It’s a fair bet prior to the MyGolfSpy 2019 Golf Ball Buyer’s Guide and the advent of MyGolfSpy editor, Tony Covey’s, #finditcutit movement, Inesis wasn’t a household brand name. Hell, it probably wasn’t familiar to anyone in your neighborhood or the surrounding area codes either – at least not in the USA.
Like a plausible majority of readers, you scanned the results of the test, and amongst familiar names like Titleist, Bridgestone, Srixon, and TaylorMade, you stumbled over Inesis Tour 900. You may have paused for a second, muttered something, and kept on reading. Moreover, unless you’re familiar with the European sporting goods retail market or glossed over our introductory article, Inesis is likely a brand without many connotations.
Beyond the ethos and philosophical underpinnings of the company, arguably the more important realization is that Inesis continues to deliver high-performing products at well below average industry prices, and it’s Tour 900 ball is no exception.
The previous version of the Tour 900 ball entered testing as a complete unknown. It earned a seat in the “Very Good” category alongside the TaylorMade TP5/TP5X, Srixon ZStar XV, Bridgestone Tour B XS, and the Snell MTBX, among others.
That ball was produced by LTC (Launch Technologies Co.), but Inesis has since moved production to Scanna for both its 2-piece and multi-layer 3-piece balls.
Why the move? At LTC, Inesis was a smaller fish in a relatively large pond. At Scanna, it’s a much larger fish in a smaller body of water. With one relationship to manage, as opposed to two, Inesis has more bargaining power and a closer relationship with the factory, which theoretically should yield better quality control and a more consistent product.
Though the first-generation Tour 900 received generally positive marks, consumer feedback was clear – Golfers wanted a firmer, more durable ball with more spin/control around the greens. It’s the type of request akin to “healthier food that tastes more like French fries.” So, without adding layers or changing to a cast urethane cover, Inesis made several tweaks to the original design to boost compression by five points (85 to 90), which Inesis says also increased wedge spin. A new coating and paint formula gives the new Tour 900 a “whiter” appearance providing a cleaner background for a thinner, more modern logo.
The updated Tour 900 is still a boilerplate 3-piece construction with a rubber (polybutadiene) core, Surlyn mantle, and TPU cover. The design gives some insight into Inesis’ conservative, consumer-centric philosophy, which places performance ahead of profits. Unless you’re Titleist, Bridgestone, or Srixon and have complete control over every step of the ball design-to-delivery process, it’s tough to get a cast urethane, 4-piece construction consistently right.
And while Inesis isn’t making any grand claims or putting itself out there as the foremost (see what I did there?) ball engineering company, Inesis Art Director Guillaume Nguyen states, “Golf ball manufacturing can be hard and simple at the same time. The industrial process itself is well known by every brand and supplier, but knowing exactly how to fine-tune all the characteristics of a ball is an art. Every change alters another one. You change your softness; it alters your spin, COR, etc.”
This is precisely why it’s imperative smaller brands, which contract with third-party manufacturers, have the infrastructure and relationships to design and test products thoroughly before coming to market. Inesis belives Scanna is a more than capable production partner, and because it’s part of mega-retailer, Decathlon, Inesis has access to robot and human testing on par with some major OEMs.
That said, whether or not a product offers any meaningful performance innovation is ultimately decided by the consumer. So, would you give the Inesis Tour 900 a try?
The Inesis Tour 900 ball is currently available at a retail price of $29.99.