Titleist is one of the premier golf ball manufactures in the sport, as well as the choice of many of the top players in the world. Titleist is part of the Acushnet Company, founded by MIT grad and avid golfer Phillip Young in 1910 to supply latex and rubber for industrial uses. In the 1930s, Acushnet began producing new and improved golf balls based on Young's invention of a uniform rubber core, which standardized ball manufacturing and produced a reliable product that flew straight and true.
Titleist balls fall into three primary categories: the top-of-the-line premium brands, middle-level balls for golfers who want a quality product at a lesser price and less expensive models geared toward occasional players. In the early 21st century, the Pro V1 and Pro V1x models constitute the premium offerings. The former uses a softer compression core for an extremely soft feel and the latter gives you less driver spin for more distance and a bit firmer feel, according to Golf.com. Both frequently achieve Gold status -- the highest rating -- in the annual "Golf Digest" Hot List in the premium category.
The mid-level and mid-price models for Titleist at the time of publication were the NXT Tour and the NXT Tour S and NXT Tour S Yellow. The former is described by Golf.com as a three-piece ball for golfers who seek a high-quality feel and maximum length. The latter two brands offer a softer feel and more spin on short shots into the green. The "Golf Digest" Hot List anointed all three brands with Gold status.
Titleist golf balls aren't cheap -- expect to pay roughly $20 to $60 per dozen as of 2013 -- but its less pricey brands work well for high-handicap and beginning golfers. The Titleist Velocity is geared for those looking for more distance in a less expensive ball with a harder feel. "Golf Digest" says, "If distance is what drives your ball decision-making process, the ball-speed work here from Titlelist's engineers is undeniable." The Titleist Golf DT Solo is a softer compression ball designed for golfers with slow swing speeds of less than 90 mph. Both earned Gold status in their category.
If you're a beginning or high-handicap golfer, expect to lose and abuse golf balls on a regular basis. Playing a premium Titleist brand won't do much to improve your game, but it will bruise your pocketbook. As your game improves, you might want to upgrade your ball. It's also advisable to get tested by a club fitter -- both balls and clubs -- to determine the best combination for your particular game and swing.
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