In 2015, Dean Snell launched his ball company based on a single premise: Tour quality at a fraction of the cost.
It was never a matter of if Dean could produce a tour level ball and shave 40%-50% off the going rate. He is, according to the bio on the Snell website, a “prolific golf ball engineer and co-creator of the industry-changing, Titleist original Pro V1® and TaylorMade Penta®.”
The question was whether it was possible to succeed in golf with a DTC (direct to consumer) model where consumers buy a product straight from the manufacturer without a third-party retailer, thus eliminating a significant layer of cost. Seems like a wiz-bang idea, but there’s the matter of getting information in front of prospective consumers without spending a ton on advertising, thus eliminating the savings realized by cutting out the middle man.
The model isn’t revolutionary, but its application in this portion of the modern golf industry differentiated Snell from competitors. And there was a question of whether it could actually work.
If three-years suffices as a data set, the answer is a resounding “Hell yes.” Snell golf has posted nothing less than triple-digit growth each year and in doing so one could argue has paved the path for a new generation of DTC brands.
The first generation of MTB (My Tour Ball) and GET SUM models has exceeded all expectations and now Snell Golf is releasing its second generation of tour level balls; the MTB BLACK and MTB RED.
While both models are technically new, the 360-dimple pattern MTB BLACK maintains nearly every design element players enjoyed with the original MTB. In fact, the only substantial (if you want to call it that) modification is a new core with 7% lower compression. As core compression drops, so does driver spin, so everything else being equal, the MTB BLACK should spin ever so slightly less off the driver than the original MTB. Otherwise, expect it to play like the same 3-piece ball with a thin, thermocast urethane, cover and exceptional short-game performance.
A quick refresher on urethance ball covers: Basically, there are three options – Thermocast, Thermoset and Thermoplastic (TPU). Thermocasting is a more expensive process and historically has only been done by Snell, Titleist and Taylormade (um, notice a theme here?) Thermoset is less expensive, but more common in the industry, and until recently, TPU wasn’t a viable option on tour level balls as the covers couldn’t match the performance of the other two methods. TPU covers (also used in Callaway’s Chrome Soft ball) have advanced significantly over the last 5-7 years and all things being equal, offer more spin off short irons and provide a nice platform for ball coloring.
In eliciting feedback from consumers, the two most common asks in a new ball were more spin off irons and scoring clubs as well as a yellow option. The result is the MTB RED, a four-piece ball with a TPU cover and proprietary “Dual Feel Technology”. Specifically, the two feels are a firmer (I suspect more solid) sensation the off long irons and driver, and a softer feel with more spin on mid/short irons and full wedges.
Some may jump to the erroneous conclusion that the 4-piece MTB RED is the likely choice for better players. Keep in mind, spin is only good if you need it. For players who like to flight the ball down or play in windy conditions, more spin may not be advantageous.
As always, Snell suggests selecting a ball based on its performance inside 150 yards and around the green. If you see absolutely no difference between balls, go with the cheaper one and save the extra cash for a tasty adult beverage or pint of Ben and Jerry’s.
The MTB will also be available in an optic yellow colorway.
Snell isn’t trying to go toe to toe with Titleist or Callaway, but just because the companies aren’t competing directly, doesn’t the mean their products aren’t. In our testing, the previous generation MTB offers similar (in some cases better) performance to other tour-level balls, many of which are priced substantially higher.
Because availability might be the most important ability of a DTC business, Snell ensures it won’t run out of inventory on any of its models. When you sell online, the store is always open, but a lack of inventory means lost sales, which likely won’t be recaptured.
As one would expect MTB BLACK comes in a black dominated packaging and the MTB RED’s is well, quite red.
Pricing will stay the same at $31.99/doz. or a $163.99/6 doz. (which brings the per dozen cost down to a little over $27). Also, shipping remains free.
Pre-orders will start January 15th with initial deliveries expected in mid-late February.
Planning to order? Tell us why. Hard pass? Tell us that too.
For more information, visit SnellGolf.com.