MyGolfSpy Ball Lab is where we quantify the quality and consistency of the golf balls on the market to help you find the best ball for your money. Today, we’re taking a look at the TaylorMade TP5X. An overview of the equipment we use can be found here. To learn more about our test process, how we define “bad” balls and our True Price metric, check out our About MyGolfSpy Ball Lab page.
For more than a few years, I’d have argued that TaylorMade’s golf ball franchise, dating back to TP Red and Black, was the most underappreciated of any serious player in the golf ball market. It’s reasonable to put the blame for that squarely on TaylorMade. With dominance in the metalwood category first on the agenda, making waves in the ball market was of secondary or even tertiary concern.
When driver sales weren’t what they were supposed to be, the play call invariably was to pull from the ball budget to bolster the big dog.
In more recent years, however, TaylorMade has devoted real and ongoing resources to the development and growth of the TP5 franchise. Part of its reallocation of Tour spend was to sign Rickie Fowler as its first ball- (and glove-) only ambassador. That alone should tell you TaylorMade is finally serious about the golf ball.
An honest assessment of the market suggests nobody is remotely within striking distance of the Pro V1 but with shares ticking up slightly, and admittedly projecting years down the road, I believe TaylorMade is the most serious threat to Titleist.
About the TaylorMade TP5x
Like TaylorMade’s TP5, the TP5x features five-piece construction. Across the major market as a whole, the construction is unique – every other Tour ball that matters offers either three- or four-piece construction. With more layers, theoretically, comes a greater ability to tune spin throughout the bag, though its competitors will say they accomplish the same thing with graduated core designs.
It’s also true that with more layers come more complexity and greater opportunity for things to go sideways during the manufacturing process.
TaylorMade classifies the TP5x as a high-launch, low-spin ball. Generally, those comparisons are relative to the manufacturer’s lineup, so the performance takeaway here is that it can be expected to fly higher and spin a bit less than TP5 throughout the bag.
As with the TP5, the TP5x offers a bit of an odd manufacturing story. The four inner layers are manufactured in Asia and not necessarily in the same factory. Our samples were produced in Korea. However, it wouldn’t be surprising if your box of TP5x reads differently.
TaylorMade is working towards consolidating its overseas core manufacturing. Covers are applied at TaylorMade’s golf ball plant in Liberty, S.C.
TaylorMade TP5x – Compression
On our gauge, the average compression of the TaylorMade TP5x is 98. That about eight points firmer than the standard TP5 and places it among the firmest balls in our database, bookended by the slightly softer RZN HS-TOUR and the ever-so-slightly-firmer Bridgestone TOUR B X.
The high-launch, low-spin characteristic paired with high compression is a recipe for distance. As with the Titleist Pro V1x Left Dash, the firm feel may not appeal to preference-driven golfers (especially seniors who like the softness of low-compression golf balls), but if maximizing distance throughout the bag is a priority, TP5x is one to consider – especially for golfers who generate greater than average spin.
TaylorMade TP5x – Weight and Diameter
- None of the balls tested exceeded the USGA weight limit of 1.620 ounces.
- Zero percent of the balls failed to meet our standard for roundness.
- Six percent of the balls failed the ball track (minimum allowable diameter test) and were flagged as bad accordingly.
We’ve previously noted that TaylorMade flirts (I’d argue aggressively so) with the USGA’s minimum allowable diameter limit. In replicating the USGA’s ball track test, six percent of our sample passed through our 1.68-inch ring gauge more than the 25 percent of the time allowable under the rules. Those balls were flagged as bad.
We should note that a slightly smaller golf ball is typically a longer golf ball so, in that respect, golfers benefit when the ball is undersized. Nevertheless, the rules are the rules.
TaylorMade TP5x – Inspection
Centeredness and Concentricity
As with the TaylorMade TP5, minor defects including slightly off-center cores and visibly non-concentric layers (including incursion from an outer layer into an inner layer) were not uncommon.
We did flag two balls as bad as we felt the cores were off-center enough that there would likely be performance implications.
Across our sample, core color was consistent from ball to ball. In two instances we found a single piece of small non-uniform material in the core. They were noted but were not considered significant enough to flag the ball as bad.
We found a single cover with some minor dimple damage. We also identified a ball where the cover was a bit thinner than the rest. Though the cover was close to the limit of what we deem acceptable, both issues fell in the minor category and neither ball was flagged as bad.
TaylorMade TP5x Consistency
In this section, we detail the consistency of the TaylorMade TP5x. It’s a measure of how similar the balls in our sample were to one another, relative to all of the models we’ve tested to date.
- Consistency (of weight) across our TaylorMade TP5x sample fell within the average range.
- Diameter consistency relative to the other balls in our database fell in the fair (below average range).
- This is almost certainly, in part, due to the undersized balls found within the sample.
- Compression consistency across the sample was good (above average).
- The compression range across the sample of balls was just a tick over four compression points. It doesn’t get much better
- The compression range across the three points measured on each ball (what we call the IBCR Delta) was just over one compression point on average, which is also just about as good as it gets.
True Price is how we quantify the quality of a golf ball. It's a projection of what you'd have to spend to ensure you get 12 good balls.
The True Price will always be equal to or greater than the retail price. The greater the difference between the retail price and the True Price, the more you should be concerned about the quality of the ball.
TaylorMade TP5x – Summary Report
To learn more about our test process, how we define “bad” balls and our True Price metric, check out our About MyGolfSpy Ball Lab page.
By any measure of compression consistency, our sample was excellent.
With the TP5/5x, TaylorMade flirts with the USGA minimum size allowance to the point where it sometimes crosses the line. You never want to see an appreciably off-center core and the rate of minor defects appears higher than leading balls in the premium/Tour category.
The True Price of the TaylorMade TP5x is $50.61 per dozen. That represents a 13-percent increase over MSRP ($44.99). That’s still reasonably solid and with TaylorMade selling the TP5x for $39.99 (and retailers offering additional holiday discounts), there’s outstanding value to be had in a golf ball that’s well suited for golfers looking to cut spin while gaining speed on full shots without giving up too much around the green.