Tour Validation: 2023 Pro V1 and Pro V1x
FAIRHAVEN, Mass (Jan. 18, 2023) – Every two years, the introduction of next generation Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls on the PGA TOUR signals another step forward for the #1 ball in golf. For Titleist Golf Ball R&D, developing new Pro V1 and Pro V1x models that consistently outperform the prior generation models is a continuous process, rooted in prototype testing with the best players in the world and golfers at every level of the game. Titleist R&D uses this player feedback to iterate and validate the performance of new golf ball constructions.
Final prototypes for the 2023 Pro V1 and Pro V1x models were seeded on the PGA Tour in late September 2022:
• More than 45 players have teed up new Pro V1 and Pro V1x models on the PGA TOUR since their introduction – including Will Zalatoris who put new Pro V1x immediately in play to begin 2023 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, his first start on the PGA TOUR since his win at last year’s FedEx St. Jude Championship. Sungjae Im and Viktor Hovland joined Zalatoris in teeing up 2023 Pro V1x at Kapalua.
Zalatoris: “The golf ball is the engine of everything I do equipment wise. So the big thing that I look for whenever I’m testing balls, is ‘Does it do exactly what I think it’s going to do? The dependability is obviously something that all the players who play the ball, that’s the number one thing that we absolutely love. And so when I switched to the [2023 Pro V1x], the big thing I saw was it had the exact same reactions around the greens, I actually gained a little bit of distance with the driver, but it was actually better through the wind. For me to be able to put the exact same swing on a golf ball and gain just that much more, that adds up a lot throughout a season.
“When people ask what’s the right golf ball for you, it’s the golf ball that you know how it’s going to react every single time. And so for me, with how I hit it and with the amount of speed that I have, I need to have something that I know where the mis-hits are just brought in a little bit more. When I’m hitting the shot, maybe I heel one and maybe I hit a little thin. Seeing my dispersion go from maybe a five, six-yard loss to now all of a sudden it’s one, two, or three, that’s the difference from me plugging one in a bunker and making bogey to maybe having an easy look at birdie.”
Im: “[It] seemed as if the new Pro V1x is less affected by the wind and is more consistent than the previous Pro V1x.”
• Among those having made the switch to 2023 Pro V1: Keith Mitchell, Luke List, Hayden Buckley, Tyson Alexander, Patton Kizzire, Garrick Higgo and Ben Taylor.
The list of players who have teed up new Pro V1x includes: Will Zalatoris, Sungaje Im, Viktor Hovland, Kevin Kisner, Seamus Power, J.T. Poston, Scott Stallings, Chris Kirk, S.H. Kim, Vincent Norrman, Stewart Cink, Gary Woodland and Brandon Wu.
While the new models debuted on the LPGA with only two weeks left in the season, five players made the immediate move to 2023 Pro V1x: Marina Alex, Lizette Salas, Amy Yang, Sarah Kemp, Cristie Kerr and Brittany Lincicome.
And on the Korn Ferry Tour, a total of 30 players made the immediate switch (11 Pro V1, 19 Pro V1x) to the new models this week in the Bahamas, the first week they were available to play in competition on the KFT.
• Seamus Power claimed the first win for the 2023 Pro V1 and Pro V1x models on the PGA TOUR at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, leading the field with a tournament-record 28 birdies while hitting 75% of his greens in regulation in his second week playing the new Pro V1x.
Power: “It’s been excellent. I was delighted to try it. I tested all week (before putting it in play for the first time at the CJ Cup) and loved it. I played lots of golf with it and was very, very happy with it. For me, it’s very visual. When I swing and it comes off the face, if it comes out in the trajectory I feel it should, that’s a big positive for me, and that’s what I saw immediately. It felt great off the tee with a little bit extra heat.”
• Titleist’s tour seeding and validation process for 2023 Pro V1 and Pro V1x began at the Sanderson Farms Championship, a week earlier than expected. The launch was originally scheduled to begin at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, where every new generation of Pro V1 and Pro V1x have been introduced since the original Pro V1 debuted there in 2000. In the days leading up to the Sanderson Farms, however, Titleist tour reps received multiple requests from Garrick Higgo, Gary Woodland and M.J. Daffue – each of whom had done extensive testing during the prototyping process – asking to put the new balls in play as soon as possible.
The final Pro V1 and Pro V1x prototypes, manufactured at Titleist Ball Plant 3 in New Bedford, Mass., were delivered overnight and arrived Tuesday morning at The Country Club of Jackson in Titleist’s white box prototype packaging.
On Thursday, Higgo (Pro V1), Woodland (Pro V1x) and Daffue (Pro V1x) became the first three players to game the 2023 models in competition. Playing his NEW Pro V1, Higgo led the field in birdies (24), closing in 4-under 68 Sunday to finish one shot out of the playoff, his best finish on TOUR since June 2021.
