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callaway-3upMr. Geary once again is reaching here, as far as locking horns, I am not sure that we have ever been that close on any point to do so. Just as well here is story behind the story when it comes to the #1 Ball in golf. Golf balls are a lot like a piece of steak, one is approved by the USDA, the other by the USGA, but in the end, either one can end up leaving a bad taste in your mouth.

The golf ball industry is a 1.2 billion dollar industry worldwide. And yes Titleist holds by far the largest market share of that business worldwide. What made the new ProV1 and ProV1x become the dominant golf ball in the world today was a bit of a corporate hoodwinks let’s say. Michael Sullivan now with Titleist was presently with Top Flite who was purchased out of bankruptcy in 2003 by Callaway. With that transaction Callaway became owners of patents registered by Sullivan that were used later by Titleist to manufacture the ProV series of golf balls. The lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount in 2008 as Callaway came out on top in this ball war. Mr. Sullivan went on to become the Vice President of golf ball research.

The end result has been billions of dollars in golf ball sales over the last 14 years and given Titleist the upper hand in as big way in the golf ball industry. At the same time Bridgestone sued Titleist for patent infringements used on the ProV1 line among other golf balls in their line. That suit was also settled for an undisclosed amount as well.

So lets go back to the question what is the very best ball in golf? It seems as though the best ball in golf is at best a mongrel of two or three leading brands. There are a number of great golf balls out there today, many of which can provide almost the same features and playability of the Titleist product lines. Very few of them have the marketing dollars to have over 250 players on the tours wearing their hat or glove. Not to mention free golf balls for numerous colleges, junior programs and amateur events worldwide. Titleist is for sure the juggernaut ball in golf as is Gillette the number one razor in the world. Having said that I feel both are not noticeably different than the competition. I personally shave with Harry’s Razors which last longer and cost less and pretty much have played a dozen different brands of golf balls that all performed well. Is all the hype of the ProV1 or ProV1x all it is made up to be, I think not!

Last year in a charity tournament in Myrtle Beach 200 players were given a test and allowed to hit 6 different golf balls that had their manufactures names covered and were ask to rate the balls 1-6. Here are the results in order of preference.

1) Srixon Z Star
2) Bridgestone 330
3) Callaway Hex
4) Percept Laddie X
5) Titleist ProV1
6) TaylorMade Penta

My thoughts are this; remove names of all manufactures from golf balls. On every ball there would be a single blank line for your name. Now it would be simple to identify every golf ball in competition and it would eliminate all these cheaters who will hit any ball anywhere and call it their own.

Tom Gorman is a Boston based sportswriter and a monthly contributor to New England Golf Monthly.

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