Titleist Pro V1 RCT Golf Ball (for Trackman)
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Titleist Pro V1 RCT Golf Ball (for Trackman)

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Titleist Pro V1 RCT Golf Ball (for Trackman)

Trackman and Titleist have partnered on a new (sorta) golf ball. The Titleist Pro V1 RCT is the first golf ball specifically designed for use with Trackman in an indoor environment.

What?

Let’s back up a bit.

Golf is traditionally, perhaps even fundamentally, a game played outdoors. But, when you consider lessons, fittings, and a fully simulated golf experience, there is inarguably a massive number of shots being hit indoors. It’s also true that we live in the age of data. Very few of us are banging balls for the sake of banging balls. The shots we hit indoors need to be measured, and they need to be measured accurately.

That’s where the Titleist Pro V1 RCT comes in.

Doppler’s Dirty Little Secret

Perhaps it’s unfair to call it a dirty little secret because it’s well-understood across the golf industry that Doppler radar-based launch monitors, most notably (given today’s topic) Trackman, have some issues in limited flight environments. Limited flight is a semi-technical way of describing any hitting situation that involves a screen, a net, or anything else (other than a tree) that impedes the flight of a golf ball.

The specific problem is that Dopper-based systems like Trackman struggle to accurately capture the spin axis and spin rates when they can’t track the full flight of the golf ball. This is particularly true for high-speed, low-spin golfers.

I’m guessing some of you probably didn’t know that.

That’s not to say radar is never right indoors or that the accuracy can’t be improved by affixing aluminum dot stickers to the golf ball and aligning it to the target, but indoors, radar has issues. And that thing is, when you’re not getting spin axis values (effectively the curvature of the golf ball) or spin rates correctly, other metrics like height, descent angle, carry, and total distance aren’t being calculated correctly either. That makes it pretty much impossible to know exactly what the ball did.

In teaching situations where you’re often more interested in the swing than the ball flight or for your virtual round at Pebble Beach, misreads aren’t a big deal. My swing coach (poor bastard) uses Trackman indoors, and it gives us absolutely everything we need to improve my game, but in fitting and research environments, filtering the noise caused by bad spin data can be a challenge, and failure to do so can lead to bad insights and recommendations.

While this may be the first you’re hearing of it, this isn’t new information, but the advent of the Pro V1 RCT certainly represents the most public acknowledgment of the problem I’ve seen to date.

an image of the core of the Titleist Pro V1 RCT golf ball

Titleist Pro V1 RCT Golf Ball

The solution to Trackman’s indoor spin problem is the Titleist Pro V1 RCT golf ball. RCT stands for Radar Capture Technology.

The Pro V1 (and Pro V1x) RCT is the result of a 2-year research and development collaboration between Trackman and Titleist. Very simply, the Titleist Pro V1 RCT replaces the aluminum sticker on the exterior of the golf ball with what Titleist calls a radar reflective mark underneath the cover of the ball. That radar reflective mark is actually a kind of ink on the casing layer. It not only removes the need for a sticker but also eliminates the need to orient the ball in any specific direction. When used with the Titleist Pro V1 RCT, not only is Trackman more accurate than when using a sticker (and way more accurate than when not), Trackman says the Pro V1 with RCT makes its Trackman 4 system more accurate than anything on the market right now.

Bold statement. Love it.

For its part in this, Titleist says that extensive testing with the Pro V1 RCT has shown Trackman can accurately capture spin more than 99% of the time.

Hands-on with the RCT

I had a chance to hit 75 or so shots with the RCT balls in a Trackman simulator environment. Anecdotally, spin capture was significantly improved. I didn’t get a single italicized spin reading. In the Trackman world, italics indicates an estimate as opposed to a measurement. In a typical session, I’ll encounter several italicized spin numbers so, either Trackman has rolled out a font update, or it’s more accurately capturing spin rates with the Titleist Pro V1 RCT. I’m betting it’s the latter.

There were a couple of drives (high toe shots – it’s always the high toe miss for me) where what I felt (a low spin sweeping toe draw) didn’t agree with what Trackman spit out (very high spin push slice). Feelings aren’t facts, however, so while I’m not entirely convinced the spin axis issues have been resolved completely, I won’t be certain until I can do some head-to-head comparisons with the GCQuad.

