How much would you pay today for the original Kirkland Signature 4-Piece Golf ball?
We’ve covered this topic from various angles ad nauseam, but it’s worth rekindling the conversation again because there is some evidence that you might be able to get everyone’s favorite bulk warehouse ball for as low as $27.51 per dozen. And while that’s quite a bit more expensive than the well-documented $15 original asking price, it’s still a relative bargain within the scope of the conventional direct to consumer golf ball market.
To be clear, we’re not saying with absolute certainty that the ball on our radar – the Pearl Pro X – is exactly the same ball as the original Kirkland. What we’re saying is that there are enough similarities to justify an if it walks like a duck… argument.
Compared to Snell, Vice, OnCore, and even Cut, Pearl is a relative unknown in the direct to consumer ball space. The Pearl brand story largely mirrors that of Vice, and no doubt perusing the Pearl website, you’ll likely find some unnerving marketing similarities with the other German golf brand. I say other because, like Vice, Pearl is based in Germany (though it does have a US office).
Like other direct to consumer ball brands, Pearl sources its golf balls from factories in Asia, and the digging we’ve done shows that some of its balls (like the Pure Soft X) are made in China (likely by SM Parker), while others – notably the Pearl Pro X – are sourced from Korea.
According to Pearl, the Pro X features a cast urethane cover. As we’ve discussed previously, few factories have the capabilities to make cast urethane covers, so when your golf ball equation is cast urethane + Korea, your answer is invariably Nassau.
And that’s where things start to get interesting.
Same Cover, Same Dimples?
As you’ve hopefully banked somewhere in your memory, Nassau is the factory that produced the original Kirkland Signature 4-piece, which makes it all the more notable that the original Kirkland and the Pearl Pro X both have 360 dimples.
Dimple patterns are unique to manufacturers and factories, and 360 is a relative uncommon count. Thickening the plot, comparing the cover of the original Kirkland with that of the Pearl Pro X, we found undeniable consistencies.
While it may be difficult to see in the photos, the biggest tell is a pattern of what we’d describe as star shape clusters; a repeating 6-dimple pattern with the signature feature being a smaller dimple in the center of our star shape.
While the paint quality looks to be higher on the Pearl (we say looks to be because or K-Sigs have all been hit more than a few times), but otherwise, the cover designs appear consistent.
The Same Guts?
One could make a case that the original Kirkland 4-Piece is among the most cut open golf ball model ever. The color pattern is distinct, and by now, familiar to many of us. While the construction descriptions on the USGA’s conforming ball list are, unfortunately, little more than whatever the manufacturer (or more accurately, the seller) wants them to be, the shared construction is best described as 4P-3c (4-piece, 3 covers). Essentially, it describes a ball with a large core, two thinner mantle or casing layers, and a cover.
Not only do both balls share 4P-3c construction but the coloring (green over red over yellow) and thickness across all three inner layers is consistent between the two balls.
As a quick related aside; the brutal reality is that we’ve found balls within the same box that are more different in color and layer diameter than we’ve seen so far with the original Kirkland and the Pearl Pro X. The similarities here are uncanny, and in our opinion, too great and too numerous to be coincidental.
Finally, the core textures appear identical. This is one of those things you learn from cutting a few hundred golf balls open. Because things like material/chemical composition and cooking times and temperatures vary between balls and between factories, the texture of the cores and the way they cut varies every bit is much. For example, while the raw materials are fundamentally similar, the textures of TaylorMade, Callaway, Titleist, and Bridgestone cores are vastly different. The same is true for factory balls, where even if the color changes, the texture of balls produced by Foremost, for example, is largely consistent. Texture provides a clue not only to the factory of origin, but also the sameness of balls. In this case, the textures of the original Kirkland Signature 4-Piece and Pearl Pro X balls are also consistent.
Is the Pearl Pro X the Original K-Sig?
We can’t say with 100% certainty that the balls are the same.
To provide a definite answer we’d need to do some additional compression and hardness testing (we’re looking into outfitting a ball testing lab), but given that the balls appear to share an identical cover, identical coloring, and identical construction, there’s more than enough here for fans of the original to take a shot, provided you find the price tag ($31.99 or $27.51 when you purchase 3 or more) low-enough.
By all means, judge for yourself, but as the saying goes, if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a K-Sig duck.