Penfold Ace Golf Balls: What’s Old Is New Again
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Penfold Ace Golf Balls: What’s Old Is New Again

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Penfold Ace Golf Balls: What’s Old Is New Again

The story of the new Penfold Ace golf balls is actually two stories.

The story of the golf ball itself is interesting in a “retro-brand-bringing-back-a-classic-name” kinda way.

But the story of how that ball came to be, and the path Penfold had to take to make it a reality, is a little more interesting.

Let’s talk about the ball first.

close up view of Penfold Ace golf balls

Penfold Ace Golf Balls

We’ve given you the big-picture scoop on Penfold before so here’s the short version. Penfold is a long-forgotten British golf ball brand that at one time could lay claim to making some of the best balls in golf. Founder Albert Penfold, while working in R&D for Dunlop a century ago, developed the very first golf ball to carry the name Maxfli. He started his eponymous company in 1927 and immediately began making a name for himself on both sides of the Atlantic.

Penfold was killed in 1941 when his cargo ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat. The company soldiered on, led by Penfold’s son Dick. He eventually sold to Colgate-Palmolive in 1973. A series of ownership changes later and Penfold faded into obscurity. The company was revived in the U.S. a few years ago as a retro-lifestyle brand, providing unique apparel, gloves (including MyGolfSpy’s Best Direct-to-Consumer glove in 2022) and accessories along with golf balls.

Penfold golf balls, golf gloves and accessories

The original Penfold Ace golf balls date back to the early 1960s and were played by the likes of Gary Player and Lee Trevino. Seve, in fact, won his first pro event in the UK with a Penfold Ace.

This new Penfold Ace won’t necessarily bring back the glory of days gone by but it is a good quality, four-piece urethane ball. And if you’re the type who likes to game something unique, it’s something you’ll definitely enjoy playing.

Fact and Figures

As mentioned, the Penfold Ace is a four-piece ball with a 332-dimple, injection-molded urethane cover. As far as urethane balls go, it’s on the softer side of firm, coming in at a compression of 80. Its best comp for launch and spin characteristics would likely be the Bridgestone Tour B RX.

Each sleeve of balls is labeled with a playing card suit so you’ll be playing either an Ace of hearts, clubs, diamonds or spades.

If you’re looking for the latest, greatest and most innovative ball going, it’s not the Penfold Ace. It is, in fact, an off-she-shelf open-model ball that Penfold is sourcing from Launch Technologies in Taiwan.

“This is an OEM ball,” says Penfold co-owner Gavin Perrett. “We haven’t gone down the road of designing our own golf balls. We did have other samples from other manufacturers but we went with Launch Tech because it was a better golf ball, even though it cost us more money.”

The new Penfold Ace golf balls will run you $40 per dozen. When you compare it straight up against the new PXG Xtreme, Vice or Maxfli, you’d probably think there’s a joker in the deck somewhere. But Perrett says the entire Penfold aura isn’t about competing in the golf ball arms race. It’s really more about something nostalgic that you’ll enjoy playing.

A close up view of the Penfold Ace golf balls

“Have fun with it but know you’re getting a quality product,” he says. “We’re not aiming for the cheap and nasty. With the Penfold name comes quality. You’re not buying a piece of crap. You’re buying quality and you can have some fun while playing it.”

Penfold Ace Golf Balls: The Nassau Connection

The story of how the Penfold Ace came to be is perhaps more interesting than the ball itself. Penfold was one of several small, direct-to-consumer companies that were unceremoniously jettisoned when TaylorMade bought out the Nassau golf ball factory in South Korea.

As MyGolfSpy first reported a little over a year ago, TaylorMade decided its new facility would produce only TaylorMade-branded products. That decision caught Penfold, and others, off-guard.

“They just cut loose anyone and everyone,” says Perrett. “We had a relationship with Nassau for 30 years.”

a sleeve of Penfold Ace golf balls

Perrett says he spent weeks trying to get in touch with Nassau about upcoming orders with no response. He finally had to hound the factory manager to find out what was going on.

