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 »  Home  »  Equipment  »  Play Testing  »  Golf Balls  »  Today's Golf Balls are Descendents of "The Feathery"
Today's Golf Balls are Descendents of "The Feathery"
By Tom Landers | Published  08/17/2012 | Golf Balls | Unrated
Today's Golf Balls are Descendents of "The Feathery"

Today's Golf Balls are Descendents of "The Feathery"

T oday's souped-up, high-tech golf balls are a far cry from the first sphere, the "feathery," which was a leather-covered ball stuffed with goose or chicken feathers. Yep, goose or chicken feathers.
Several pieces of stout leather were tightly stitched, leaving a small opening. The casing was turned inside out. Feathers-- a "gentleman's top hat full" by measure that had been boiled and softened--were stuffed into the casing before the final stitches were made. The surprisingly hard feather ball was hammered into roundness and finally coated with several layers of "paint." Because of the difficulty and time involved in making each ball, they were relatively expensive.
Yet the ball was used for almost four centuries until the arrival of the "Gutta" ball, which was believed to have been made in 1848 by the Rev. Dr. Robert Adams Paterson from gutta-percha packing material. Gutta-percha is the evaporated milky juice or latex produced from a tree most commonly found in Malaysia. Gutta balls were handmade by rolling softened material on a board. The new durability of the Gutta, together with its much lower cost, resistance to water, and improved run, provided rejuvenation to the game of golf. Not without some resistance from traditionalists, the Gutta gradually replaced the Feathery.
And on and on it has gone, from Gutta-Perch to Hand-Hammered Gutta to the Bramble, to the Rubber Ball and finally to the modern, multi-layered balls.
In 1932, standardization of golf ball weight and size was established by the United States Golf Association following 1930 standards set by the British Golf Association for a slightly smaller ball. The weight was set at a maximum of 1.620 ounces and diameter not to be less than 1.680 inches. Later, after testing apparatus was developed to measure velocity, a maximum velocity of 250 feet per second was added by the USGA. The durability and precision of today's golf balls reflect not only the tremendous technological advancement of their manufacture but also the development of space age plastics, silicone, and improved rubber.
Indeed, technology and manufacturing processes have improved so dramatically over the last decade that golf ball design can now be fine-tuned to meet the swing characteristics, most importantly swing speeds, of golfers. Matching the right golf ball to the player profile has never been more important.
Let's take a look at today's descendants of that first feathery played almost half a millennium ago.millennium ago.

Balls over $25

Bridgestone Tour B330-S/B330 • $45

Unique Features:
The Tour B330's both feature a larger core, softer urethane covers and Bridgestone's proprietary dual dimple technology. A new dimple design offers superior aerodynamics and enhanced wind performance, while the larger core produces faster ball speed for longer distance. The 330's dual mantle design provides reduced spin and higher launch off the driver and long irons while the softer 330S maximizes spin control around the green.

Bridgestone B330-RX/RXS • $45

Unique Features:The B-330 RX family offer reformulated mantle layers and dual dimple technology. The mantle reduces spin on full shots and promotes a higher launch, resulting in greater accuracy and distance. The dimple pattern offers superior aerodynamics and enhanced wind performance. They both continue to feature a soft core design that allows maximum compression for moderate swing speed players. The B330-RXS has a softer urethane cover for increased greenside spin and control.

Callaway Hex Chrome • $36

Unique Features:
The HEX Chrome is "the best three-piece urethane ball" Callaway has ever made. It is noticeably softer, more durable, and has what the firm calls the best HEX aerodynamics developed. Better accuracy, more spin around the greens, and penetrating Tour distance is now obtainable. With its low compression, the ball provides extremely soft feel off the clubface and generates low driver spin to maximize distance

Callaway Hex Black Tour • $46

Unique Features: The HEX Black Tour strikes a performance balance for both the distance-seeker and the golfer who wants more control on shots. The combination of a soft inner core and firm outer core provides optimal spin separation from tee to green. Longer distance off the driver and long irons is due to a lower spin rate generated by the soft inner core. The spin increases closer to the green due to the firm outer core, culminating with higher spin off wedges.

Nike 20XI-S/20XI-X • $46

Unique Features
: Both the 20XI-S & 20XI-X use the revolutionary RZN core to deliver more distance off the tee and better control around the greens. Both are four-piece balls and feature faster initial velocity for maximum distance, the highest levels of moment of inertia for longer, more controlled shots, and new construction materials, producing greater consistency ball-to-ball for highly predictable performance.
The 20XI-X, is the slightly firmer and lower spinning of the two models and the 20XI-S is a bit softer and spins more.

TaylorMade Penta TP 3 • $35

Unique Features:
After tremendous success with its Penta TP golf ball, the first and only five-layer Tour ball, TaylorMade introduces a three-piece version into the Penta TP family. The Penta TP3 ball offers a softer core to reduce spin off the tee for longer drives, and a cast urethane cover provides feel and workability around the greens for pure sticking power.

