' swings at well upwards of 100mph. The chances are you do not.
You are no doubt wondering what the difference is between the TP5 and TP5x. The TP5x has a slightly firmer cover, spins less, has a higher launch trajectory and gives a touch more distance with irons and wedges. The TP5 on the other hand, has a more penetrating ball flight and more backspin which makes it more responsive on approach shots.
Without data from a launch monitor most golfers will not be able to tell the difference between these balls when it comes to performance, but you can feel that the TP5 is a little softer and that might appeal more to amateur players.
The TP5 and TP5x are also available in the Pix design made popular by Rickie Fowler, who actually helped in the design process and says:
"A lot of the best players in the world are playing pretty damned well with the TP5/TP5x. It's no joke. It’s been fun to see what the ball can do. Extra yardage on irons, more spin around the green. One less club for me into many holes is a pretty big advantage, too. What more do you want?"
The Pix ball looks swanky but the pattern also serves a purpose as it helps with putting alignment and the roll gives a good indication of how you are striking putts.
This is a great choice for mid-level golfers. In essence it is a premium ball aimed at average golfers. Whereas most premium balls cater mainly for the top level players, the Tour Response is designed to benefit golfers who don’t produce the kind of clubhead speed you will find on the PGA Tour.
The Tour Response is a three piece ball packed with technology. It features a high spring core with 40 compression, which in layman’s terms means a soft feel and extra distance for slower and medium speed swingers of the club when compared to the TP5.
SpeedMantle with HFMq comprises the second layer and this increases speed and distance, while the 100% urethane cover gives it a soft, almost spongy feel and increased groove interaction generates more spin around the greens.
On the putting green I found there was very little difference in feel between this and the TP5 and TP5x. The only way I could definitely tell them apart was that the Tour Response sounded slightly different coming off the putter.
The top players might be able to make one ball spin more than the other but for the vast majority of club golfers the Tour Response is going to give you everything the TP5 does and in some cases it will give you more. It launches higher and spins less than the TP5 so it will carry further and also run a little more.
The Tour Response comes in at a lower price point than the TP5. It isn’t hugely cheaper but a little under a pound per ball is a decent enough saving, especially for golfers who lose several balls per round.
It’s also very durable and you’ll lose this ball in the woods or in the water before you’ll ever need to replace it due to damage.
Like the Tour Response this is also a three piece ball but it has a lower compression rating (35) and will allow golfers of moderate swing speeds to gain extra yards from the tee. It’s basically a distance ball but that extra length comes at a cost as it doesn’t spin much and therefore won’t give you as much control on approach shots.
The main reason for that is because unlike the Tour Response ball which has a 100% urethane cover, the Soft Response cover is ionomer which means it is nowhere near as controlled as the TP5 or Tour Response.
It is worth remembering here that for higher handicap golfers this is not particularly important anyway as they don’t have the same kind of control on approach shots as a more accomplished player has.
This is a great ball for beginners, seniors and higher handicap golfers and it comes at a considerably cheaper price than the Tour Response.
In addition to traditional gloss white, this ball is also available in matte yellow and matte red finishes.
Other TaylorMade golf balls
While the four mentioned above are the most popular and widely available, you are likely to come across some other varieties of TaylorMade balls in golf shops.
RBZ Soft is a good, low priced all around distance ball.
Kalea Lady is a low compression, soft ball that provides maximum distance and feel for women golfers.
Distance+ is, unsurprisingly, a ball aimed at achieving maximum distance. It is a 77 compression ball with an explosive REACT speed core and you can find them at a really low price.