For now, let’s accept that the Titleist Pro V1 RCT can dramatically improve the accuracy of Trackman in limited flight environments. That’s obviously a big deal, but a secondary benefit of RCT is that it reduces the flight distance required to capture data reliably by 25%-30%. With the Pro V1 RCT, Trackman can get good spin data with as little as 8 feet of flying distance.

More accurate data with less space required. That’s a good thing.

a closeup image of the Titleist Pro V1 RCT golf ball

Titleist Pro V1 RCT Technology

As far as the ball itself is concerned, There’s no RCT-specific mixture or chemistry. Every RCT starts as a mainline Pro V1 (or Pro V1x). Balls are diverted long enough for the radar reflective mark to be printed on the casing layers before applying the covers. The only thing the mark impacts is the weight of the golf ball, but the additional mass is so insignificant that RCT-infused Pro V1s still fall within Titleist’s standard tolerances for weight. Effectively that means you should expect Titleist Pro V1 RCT balls to perform identically to their mainstream counterparts. It’s worth noting that RCT balls are not only USGA conforming; no separate entry is required on the conforming list. The USGA considers the RCT version to be the same as the current retail Pro V1.

Trackman Tweaks and What’s In it For You

To maximize the benefits of the Pro V1 RCT, Trackman had to tweak its algorithms to work with an embedded mark (as opposed to a sticker). Support for RCT was rolled out with version 2.2 of Trackman’s firmware, so Trackman owners will want to install the update. Seriously, do it now.

It should be obvious what Trackman’s angle is here. The Titleist Pro V1 RCT and the related software upgrade address (and presumably fix) a significant weakness in its system. If the ball works as advertised, it brings the indoor playing field closer to level while further widening the gap between Trackman and its radar-based competition. The Pro V1 RCT also makes Trackman’s launch monitors inherently better for its indoor userbase. Happy customers are often repeat customers.

Forward-thinking a bit, if Trackman ever decides to enter the rapidly-growing consumer market, it would have an immediate and significant leg-up on its tiny doppler-based competition.

And about that competition …

In talking with both Titleist and Trackman, my sense is that both have been so focused on getting RCT technology dialed-in that neither has had much time to test the ball with competing devices. The belief is that RCT golf balls will likely improve the accuracy of other Doppler-based devices, though now would probably be a good time to point out that not all doppler is the same.

Without a complete understanding of exactly how RCT works, Trackman believes it will be difficult for its competitors to achieve anything close to the 99% spin capture rate with their systems. Still, RCT will likely improve the accuracy of those devices, even without software updates. Ultimately, the Pro V1 RCT could help golfers get more out of the radar-based personal launch monitors they already own.

a photo of the core of the Titleist Pro V1x RCT golf ball

What’s In It For Titleist

For Titleist, the value of the partnership is a little less clear. Realistically, it’s only going to sell a few thousand dozen Pro V1 RCTs a year. Even at $64.99 a box, that’s not going to shift its bottom line. That’s especially true given the technology has been engineered to return accurate spin data even after hundreds of shots. The balls are designed to last, and given the intended use, very few RCTs are likely to be dunked in water hazards.

There is something to be said for what Titleist’s VP of Marketing for Golf Balls, Jeremy Stone, describes as “flattening the seasonality of our business.” Basically, RCT gives Titleist ball fitters in cold weather climates the ability to fit year-round. As much as anything else, however, Stone says Titleist took on the RCT project because it likes challenges.

“The Pro V1 RCT showcases the strength of our research and development team and speaks to what goes into every Titleist golf ball,” says Stone.

The subtext there is that perhaps golfers don’t always appreciate ball technology as much as they do club technology. The RCT project provided an opportunity to show that Titleist is an innovator capable of creating products that advance the entire industry.

A golf ball that can deliver near-100% accuracy in indoor Trackman environments has never existed before. Given the popularity of Trackman, it seems inevitable that it will have a meaningful impact.

