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.

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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.

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The author getting set to conduct testing under the Temple Terrace, Florida sun in March.

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”.

Differences…Differences

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.

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The Transition 

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.

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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.

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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.

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There were many results like this while testing the TP5/TP5x. This tee shot was a Par 3 from 163 yards playing 180 yards. 

The Finish

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.

Ball Selector Tool

For more information please visit TaylorMade Golf Canada.

 

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee

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It’s my favorite time of the year. While it saddens me that the death of summer is nearly here (and with it the 2019 golf season will see its untimely demise in due time) it also means one thing. It’s football season baby!!

Not that crappy, boring “smashmouth football” that is the NFL. No sir (or ma’am) we’re talking about the NCAA. The pomp, the pageantry, the student bodies, and the marching bands. Football, the way that it was meant to be played. I’m not the only excited by this. So is STITCH Golf.

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As a University of Florida Gators guy… It pains me to post a pic of anything ‘Bama.

The fabricator of premium golf bags, headcovers, travel bags and more launches a new range of products. Collegiate Putter Covers. Now you can support your alma mater or favorite university in style. For more details, please see the press release as shared by Stuart Goldstein from RG Narrative. Go Gators!!

Until The Next Tee!!

#SeeUOnTheNextTee #FightAndGrind

 

Arrive in Style™

 

(APEX, NC, August 12, 2019) —STITCH Golf is pleased to announce the launch of its
officially licensed line of NCAA collegiate putter headcovers to meet the needs of today’s serious golfer and serious fan.

“Our new collegiate putter headcovers enable golfers the opportunity to proudly support their favorite school or alma mater in style,” stated Brad King, CEO of STITCH. “These eye-catching putter covers are sure to grab the attention of your golf buddies while providing the most important club in your bag with exceptional protection.”

Using STITCH’s classic and timeless designs, these blade putter headcovers come in
premium leather with the university’s logo beautifully embroidered throughout the cover. University headcovers currently available include: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, LSU, Michigan State, Mississippi, NC State, Oklahoma, SMU, Texas A&M, UNC, South Carolina, Virginia, Vanderbilt, and Wake Forest.

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“Like all STITCH products, these collegiate headcovers are designed and engineered to help golfers look their best,” continued King. “By focusing on details and premium components we were able to create unparalleled headcovers for the die-hard fan”. Additional features of the collegiate headcovers include:
 Premium leather
 Plush inner lining
 Magnetic closure
 Water & stain resistant
 Fits most blade putters

Stitch Collegiate Putter Covers are available at http://www.stitchgolf.com and retail for $78.

 

About STITCH
Founded in 2011 as a headcover company, STITCH is known for designing and creating products with precise attention to detail, all the way down to the last stitch.

Based in Apex, North Carolina, STITCH gives a unique experience, whether it’s the high quality leather used in our headcovers, the durable waterproof fabrics in our bags and gear or the fashionable color schemes seen in our apparel.

STITCH products are designed to be effortlessly fashionable, allowing you to create a stylish, comfortable and color-coordinated look-on and off the course. Designed with details that perform, our line of golf bags and gear, travel bags and apparel combine function and fashion with three themes in mind: DRESS YOUR GAME™, ARRIVE IN STYLE™ and FROM WORK TO PLAY™. STITCH products are available at leading golf, country clubs and select retailers around the world and at http://www.stitchgolf.com

What happens when you take 12 years of golf ball fitting data from one of the leading golf ball manufacturers while adding innovation and design to allow golfers to take distance and accuracy to an entirely different level. The answer… The Bridgestone Golf e12 series of golf balls.

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Bridgestone Golf e12 Soft

The Covington, Georgia based manufacturer introduced the golfing world to their latest golf ball creations in the non-Tour (distance golf ball) category back in January at the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show. Make no mistake about it though, these are NOT your typical distance golf ball.

In the e12 there are two different golf balls dedicated to golfers of different swing speeds. Firstly, there is the e12 SOFT for those golfers with a slightly slower swing speed (less than 105 mph) or for those that prefer a softer feeling golf ball. Meanwhile, for the faster swingers out there (>105 mph) who struggle with sidespin, the e12 SPEED is a golf ball that’s designed to go straighter and consequently further. Before continuing, please allow me to go a little bit further in describing their specifications.

