TaylorMade Tour Response vs TaylorMade Project (a)

TaylorMade’s Tour Response ball on test against its stable mate – TaylorMade Project (a)

TaylorMade Tour Response and Project (a) golf balls
(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

In this review of the TaylorMade Tour Response golf ball vs the TaylorMade Project (a) we compare two of the best-performing mid-range golf balls created to tempt golfers away from buying expensive premium tour balls.

TaylorMade surveyed amateur golfers extensively to discover what they want in a golf ball, both in terms of performance and budget. Feedback showed many playing tour balls unsuited to their playing ability or physical capabilities.

Its solution was to create three-piece balls with a 100% urethane cover – the gold standard material for tour level golf balls - that could offer equivalent performance to the best golf balls at great value price points.

TaylorMade launched the Project (a) ball in 2014 promising ‘big boy spin’ and serious ‘stopping power’ on the premise that amateur golfers spin the ball around 50% less than professional golfers. Further evolutions and distance enhancing technology have made it a useful stablemate to TaylorMade’s TP5 and TP5 X balls.

In 2020 TaylorMade introduced its new Tour Response ball to drive forward its efforts to win over golfers that stayed loyal to the best premium golf balls.

Both balls have a 100% urethane cover, springy mid-layer and a softer core – measuring around 70 compression overall but with the actual core rated at 40 compression – making them easier to compress and delivering similar distance to tour models with high levels of greenside spin.

Is the Tour Response a repurposed and repackaged Project (a) or are there noticeable performance differences that set them apart?

We tested both balls on the golf course and on a launch monitor to see how they compared.

TaylorMade Tour Response vs TaylorMade Project (a)

taylormade tour response and project (a) golf balls

(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

Looks

Out of the box, the TaylorMade Tour Response looks and feel just like the higher priced TP5 and TP5x balls. It screams premium.

The numbers on the Tour Response are deep red and the branded alignment arrow shows the ball name as well as helping to line up tee-shots and putts.

The Project (a) looks surprisingly similar with the exception of its burnt orange alignment arrow. Both balls have 322 dimples and a clean uniform pattern. The urethane cover makes them soft and sticky to the touch.

To the naked eye, both balls look great. The Project (a) is available in higher numbers for people who like to mix it up a little.

TaylorMade golf balls


(Image credit: Matthew Moore)

Feel

For balls with a low compression core, the TaylorMade Tour Response and Project (a) don’t feel as soft as you’d think on full shots. They come off the clubface with a firm, solid feel and on mishits felt dull and heavy off the face.

On centre strikes, the core of the Tour Response feels springy and there’s an obvious energy transfer as the ball flies off quickly. TaylorMade call this feature a ‘hi-spring core’ and they’ve coupled it with a thinner HMFq SPEEDMANTLE™ for advanced ball speed.

The Project (a) feels softer off the clubface than Tour Response. Its outer cover is designed to be stiffer to be allow for faster ball speeds as the ball compresses on the face and rebounds quickly.

Around the green, the Project (a) edged it for me. It felt more responsive and in testing seemed to deliver more spin and check than the Tour Response, especially on lower stop-and-hop pitch shots. On higher softer shots, like lobs and greenside pitches, both balls felt soft and released virtually the same on landing.

Ball Flight

The spin profiles of the TaylorMade Tour Response and the Project (a) on the launch monitor test threw up some interesting results. Every golfer is different and so many findings are specific to the way I deliver the club, attack the ball and impart spin.

The Project (a) span less than the Tour Response in a comparative test of 10 seven-iron shots, however, spin rate on both balls was generally on the higher side for that club. Ball speed was lower on Project (a) than Tour Response, which was consistently between 117 and 120mph, compared to 114 to 117mph for the (a) ball.

Distance was consistently closer across the test pool – between 170 and 176 yards - with the Tour Response while the Project (a) was longer on good shots and shorter on mis-hits (179 yards to 168 yards differential).

On course, both balls stopped quickly on approach shots into greens and flew with the same stable flight profile you expect from the best TaylorMade golf balls like the TP5 and TP5x, holding a straight flight and deviating less than competitor balls.

 

 

TaylorMade Tour Response golf ball

(Image credit: Matthew Moore)

Distance

In driver testing, TaylorMade Tour Response launched high and flew with a stable consistent flight. Launch monitor testing returned spin rates just below 3000 – which is probably a smidge high for optimum driver performance – and producing high ball speeds and distances comparable to those recorded for premium balls.

Again, the Project (a) was longer on well-struck drivers and shorter on off-centre hits, creating a feeling that overall Tour Response is slightly more consistent in dispersion and distance across the board.

The highest ball speed (164mph) came from the Project (a) and this is likely due to its dual-distance core which is larger and intended to create an explosion of energy at impact.

On the course and in a cold northerly wind, it was genuinely difficult to tell which ball was superior on a similarly struck drive.

Indoors, Tour Response was plenty long and averaged over 170 yards with 7-iron on the launch monitor – which compares well to my stock yardage of 169. Project (a), while less consistent in average distance, was also as long as most tour balls that I’ve played.

 

Control

Given their lower price point, both balls deliver the distance they promise, the stability of flight and the control and spin on hitting the green.

The Tour Response is slightly more consistent when it came to distance control on the launch monitor, but the advantage was minimal.

Launch monitor testing showed that I got a significant amount of short game spin with the Project (a), which isn’t surprising given that TaylorMade designed it to spin more and make-up the spin gap between pros and amateurs.

Both balls were consistent in flight and performed well in a cold 20-mph wind during on-course testing. I’d class them as solid options for golfers seeking straighter flight and less shape on their shots.

Which ball should you choose?

Choose the TaylorMade Tour Response if...
- You want a cheaper alternative to the TP5 and TP5x
- Consistent distance control
- You want higher launch, consistent distance and stable flight in the long game
- You prefer a firmer feel green side

 Choose the Project (a) if…
- You spin the ball more with your wedges and around the green
- Add yards to your drives
- Prefer a softer feeling ball for short game and putting