HiTaylorMade is on a bit of a roll with its golf balls. While Titleist remains, by far, the most dominant ball in golf, TP5 is the real deal, and that’s given the company and its balls some real tour momentum. Twist Face drivers may be getting all the attention right now, but TaylorMade staffers are winning, and they’re doing it with TaylorMade balls in the bag.
That’s the happy bit of the story, but TaylorMade understands the reality that $50/dozen tour balls will likely never be the biggest seller for any ball company not named Titleist. TP5 might not reach elite golfers the same way a Pro V1 does, but for average golfers, there’s some serious appeal to a tour-quality ball at a significantly lower price. The success of Vice and Snell among others suggests that’s the way the market is trending, so it’s worth mentioning that TaylorMade started down that path way back in 2014.
The Project (a) (why the brackets?) is a three-piece golf ball with a cast urethane cover, just like the Pro V1. Until the TP5 launched, Project (a) was TaylorMade’s most successful golf ball model, despite flying mostly under the radar. The Project (a) could hold its own against anything at a similar price point, and you can bet TaylorMade believes its new (a) can more than do the same against anything sub-$40. And yeah, that includes Titleist’s new non-urethane covered Tour Soft.
So what has changed between Project (a) iterations?
I’ll give you one guess.
Consumer feedback showed that only 7% of Project (a) consumers chose the ball because of distance. Short off the tee? Not dramatically so, but as you’d expect, TaylorMade has worked hard on increasing driver distance without sacrificing Project (a)’s soft feel. Yes, that’s right, TaylorMade makes a soft ball too.
TaylorMade claims the new Project (a) is producing upwards of 10 more yards off the tee compared to the previous version.
How is that possible?
First up are the dimples. There’s always a dimple story. The new (a) leverages the seamless 322 dimple pattern from the TP5 and TP5x. That gets you less drag so, all things being equal, the ball travels farther through the air.
Second, there’s a new Dual-Distance core. An extra large inner core helps reduce spin, while the firmer outer core helps retain speed. For good measure, a thin urethane cover helps provide soft feel and better bite for more greenside spin.
Is Project (a) a tour ball for the masses then? That’s been the message since 2014, and frankly, it’s a ball that probably hasn’t received all the attention it deserves – and that was before TP5, which TaylorMade believes will prove to be a better performing ball for just about anyone.
Project (a) was originally marketed as a tour-quality ball for slow to moderate swing amateurs, but its position has shifted a bit to target the feel driven and now distance driven golfer. Our hunch is that for some within that group, it’s still a better ball than the TP series, while remaining a bit of a sleeper for soft feel at a price crowd.
Bottom line, it’s a good ball worth another look.
Available in White and Yellow. Retail price is $34.99
Also announced is the new Project (s), a 3-piece Ionomer cover ball designed for slower swing speeds. Compression is lower than that of Project (a), and according to TaylorMade, offers the softest cover in its category.
Softer, longer, and less than $25 a dozen. That’s your headline.
Available in White, Yellow, and Matte Orange. Retail Price is $24.99