The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted just about everything, but at least one time-honored tradition is rolling on like clockwork, the release of prototype Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls at the PGA Tour’s event in Las Vegas.
White boxes are distributed and put into players’ lockers every two years when the tour arrives at TPC Summerlin, and this year was no different. While Titleist’s ball factories and headquarters had to close during the pandemic’s height in the spring, the prototype Pro V1 and Pro V1x balls were manufactured at Titleist Ball Plant 3 in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
As Golfweek reported last week, the company has been hiring scores of people to help it ramp up production once again.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the release of the first Titleist Pro V1 at the 2000 Invensys Classic. That week, 47 players in the field switched into the new multi-layer, urethane-covered ball, including Billy Andrade, who went on to win.
Historically, Titleist brings prototypes of the three-piece Pro V1 and the four-piece Pro V1x balls to Las Vegas to get feedback from players, then makes the balls available to consumers in late January of the following year.
The company is not providing any details regarding modifications it has made to the balls at this time, but it is likely that the balls are receiving refinements instead of significant overhauls. Why? According to Titleist, about 73 percent of all the players on the PGA Tour last season used either a Pro V1 or a Pro V1x. That number jumps to 75 percent on the European Tour and 83 percent on the LPGA Tour.