There’s a new flavor of Pro V1 coming to retail this October…well, sorta.
Beginning October 1st, golfers will be able to order the Left Dash variant of Pro V1x from any authorized Titleist golf ball account.
As many of you are aware, it’s not uncommon for manufacturers to offer tour staff a selection of golf balls that aren’t available to retail customers. While some view that as an especially nefarious form of bait and switch, or jump to the conclusion that tour pros get the good stuff while average guys get the garbage, the truth is quite a bit less sinister.
Tour-only offerings aren’t magic, they’re not exceptional, or even better; they’re just different. The fact is +/- 85% of Titleist’s Tour staff plays exactly the same Pro V1 or Pro V1x that you and I buy at retail. Having said that, it’s also true that elite golfers are notoriously picky. While we may not sweat a degree or two here or there, the best players in the world are looking to launch through exceptionally specific windows, with equally specific trajectory and spin performance.
For those situations, Titleist offers what it calls CPOs – Custom Performance Options. The current CPO catalog consists of 3 golf balls, each to some degree different from the retail offerings.
Once upon a time, CPOs were available to PGA Tour Pros only. As the lines between PGA Tour and European Tour and Web.com/Korn Ferry and even the Tour Champions blurred, Titleist began offering CPOs across all the professional tours.
As CPOs trickled down, Titleist found increased demand among amateurs, particularly for the Pro V1x Left Dash. Demand is a relative term here. By no means is Left Dash a meat of the bell curve offering, but Titleist doesn’t try to hide the fact that it and the other CPOs exist. “There’s no secret sauce here,” says Michael Mahoney, Titleist’s VP of Golf Ball marketing. “It’s just another option in the matrix.”
Across the worldwide professional tours, use of Titleist CPOs is minimal, and in a reasonable world, that would be the case for the retail market as well. Between AVX, Pro V1, and Pro V1x, Titleist thinks it has about 95% of amateur golfers covered.
Left Dash Performance Characteristics
From a performance perspective, Left Dash (named for the “-“ on the left side of the side stamp) is described as a low spin Pro V1x. For context, it’s important to note within Titleist’s current lineup, AVX is low launch/low spin. Pro V1 is mid launch/mid spin, and Pro V1x is high launch/high spin. Those descriptions are, of course, relative, but the interesting note about Left Dash is with its high launch, low spin characteristics, it has a non-linear relationship to Titleist’s other tour-level offerings.
Another way to look at Left Dash; it has the higher compression of Pro V1x, but the low spin properties of AVX (Mahoney says Left Dash isn’t quite as low spin as AVX, but it’s close). It’s an option for high spin players who either don’t like the soft feel of AVX, or who don’t want to eat the ball speed loss off the tee inherent to low compression balls.
Where to Find Left Dash
The 4-piece Left Dash Pro V1x doesn’t replace anything in the current lineup, and you won’t find it sitting on store shelves next to Titleist’s other offerings. It’s unlikely you’ll find a stash hidden behind the counter at your local pro shop either. “It’s not the secret menu at In-N-Out,” says Michael Mahoney. While there’s always a chance that some green grass accounts may choose to stock a few dozen for 3 or 4 players within the membership, the overwhelming majority of sales are expected to be through custom orders. I suspect that the overwhelming majority of golfers won’t ever know the Left Dash option exists.
The Other CPO offerings
As I mentioned, Left Dash is one of three custom performance options currently available to Titleist’s tour staff. It’s the most popular of the bunch, which is why it’s headed to a catalog near you. Titleist has no plans to offer either of the other two CPOs in any retail capacity, but human nature being what it is, I thought you might be curious about their performance characteristics.
Pro V1 Left Dot
The Pro V1 Left Dot (3-piece) is described as a low flying, low spinning Pro V1. It’s an older model that served as a test case for what would become the 2017 retail Pro V1. Specifically, Left Dot served as a proof of concept for a design which allowed Titleist to increase speed without increasing compression. Left Dot is significant for starting a shift that led to a higher percentage of Tour Pros playing Pro V1. Before Left Dot, tour use heavily favored Pro V1x. Now, it’s a near-even split between Pro V1 and Pro V1x.
On a relative scale, Left Dot is more similar to Pro V1 than Left Dash is to Pro V1x. Current use of Left Dot on tour is minimal and driven mainly by subtle differences in flight characteristics. As an interesting footnote – Left Dot was the ball Rickie Fowler used before signing a a ball deal with TaylorMade and putting TP5X in play.
On the extreme end of the Titleist CPO offerings is the 3-piece ProV1★(Pro V1 Star). Billed as high spin and high compression, it’s the spiniest ball in the Pro V1 family. Effectively a niche offering within an already niche portion of the tour market, Star is the least popular of the CPOs. In some sense, it’s the opposite of Left Dash. The latter works for exceptionally high spin players, while Star is an option for exceptionally low spin players. Justin Thomas, for example, played Star for a run earlier this year while working on some swing changes that dropped his spin numbers appreciably. He has since moved away from the ball.
What Left Dash, Left Dot, and Star have in common is that each played a role in developing technologies used in the next generation of Titleist products.
Pro V1x Left Dash Pricing and Availability
The Titleist Pro V1x Left Dash Golf ball will be available for custom October 1st from authorized Titleist accounts. That’s everywhere from small green grass shops to Dick’s Sporting Goods.
There is no yellow option, and customization (custom player numbers) are not available at this time, though I suppose it’s worth noting that at this time often means maybe later, let’s see how this goes.
Retail price is $47.99, but the takeaway is you should expect to pay whatever you currently pay for Pro V1 or Pro V1x.