MyGolfSpy Ball Lab is where we quantify the quality and consistency of the golf balls on the market to help you find the best ball for your money. Today, we’re taking a look at the Noodle Long and Soft. An overview of the equipment we use can be found here. To learn more about our test process, how we define “bad” balls and our True Price metric, check out our About MyGolfSpy Ball Lab page.
MaxFli TaylorMade Noodle Long and Soft is one of the most requested balls for Ball Lab. You’re all weird … a good number of you anyway. I get it. The Noodle is an affordable product with a fun name. It’s one of few beloved products where, even if deep down we know it’s not one of the best balls on the market, we don’t care.
The Noodz is like Gary McCord’s mustache. It’s familiar and, whether it’s ultimately a good idea or not, there’s still something almost comforting about it.
About the Noodle Long and Soft
As you may or may not know, The Noodle brand once fell under the Maxfli umbrella. When the Maxfli name was sold to DICK’S Sporting Goods, TaylorMade kept the Noodz (The Noodle brand) for themselves. The TaylorMade Noodle Long and Soft is a two-piece, Surlyn-covered ball with 342 dimples.
It’s manufactured in Korea for TaylorMade.
Noodle Long and Soft – Compression
The Noodle Long and Soft measures 69 on our gauge. At the risk of spoiling the fun this early in the program, it’s a compression spec that suggests a ball that’s neither long nor soft relative to the market as a whole.
While slow to moderate swing speed players likely won’t notice the difference, mid to faster swing speed players risk over-compressing the ball and losing distance. As far as feel is concerned, it’s reasonable to predict most will find it softer than Tour balls like the Titleist Pro V1 or even the Bridgestone Tour B XS. However, relative to other two-piece ionomer balls, it’s solidly mid-compression.
Noodle Long and Soft – Diameter and Weight
Let’s start with the good news. None of the balls in our Noodle Long and Soft sample failed our roundness standard. It’s also notable that the Long and Soft is among the smallest ionomer balls in the database. That’s not particularly surprising, given that TaylorMade typically makes a smaller golf ball.
That may help eke a little extra distance out of what is otherwise a mid-compression design.
On the less than positive front, six percent of the balls in the sample (both in the third dozen) failed to make weight. It’s not ideal and certainly not as intended. While under our system both balls get flagged as bad, recreational golfers aren’t likely to notice and, frankly, this isn’t a ball that more serious golfers should choose for competition play anyway. That said … somebody in your weekend foursome might be getting just a tick more distance than he should. That rat bastard.
Noodle Long and Soft – Inspection
Centeredness and Concentricity
In total, we flagged 11 percent of the sample as bad. In every case, it was due to significant layer concentricity issues. Frankly, this is more common than it probably should be in the two-piece space so while it isn’t ideal, it’s not exactly terrible, either. It’s just what we’ve come to expect from the majority of inexpensive golf balls.
Let me see if I can make sense of this for you. In general, the consistency of the Noodle Long and Soft cores was pretty good. We did note the occasional chunk of unmixed material (see photo above) but nothing significant enough to disqualify the ball.
We also couldn’t help but notice that the third dozen (pictured below) looked just a little bit different from the first two we cut. Actually, as you can see, the cores are different. The first two boxes in our sample contain a relatively consistent teal core. The third box, as I suspect you can see quite clearly, had red cores and significantly more visible regrind material.
It’s not unusual for core mixtures to change seasonally or as a means to track different batches though what we see here is a more significant change than we would expect. When the whole box is red, we have to assume it happened on purpose.
Across our sample, we found no appreciable cover defects. Score one for the Noodz!
Noodle Long and Soft – Consistency
In this section, we detail the consistency of Noodle Long and Soft. Our consistency metrics provide a measure of how similar the balls in our sample were to one another, relative to all of the models we’ve tested to date.
In this case, a good bit (though not all) of the consistency issues we found with the Noodle Long and Soft can be tracked to the third dozen.
As we were ramping up Ball Lab, I came to refer to the third dozen as “the F*ck You dozen” because, even if it wasn’t the source of inconsistency, once measured, it was often the place where inconsistencies became apparent. That’s certainly the case here and, since it’s such a textbook example of what inconsistency can look like, I thought I’d include a more detailed comparison.
Noodle Long and Soft – 3 Dozen Comparison
The chart above shows some of the key metrics we measure with our gauges. As you can see, the first couple of dozens (blue and orange dots, respectively) are relatively consistent. You won’t mistake them for the best balls in the database but they’re not bad. The third dozen (red) is, on average, softer, heavier and bigger (the two Xs are the balls that exceed the USGA weight limit). With ball measurements, we’re always dealing with relatively small numbers but I think it’s reasonable to say that box No. 3 stands out as being different from the other two.
- Relative to the other balls in the Ball Lab database, the weight consistency of the Long and Soft qualifies as average.
- As with other metrics, the overall quality rating was dragged down by a box that varied significantly from the first two.
- Diameter consistency for Noodle Long and Soft was only Fair.
- Again, the variation caused by box No. 3 was a significant contributing factor.
- Compression consistency for the sample was average.
- Boxes No. 1 and No. 2 were relatively consistent but box No. 3 was about five points softer on average.
True Price is how we quantify the quality of a golf ball. It's a projection of what you'd have to spend to ensure you get 12 good balls.
The True Price will always be equal to or greater than the retail price. The greater the difference between the retail price and the True Price, the more you should be concerned about the quality of the ball.
Noodle Long and Soft – Summary
To learn more about our test process, how we define “bad” balls and our True Price metric, check out our About MyGolfSpy Ball Lab page.
My takeaway is the Noodle Long and Soft (The Noodz) offers respectable quality given its affordable price. If what we found from our samples is representative of the market as a whole, you may experience some inconsistency between boxes. But if you are a non-competitive golfer who doesn’t have problems with the Noodz’s inherent Meatloaf paradigm (“don’t be sad, two out of three ain’t bad”), by all means, go out and enjoy your round with this modern classic.
- Respectable quality considering they’re about a buck a ball.
- It’s the Noodz, man, what’s not to love?
- The Meatloaf thing – not all Noodzes are created equal.
The True Price of Noodle Long and Soft is $13.55, 13 percent above retail.