Over the past several years of blogging and writing golf reviews I’ve had the pleasure of testing various golf balls from independent golf ball manufacturers. While some of these company’s have come and gone (for various reasons) others have had the staying power to not only survive but expand. VICE Golf falls into the latter of these groups. For those unfamiliar with VICE Golf they’re an independent golf ball company that was founded in 2012 in Germany. The brand slowly started to expand across Europe and eventually made landfall hitting the market in the United States in 2015.
Furthering the evidence regarding the growth and expansion of the brand I need to point out a little story while at a practice round for the 2017 RBC Canadian Open. As groups were coming through (this was the group with Luke List) one of the caddies saw the VICE golf hat on my hat. He asked me if I’ve played them and I said that I sure have. We had a brief conversation and I ended up asking him if he’s tried their new Pro Soft. He said he had not and my response was… you may want to.
Its founders Ingo Duellman and Rainer Stoekl wanted to develop premium golf balls without the hefty price tag associated with golf balls of this genre. To accomplish this the founders decided to attack the golf industry by selling their golf balls over the internet direct to the consumer thus resulting in the effective elimination of any “middle man”. The other method that VICE Golf employs to keep the price of golf balls down is by offering consumer discounts with bulk pricing. The more dozens that you buy… the cheaper the price is per dozen.
In the past I’ve had experience with VICE Golf and that experience was phenomenal. That review started with the initial contact with the Director of Marketing Helge Meyer and continued throughout the testing process. All of their golf balls proved to be as good if not better than golf balls of similar characteristics offered by their higher priced competitors. Back then I tested their range which included two models of the VICE Pro (Neon and Flamingo), the VICE Pro Shooter and the VICE Drive and they were good… every one of them. In 2014 my favorite of the VICE Golf stable was the Pro Flamingo.
I think one of the fun parts of writing reviews and testing golf products from company’s that are “under the radar” is that you get a chance to watch them develop and grow. While the production of golf balls is the focus of VICE Golf’s vision it’s only fair to point out that they seen growth in terms of headwear and accessories. There’s a stunning array of caps and toques (Beanies), golf gloves, towels, umbrellas and golf bags which pairs nicely with their main focus… golf balls.
The VICE Golf stable is composed of golf balls that are all designed and engineered in Germany. The models that are current in their line-up includes the VICE Pro, VICE Pro Soft, VICE Drive and the VICE Pro Plus. The collection provides an option for all levels of golfers looking for a certain of golf ball best-suited to their individual games. Below is a breakdown of their golf balls and how they performed.
VICE Pro – The VICE Pro is offered with two additional sub-models (Lime and Red). VICE recommends this golf ball for golfers with swing speeds that are medium to high. They feature a 3-piece construction which includes a Cast Urethane cover for soft feel and a 318 dimple pattern which is great for providing a stable trajectory. Also rounding out the construction is the HESC (High Energy Speed Core) which increases ball speed. To help golfers around the green is their S2TG cover which is great for stopping the ball on those pesky greenside chips and pitches. Also of note is their putting alignment aid which they dub the “Keep In Line” putt line.
The VICE Pro range tested very well in all facets of the game. Drives were met with a solid, authoritative feel that was not too firm in any way shape or form. Drives were as long with the Pro when compared to similar golf balls on the market and in some cases a shade longer. The feel off of the irons was smooth but what I liked was the approach spin. Any approach shots were received well into the greens and at the time of testing I was really struggling with my game. Greenside shots were predictable and the check and stop characteristics being on full display. When buying these golf balls 5 Dozen will cost $24.95 each/dozen. One dozen will cost consumers $34.95/dozen. Considerably less than others on the market.
VICE Pro+ – Much like the VICE Pro the Plus model also comes in a Red and Lime version and features S2TG for short-game spin and the KIL putting line. But that is where the similarities end. The Pro+ is a golf ball that boasts a 4-piece construction. The cover is cast urethane and features a few more dimples (336) than the Pro. The dual casing (cover) is for a lower ball flight and longer distances. VICE employs a special coating called “BJ13” which maximizes the pearl white of the golf ball and also makes it “UV Resistant”. VICE recommends players with medium to higher swing speeds.
Let’s not mince words shall we?! The VICE Pro+ straight out performs and performs well. The trajectory was somewhat flatter with the Pro+ than its Pro brethren and it did result in some “booming” drives. The feel was similar to the Pro model when it came to the driver where you knew you hit it… and hit it well. Shots with metalwoods were pretty much the same where the ballflight was a tad lower . I found this ball tracked very well in a crosswind. Greenside chips and pitches were soft and the cover provided much needed spin to control shots. Putting felt soft and the golf ball never had that “jumpy” feeling. Cost per dozen when ordering 5 dozen is $24.95.dozen while purchasing 1 dozen is $34.95 USD.