 

The Pre-Shot Routine

e12 SOFT – The e12 SOFT is a golf ball that’s best described as being a Distance Performance golf ball. Why? Well, that’s because this golf ball is a 3-piece design. The cover is Surlyn which is not only durable but also reduces sidespin. Not to mention that the e12 SOFT also offers a softer feel. Bridgestone Golf R&D developed a new innovation in golf ball technology. Introducing, their new proprietary Active Acceleration Mantle”. This new layer is constructed from a “high-performance polymer” which is said to provide “increased thrust and higher initial velocity at impact while allowing Bridgestone to soften the core for greater forgiveness and enhanced feel”. Also of note is the addition of Bridgestone’s “Delta Wing Dimple Pattern” which aids in creating less drag and improved aerodynamics in the cover. The e12 SOFT also comes in a few different color variations. Matte Green, Matte Yellow, and Matte Red are offered for those golfers who prefer help in the optics department (or just want some more color in their lives) and for the more traditional types the e12 SOFT also comes in White.

e12 SPEED – The e12 SPEED is also a Distance Performance golf ball as it also features a 3-piece construction. Also featuring the same durable Surlyn cover and key technological points like the Delta Wing Dimple Pattern and the Active Acceleration Mantle layer for optimized aerodynamics and less drag the e12 SPEED is more firm than its SOFT brethren. The e12 SPEED is only available in White.

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The Transition

I’m going to warn all of my readers right now. This might get a little lengthy as I’m going to be talking about certain characteristics of these golf balls. For the purposes of the testing and consequent review, I looked at a few key areas of concern to golfers like you and I. The categories that I looked at primarily were Feel, Durability, Distance (Driver and Irons) and Spin (Greenside and Approach).

For the most part, the majority of testing occurred in Florida during a trip there in late March. While I was dealing with punched greens it’s also important to point out that the greens were extremely firm at one course while other rounds saw greens that were somewhat receptive. When they were put into play and practice upon golf season arriving here the greens were very soft and extremely receptive. So with all of the background information laid down let’s get down to business.

 

Feel (I always feel that it’s important to point out that feel is intimate and subjective to the individual)

e12 SOFT – Without wasting any time I just wanted to point out very quickly that I really enjoyed the feel of this golf ball. It was something that I first observed at Demo Day during the 2019 PGA Show. At the time, I used everything from Driver to Wedge that day and I thought that the feel was addictive. Little did I realize how good the feel was until I tried it for the first time putting after arriving home from the show. Using a Lateral Line Putters L2 MAXX MOI on the Big Moss Augusta putting green I soon found out how good this golf ball would feel. It’s soft without feeling “mushy” like other soft models from Bridgestone’s competitors. My putter has a somewhat wonky, firm feel and sound and the e12 SOFT off of this putter felt muted.

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A little bit of color

When it came to the feel of this golf ball off of the other clubs (including wedges) it was more of the same. I play forged irons (New Level 1031)  and the combination of the forged heads and e12 SOFT was like listening to a symphony. Total harmony and everything is in tune. When it came to the driver you can feel the golf ball compress and that’s always a great feeling to have. Compression equates to distance. The e12 is a wonderful feeling golf ball… Tee to green.

e12 SPEED – Where the e12 SOFT won me over from a feel standpoint my initial feeling about the “feels” of the e12 SPEED wasn’t very complimentary. Adjectives like “harsh”, “hard” and “clicky” all came to mind very quickly. To be blunt, I hated it. Was it because of the direct comparison to it’s SOFT sibling? Maybe! But testing is always a process.

As the venue switched from my living room to Florida and consequently spring in Canada my impressions of this golf ball changed like the season. I warmed up to the golf ball enjoying it on the course. While it is more firm than the SOFT it isn’t as hard as my initial impressions were. It isn’t the firmest golf ball I’ve used and that’s a good thing. It felt pretty darn good off of all clubs whether I was putting, chipping, pitching or executing full swings. I was very impressed by how the SPEED jumped off of the face of my driver (more to come on that shortly). The e12 SPEED is more firm but if you have a higher swing speed as recommended it becomes less of a factor. 

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Durability

Seeing that these golf balls have the same cover I don’t feel it necessary to break them down individually.

With that said the Surlyn cover is durable and rugged as you might expect. In fact, I have abused the same golf balls since the testing begun right here in my living room. I’ve put these golf balls through a lot of golf holes, short game practice and I have but one conclusion. They might be able to survive a nuclear holocaust. The balls are blemish-free with no signs of wear whatsoever. Unfortunately, one of my Matte Red e12 SOFT couldn’t survive landing in the middle of the fairway where it was lost due to being plugged about a week ago. An offering for the “Golf Gods” if you will. There is nothing negative that I can elaborate on regarding this subject.

As the season moves along I wonder one thing. How will the matte finish of the e12 SOFT hold up? Time will only tell.