“They don’t even have the decency to reach out and explain the situation to customers of Nassau, to say, ‘This is the situation and I’m sorry but we won’t be carrying you on.’ If they had just said that, that would have been fine.

“I have no problem with them buying out Nassau. Why would you? That’s fair enough. I get it. We’re in the middle of ball shortages all over. It was a difficult situation for everyone. But to do it in the manner they did it …”

MyGolfSpy reached out to TaylorMade for a response. They chose not to comment.

Closeup of Penfold Ace golf balls

Help From an Unexpected Source

Perrett had discussions with Callaway after losing his Nassau connection.

“They said if push came to shove to let them know. They were very positive and supportive of our brand. We’re all trying to achieve the same thing. We’re all trying to bring some joy and some fun to the people who care about the game the most.”

Ultimately, Perrett didn’t need Callaway’s help. He was able to source balls through Launch Tech, which has become the go-to ball supplier for DTC companies. The new OnCore Elixr is made there as are balls from upstart DTCs such as Renegade. And Callaway’s ERC and Supersoft are made at Launch Tech.

a closeup of Penfold Ace golfballs

From what MyGolfSpy has learned, TaylorMade has eliminated all subcontracts from its Nassau plant which is now known as TaylorMade-South Korea. We don’t know, however, whether that also includes longtime Nassau customer Snell. In any case, the Taiwan-based Foremost is the only semi-independent factory capable of making cast urethane golf balls. TaylorMade also owns a major stake in Foremost.

Penfold Ace Golf Balls: Final Thoughts, Price and Availability

Given its place in the golf ball world, the Penfold Ace will probably register as a novelty. But after one February bonus round in Massachusetts, we can say it’s a perfectly decent and playable golf ball. Distance certainly kept pace with expectations. And we were pleasantly surprised with its hop-‘n-stop performance on the greens. As Perrett says, it’s a golf ball you’ll enjoy playing.

However, there is one important note about the Penfold Ace: It is not listed with the USGA.

Which isn’t the same as saying it’s non-conforming.

“We haven’t submitted it,” says Perrett. “If the ball sells well and people like them and want to use them in tournaments, then we will.”

He adds, however, that since the Ace is an open-model OEM ball, it is likely the same ball sold under another name is listed with the USGA.

As mentioned, Penfold Ace golf balls sell for $40 per dozen. They’re available now on Penfold’s website

For You

For You

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John Barba

John Barba

John Barba

John is an aging, yet avid golfer, writer, 6-point-something handicapper living back home in New England after a 22-year exile in Minnesota. He loves telling stories, writing about golf and golf travel, and enjoys classic golf equipment. “The only thing a golfer needs is more daylight.” - BenHogan

John Barba

John Barba

John Barba

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John Barba

John Barba

John Barba





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      Mike Wunderley

      1 year ago

      My wife gave me a dozen of the Penfold Hearts for Valentine’s Day. I’ve been playing them a bit and really like them, may have to try out the Ace too.

      Reply

      Larry

      1 year ago

      Now bring back the Commando. Terrible golf ball, perfect Pitch and Putt ball. They are still sold in Europe without the Penfold name on them but shipping costs more than a dozen balls.

      Reply

      Mike

      1 year ago

      Being ancient, I seem to remember Penfold Golf Balls. Besides being a bit smaller in circumference, I thought they at one point had different colors, which were maybe not Aces. It was a long time ago. Wonder if the circumference has remained the same or the new ball is the standard USA size. Might pick up a dozen for old times sake.

      Reply

      BFitz

      1 year ago

      When I first got back into golf in the late 90’s, I played some balls with the same “Aces” theme. I don’t remember the brand, but I was disappointed when they were no longer available. The brand was not Penfold and neither Dunlop nor Maxfli rings a bell. Does anyone else recall such a ball?

      Reply

      Jeff

      1 year ago

      Strata Tour Ace 4 piece urethane ball comes to mind.
      Loved the ball, although the cover was thin and durability was suspect.

      Reply

      Chris

      1 year ago

      Yep, Strata Tour Ace. Someone at the course I was playing in the early 2000’s played that ball and lost a lot of them. I never bought any but I played those found balls for years..the diamond seemed to be my lucky charm.

