P-and-P Ranking 4.5 / 5.0
I love golf. I try to play as often as possible but golf is an expensive hobby. You have to buy clubs, a bag, golf balls, tees, gadgets such as a divot repair tool , clothing, shoes etc .. The list is extensive. This can be difficult when you have a responsibilities such as a wife and children. Not to mention supporting the house and all the bills that go along with it. In order to feed my golf habit, I need to try and save money whenever I can. One way I do this is by buying equipment at bargain prices. I just picked up a used putter from my father-in-law for zero dollars. He passed away 5 years ago and I happen to see his old clubs in the garage. My brother-in-law suggested I take what I want so I grabbed an older Odyssey white hot putter to try. It was in mint condition as he didn’t golf much. Another big drain on the wallet is golf balls. Every year I try to find a golf ball that I like that is discontinued. I did this the last few years with the Taylor Made Penta TP5. They stopped making this model and I really liked it so I grabbed a few dozen for about $25 / dozen. I was able to get by for the year on a discontinued golf ball. You have to get by in any way you can. Since I was already playing this ball and I really liked it, it made sense to stock up and save at the same time. I still have a few of these new and I expect to be out by the middle of this year.
This year my golf ball of choice is going to be the Wilson Staff Duo golf ball. Yes, thats right, a Wilson Staff. The old rocks are gone and Wilson is now producing a quality ball again at a great price. More on this later but let me give you some background, read on ….
While ball preference is subjective, everyone has their favorite and what constitutes a good golf ball. With this in mind, I have a theory about golf balls and how they are priced. I believe the markup is huge on these items. Titleist dominates the market by far, but they are not the only ones that can make a decent golf ball. I have played dozens of different golf balls in 25 years of playing and I have a pretty good feel for the ball when I play. I believe I can notice subtle differences when striking the ball. Maybe I am wrong , but that is my feeling. When a new golf ball player comes on the market with a premium ball, they are priced lower to compete with the big boys. For example, when the Bridgestone premium golf balls first came around, they were much cheaper than current prices. I played the B-330 They felt pretty solid all around. They were a very nice golf ball, but they were two thirds the price of the premium Titleist. Now fast forward 7 or 8 years and they are pretty much in line with Titleist as far as price goes. The same thing happened with Srixon when they came out with their line of golf balls. The point is that they can survive and make money at the lower price but the goal is to become a premium brand and get higher margins on their products. What does this mean for you the budget golfer ? It means that you have access to very good golf balls but there is a limited window of time to take advantage of this cycle.
Another tactic is they stop making a particular golf ball and replace it with a very similar ball , except with a new name and a higher price. This is what Taylor Made had done with the Penta line. Their new golf ball line has several models and most at premium prices. They still have a mid range ball but now they have a Tour Preferred line that feels very much like the TP5 to me.
This is just my theory on the golf ball scheme and I may be wrong but I spend a large amount of time trying to find a good ball due to overpricing. Many swear by the Pro V1 and it is a quality product, but there are others who also make a good ball and you don’t have to take out a loan to get a dozen. If you play courses that have a lot of hazards, it can be cost prohibitive to lose a ball. Four dollars a piece is ridiculous. Just my opinion.
So back to my plan to find balance in money vs. being able to play. I can’t find any more of the Penta TP5 balls online so I am in need of a new ball to make my own. My requirements are:
- It needs to be fairly soft for use around the greens. I can’t really spin a ball, but I can stop it. This is important to me so I want confidence around the green that I can get it close when I am “on” or in the zone.
- It has a good price point, say $30.00 or less per dozen. I want as cheap as possible but I will go as high as $30.00, grudgingly. I refuse to spend $48.00/dozen for a Pro V1. Huge markup and I won’t pay it.
- It doesn’t sacrifice any distance off the tee. Golf balls have evolved and there are more choices than ever before that meet this criteria. I have yet to feel like a ball has cost me a lot of distance but I am sure some are a bit longer than others.
These criteria can be difficult to find all in one package. I felt the Taylor Made scored on all three of these goals. It was ~ $30.00 / dozen when they were still making them and that was pushing the price limit, but the distance was fine and when I putted and chipped the ball, it didn’t feel like I was hitting a boulder.
Enter the Wilson Duo
Ok so after doing some research online, I kept seeing the same comments from people: “The Wilson Duo is super soft and flies off the club”. Really, The Wilson Staff Duo ? I have played a Wilson ball 15 years ago and it was like hitting a diamond. Absolutely awful. Adding to my skepticism was the fact that I saw some prices as low as $15/dozen. How can this be good? Well, I bit the bullet and got 2 dozen for $30 shipped to the house. I got last years leftovers and they literally cam in a plastic bag from Golfsmith. I was totally bummed out when they came. I got ripped off, these are going to be awful. I was thinking, that I made a bad impulse golf buy and that the golf fever at the end of the winter made me do it. I would try them but I needed to keep looking. I just refused to believe Wilson could make a good golf ball, and at the price I got, I was pretty convinced I was right.
The weather in the Boston area for the last 2 weeks has been anything but normal. We had a 70 degree day recently and yesterday I got the call. “What are you doing tomorrow? We have a tee time at 9:30 AM at BrookMeadow” (see post here). I figured, all right, I will give them a shot, but I still have my old penta balls and some Bridgestone B-330’s if I need them. Man, right off the bat I noticed how soft they were. I was on the practice putting green and I was amazed. How could they make this so soft for $15 ? I couldn’t believe it. I withheld judgement until I could hit it with all the clubs. I still didn’t want to believe it was true. Turns out the ball was great all day. I was able to stop the ball on the green, my distance was pretty good and the putting was a joy. If I had to give one con, it was that it scuffed pretty easily. I played the round with three balls in my pocket and I lost one. At the end the remaining two were scuffed pretty badly but for the price, I had no complaints. This is a huge win for me. To find a ball that I like for this price is Gigantic. I just lopped off a couple of hundred dollars off the yearly golf expense. It doesn’t sound like a ton, but it matters to me if I can get 3 or 4 more rounds in over the course of the season.
Conclusion: Wilson Duo
After playing one round with the Wilson Duo, I am giving this product a P-and-P ranking of 4.5/5.0 due to exceptional softness, good distance and excellent price per dozen. Wilson Duo golf balls are for real. They are now a legitimate brand that produces very good golf balls. These are soft, don’t sacrifice length, and are very reasonably priced. The only cons are they scuff easily and they may even be a little too soft if you can believe it. At this price point, I will be playing these golf balls this season. I will compare my stats at the end of the season to see if there is a correlation between score and golf ball but that is more of a fun exercise and not a definitive way to determine the effects of using this product. I highly recommend you try this golf ball. But don’t be surprised to see the price go up if these get popular 🙂