TaylorMade re-enters ball market with TP Red and TP Black
It seems like just yesterday when several club manufacturers decided they wanted to enter the golf ball market. Nike, Callaway and TaylorMade all introduced balls, with quite different results.
Though none challegened the practical hegemony of Titleist, Nike has created a competitive line of balls, essentially parallel in price and performance to Titleist’s. The Swoosh and Tiger don’t hurt any, either.
Callaway’s balls are also starting to grab market share, thanks in no small part to the success of Phil Mickelson and Annika Sorenstam. The bulk of Callaway’s balls, though, appear to be aimed at the higher-end market (with the exception of the rather obscure Warbird).
TaylorMade’s ill-fated Innergel ball, however, failed to catch on. Although I liked the Innergel, I thought the grayish lettering was horrible marketing: Even brand-new balls looked like they were faded from sitting out in the sun.
In the 2006 Masters, TaylorMade introduced two new balls, which have been three and a half years in the making: the TP Red and TP Black. Sergio Garcia played the TP red for the first time at Augusta.
The new balls, which have an MSRP of $55/dozen, differ in design and performance, according to a company press release:
“The difference in performance between the TP Red and TP Black is a result of their different core diameters and mantle
thicknesses. The TP Red incorporates a larger core (1.510″ diameter) and thinner mantle (.055″ thick) compared to
the TP Black’s smaller core (1.480″ diameter) and thicker mantle (.070″ thick). The TP Red’s larger core and thinner mantle promotes a low spin-rate off the driver and a slightly lower, tour-like
launch angle off every club in the bag, which promotes increased control. Likewise, the thinner mantle promotes a slightly softer sound and feel.
“Conversely, the TP Black’s thicker mantle permits the ball to slide up the clubface a fraction at impact for a higher launch angle, while the thicker mantle and smaller core work together to promote an even lower rate of driver-spin. That combination of higher launch angle and lower spin-rate helps promotes increased carry and distance.”
Sergio finished second-to-last in the Masters, but you’d be hard-pressed to blame the ball. Nevertheless, I’m sure TaylorMade was hoping for a better finish to boost sales when the TPs hit stores on May 19th. Golfers might need some star-powered coaxing to shell out the $55 per dozen for a new ball.
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