      Reply

      Frank

      1 year ago

      How about an update on Snell golf balls.

      Enjoy your work.

      Reply

      Tampon Woods

      1 year ago

      I don’t understand. Why make a ball that nobody will buy? Well, not in the numbers that would be profitable. Not at that price. Especially when there are far too many balls now, as is. I get that everybody wants their own brand label, but seriously, there are just too many golf ball brands and types out there now. Unless all the balls being made are bio-degradable and are good for the soils of golf courses or whatever, aren’t we just adding to the environmental disaster that is being seen with things we can’t recycle or dispose of properly?

      Reply

      Cody

      1 year ago

      How is this contributing to an environmental disaster? Might be a disaster for the company if they can’t break even selling them, but worst case scenario they’ll end up on clearance racks, and some weekend hacker will be excited to play a sleeve that he got for $3.

      Reply

      William Clark

      1 year ago

      Used to play the old Swallow Penfolds as a kid in the UK over 50 years ago. I would love to hit them again, for old times’ sake – I will be looking for them.

      Reply

      Golfinnut

      1 year ago

      Funny how TM refuses to respond. LOL ;)

      Reply

      Ernie Armstrong

      1 year ago

      Now that was a blast from the past..
      In a land beyond time, I caddied at a rather exclusive club near Toronto called Box Grove – every Saturday, the same foursome and the only group on the course.
      Among my friends, the ultimate prize when looking for golf balls was a Penfold, especially one with no smiles on the cover.
      Wish I had kept those rather than losing them again myself.

      Reply

      D Lee

      1 year ago

      Ernie, Box Grove became the IBM course (exclusive to IBM employees) and now it exists as Markham Green. IBM sold part of it to housing developers and the rest remained a 9 hole course (a very good one) because that part was flood plain. I played a couple of rounds when it was IBM..

      Reply

      William Clark

      1 year ago

      Boy, I used to play Swallow Penfolds as a kid in the UK 50 years ago. Even as a novelty, I’d love to play Penfolds again. I will be looking for them.

      Reply

      indyvic

      1 year ago

      Oh no surprise from the folks at Taylor Made. Reminds one of their getting caught with their hands in the Adams cookie jar and how that turned out for Adams. TM makes some fine clubs and balls I’ve read but I’m fine not using their ‘stuff.’

      Reply

      ChrisS

      1 year ago

      Just another reason I will NEVER buy, or even use a TaylorMade product. Lack of communication, and no comment to justify their actions; just complete and total arrogance. Not a company I want to support with my $$$$$$.

      Reply

      Jonathan Bluhm

      1 year ago

      Love it. Anyone who is a James Bond fan will recall fondly in Goldfinger where 007 games a Penfold Hearts.

      Reply

      Robert G Dwyer

      1 year ago

      Several years ago my Dad brought me a sleeve of origional Penfold golf balls from Irleand. This was a smaller ball than the US standard golf ball. That to me made the unique so I still have them. Thanks for this article It brouight back good memories of my dad.

      Reply

      Leo Vincent

      1 year ago

      It’s a cool looking ball I think I saw James Bond played Penfold golf balls in an early movie it was black and white I can’t remember which one it was though

      Reply

      Dale

      1 year ago

      Goldfinger

      Reply

      Christopher

      1 year ago

      It was Goldfinger, but it definitely wasn’t a black and white picture!

      Reply

      Carolyn

      1 year ago

      Good article., Nassau made that first 4 piece Kirkland ball that was such a hit, Taylormade had a hand in stopping that I would think. Another ball material Company in Taiwan makes their own ball Kerichem Materials makes the Bison/Trust golf balls. sold on Amazon and directly from them.

      Reply

      MGoBlue100

      1 year ago

      Nice job, JB! I’ve used the Penfold gloves (they’re great!) and seeing some of the old balls in shops in Scotland was beyond cool! Might have t give a dozen of these a spin (see what I did there?) this summer. Keep the excellent content coming!

      Reply

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