Distance (Driver)

***In the interest of full disclosure while at the PGA Show I discovered that my clubhead speed is well below where it was since the Stroke I had in September. I was an average of 107 mph (topping out at 114 mph) as of January it was 94 mph. Being unable to fire through my left side has factored into the decreased speed. That said, Smash Factor is an important variable in hitting the ball long as well.

e12 SOFT – When it came to testing I thought that the e12 SOFT yielded very good results as far as driver distance goes. I also feel a need to point out that I think that the e12 SOFT also has pretty lower driver spin. Yes, the cover is designed to reduce sidespin but the backspin numbers were very good as well. In using the FlightScope mevo I determined that my driver spin was an average of 2,800 RPM. There was never any sign of ballooning with this golf ball and I would suggest that it was a shade longer than my gamer.

e12 SPEED – I have no explanation for the distance results that I saw with the e12 SPEED. Sure the backspin numbers were less than the SOFT (2,500 RPM) but the e12 SPEED was long. Each drive that I struck when I teed up the e12 SPEED was the kind of drive that you admire. The length of this golf ball surprised me. Maybe it shouldn’t have… But it did. The e12 SPEED is one of the longest golf balls that I’ve put into play and was the longest during testing in Florida and up north.

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Distance (Irons)

e12 SOFT – Throughout the testing process I found that the e12 SOFT was about the same as my gamer. I have only one explanation for this. It seems like SOFT flies higher because of the slightly elevated spin rates than others tested or played. That said, it’s important to point out that backspin is totally necessary for golfers with slower swing speeds. In saying that, if what I said is in fact how the R&D team designed it they get full marks, It was a thought that I first hand at Demo Day but blamed it on the winds that were blowing around the venue… and in our face at the Bridgestone Golf booth back in January.

e12 SPEED – The e12 SPEED, on the other hand, proved to be a longer, steadier golf ball for me during testing. Honestly, I never saw that coming. But the reality is that the SPEED was longer for me with the irons as well. Longer than my gamer the e12 SPEED is not afraid of giving you (the golfer) a few extra yards on your approach shots. I would suggest that the e12 SPEED was 5 yards longer (half a club) than what I generally play. The trajectory was a bit lower than the SOFT.

SPIN

e12 SOFT – Alright, so there’s a saying in life. “To get a little you have to give a little) and that really does sum up my feelings about the spin characteristics of the e12 SOFT. When it came to the short game spin what I observed was a golf ball that was somewhere between a distance ball and their TOUR B RXS that I reviewed towards the tail end of 2017 (I think). The cover is Surlyn and not Urethane so you know that it will not offer Tour-level golf ball spin. However, the spin is very admirable around the greens. I had some shots check up beautifully while other shots had some degree of rollout (not a lot). If anything, the short game spin is very promising for the e12 SOFT.

When it came to approach spin on 3/4 to Full swings this golf ball was fantastic. My first hole playing it was into a wind-swept green that could have been confused with the I-75 around Tampa for firmness and that approach landed and stopped 8′ past the pin setting up my first Birdie of 2019 and first since my Stroke (sorry but it was a milestone thing). I missed the putt for Birdie. Over and over again the e12 SOFT has impressed when it came to approach spin. Stop and drop is the theme when it comes to the e12 SOFT.

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e12 SPEED – What you gain in a bit of distance with this golf ball you lose a little in stopping power. While you can use this golf ball around the green you need to be prepared for one thing. Rollout. Alright, we know it isn’t a Tour-level golf ball so that means it’s not going to stop but neither is the SOFT but that has some greenside spin. If you choose to play this golf ball it may be worth your while to spend some quality practice time around a practice green chipping and get used to the balls tendencies the SPEED can do the job. Just don’t expect it to stop on a dime. On more than one occasion it cost me an extra few feet when it didn’t stop as planned. Land this ball a little short of what you think you should and it’ll work out well. I know, this wisdom betrays conventional logic.

Approach spin with the e12 SPEED was pretty good. The ball does spin on those full and less than full approach shots. The stopping power is definitely better than what I observed around the greens and while there is some stop and drop control with receptive greens it’s not as stoppable when things are a little more firm. Generally, I take crisp, ball-first divots with my irons and wedges that produce spin but int the firmer greens I did see the ball land and end up further away to the pin than the strike deserved. Get to know what this ball does and you’ll be happy.

The Finish

There are a lot of things to like about the e12 range of golf balls from Bridgestone Golf. They’ve conducted their research and in doing so they’ve provided two solid golf ball offerings to golfers with two different speed rates. Each golf ball has its pro’s and cons. But what they do have in common are a couple of things.

  1. Both models retail for $29.99 USD which is pretty fair for a 3-piece offering
  2. They do perform as advertised.
  3. These golf balls maintain their line and were not prone to going right or left. The e12 golf balls are straight and accurate.

My point is this. Depending on what kind of player you are Bridgestone Golf just might have an e12 model for you. If you have the chance try a sleeve of each and find the right fit for you. In my case, even though I like the distance of the e12 SPEED I’d rather play the SOFT and take advantage of its slightly better greenside spin, approach spin, and softer feel. I can handle being a little shorter and making a controlled swing with a little more club. Please visit the Bridgestone Golf website for more details by clicking here.

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUonTheNextTee