- New versions of the TaylorMade TP5 and TP5x golf balls are coming to retail in March.
- Both models feature a new Tour Flight Dimple design.
- The TP5 is faster and longer while the TP5x produces more greenside spin (relative to previous models – now $39.99).
- $47.99 for white and yellow, $49.99 for pix
Here’s a fun fact.
On the USGA’s February 2021 list of conforming golf balls there are 37 balls listed with five-piece construction. Two are made by Kasco. Three are produced by Snyder. Two come from V Plus.
The other 30 are all some flavor of TaylorMade TP5.
We can take a couple of things from that. The first is that a good number of you just learned about three new golf ball brands. The second is that TaylorMade is the only major golf ball brand producing a five-piece golf ball.
TaylorMade TP5 – The Most Complete Tour Ball in Golf
The extra layer is, no doubt, why TaylorMade describes its TP5 series as the most complete Tour ball in golf. The spin performance of a golf ball is driven by the relationship between layers. While competitors use graduated core designs to accomplish similar results, TaylorMade says an added layer provides more precision to tune spin performance throughout the bag. If nothing else, the extra layer in TP5 and TP5x ball is a point of differentiation and, in the golf equipment world, that’s often half the battle. At least.
TP5 – Tour Flight Dimple Design
As with any new ball, you would expect the story of the new TaylorMade TP5 and TP5x golf ball to include the requisite bits about improved performance. There’s definitely some of that but TaylorMade is trending out of the business of making specific yardage claims. The new balls are both longer than their predecessors but TaylorMade isn’t putting a number on it. Along with the added distance, the TP5x is also a bit spin-IER (sorry, couldn’t help myself) around the green as well.
It’s certainly not unusual for cross-industry evolution to occur in parallel and, often, with precise timing so some of what you’re about to read is going to sound familiar. As was the case with the recently released Titleist Pro V1, TaylorMade is also touting its first new dimple design in 10 years. That’s the first new dimple pattern since TaylorMade rode the lightning (the package looked like a Metallica album cover) with its Lethal golf ball.
It makes for an easy joke but I’ll go to my grave screaming about how underappreciated that ball was.
With the Lethal dimple pattern, TaylorMade believes it already had the most efficient (lowest drag) cover on the market. With the new TP5 and TP5x (the cover is the same on both balls), TaylorMade says it was able to further reduce drag by decoupling the relationship between dimple depth and dimple volume.
What that means for golfers is the Tour Flight dimple maintains lift better throughout its full flight. Simply put, it stays in the air longer and without ballooning. The result is more distance with both models.
The Same by Design
While most manufacturers try to create greater differentiation between products, TaylorMade is bucking the trend. The new TP5 and TP5x golf balls are more similar to each other than the prior generation TP5 and TP5x and perhaps more similar than you’d find with any two balls in any competitor’s lineup.
The changes were driven by TaylorMade’s desire to fix what members of its PGA TOUR staff didn’t like about each model without changing any of the things they did.
Specifically, TaylorMade had staffers who liked the softer feel and higher spin rates of the TP5 but moved to the TP5x because of the higher speed and greater distance off the tee.
Similarly, other staffers liked the speed of the TP5x but moved to the TP5 for the extra spin around the greens.
With the new TP5 and TP5x, TaylorMade addressed the shortcomings of each model and, in doing so, narrowed the performance gap between the two.
You can probably see where this is going.
A Longer TP5, a Softer and Spinnier TP5x
The aerodynamic properties of the Tour Flight dimple favor the TP5 off the tee. When combined with a new larger core, the TP5 generates more speed and more distance, particularly off the driver.
It’s still not as long as the TP5x but the gap has been narrowed such that most average golfers aren’t likely to notice much of a difference.
With the TP5x, TaylorMade is leveraging a softer urethane cover formulation to generate more spin and create softer feel around the green. To put some numbers on it, TaylorMade says launch angle is down by about one degree while spin has increased by a few hundred rpm on a 30-yard shot.
While the numbers may sound underwhelming to some, one degree and upwards of 400 rpm are both big values on a 30-yard shot.
Golfers can also expect increased spin on full wedge shots with the TP5x.
When the pieces come together, you’ll find the TaylorMade TP5 and TP5x balls are more similar to each other than last time around but that shouldn’t suggest the balls are the same.
What would be the point of that?
While the points of differentiation between TaylorMade’s TP5 and TP5x have narrowed, the idea is to let the total performance of the ball drive the fitting decision rather than having golfers gravitate to one model over another because of a single performance characteristic or feel preference.
TaylorMade TP5 Versus TP5x
On a comparative basis, the TP5 should launch lower with more spin throughout the bag. Of the two TaylorMade Tour balls, TP5 is the closer to Titleist Pro V1. The previous version of TP5 matches the compression of the Titleist ball to the number. We don’t expect much of a swing with the new model.
Armed with that information, the assumption many golfers make—and it’s a logical one—is that TP5x is most similar to Pro V1x. That’s true from a compression standpoint (they’re one point apart in our database) but, in terms of performance, the high-launch, low-spin TaylorMade TP5x is more similar to the Left Dash version of the Pro V1x, though TaylorMade is quick to point out that TP5x came first.
Regardless of who’s the chicken and who’s the egg in this comparison, TaylorMade believes that, with the aerodynamic benefits of its new cover along with its improved greenside performance, it offers a more complete performance proposition for high-spin players.
Color me intrigued.
And speaking of colors …
TaylorMade TP5 Colors (and Patterns)
Both the TaylorMade and TaylorMade TP5x golf balls will be available in white, yellow and pix (with ClearPath alignment). A USA version (TP5 only) will follow as well.
Pix has become a surprisingly large part of TaylorMade’s ball business. Both Rickie Fowler and Mathew Wolff use the pix ball. While one might infer inherent benefit given Wolff’s improved short-distance putting stats since the switch, at the least it suggests golfers of all abilities are more open to patterns and colors.
Serious golfers are no longer limited to white.
TaylorMade – A Serious Player in the Golf Ball Market?
The rankings almost certainly depend on when you start the count and precisely what numbers you look at but TaylorMade can legitimately claim to be among the fastest-growing ball brands over the last four years or so. Its market share has, at times, reached into the mid-teens and, while that’s a long way from Titleist, it’s notable that unlike most of its competitors, TaylorMade’s lower-cost offerings aren’t particularly strong in the marketplace (though who doesn’t love the Noodle?). The point is that the growth is being driven by its Tour-level balls which makes sense given the strength of TaylorMade’s PGA TOUR staff.
If its premium balls sales begin to trickle down, TaylorMade could find itself as a serious contender for the No. 2 spot in the market where it could, one day, make a serious run at Titleist.
For now, the company is content with steady growth and the bragging rights that come from having guys like DJ, Rory, Colin Morikawa and Rickie Fowler play your golf ball.
TaylorMade TP5 and TP5x Golf Balls – Pricing and Availability
The TaylorMade TP5 and TP5x will retail for $47.99 with availability beginning March 4. Yellow and pix models will follow on March 9. Yellow will retail for $47.99. The TP5 and TP5x pix will be $49.99. Pre-order is available now.
The now prior-generation TaylorMade TP5 and TP5x (including yellow and pix versions) have been reduced to $39.99. Collegiate and NBA versions are $51.99.
For more information, visit TaylorMadeGolf.com.