Before commencing this review I would like to take the time to thank Nick Obritsch. Mr. Obritsch is the Marketing and Communications Manager for TaylorMade Golf Canada. Without him, this review would never have been made possible. Thanks so much, Nick for the opportunity.
TaylorMade Golf. The Carlsbad, California based golf giant has been long known to golfers worldwide. Back in 1979, TaylorMade Golf was the king of innovation as they introduced golfers to the first metalwood. Ever since TaylorMade Golf has never been shy about stretching boundaries and marching to the beat of their drum when it comes to developing innovative products designed to help golfers worldwide perform and get the most out of their games.
The stable of golfers that play their products needs no introduction. With names like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Jason Day, and Tiger Woods the reality is that they attract those names not just because of a massive marketing/endorsement budget but because the products are quite simply… that good. Moreover, TaylorMade Golf has a network of over 1,500 PGA Professionals, while also having representatives that work directly with players at the grassroots level.
But TaylorMade Golf is about much more than being the ones to bring the first metalwood to the industry, have white-crowned drivers, or irons that can launch a golf ball a country mile. In fact, what can’t be overlooked is their history of producing golf balls. Who remembers when back in 1999 TaylorMade Golf released the InerGel Pro? It was a ball that was meant to compete directly with the likes of Titleist, Pinnacle, and Top Flite which were firmly in place in terms of market share. Ever since then, TaylorMade Golf has produced other top of the line golf balls like the Tour Preferred, Penta TP5, Penta TP3 and Project(a) and (s) among several others.
When TP5 and TP5x initially came out around 2016 there was a lot of love given to them by professional and amateur golfers alike. All of the talk was about how long they were and in general, their performance was staggeringly good. With all of my experience playing the likes of the aforementioned Penta TP5, TP3 and Tour Preferred I was interested in trying the TP5. Eventually, I did in 2017. While I felt that that version of TP5 was good I was grossly disappointed by the lack of durability. But that was then and this is now.
2019, saw the release of new versions of the TP5 and TP5x. It is this version that the review is about. When Mr. Obritsch offered to send me samples of the 2019 TP5 and TP5x golf balls I was excited, It would give me the opportunity to see what the hype was about and more importantly it would give me a chance to test the durability. That is some of the reason why this review is so late in being released. The other reason is that our golf season here started real late due to rains of biblical proportions.
Launched on February 16th, 2019 the TP5 and TP5x were touted as being TaylorMade Golf’s “most complete tour ball”. According to literature from TaylorMade Golf the TP5 and TP5x are…
Packed with new technologies, TP5/TP5x just got even faster with a greater rebound effect and optimized spin rates. There’s no ball faster, no ball longer, and no ball better than the most complete Tour ball.
With that said, let’s look at the TP5 and TP5x a little closer and what sets them apart from one another.
The Pre-Shot Routine
Both the TP5/TP5x feature a 5-piece construction. As it stands both golf balls are the only Tour-level golf ball that features a 5-piece construction. Among the layers are the “Tri-Fast Core” that according to TaylorMade Golf “delivers maximum carry and low drag” and the “Dual-Spin Cover” that features “an ultra-soft, highly durable cast urethane cover”.
Another feature of the TP5/TP5x golf ball is the inception of what TaylorMade Golf calls the new “Speed-Layer System”. By employing four “increasingly stiff layers” TaylorMade Golf Ball R&D found a way to produce more ball speed. The end result is “more carry distance off the tee, more control in the wind, and more spin around the greens”.
Lastly, the TP5/TP5x features a new material called “HFM” or “High Flex Material” which is said to deliver higher ball speed through a greater rebound effect. Not only does “trampoline effect” mean something with metalwoods but in the TP5/TP5x it also means something. “HFM acts like a tightly wound spring that builds energy and rebounds quickly, generating more ball speed”.
What are the differences between the TP5 and the TP5x? In a nutshell the TP5 features a lower compression. a softer feel, a ballflight that is more workable, a slightly lower launch and last but not least more wedge spin.