Higgo: “I was happy that I was allowed to play it because I really enjoyed it when I played with it at home, I think the biggest thing was that it has a similar feel to the ’21V. I like the low spin, but it was a lot faster. So that made me really excited because I played the par-5s pretty well last week. So, if I could hit it long and straight, which I feel like with the V – with the less spin, more control – I hit it a lot straighter. So straight and far works.”
Woodland: “I went to TPI over a month ago and I’ve had the ball at home practicing with it and I’ve just seen shots that I haven’t seen in a long time and that’s been very exciting to me.”
• Ben Taylor put the 2023 Pro V1 in play for the first time at the Houston Open, recording the best finish (solo 3rd) of his PGA TOUR career. He followed up that performance with a T4 at the Sony Open. Taylor had previously been playing Pro V1 Left Dot.
Taylor: “I saw a lot more consistency with the ‘23 Pro V1. It performed fantastic in the wind. It never climbed on me into the wind. It was always a nice, low forward flight, which I love to see. And I think that’s for sure got to be the most consistent ball I’ve hit.
“I had a lot of tee shots [in Houston] where the wind was pumping into the wind or was crosswinds, and it was cold. So not only are you trying to swing it out your shoes to get it far enough down the fairway, but the wind wasn’t dictating the outcome of the ball. So I had a few where we just knew if I put a good swing on it, have a good strike, and that ball’s going to go as far as I want it to go. So off the tee was a big difference. I think I gained some strokes on the field with performance off the tee because I just had trust the ball was going to go far enough in those conditions.”
• At the RSM Classic, Titleist’s golf ball fitting teams from around the U.S. gathered at Sea Island to assist amateur pro-am participants as they tested 2023 Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls for the first time. On Monday afternoon, Connor Mangelson, one of Titleist’s Golf Ball Fitting Specialists, was working with the amateurs playing in Chris Stroud’s pro-am group when Stroud approached him with questions about 2023 Pro V1. Mangelson and Stroud discussed the product as they walked down the 10th fairway of Sea Island’s Plantation Course. After finishing the hole, Stroud’s caddie ran over to Mangelson asking for a dozen. Stroud didn’t miss a green the rest of the round, later sending a text to Titleist Tour Rep Todd Harris asking for “23 Pro V1 this week please!”
Stroud put the new ball in play Thursday on his way to rounds of 70-66-66-65, finishing the week tied for fifth at 15 under – his best finish on the PGA TOUR since 2019. His 8.351 total strokes gained marked his best performance in that statistic since the 2015 John Deere Classic.
• Hayden Buckley also made the switch to 2023 Pro V1 at the RSM Classic after seeing faster ball speed and lower spin off the driver with a more consistent flight. In his next start, last week’s Sony Open, he earned his best PGA TOUR finish (solo 2nd), finishing the week 6th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (+3.613) while hitting 81.69% (58/71) greens in regulation.
Buckley: “Yeah, the ‘23 ball, I saw ball flight was a little bit higher, which was nice. I saw the spin come down a little bit. I’m a high spin guy. So, for me, it’s very tough when it’s very windy. And I looked at, left and right wise, I saw the ball being a little bit tighter. A lot of shots were catching the edge of the green instead of missing. And really just around the greens, it was perfect. Everything that I wanted. But for me, the driver’s a very important thing, and it’s one of my strengths. And I saw a little bit more speed with the new ball, which I don’t think anybody complains about more speed. And a little bit of spin off. I was spinning the driver quite a bit, and I saw that spin come down a little bit. And that’s something that we all look for.
“I really don't like change at all. I think most of my clubs stay the same. The ball stayed the same for four years. But seeing things improve, and I saw it in the driver, I'm seeing it in the ball. Seeing things improve and knowing that people are back home really testing these things out and putting a lot of time and effort into, it's really comforting to me knowing that I'm playing the absolute best. And I think that's something, when I tee it up every day, I know that I have the best ball and the best equipment in my bag.
• ADDITIONAL PLAYER REACTION:
Patton Kizzire (Pro V1): “I played in a Pro-Am tournament, the Henry Tuten Gator Bowl, and it was going to be pretty windy and I’d heard about the new ball, the 23V being really stable in the wind. I went and played, and I played well, and it was holding really nice so it was pretty easy decision. It was just a little bit faster. A mile an hour or two, and better in the wind. It's an upgrade, so I was excited.”
Brendon Todd (Pro V1x): “I like to go put it back in my stance and flight it a little bit. And so if it stands up against the wind too much, it’s probably got too much spin on it. And if I’m able to kind of control that flight, that’s the key for me. (With ’23 Pro V1x) I’m seeing a little more height but not too much spin, and it feels great around the greens. The X fits me great because I need a little bit more launch off the tee and then I love the spin around the green, so it’s kind of a perfect combo for me.”