Any time a new product hits the market for real there is a good chance it has already gone through extensive testing in select markets to determine its potential viability for success. That’s a lot of fancy words for, “do players like it or not”? Before releasing the all new AVX golf ball, Titleist subjected it to months of testing in a few major golfing markets (Arizona, California and Florida), as well as compiled data from robotic swings in their labs.
Titleist markets the AVX as “a premium performance golf ball for golfers who prioritize distance and extremely soft feel with a piercing, low ball flight.” Utilizing breakthrough core design, cover material and dimple construction Titleist calls the AVX their lowest flying, lowest spinning and softest feeling high-performance ball in their line.
Overall, the feedback Titleist received was exceedingly positive and strong enough for them to move forward with the AVX golf ball in all markets! During the testing phase I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the Titleist AVX golf ball and give it some in-depth, hands-on testing over the off-season.
AVX Golf Ball Construction
Before getting into the Titleist AVX’s performance on the course, let’s look at its construction. The AVX has a proprietary GRN41 thermoset cast urethane elastomer cover, which differs slightly from traditional urethane covers found on other premium balls. Lower spin and flight than the Pro V1/x comes from the high speed, low compression core technology and high flex casing layer. Traditionally, lower compression balls lose speed, but the AVX addresses this with the flexible casing layer. It is designed to retain ball speeds, even with a lower compression than the Pro V1/x.
To further increase control, the AVX has the same number of tetrahedral dimples (352) as the Pro V1, but with a catenary construction. What this means is that the dimples of the AVX are shallower and wider, with more vertical walls on each dimple than a Pro V1/x’s dimples. Look for this to positively affect your play, especially in windy conditions, and to increase distance on mid to long iron shots.
Quickly recapping, what are the advantages of a lower spinning, lower launching, urethane cover premium ball? Less spin equals fewer misses left or right and less ballooning. Another benefit to this urethane cover is the additional durability from the thermoset casting process which also allows Titleist to offer this premium ball in a high-optic yellow version.
AVX Golf Ball Testing
After my discussions with a product specialist and my own research, I was excited to give the Titleist AVX a go and see how it played on the course. Straight away I’ve got to say, I think Titleist has found something in this ball. The AVX has the feel of a tour-level ball, but also its design does its job to help keep your game under control and the ball in play.
When I took a Titleist AVX golf ball out of the sleeve for the first time I instantly began inspecting what I could see, the cover. How does its cover compare to the covers of a Pro V1/x or other manufacturers premium offerings? Does the cover feel like it will grip the grooves or slide up the face? What do the dimples look like? Do I feel like this is a premium ball and a ball that I could confidently put into play?
Visually, the shape of the dimples stood out most. Initially, I thought the ball looked very similar to a Bridgestone e6, but a closer, side by side examination of those balls shows that the AVX dimples clearly still have a spherical shape while the e6 dimples appear more honeycomb shaped.
In direct comparison to the other Tour-level Titleist balls, the AVX cover feels a little less tacky than a Pro V1 or Pro V1x, but not plasticky or slick like an ionomer cover ball. I could also easily feel the difference between the two cover materials when looking at the AVX and e6 balls. The AVX had a softer, almost rubbery feel to the urethane cover compared to the firmer and harder plastic feel of the e6 cover.
On The Course
Playing through the winter in the Pacific Northwest means re-setting club distances and yardage gaps, but with the AVX I found that I had not lost any distance with my irons, even in sub-40-degree weather. What this tells me is that on approach the AVX is longer than a Pro V1x (the ball I play the most) by about almost a full club. I recently confirmed this hunch in a round where the temperatures were in the low-70s.
During that round I flew the back of multiple greens by a full club on the front 9 while playing the AVX and pulling my normal number at various yardages. After the fourth or fifth flown green I adjusted my yardages by about a club less and begun to consistently find my target. I don’t want to say it feels like the ball jumps off the face like a ball coming off of the face of a super game improvement club because the feel of the ball is wonderful and every bit a premium 3-piece urethane ball, but the added distance gains are for real.
On shots that hit the green from 150-200 yards I had no problem producing enough spin to hold greens, usually coming to stop a few feet from its impact mark, but I also planned for some forward release with my longer irons if the greens were a bit firmer.
That trend held consistent and continued around the greens. As expected, the ball did not check up quite as much as a Pro V1/x, and I found myself playing more bump and run shots because I knew I was producing less spin on the short stroke, touch shots. However, if I needed to take a ball vertical and land it softly, I still had no issue doing so and the ball would not run out very far.
Conclusion & Final Thoughts
The Titleist AVX golf ball is as advertised, a Tour-inspired ball, with an emphasis on distance and soft feel. A more controllable premium ball with a urethane cover should appeal to a wide range of players, especially players who are looking for the major benefits of a tour-level ball without all the risk associated with a premium, multi-piece ball.
If you’re a long hitter or do not produce a ton of spin to begin with you may want to stick with the Pro V1/x models, but if you’re looking for an added distance or a little help keeping your spin rate or trajectory down, give the AVX a try and get the distance or flight you’ve been searching for from a premium ball.