Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Product Review - Taylormade Project (s) Golf Ball

As seems the way these days, there’s never enough time to get around to doing everything on here I want. I’ve a new job which is working me far harder than I envisaged but one I’m really enjoying and I’m still trying to drip the last few weeks of getting to the club after work before the light finally closes in and signals the imminent arrival of Winter.

It seems ages (yes it is I hear you cry) since I reviewed the recent golf ball offering from Taylormade, their Project (s) on my Three Off The Tee youtube channel (check the channel as a whole here Three Off The Tee Youtube channel). You should be familiar by now that whenever I do a product review there is a video you can watch here (Project (s) Video Review) As always with my golf ball reviews, there is no fancy data, no launch monitors, just me as a mid-handicapper straight from the car after work to the course, playing a par 3, par 4 and a par 5 and giving an honest an independent review of what I think.

I hope you check the video out and please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll make sure I respond. To start the review, let’s begin with the technical blurb and hype from Taylormade:

The all-new Project (s) offers an even softer feel while continuing the company's focus on low driver spin and significant driver distance. TaylorMade has designed one golf ball that delivers on the two performance attributes amateur players in this category want most: soft feel AND distance combined in a single product.

The Project (s) uses TaylorMade's high lift 342LDP dimple pattern, which, in combination with the lower backspin construction, reduces drag throughout the golf ball's flight for more distance.
In general, lower compression golf balls travel the shortest distance, but with Project (s), TaylorMade's engineers have solved for soft while maintaining impressive distance. The result is a golf ball that delivers on both distance and feel, allowing for golfers to no longer having to choose between one over the other

The Project (s) ball and box
Eric Loper, Director of R&D Golf Balls, said:  "The new multilayer design incorporates a softer yet resilient dual distance core that maximises distance and enables us to utilise a softer ionomer cover for soft feel and great control. We are eliminating the need for a golfer to choose between distance and feel in this category. The new Project (s) provides both softer feel AND distance." 

TaylorMade Project (s) Golf Ball: Key Features
Dual-Distance Core
Similar to the Project (a) the Dual-Distance Core in the Project (s) decreases the overall compression of the ball for soft feel while maintaining rebound and speed. The Project (s)'s compression is 60, 10 less than the Project (a). The dual distance core is a two-layer system that has a large, low compression inner core that reduces unwanted driver spin and creates great feel. The outer core consists of a softer-resilient polymer that also improves feel and maintains high ball velocities.

Aerodynamic Ionomer Cover
Due to the high COR of the Dual-Distance Core, engineers were able to use a soft ionomer cover that improves feel and control around the green. Compared to the competitive set, the Project (s) has the softest cover which provides more greenside spin and soft feel.

TaylorMade's Project (s) golf balls available matt white, matt orange and matt yellow at an RRP of £24.99

So enough of the spiel, what did I think? As I said in the video, I swing the club quickly and definitely fall outside the speed parameters the ball was designed for. That said it did a job. There were elements that surprised, especially off the putter and around the greens where I thought it would struggle but it gave me enough control and there were no issues with the feel off the putter face. When I found the middle of the club face off the tee, I was surprised, if not a little shocked on how far it went.

I have tried other low compression balls and to be fair this was a standout performer compared to others on the market. It’s a growing niche of the ball market and while I don’t think it’s where I’d position myself, there are plenty of golfers out there that would benefit from this sort of ball.

As I’ve mentioned and as I commented on the video, my swing on the day wasn’t as loose and fluid as I’d like but coming straight from work, straight from the car and onto the course is representative of how many of us get a golfing fix in the summer so I think my findings stand up as being representative.

As I've done with other ball reviews I'll finish the review by breaking the Taylormade Project (S) into various categories and giving a final verdict

The matt white left me fairly ambivalent and while it seems to be a growing trend in the golf ball market, I am fairly traditional and prefer my new golf ball to look bright and shiny on the tee, straight out of the box and waiting for the first hit. I’ve seen the other colours on offer and again they are functional but not my cup of tea. 6/10

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned in other videos and reviews, I am currently in the three piece sector of the market and my preferred ball of choice is the AD333 Tour. Given the unusually hot conditions in the UK this summer, these have given way to four piece premium balls to get as much control as possible as distance wasn’t an issue on baked fairways. Now autumn is here, I need to maximise distance. I was dubious on how the Project (s) would fare but it did surprise me and I did get it out there. On all shots, including irons and wedges, there wasn’t a huge drop off on where I’d normally be distance wise 8/10

The ball produced a fairly low flight for me. Whether that was the swing I brought to the course on the day or a result of the dimple pattern and aerodynamics Taylormade have put into the design I can’t say. I would suggest it would give a good flight on a blustery Autumnal day and didn’t impact stop and control hitting into greens 7/10

Around and on the green, this ball was far better than my own pre-conceptions on how it would perform and managed to easily exceed my expectations. The ball seemed to stop well coming into greens and when playing chip shots seemed to have a good degree of grab especially my recovery shot on the par five. 8/10

As always in my reviews I only played three holes with this ball. I had no issues with the durability and if you have seen the video review (Project S video review) you can see that my strike wasn’t always the best and I didn’t always put it in position A but there were no significant scratches or marks after I played the three holes. 8/10

That subjective word that is so hard to describe or categorise but is normally the first requirement any club golfer asks about whenever a golf ball is discussed. Taylormade are marketing the Project (s) as a soft ball. I’m not sure I go along with that 100% and on certain shots, especially off with the driver in my case, it felt no different to firmer two piece or some three piece balls I’ve hit. Again, there were some iron shots that it felt “soft” such as my approach into the first hole on the video with a wedge from just over 100 yards and others like my second into the par 5 when I caught it flush where it felt much firmer. The way it felt off the club face definitely didn’t put me off it. Did it tick my “feel” box? In truth no, but it definitely didn’t feel horrible. 7/10

I’ve already been honest and said I came into this review with a few pre-conceived thoughts about this low compression offering and that I didn’t think it was a ball aimed at me. I stand by those. That said, in the growing low compression ball market, this was a standout performer. I managed to get enough out of the ball on the three holes I played to enjoy using it.

As you’ll have seen, it wasn’t a particularly good ball striking round and technically my swing was messy at best. Given that and the fact I perhaps swing too fast to get optimum performance from the Project (s) I got some good distance when I hit it well, didn’t seem to lose too much on the bad ones and was very pleased and surprised with the control on offer around the greens. It performed solidly, and better than I thought and so while my overall mark could be seen as somewhat stingy and unjust, it is brought up on control and durability and let down on overall performance (based on my swing speed) and for me, the looks.

It isn’t a bad ball and I am only giving an honest and unbiased opinion. I strongly urge you to get a sleeve in your local pro shop and give them a go. They are definitely a strong partner for the existing Project (a) ball (which I like very much) and you may find it suits your game far better than it does mine. As a result my overall mark is 7.5/10

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