There are perhaps what I guess we can call psychological implications as well. It’s a safe bet that not everyone will be overtly aware of the Pro V1 RCT, but the reality is that, as of November 3rd, there’s a new standard in indoor fitting with Trackman. If you’re a fitter and you’re not (or if you’re a golfer whose fitter isn’t) using a Titleist Pro V1 RCT, you’re not getting the most accurate data out of Trackman. To best ensure the accuracy of Trackman indoors, the ball needs to be a Titleist.

In a perfect world, every golfer would get fitted for clubs using the ball they play every day. In our imperfect world, at a minimum, fitters should use the best available tools to get the best possible results for their customers. Assuming the Pro V1 RCT works as advertised, it absolutely should be one of those tools. Incidentally, while it might be a bit uncomfortable, this is almost certainly true for Titleist’s competitors as well. Trackman launch monitors in indoor hitting bays across Carlsbad will work better when the Titleist Pro V1 RCT is the ball being hit.

Only a Matter of Time?

We’ve noted countless times that golf is a copycat business, so it’s likely only a matter of time before one or more of Titleist’s competitors develops a version of the radar ball. The advantage for Titleist is that it worked directly with Trackman to develop technology specifically for that system. For its part, Trackman developed software to work specifically with Titleist’s RCT. I’d also wager there’s some contractually guaranteed exclusivity attached, so, in the short-term anyway, similar partnerships are unlikely.

It’s also worth mentioning that Titleist has several patents pending and some other trade secrets intended to give it absolute freedom to operate (presumably alone) in this particular space for the next little while.

In today’s golf equipment space, it’s exceedingly rare for any equipment brand to offer a market exclusive, but when it comes to precision indoor fittings with Trackman, for now anyway, Titleist is the only game in town. For Titleist, Trackman, and thousands of golfers who cross paths with Trackman launch monitors indoors, that’s no small thing.

Titleist Pro V1 RCT Availability and Pricing

Initially, retail availability of Titleist Pro V1 RCT (including Pro V1x RCT) will be limited to North America and Europe. Titleist hopes to have global availability in Q2 of 2022. Likewise, while Titleist’s indoor fitters will have RCT versions of both AVX and the Pro V1x Left Dash in their toolbox, neither will be available at retail – at least not at launch.

Titleist RCT balls will be sold through Titleist.com and by special order from any Titleist account. Some specialty retailers may choose to stock the ball, but you certainly won’t find it on most retail shelves.

Retail price for Titleist Pro V1 RCT and Pro V1x RCT golf balls is $64.99/dozen. Availability begins November 3rd.

For more information, visit Titleist.com.

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Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony is the Editor of MyGolfSpy where his job is to bring fresh and innovative content to the site. In addition to his editorial responsibilities, he was instrumental in developing MyGolfSpy's data-driven testing methodologies and continues to sift through our data to find the insights that can help improve your game. Tony believes that golfers deserve to know what's real and what's not, and that means MyGolfSpy's equipment coverage must extend beyond the so-called facts as dictated by the same companies that created them. Most of all Tony believes in performance over hype and #PowerToThePlayer.

Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony Covey





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      HAC

      3 years ago

      I would expect Titleist to come out with this feature for all of its balls. Pros would love it for doing ball fittings for people

      Reply

      Jay

      2 years ago

      Not going to happen, the process and materials are to expensive to put on all ball types. Most of you here don’t want to pay $48 per dozen for the ball that’s used by more pros on all yours than any other, and at a 10:1 ratio, you think they’re going to make $25 per dozen balls with this technology? And before you beg Costco to make/sell it, the technology and process is patent protected.

      Reply

      Matt A

      3 years ago

      So….I wonder if other companies’ radar products can be updated to use this tech?

      Reply

      Rob

      3 years ago

      You would think if this is designed for indoor use they would sell in different quantities than a dozen.

      Reply

      Mike

      3 years ago

      Sure, everyone has $11,000 to drop on one . In fact, think I’ll buy one for each of my golfing buddies for Christmas this year!

      Reply

      Mike

      3 years ago

      Apologies, meant to attach my comment to the comment below this one!

