Inesis Distance 100 Golf Ball – Key Takeaways
- Two-piece ionomer-cover ball designed for beginners and high handicappers.
- Environmentally friendly manufacturing process makes use of regrind material.
- $9.99 per dozen
The Inesis Distance 100 golf ball has a few things that may be of interest to price-conscious golfers. We’ll get to that in a minute.
But, first, let’s see if this is an article you need to read.
If you worry about ball things like greenside spin, dimple patterns and core materials, don’t bother reading this article.
If you care about urethane covers, Surlyn mantles and driver spin, don’t bother reading this article.
And if you really can’t understand why someone would play what you consider a “cheap” golf ball, you really shouldn’t bother reading this article.
There’s nothing here that will please you.
But if none of the above applies and you’re the kind of golfer who plays the game for—gulp—fun, might I suggest reading on? You might find something here you’ll like.
The Inesis Distance 100 Golf Ball: Is It For You?
Are you one of the aforementioned golfers who simply play the game for fun and doesn’t want to fork over an arm, leg and a vital organ or two for a dozen golf balls? And do you hate losing three or four or that dozen balls per round?
At $9.99 per dozen, the Inesis Distance 100 is worthy of consideration.
And if ecologically friendly manufacturing matters to you, you may not find another ball quite like the Inesis Distance 100.
Our 2021 Ball Test focused exclusively (save for the range ball) on urethane-covered balls. And the reasoning is simple: the performance advantages benefit nearly everyone. Price? That’s between you and your wallet.
And you know what? There’s an awfully large segment of golfers that either doesn’t believe those performance advantages apply to them or they simply don’t care. And they don’t want to pay the price for a performance ball.
Round and dimpled, as the Greek philosopher Mediocrates would say, is good enough.
And did we mention they’re only $9.99 a dozen? I think we did.
That’s a shade over 83 cents a ball.
The Lost Ball Dilemma
Golfers in the U.S. alone lose approximately 300 million golf balls a year. And a metric crap-ton of those are two-piece ionomer-covered balls. They’re called “distance balls” for one simple reason: they don’t spin as much as urethane balls. It’s pretty crowded down there in the low-end of the marketplace so there isn’t much room for OEMs to innovate. At best, you’ll get some trickle-down technology from a brand’s mid-priced balls but, in this category, it’s mostly (if not exclusively) about price.
For beginners, who contribute a healthy chunk to that 300 million lost-ball total, low-end balls make sense
Two-piece balls are as basic as it gets. It’s just a core and a cover. So what is the Inesis Unique Selling Proposition? Well, it depends on what you value.
For the price buyer, it’s hard to beat $9.99 a dozen. Yeah, there’s shipping but Inesis gives you free shipping when you spend $35. So if you buy one dozen balls and a pair of pants, socks or some other Decathalon piece of athletic gear, you have it covered.
You may not consider 83 cents a ball to be a very strong Unique Selling Proposition (although Decathalon/Inesis believes it is). What is unique is what else you get for your 83 cents.
A reasonably environmentally friendly golf ball.
The Inesis Distance 100: The Ecology Angle
Remember those 300 million lost golf balls? Not one of them will ever biodegrade.
It’s safe to say that’s something most golfers don’t think about or even care about. And no, the Inesis Distance 100 isn’t biodegradable but Inesis did make a conscious decision when designing this ball.
At this level of the market, OEMs will either look for a way to adjust performance (even a small change is sellable) or reduce cost and/or price. Inesis is trying something different and going for environmental impact.
For the Distance 100, Inesis makes use of what it calls material “offcuts.” That’s any excess material that oozes out of the molds or gets shaved off in the manufacturing process. It all gets reground and reinjected back into the production process. The company also regrinds rubber cores from balls that failed quality control checkpoints.
“The more material we manage to incorporate that would otherwise have been discarded, the better,” the company says on its website.
However, is there a point where too much scrap can actually hurt performance? Turns out there is, even in an 83-cent golf ball.
“Our research shows the proportion of reprocessed material can be as high as 22 percent for the core, 33 percent for the yellow cover and 50 percent for the white cover without having a negative impact on ball performance.”
It’s important to note those percentages are specific to the Inesis Distance 100 ball.
Another environmentally friendly (not to mention cost-saving) step is skipping the finish. All golf balls—save for the Wilson Staff Model R—are either painted or have some sort of coating to make them look nice. Inesis has eliminated the coating from the Distance 100. The ionomer cover is infused with either white or yellow coloring and that’s that.
As with the Wilson Staff Model R, the Distance 100 has a flat, matte-like appearance without actually having a matte finish. One thing you’ll notice is the markings and labeling will wear off relatively quickly. And, like the Wilson, you can expect the ball to pick up dirt quicker and be a wee bit harder to clean. But for the target golfer, that won’t impact performance.
While those of us in the urethane-or-die crowd might turn our nose up at a flat, non-shiny two-piece ball whose labeling wears off and gets dirty quickly, Inesis checked with beginners. Apparently, the ones they talked with were OK with it.
“We asked beginner golfers if this new design bothered them and most said it didn’t, that they liked the satin look and that, if it was better for the planet, we should choose this option.”
Again, all of this may or may not matter to you. But not for nothing, Inesis says all of the processes they’ve put in place to manufacture the Distance 100 ball will save 125 tons of CO2 annually. That’s the equivalent of 125 round-trip flights between London and New York. That may not save the planet but it’s not going to hurt it much, either.
Inesis Distance 100: Final Thoughts
The Inesis Distance 100 is for a very specific golfer. It’s not in any way, shape or form a “performance” ball. It’s a beginner’s ball that’s less than half the price of some of the segment leaders. So if you’re just starting out in this game, you may find some value.
Give Inesis credit. They’re not saying anything about greenside spin or distance. In its own performance testing against three key competitors in the category (Srixon, Pinnacle Rush, Titleist), the Distance 100 wasn’t the longest but, hell, it was close enough. To be fair, those same tests results showed the Inesis Tour 900 urethane ball was also in the same neighborhood at the Pro V1. Our testing, however, showed otherwise.
But, then again, it’s hard to imagine a yard to two mattering that much to the beginner or the 30 and above handicapper. Especially at 83 cents a ball.
The Inesis Distance 100 golf balls are available in Snowy White and Yellow for $9.99 per dozen on the Inesis website. Shipping is free for orders over $35.
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