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 Pinnacle Practice, which is arguably the most popular range ball on the market right now. 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.
It’s perhaps a little odd that what may very well be the most frequently struck ball in all of golf is one that almost nobody plays. Folks, we’re talking about a range ball, specifically the Pinnacle Practice ball. And, yeah, while we’ve all come across the occasional guy who not only pilfers them from the range but actually plays them, the three-stripe special is not intended for use on the golf course.
That said, it’s a safe bet that more than a few golfers have been fitted using Pinnacle Practice balls. While we’d strongly advise against that, we were a bit curious to see how the other “No. 1 Ball in Golf” stacks up from a quality perspective. Given the emphasis on durability and the sub-Kirkland pricing, our expectations were low.
About the Pinnacle Practice Range Ball
The Pinnacle Practice ball is made in the USA. As an Acushnet company, Pinnacle (and Union Green) are Titleist sister brands. The ball has a 322-dimple cover. While durability is part and parcel of the design (it’s a range ball after all), it’s designed to be a mid-launch ball. The intent is to produce a trajectory window that’s similar to the golf ball you’d play on the course.
The Pinnacle Practice ball isn’t sold through retailers. Prices can vary depending on volume. We’ve gone with $8 a dozen which is in the ballpark.
Pinnacle Practice – Compression
I think most golfers would agree that range balls tend to feel a bit on the firm side. With that in mind, it shouldn’t come as any particular surprise that the Pinnacle Practice balls register 97 (on average) on our compression gauge. Coincidentally, that’s the same as the Pro V1x, though I don’t expect anyone will confuse the two. With a good bit of the firmness of the Pinnacle Practice tied up in the cover, it should feel appreciably firmer still.
Pinnacle Practice – Diameter and Weight
From a golf ball manufacturing perspective, a two-piece ionomer ball with a thick cover is reasonably easy to make. Given that some range balls intentionally limit distance, we were curious to find out if the Pinnacle Practice ball is lighter or larger than a “standard golf ball.”
With an average weight of 1.60 ounces, the Pinnacle Practice ball leaves a little bit of weight on the table. We classify it as “light” in our database (just a bit below average) but there are standard models in the database that weigh less.
The diameter of the Pinnacle Practice ball is solidly within the average range. Making it a bit bigger would likely reduce flight a bit but part of the design objective is to have it mirror the trajectory of a mid-launch ball.
As far as big red flags are concerned, we didn’t find any. All of the samples met our standards for roundness and none of the balls failed to meet the USGA’s minimum diameter requirement.
Pinnacle Practice – Inspection
Centeredness and Concentricity
Two-piece golf ball construction is relatively straightforward. The core is the core and if your cover is of a consistent thickness, you’re good. If it’s not, well, then it’s not so good.
Given where it fits in the market, I can’t say I had the highest expectations for the Pinnacle Practice. Within that narrow context, the ball exceeded expectations. Minor concentricity defects were observed in roughly one-third of the sample. Another 11 percent were flagged as bad. In every case, it was because of uneven thickness in the cover.
The Pinnacle Practice ball has a significant amount of regrind in the core (ground-up bits of flash from other balls). It’s not uncommon and typically not cause for concern. Not that I expect most of you to cut up your golf balls but the bright speckles add a bit of color to an otherwise bland deep-purple core.
While the cover of the Pinnacle Practice ball is thick and firm (and particularly unpleasant to roll around in our diameter gauge) our sample was free of appreciable defect.
Pinnacle Practice Consistency
In this section, we detail the consistency of the Pinnacle Practice golf ball. 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.
- Relative to the other balls in the Ball Lab database, weight consistency across our Pinnacle Range sample was in the middle of the average range.
- Diameter consistency was also in the middle of the average range.
- For our standard compression metric, the Pinnacle Practice ball falls within the middle of the average range.
- The compression consistency of the three points measured on each ball is also within the average range.
- Not surprisingly, under our aggregate compression metric (using both of the values above), the Pinnacle Practice ball falls within the average range.
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.
Pinnacle Practice – Summary Report
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.
- The ball that everybody uses and almost nobody pays for is average for every metric we look at.
- That means the quality of the Pinnacle Practice ball is actually higher than several mainstream golf balls (though we still don’t recommend you play it).
- There are some concentricity issues but it’s not like you were going to play this ball.
- The cover could cut a diamond and isn’t going to spin much around the green but, again, it’s not like you were going to play this ball.
Based on a ballpark price of $8 dozen, the True Price of the Pinnacle Practice ball is $9. Easy math says that $1 worth of value lost, or 13% above the base price. Not bad considering it exists primarily to take a beating.
Pinnacle Practice – Retail Price and Options
The Pinnacle Practice ball is available in white and yellow at a driving range near you.
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