• Titleist has introduced new versions of Tour Speed and Tour Soft.
  • Tour Speed is “reformulated”; Tour Soft is billed as “new.”
  • Retail price in the U.S. is $40 (Tour Speed) and $35 (Tour Soft).
  • Available May 20

a photo of Titleist Tour Speed and Titleist Tour Soft golf balls

The original Titleist Tour Speed golf ball launched in August of 2020. Given the cadence of the industry, a late May release might suggest Titleist is coming to market a little early with Version 2.0. The thing is … This Tour Speed isn’t really a Version 2.0. According to Titleist, it’s not technically new. It’s reformulated which I suppose could make it Version 1.5. But, early to market?  Definitely not. For Titleist, the reality is closer to just in time.

Before we dig into all that, let’s briefly explore the nearly-as-brief history of Tour Speed.

A Brief History of Titleist Tour Speed

Tour Speed is Titleist’s entry into the “not played on Tour” urethane market. While there is the occasional exception, we’re talking about balls used almost exclusively by recreational golfers, and moderate swing speed ones at that. It’s a competitive set that includes things like Chrome Soft, Tour Response and the Bridgestone RX series.

Beyond filling a niche in the market, Tour Speed is notable for Titleist in that it’s the first (and only) ball in the lineup to use a TPU (thermo-plastic urethane) cover. Pro V1 and Pro V1x, as well as AVX, leverage cast-urethane cover technology.

We can save the cast-versus-TPU cover conversation for another day but, within the Titleist ecosystem, TPU (which is has co-opted as Titleist Performance Urethane) is good but cast urethane is better. It’s a good bit of the reason that justifies the cost difference between Tour Speed and Titleist’s other urethane offerings.

From a performance perspective, Tour Speed trends toward lower-spinning. That’s common for balls playing in the same space. While not among the lowest-compression balls in its space, at around 78 compression, it’s soft by Titleist urethane standards.

That higher relative compression along with a 346 quadrilateral dipyramid dimple design (that won’t be on the test) makes for a surprisingly long golf ball that proved one of the biggest eye-openers in our 2021 ball test.

Titleist Tour Speed in the Marketplace

It should go without saying that Tour Speed isn’t the top-selling ball in the Titleist lineup. Its numbers are closer to AVX which is to say it isn’t a juggernaut but it’s enough that it would be the top-selling ball in some competitors’ lineups. It has an audience that Titleist believes is growing. Better still (for Titleist, anyway), the Tour Speed converts aren’t moving down from Pro V1; they’re moving up from an ionomer-covered ball or moving over from competitors’ offerings.

Why? Golfers—at least some golfers—really like Tour Speed.

When Titleist surveyed Tour Speed users, they found 75 percent were satisfied with the product. An equal percentage said they either play Tour Speed exclusively or as one of the two or three balls they play regularly.

All of this is a round-about way of saying that, for Titleist, it’s good to have Tour Speed in the lineup.

And that, my friends, brings us to the realities of the world right now.

Supply Chain Challenges

As you’ve heard, the global supply chain remains in chaos. Depending on where you live and what your golf ball of choice is, you may or may not have felt the effects of an ionomer shortage.

Ionomer is the cover material of choice for two-piece golf balls. It’s also used in the casing/mantle layers of three-, four- and five-layer options. The bottom line is there’s a lot of overlap industry-wide with suppliers, those suppliers are spread thin and, much as you might like to, you can’t make a golf ball without ionomer.

Ball manufacturers are dealing with the shortage in different ways. Some are simply making fewer of everything. Others are shifting the bulk of production to their biggest sellers. In some regions, models are disappearing from shelves and DTC brands are feeling the pinch as overseas factories allocate the bulk of their materials to larger customers.

Despite its strength in the market, Titleist is feeling the pinch, too.

It doesn’t need to be said but, with allocations already tight, cutting production of Pro V1 is a non-starter. Still, Titleist didn’t want to pause production on Tour Speed. The future of the ball is too bright for it to disappear from retail shops. Faced with a difficult decision, Titleist decided to reinvent … or reformulate.

an image of the core of the 2022 Titleist Tour Speed golf ball

A Reformulated Titleist Tour Speed

The story of the reformulated Tour Speed isn’t that it’s longer. It doesn’t fly higher. You also shouldn’t expect any additional greenside spin. It’s not even softer.

Despite an entirely new core formulation and an entirely new mantle formulation and, I suppose, in spite of that 346 quadrilateral dipyramid dimple design, golfers should expect the reformulated Tour Speed to perform identically to the old Tour Speed.

I know. We’ve all come to expect that newer is longer. Newer spin more. Newer almost always feels softer so “newer is the same” isn’t much of a sales pitch but let’s look at it from Titleist’s perspective.

To achieve performance parity with the original Tour Speed, it had to find new materials and new suppliers. It also had to qualify the new suppliers (their factories and their machinery) to ensure the materials they deliver are the same every time. Titleist had to develop entirely new chemistries and compositions that deliver the requisite performance.

Sometimes breaking even is a feat of engineering.

It’s what the company calls “doing right by the golfer” and, to put it in perspective, imagine your favorite restaurant trying to recreate a popular dish using an entirely different set of ingredients.

That’s essentially what Titleist did in reformulating Tour Speed.

So, yeah, the reformulated Tour Speed isn’t “better.” It’s almost entirely different but should perform the same. Innovation and improvement are temporary casualties of the supply chain but that’s what it took to keep Tour Speed on the shelves.

Pricing and Availability

Retail price for a dozen of the reformulated Titleist Tour Speed is US$40. Retail availability begins May 20. The U.S. market will be limited to white only until June 21. In other markets, yellow will be available at launch.

Titleist Tour Soft

The new Tour Soft is the third generation of Titleist’s entry in the premium ionomer market. If you want the absolute softest ball in the Titleist lineup, you want True Feel but Tour Soft is designed to appeal to the feel-driven golfer looking to retain a little bit more speed and some greenside spin.

The story of the new Tour Soft is almost entirely about the cover and a good bit of that is driven by the core.

At 1.600 inches, Tour Soft has what amounts to a massive core. USGA rules say a ball has to be at least 1.680 inches in diameter and, generally speaking, manufacturers want to be as close to that limit as possible. Smaller is typically longer so, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Tour Soft needs a really thin cover.

a photo of the 2022 Titleist Tour Soft golf ball

In this case, Titleist is using its 4CE-grafted cover with a 345 quadrilateral dipyramid dimple design. I should be clear: this 345 quadrilateral dipyramid dimple design isn’t the same as the 345 quadrilateral dipyramid dimple design that’s used on the Tour Speed.

Your fun fact of the day: Titleist has seven different 345 quadrilateral dipyramid dimple designs in its library. One worked well for Tour Speed, another just happened to work surprisingly well for Tour Soft.

From a performance standpoint, the Tour Soft should fly lower than Tour Speed. It will likely feel softer but, because of the ionomer, you’ll likely find it spins less around the green.

a photo of the core of the 2022 Titleist Tour Soft golf ball

Pricing and Availability

Retail price for the new Titleist Tour Soft is US$35 a dozen, available May 20 in both white and yellow.

For more information on Tour Speed and Tour Soft golf balls, visit Titleist.com.

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