The golf ball is without a doubt the most underrated piece of equipment that a golfer uses in the course of his or her playing days. Not only is the “lowly” golf ball underrated it is almost thought of as an afterthought. But, it shouldn’t be. It’s the only item in our arsenal that we use on every stroke made during a round of golf.
Over the last several years, I’ve become very much a proponent of golf balls with lower compression. As a matter of fact, I’ve gotten to a point where I prefer a soft feeling, low-compression model of a golf ball. Of course, though, feel is intimate.
When it comes to soft, low-compression golf balls the first brand that comes to my mind is Wilson Golf. For 2020, Wilson Golf has brought golfers the DUO Soft+. I received a sample sleeve from the 2020 PGA Show at Demo Day and while down in Florida, I had the chance to get some on-course testing before returning home for the winter.
Here are my first impressions of the new DUO Soft+ golf balls. There will be an updated review as we get deeper into the season and I’ve had some more time to play with this golf ball.
When looking at the new DUO Soft+ golf ball, we are looking at a golf ball that is built on the same principles as the ever-impressive, highly underrated DUO from years gone by. Wilson Golf describes the DUO as “the world’s softest and longest premium 2-piece golf ball”. If you’ve never used a DUO before, you might be missing out.
The new DUO Soft+ has a new feature in it’s “DNA”. Never used before in a DUO golf ball comes “VELOCITICOR™”. VELOCITICOR is a new core technology that consists of new, advanced materials that respond to the power of your golf swing and translates into maximum energy transfer into the ball. Different forms of polybutadiene (synthetic rubber) is used while a compound (Zinc Pentachlorothiophenol) gives VELOCITICOR it’s “oomph”.
The compression is low as the DUO Soft+ has a compression rating of 35. Wilson Golf is confident about this golf ball, and they were out to prove that the DUO Soft+ was just as long as a Titleist Pro V1. They had a “challenge” set up on Demo Day. Golfers hit three Pro V1 and three DUO Soft+ and using an iron. Using Trackman (or FlightScope I don’t recollect which one it was) the distances were recorded. For the most part, gains were seen across the board while I stood there and watched the results. Some gains by as much as 12 yards. I also took part in the challenge but my results were inconclusive.
Early testing of the DUO Soft+ golf ball would take place at two separate venues while I stayed in Florida for a few days after the PGA Show. I would take the DUO Soft+ to the YMCA Par 3 Home of the First Tee of Lakeland where they have a pretty nice, well-maintained short game area and then I would play a round of golf in Zephyrhills, FL at Southport Springs Golf and Country Club.
The first batch of testing would occur as mentioned at the YMCA Par 3 course. That batch of testing would involve putting, chipping and pitches from a variety of lies and bunker shots. In a nutshell, that batch of testing was “anything’ short-game. The second batch of testing would be on-course and a sort of “live-fire exercise”. That would be my first look at things like distance, flight, and feel on all shots not short-game related. I would combine those results and come up with my “First Impressions”.
Feel – As you likely expect the feel of this golf ball is fantastic. I love the feel of this golf ball. It feels soft, and it feels quite buttery off of the putter, wedges, and irons. As mentioned, I’m a huge fan of softer golf balls and I often “preach to the proverbial choir” about using ofter golf balls. The feel was so good, that I actually looked forward to applying the clubhead into the back of the golf ball. I won’t guarantee it, but the DUO Soft+ is likely (if not THE) best feeling golf ball in the industry.
Spin – I won’t mince words. When looking at the DUO Soft+ golf ball, IF there is a shortcoming it might be its short-game spin capabilities. This was a case that presented itself almost immediately during the first batch of testing. To me, the DUO Soft+ had a problem checking up. Whether it was a chip or a pitch from a tight lie that allowed for easy compression, or a little lob onto the green. There was rollout. I was surprised to watch the Soft+ land on an upslope and release past the pin. I flew these shots 80% of the way to the pin. However, if I flew the golf ball 70% of the way the results improved. Chip shots were more of the same where there was more rollout than desired. Out of the bunkers, the spin was sufficient and did stop “okay”.
The spin on full shots and approaches into the green was better. The greens at Southport Springs Golf and Country Club were relatively firm. Ball marks were hard to come by as there were some approaches that left me bewildered because there were no pitch marks on the surface of the green. The approach spin with irons and wedges was very admirable in that, the spin of the DUO Soft+ did exhibit “drop and stop” characteristics. In the interest of full disclosure, I typically hit the ball high.
If you plan on seeing some rollout on short-game shots and play your shots accordingly, the DUO Soft+ is good around the greens. The feel makes it worth it.
Off of the long clubs in the bag (driver/fairway metals) it is my opinion that this is a low-spinning golf ball. Which leads me to talk about the distance.
Distance – One of the alluring things about using a lower-compression golf ball is the fact that you could pick up a few yards. Remember my “distance challenge” reference? While I saw no difference in numbers during Demo Day at their booth, it appears that I am longer with the DUO Soft+. Because the DUO Soft+ isn’t so “spinny” off of the driver and fairway woods it leads to a penetrating flight after initial high launch. You can really feel the golf ball compress and rebound off of the face of the club.
I would have the DUO Soft+ compete head to head against other current “testers” and it just seemed to stretch out a tad more. Especially with the irons. The DUO Soft+ was a club longer (7 to 10 yards) against the others. Now what I have to keep in mind is that I was hitting my PW in Florida 125 yards (sea-level is real). That same distance back at home would have translated to approximately 130-135 yards. It’s my hypothesis that I would get closer to 140 yards out of my 44* PW (winds notwithstanding) under normal conditions where I typically play which is around 350′ above sea-level. I also noticed gains with the other clubs I would play.
Putting – The DUO Soft+ has a pretty basic alignment aid for lining up your putts correctly. Emblazoned on the equator is “DUOSOFT+” that is book-ended by double chevrons (pictured below). Simple and functional.
All things considered, the Wilson Staff DUO Soft+ golf balls are a very nice low-compression offering for golfers that prefer a softer feeling golf ball. If you aren’t one of these golfers, it might be worth a look for you regardless. While I found there to be some issues with greenside spin, it’s an issue that we can look past as long as you’re willing to account for that deficiency. At the end of the day, it is, after all, a 2-piece golf ball.
The DUO Soft+ is longer than other golf balls in the industry and your results in this facet might be better or worse than mine.
With a price tag of $19.99 USD/dozen the DUO SOft+ is worth a look. It offers pretty darn good “bang for the golfer buck”. I’m looking forward to playing with this golf ball more. Stay tuned!
Until The Next Tee!!