      John

      3 years ago

      Hey genius, this wasn’t designed for every golfer to to purchase a trackman unit and perfect their swing. If you read the article, the main purpose is to capture distance, club speed, ball speed, launch angle, and most importantly, actual spin data instead of estimated spin data based on all the previous stats, and the main purpose is for indoor use with 2 to 3 units, not one unit for every user outside like a pro. And no, other launch monitors will not capture the data, this is a partnership where one doesn’t exist without the other.

      Paul Guerra

      3 years ago

      Why not safe the hassle and money and just get a GC Quad which is more accurate indoors and cheaper than a track man. Look @ the range @ most tour events and they are using a Foresight GC Quad!!

      Reply

      John

      3 years ago

      All other units ” ESTIMATE” spin based on launch angle, club speed, ball speed. TrackMan with RCT give you ACTUAL spin numbers, not projected.

      Reply

      CrashTestDummy

      3 years ago

      It is interesting that Titleist went pretty much all-in with Trackman. Looks like they are promoting that only Trackman will be able to really see the increased accuracy of the RCT ball. Looks like other launch monitor companies were an afterthought.

      Reply

      John

      3 years ago

      Either you guys can’t read, or can’t understand the English language, the Trackman unit with Titleist RCT made premium products is mainly for use indoors, and it captures ACTUAL SPIN DATA, not projected spin based on the club speed, ball speed, launch angle etc. There is no other launch monitor that captured ACTUAL SPIN DATE, that’s what is new, and unique to TrackMan with RCT!!!!

      Reply

      David

      3 years ago

      And photometric simulators? For spins? Ty

      Reply

      Darryl

      3 years ago

      And the Garmin R10, too, please.

      Reply

      Steve Smith

      3 years ago

      Something cheap to test as an alternate. Aluminum paint. It doesn’t come in a paint stick manner to my knowledge but a spray can is around $8. Spray some in a container, dab a few/several dots on a ball like your sharpie marks and see if the radar data is improved. ????

      Did I mention I”m cheap?

      Something to check out with the club fitters/teachers for the upcoming winter months.

      Reply

      Scotty

      3 years ago

      I think half the point of putting it underneath the urethane is so it lasts longer.
      Can’t imagine the paint lasting long at all, plus would interfere with the grooves biting?

      Reply

      John

      3 years ago

      No, it was put under the cover so the ball looks the same, do you want to hit balls with Silver shapes printed on them? This is mainly for indoor use, for entertainment in an indoor range where food and alcohol are served and friends compete against each other, like bowling, remember that?

      John

      3 years ago

      Oh, that’s brilliant, I wonder why Titleist and Trackman spent so much time & money working on this when all they needed was $8.00 of aluminum paint and any random design you’d like to draw on the ball. I can’t believe you haven’t built a TrackMan competitor in your basement yet since it’s that simple…. ????????????????????

      Reply

      Aaron

      3 years ago

      Users of this golf ball probably aren’t hitting into some crap net in their back yard! So putting paint or markers on the ball will transfer onto the also expensive impact screen you’re hitting into. Good thought tho!!

      Reply

      Brent

      3 years ago

      That’s fine for hitting into a net. But for simulators the last thing you want is silver paint rubbing off on an $800 golf projection screen.

      Reply

      Charlie Crowe

      3 years ago

      The paint will mark up your screen. I wouldn’t recommend that.

      Reply

      Nick

      3 years ago

      Something needed to be done, and it’s good to see…
      I play a soft draw that sometimes hooks and sometimes pushes. Indoor trackman gives me nothing but pushes or push fades.
      I have hit balls on indoor trackman convinced I’m suddenly push slicing, only to head straight to the range and nothing of the sort occurred.
      Again, good to see something in the works that lends itself to more accuracy.

      Reply

      Bob

      3 years ago

      Same experience for me. I was at the range yesterday, hit draws all day both with irons and driver. Was there literally until my driver face cracked. No bueno. None the less it’s under warranty so I went to process my replacement at golf galaxy which now has all trackman bays. It said I was pushing and slicing my wedges. I had an in to out path with a fairway wood and a face that was closed to path and somehow it was a fade? Yes it was hit in the middle of the face not off the heel.

      Trackman are insanely good outside but indoors they are very suspect. I’m hoping this ball can make up significant distance in closing the gap between indoors and out.