VICE Pro Soft – The VICE Pro Soft is a golf ball which features a multi-layer construction. It’s 3-piece construction features a durable 336 dimple cast urethane cover and it’s core is a soft compression. The result is feel!! The cover itself is different as it has a matte finish which is accomplished by adding tiny silicate particles to the formula. The Pro Soft is designed for long distance, with great feel and optimized spin around the greens through the use of their S2TG cover technology. Golfers will find the KIL putting alignment aid on this golf ball to help them on the greens. Golfers with a medium speed looking for extra soft feel is the recommended market for the Pro Soft.
The golf ball of the range that I was the most intrigued by. The Pro Soft was without a doubt my favorite golf ball of the testing process. This was a golf ball that I knew that I was compressing to maximize the most out of my swing. I’ve never been shy about admitting to being an advocate of soft golf balls and the Pro Soft furthers that feeling. The Pro Soft ended up being longer than the Pro and Pro+ and perhaps that was just the softer compression or maybe it was the dimple pattern the VICE team came up with. Notice the dimple pattern is right in between the two other models already discussed? Where this golf ball really shines when compared to the others tested it’s the feel. Iron shot whether a full approach with a 6 iron or a wedge felt “buttery smooth”. In the past I’ve used the term “addictive” and that’s exactly what the Pro Soft is…. addictive. Approach shots exhibited full “drop and stop” characteristics and the furthest I found my ball away from the pitch mark was approximately 8 feet. Those greens were “next level” firm. Putting felt great with the Pro Soft and I feel that I should touch on the cover. I loved the matte finish of this golf ball. It gives it a unique look that when other golfers looked at it… they really liked it! Cost for 5 dozen is $24.95 USD/dozen or $34.95 for one dozen. I would love these balls in the Red and would tee them up in competition without regret.
VICE Tour – The VICE Tour is recommended for golfers of all skill levels. This golf ball while being a 3-piece construction sees its cover being constructed from highly durable DuPont Surlyn. The Tour features a 392 dimple design designed for a stable trajectory, control and long carry distances. As found on the Pro models the Tour also features the KIL putting alignment aid.
As we get into the VICE Tour the first thing that we need to remember is that the cover is Surlyn where the others are cast urethane. That said, it doesn’t mean that this golf ball feels harsh because it doesn’t. I found the feel/sound when swinging driver was “sharp” meaning the cover makes a difference in the feel as one might expect. But this ball is about the same length as what I generally play. I actually found this golf ball to fly a little bit higher which can be both a blessing and a curse. Unfortunately, I did see evidence of this golf ball being a tad too “spinny” but that isn’t to say that it doesn’t go anywhere. All around the distances were the same with the irons as what I generally play and the control on approach shots was there. The Tour was a little more “clicky” off of the putter but ultimately I look at the material of the cover. When ordering 5 dozen you can have these at a very cost effective $15.95 per dozen or when purchasing just 1 dozen the Tour costs $21.95/dozen.
VICE Drive – The VICE Drive is the 2-piece construction model of the VICE Golf ball range. It’s cover is constructed from DuPont Surlyn and features a 368 dimple. Designed primarily for golfers with slower swing speeds this golf will yield more rollout in the fairways. Designed to be durable and long the Drive also features the KIL putting alignment aid.
The VICE Drive. What can I say about this golf ball? I think if I could use a one word adjective to describe it that word would be an “enigma”. A total mystery! The Drive had me scratching my head at times during the testing and that was because I was astonished. Yes… it is a Surlyn covered 2-piece golf ball so we’ll assume that the cover is harder and with the putter putts emitted the click. But, short game testing was bizarre in a good way (as memory serves me this happened in 2014 as well). When I was testing the range when it came to heads up, blind testing (I had no glasses) there were times that I thought that my closest chips and pitches were the Pro model golf balls. I’d strike a chip or pitch and they’d stop dead. Much to my surprise many times it ended up being the Drive that was closest to the pin. Personally, from a short game standpoint I feel that the Drive thinks it’s a tour ball. I was blown away at times by how good it performed in close. Notice I said “at times”?! Other times there was the expected rollout that one might expect with a 2-piece golf ball. That said, the Drive flies straight and true and it is long. In 2014 it yielded some of my longest drives and in 2017 it’s plenty long again. Iron approach shots were about a half a club longer than what I’m accustomed to and in my advancing years this isn’t a bad thing. I wonder if the Drive could also be done with a cast urethane cover because with its length and general short game spin this ball in a softer form could be deadly!! The price point when ordering 5 dozen is $10.95/dozen and when ordering 1 dozen the Drive will cost $14.95 USD/dozen. This ball provides bang for the golfer buck.
At the end of the day I recommend VICE Golf products to anybody that either wants to play a great golf ball or play something a little different. I have no doubt in my mind that there is a golf ball in this line-up that somebody will like. As mentioned my all-around favorite was the Pro Soft. VICE golf offers high quality, high performance golf balls at a very reasonable price. one thing that I should be quick to mention is that VICE does not skimp on the packaging. The golf balls from VICE come to you in terrific, eye-pleasing packaging that really stands out from the crowd. Head to VICE Golf and use their ball selector tool to find out what ball is your best fit. I took it and my recommendation was the Pro+.
Until The Next Tee!!