TaylorMade Penta TP 5 • $35

Unique Features:
Each layer on the Penta TP5 is engineered to optimize performance in five key shot categories that skilled players need: driver, long-irons, middle-irons, short-irons, and partial wedges. The ball features a new, softer core for a softer feel and to ease driver spin for maximum distance. The ball cuts through the wind with ease, and its workability into the greens allows for precise approach shots with excellent spin.

Titleist Pro V1/V1X • $48

Unique Features:
The new Tour-proven Pro V1s both provide the exceptional distance and durability that golfers have counted on and now deliver increased spin control as well as a more consistent flight. The Pro V1X delivers very low spin off the driver and long irons, more consistent ball flight and high trajectory, while the Pro V1 is still a Tour favorite for greenside control and soft feel on all shots.

Wilson FG Tour/Tour X • $40

Unique Features:
The three-piece FG Tour is a multi-layer urethane golf ball that delivers the same long distance and shot-control as other urethane balls with one major difference: it offers the softest feel of any urethane ball on the market. In Tour and better-player testing, the feel of the FG Tour ball was favorably compared to wound balata balls, yet with modern durability characteristics. The FG Tour X is a multi-layer urethane golf ball that delivers a firm feel with low spin off the driver and long irons. Additional features include a 93-compression, slightly firmer design meant for higher swing speeds, and excellent scuff resistance.

Balls under $25

Bridgestonex FIXx • $20

Unique Features:
Designed for recreational players looking for great all-around performance, the xFIXx is ideal for higher handicap players with slower swing speeds. Features include a newly-formulated soft ionomer cover to provide increased spin control and feel around the greens, a soft gradational core for longer distance with better feel, and a low-compression rubber core technology that generates longer and straighter distance off all clubs.

Innovex E Motion • $20

Unique Features:
The E-motion three-piece ball has been designed with a progressive motion dual core to fly farther, spin faster, and feel softer, all while offering great durability. The E-Motion Tour was designed to be the best ball for all weather conditions and offer a Tour caliber ball with great durability. A dual motion core senses impact loft and velocity for great feel and extreme distance, and Aerocontrol parallel dimple dividers create smooth air flow for increased flight distance and stability

Nike Power Distance Soft • $16

Unique Features
: The Power Distance Soft has a lower compression core and softened ionomer cover to provide longer distance with added feel. A low-compression core provides superb feel and longer distance off slower swing speeds, and the cover and optimized aerodynamics provide consistent flight and enhanced greenside feel for improved short game play.

Nike Power Crush • $20

Unique Features
: The Crush is designed to deliver explosively longer, straighter performance for a wide range of swing speeds. The ball combines a lower compression core and optimized cover design to reduce unwanted side-spin and maximize ball velocity for longer, straighter distance. The ball has a larger and softer, high-energy core that provides high velocity and delivers unrivaled feel.

Pinnacle Gold Distance • $16

Unique Features
:The Gold blends a high-velocity, soft compression core with a soft cover to produce a golf ball that has a bold long game along with a sharp short game. Features include a soft, ionomer cover blend and a 332 x 7 spherical icosahedral dimple pattern to provide long, straight distance tee-to-green, as well as superb feel on all shots close to the green and on the putting surface.

TaylorMade Penta TP 5 • $22

Unique Features:
The Burner's Fast React core and two-piece construction promote fast ball speed and a high launch angle. This produces maximum carry and distance, yet its low compression also creates a soft and satisfying feel and sound. The ball offers maximum carry with improved feel and control. Additional features include LDP dimple technology to improve lift for more distance and better carry on off-center hits.

TaylorMade Noodle+ Long & Soft • $16

Unique Features:
The two-piece Noodle Long and Soft balls combine "ferocious distance with phenomenal feel." The soft yet energy-packed core and agile ionomer cover work in conjunction to make the ball leap off every clubface. A distance-inducing dimple pattern fuels a long-carrying trajectory. A durable and soft ionomer cover produces great feel and increased spin around the greens for better control.

Titleist DT Solo • $20

Unique Features:
The DT SoLo has been designed to provide the softest compression and feel possible, while delivering the long distance, greenside control, and consistent quality that are DT standards. This golf ball features a low-compression, fast, solid core; a soft, responsive, ionomer cover; and a 392 icosahedral dimple design. The ball has an A.I.M (Alignment Integrated Marking) side stamp for help when putting.

Wilson Duo • $20

Unique Features:
The two-piece Duo may be the softest ball on the market. It's long off the tee with more control thanks to a reduced spin rate off the driver, and its 40-compression is half the compression of the average leading competitor's golf balls. The company says its true performance value and distinctive feel set it apart from every other distance ball.


Bridgestonex e Series • $27

Unique Features:
The e5 is a two-piece urethane cover ball with a new dual dimple design for increased distance, engineered for enhanced control and distance. The e6 is a softer multilayer golf ball providing significant side spin reduction to minimize slice or hook spin. The e7 provides higher ball velocity designed for longer distance. The Bridgestone e5, e6 and e7 golf balls all feature a new dual-dimple design where the inside dimple works to increase thrust power at launch, while the outer dimple promotes a shallow descent angle for increased roll.