      Reply

      John

      3 years ago

      Another couple of guys who think this was created and developed so they could go to an outdoor driving range and hit new VI & VIX to shave a couple strokes off their 26 handicap and build the perfect swing. Does your outdoor range offer you new VI & VIx and a TrackMan unit for $8.00 per bucket? Guess what, they still won’t.

      Aaron

      3 years ago

      So I’m guessing your game has never changed from day to day pro? Also may want to check the alignment of the TrackMan you were hitting on. 3 clicks of a mouse and you’re all good!!

      Eric H

      3 years ago

      Does this mean I shouldn’t pay attention to the driver spin rate on an indoor Trackman, using a Srixon Z Star? I’m high 140s ball speed, 15-16 degree launch, 2800-2900 spin and want to get my spin down 300-400 rpm, but am I basing that on an inaccurate spin number to begin with?

      Other than the dots, is there a way to mark the ball in an indoor setting to improve the spin reading?

      Reply

      Gib

      3 years ago

      I hope that somehow the mevo+ can take advantage of this, or FlightScope can partner with someone to do something similar.

      Reply

      GilB

      3 years ago

      Always on the cutting edge, Titleist and Trackman have made this subject very interesting and a new toy for the serious golfer. Being a new technology I suspect some tweaks will be made by both and copied by others. I’ll wait until the technology improves but it’s great to know it’s out there.

      Reply

      Xoe

      3 years ago

      Will this be Trackman 4 specific, or compatible with older Trackman units? I’m wondering if those of us who own a Stone-Age Trackman 3e will still get all the benefits needed.

      Reply

      BObby

      3 years ago

      Will this help other radar-based devices? like the Garmin R10?

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      It’s a bit of an unknown but I think it’s likely, though not to same extent that Trackman benefits from the ball.

      If nothing else, it could provide enough signal (even without software overhauls) that others could start to include spin rates among the metrics offered – with the caveat that the Titleist ball is required.

      Reply

      Jay

      3 years ago

      You really need to test with Rapsodo, your favorite PLM!!

      Jeff

      3 years ago

      I wonder if part of the play here is enhancing their own fitting capabilities since I believe Titleist still uses Trackman for its Titleist Thursdays and can now confidently offer those fitting options through big box stores and not just courses during the summer.

      Reply

      bob

      3 years ago

      This is going to be perfect for me. I am a bit of an anomaly since I only practice, club fit and ball fit on an outdoor range but I play all of my rounds exclusively on simulated courses and launch monitors. I just feel the ability to erase shots and hit again from the mat instead of the faux rough is better for my scores. This is my new ball of choice, hands down.

      Reply

      Craig

      3 years ago

      Bob you are a funny guy

      Reply

      Patrick

      3 years ago

      Just curious Bob, but do you ever play on real courses?

      Reply

      Shooting72

      3 years ago

      Dope! Has been a problem with me in the past (my baby fade sometimes gets exaggerated) can’t wait to try these out

      Reply

      Ken Jones

      3 years ago

      Will MGS be doing any testing with the RCT on other monitors? Specifically, the Mevo+. If you don’t, hopefully FlightScope will..

      Reply

      Andrew

      3 years ago

      Interested in this comparison as well.

      Reply

      BK

      3 years ago

      Is the technology applicable for any Doppler Radar device like R10/Rapsodo?

      Reply

      Wes

      3 years ago

      Curious to see if it will benefit for Rapsodo as well. Would love to see if this helps on indoor net readings!

      Reply

      JR

      3 years ago

      +1 Would love to know if this will help my R10 indoor stats

      Reply

      Mitch G

      3 years ago

      This could be really awesome if Trackman releases a semi-affordable indoor simulator/launch monitor that can be used at home.

      Reply

      Dan

      3 years ago

      Uh, they did………. Mevo+……………………………What do you really think you are going to get for under $1,000??? It is a purpose built technology product, that appeals to a small segment of golfers and an even smaller segment the consumer population, that has $1,000-$2,000 to electively spend on a technology like this

      Reply

      Jack

      3 years ago

      Mevo+ is a Flightscope product.

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