Feel – I figure that it might be best for me to start with my observations when it comes to feel. Make no bones about it, the TP5x is definitely the firmer feeling of the two golf balls. It made no difference whether it was a puter or the driver. The TP5x felt more firm all of the way through the bag. In no way am I suggesting that the TP5x is a rock. Because it’s not. It just has a more clicky feel/sound to it and that’s a conclusion that I have to report on first. The golf ball is softer than other tour-level golf balls on the market and when it comes to golf balls tested in 2019 it was still one of the better feeling golf balls.
The TP5 felt great. It’s very pleasant to feel off of every club in the bag including a putter that can emit a sound that may not be pleasing to many ears. In fact, out of golf balls tested in 2019, there was only one other golf ball that felt better to me. I’ve never been shy about telling everyone that I prefer a softer golf ball and maybe this weighed in making me somewhat partial to the TP5. But the feel is fantastic and something can be said about the “Soft-Tough Cast Urethane” cover.
Spin – Working their way from the green… back both models of the TP5 exhibited stellar spin characteristics. While shots from the rough around the green don’t spin as much (in general) I noticed that the TP5 and TP5x spun more than the ball that I use as a benchmark (Pro V1). The increased spin from the rough is already an endearing trait in this tester’s opinion. The spin from the fringe was even better (as one would expect) and was extremely predictable. The TP5 edged out its sibling in this facet but that’s also to be expected in seeing that TaylorMade Golf doesn’t hide the fact that the TP5 offers higher wedge spin numbers.
In my estimation, the approach spin was very similar. Even though the TP5x has a more piercing trajectory the approach spin was very strong. Both golf balls exhibited “drop and stop” capabilities and in some cases, the TP5 “danced” just a little. It didn’t matter whether the greens were hard and fast or slow and soft. It was a trend that continued throughout the testing process.
Driver spin. Spin that truly matters because it directly affects distance (the next category to be discussed). I would suggest that the spin numbers off of the driver and metalwoods are a little on the lower side. There was never any evidence of ballooning. Also, the TP5 and TP5x handled themselves very well in terms of handling the windy conditions here on The Great Lakes. The TP5/TP5x handles crosswinds very well and even though the launch of the TP5x is higher the penetrating flight qualities of the TP5x stood out.
Distance – TaylorMade Golf will tell you that these balls are long and they are. As mentioned, the TP5x has a ballflight that offers a more penetrating ballflight and it shows. While the TP5x launches higher its flight settles down quickly and the “afterburnes” kick on (not to be confused with AeroBurner). Bar none, this is the longest golf ball that I’ve seen flying into the wind. Honestly, there was no drop off in the distance when compared to its flight in benign conditions. Consistently, I noticed differences of 5-10 yards when compared to “the benchmark” golf ball that I referred to earlier.
The TP5 offered more or less of the same that the TP5x did although I noticed that into the wind the carry lagged a little behind its brethren. But the TP5 is long again to the tune of 5-10 yards over the benchmark. Following my stroke, I lost clubhead speed and this golf ball gave me some distance back. As I’ve continued to fight my way back I’ve gotten a little stronger. The TP5 gives me 135-140 yards with my PW. When it comes to the “HFM” (High Flex Material) I think that there’s more to it than marketing buzzwords and “placebo effect”.
Durability – The lack of durability from it’s earlier generation made me believe the following. If a golf ball isn’t durable than how well it performs means nothing to me. Back then, I destroyed covers including one particular occasion where one had a cut in the cover that it looked like it was smiling. I was really disappointed then. But, did this happen in 2019 with the latest generation?
I am very pleased to report that the TP5 and TP5x have proven to be durable (bordering on rugged) golf balls. The Soft-Tough Cast Urethane Cover is that. Tough. I have had no issues with the durability of the TP5/TP5x. They have been brutalized a lot over the last several months. None of them have shown blemishes outside of normal wear from the perils of golf. I don’t know if what happened back then was a strange anomaly or not, either way, the issue never repeated itself. They are durable.
TaylorMade Golf knows innovation. They proved it with their golf clubs and now I feel that it can be said of their golf balls too. The TP5/tP5x are terrific golf balls. They are all-around performers and I firmly believe that they can shave a stroke or two off of your game. They feel great, they’re durable, long off the tee and spin when you need them. If you haven’t tried them maybe it’s time to consider making a #5witch. Find the right TP5 for your game by using their golf ball recommender tool.
For more information please visit TaylorMade Golf Canada.
Until The Next Tee!!