Callaway Diablo Tour • $26

Unique Features:
The HX Diablo Tour combines all the best elements of the HX Bite and the HX Hot Plus, providing the optimum combination of distance, feel and control in a three-piece performance golf ball. Strategic hardness gradation creates a soft inner portion of the core that gradually gets firmer toward the perimeter, resulting in lower driver spin for increased distance with excellent green-side control.

Chromax Distance • $35

Unique Features: Distance, the company's first 90-compression ball, is designed with Chromax's high-energy titanium core and patented dimple design that optimizes trajectory, distance and spin. As with all Chromax balls, the Distance is approved by the USGA and the R&A. Increased yardage off of the tee is just one of the key features of the Distance. Chromax's exclusive high visibility technology creates unprecedented visibility in all lighting conditions.

Innovex V Motion • $33

Unique Features:
A wind tunnel tested 318-dimple pattern is designed to reduce drag and increase carry distance. The V-Motion is a Tour quality, urethane ball made for golfers who want high-spin and great feel around the greens, as well as extreme distance off the tee. The V-Motion challenges every professional ball ever made and is built to compete, as cast urethane construction creates an optimal feel for lower scores.

NikeVapor Black • $25

Unique Features
: The Vapor Black features advanced, multi-layer technology that activates a new level of distance performance propelled by increased velocity and optimized aerodynamics. A reformulated core improves feel and increases speed off club faces, and an advanced polymer layer maximizes velocity, distance, and control. Optimized aerodynamics and a seamless ionomer cover result in added length and consistency.

Polara Ultimate Straight • $25

Unique Features
:The two-piece Ultimate Straight ball features three different kinds of dimples that eliminate hooks and slices by up to 75 percent. The firmer distance ball features a surlyn cover and a high-velocity polybutadiene core that yields prodigious drives. Like the company's XS, it has two regions of dimples. On the poles, the deeper dimples lower drag and enhance weight distribution, while small dimples provide added slice and hook correction. On the equator, shallow dimples lower lift and establish the preferred spin axis.
Does Not Conform to USGA Regulations

Polara Ultimate Straight XS • $30

Unique Features
:The ball features a soft ionomer cover material that generates higher spin for better stopping power on the green. The three-piece ball features a layer beneath the cover that is made of a material called DuPont HPF that produces lower driver spin and longer distance. At the core is soft, resilient polybutadiene for better feel. The shallow dimples lower lift and establish preferred spin axis, small dimples provide slice and hook correction, and deep dimples lower drag and enhance weight distribution.
Does Not Conform to USGA Regulations

Polara XDS • $35

Unique Features:Thanks to a unique dimple design, the Ultimate Straight XD Extra Distance & Spin Self Correcting Golf Ball reduces hooks and slices by up to 50 percent. That means you play from the fairway not the woods or the next fairway over. The ball has two regions of dimples. On the poles, the deeper dimples lower drag and enhance weight distribution, while the small dimples provide added slice and hook correction. On the equator, the shallow dimples lower lift and establish the preferred spin axis.
Does Not Conform to USGA Regulations

TaylorMade RocketBallz • $27

Unique Features:
The three-piece RocketBallz features a React core and SpeedMantle that creates a higher coefficient of restitution for less driver spin, resulting in longer drives, and the RocketBallz's soft cover provides the precise spin you need around the greens for pure sticking power. Additional features include a thin and soft iothane cover for great feel and added greenside spin.

Titleist NXT/NXT Tour S • $32

Unique Features:
The NXT Tour has been designed to deliver low-driver and long-iron spin for outstanding distance, commanding short-game scoring performance, and soft feel. The advanced, multi-component, golf ball features a newly-engineered, large, dual core with a soft center, a soft Fusablend cover, and a new 302 octahedral dimple design. It also offers excellent durability and soft feel on all shots.

Titleist Velocity • $27

Unique Features:
The explosive distance of the Velocity delivers fast, initial ball speed on all full-swing shots with playable feel for the short game. The ball utilizes LSX core technology to produce a high-speed core encased in a NaZ2 cover formulation with a 332 icosahedral dimple design to produce deep, downrange, peak trajectory and a tight, consistent ball flight.

Player’s Choice Awards Balls

Best Ball
over $35
Bridgestone B330/B330S
Bridgestone B330 RX/ B330 RXS
Callaway Hex Tour Black
Nike 20XI-S / 20 XI-X
TaylorMade Penta TP5
Titleist Pro V1/Pro V1x
Wilson FG Tour/ Tour X

Best Ball
Bridgestone eSeries
Callaway Diablo Tour
Innovex V Motion
TaylorMade RocketBallz
Titleist NXT Tour/NXT Tour S

Best Ball
under $25
Bridgestone xFIXx
Innovex E Motion
Pinnacle Gold Distance
TaylorMade Burner
Titleist DT SoLo