What Happens In A Golf Ball Fitting?

We sent Digital Editor Neil Tappin to find out what happens in a golf ball fitting

What happens in a golf ball fitting?
(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

While most golfers will have either been to a club fitting themselves or know of someone who has taken the plunge, many will be unaware that the same service is available when it comes to golf balls.

It might not be widely known but being fitted into the right ball plays a massive role in maximising a golfer's potential. And whether that's something that launches high with less spin or a lower-flighted model, there are options on the market for everyone.

Watch the video below to find out what happened when we sent Digital Editor Neil Tappin to the Titleist Performance Centre at Woburn for a one-on-one with Titleist Golf Ball Specialist Tom Hiscock...

What happens in a golf ball fitting?

50-yard shot

Starting with a 50-yard shot, the fitter (Tom, in this case) wants to ensure the conditions are optimal for creating maximum spin. That means cleaning and drying each ball before use, as well as placing it in a good lie. 

Moisture and other debris that builds up during a round will take spin off the ball, which is why you want a model to help maximise it for your game.

From there, it's imperative to feedback the strike on each shot to ensure a reliable set of findings are returned. 

In the video, Neil tested the Titleist Pro V1 and the Velocity ball to see what the differences were in the launch data. 

What happens in a golf ball fitting?

The Velocity (left) flew higher but produced considerably less spin than the Pro V1 (right)

(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

Neil's fitting: The Pro V1 came out lower and with significantly more spin than the Velocity. That meant that, despite the shallower landing angle, he was able to stop the ball quicker, even with the wind behind him.

Full wedge shot

The key things Tom is looking for here are the spin, peak height and landing angle. When it comes to this part of the game, having control over your ball is absolutely key. 

Check out the video above to find out what ball suited Neil when hitting a full pitching-wedge.

What happens in a golf ball fitting?

(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

Like with the 50-yard shot, it's a blind test so Neil had no idea what Titleist model he was hitting when. However, the performance of the first ball informed Tom which direction to go in next. 

The PGA Tour average for spin with a full wedge is around 9,300rpm, with anything above 8,500 a good number for recreational golfers. 

Neil's fitting: While both the Pro V1 and Pro V1x performed well, it was the Pro V1x that was recommended for Neil due to the extra spin (and stopping power) he was able to generate. 

7-iron

The ball-fitting process starts from the green and works back towards the tee to find the model that offers the best performance for the scoring clubs. So, after finding out the best ball from 50 yards and with a pitching-wedge in hand, that brought us on to a 7-iron.

What happens in a golf ball fitting?

(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

From the fitter's perspective, height and spin are your friends here. The best players in the world always look for more of both, so how did Neil get on testing the four premium balls in Titleist's range?

Neil's fitting: Although the spin rate was at its highest with the Pro V1, the peak height and landing angle were on the shallow side, meaning Neil was once again better suited to the higher-launching Pro V1x. He also tested the Pro V1x left dash and the AVX models with interesting results - check out the video to find out what happened. 

4-iron

Believe it or not, this is still considered a scoring club from a fitting perspective. That's because you're still looking to hit the target, so it pays to maximise the stopping power with a long-iron in hand.

Neil's fitting: When struck well, Neil was hitting his 4-iron 75 feet in the air and creating backspin of 4,500rpm with the Pro V1x. Although the total yardage was consistent throughout, on better strikes the carry distance was up to eight yards further, showing the extra stopping power available.

Driver 

When it comes to the golf ball, this is the least important aspect of a fitting. This is because Titleist say that each ball in the range is long off the tee and low spinning.

However, Neil did notice some differences in the flight as he tested a range of models. 

At this phase, the focus was on the Pro V1x as that was the best-performing ball in the other categories. 

Watch the accompanying video at the top of this article to see how the performance compared between the Pro V1x and Pro V1 balls.

What happens in a golf ball fitting?

Neil's numbers with the Pro V1x were great across the board with the driver

(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

Neil's fitting: With the Pro V1x, Neil was achieving roughly the same peak height with his driver as with his pitching-wedge and 7-iron, which is exactly what a fitter wants to see. In addition, the spin rate, carry distance and total yardage numbers were all in a really good place. 

The Pro V1 performed very well but the extra height of the x once again underlined the suitability of this ball for Neil. 

Final comments

By the end of the fitting the correct model for Neil's game was clear. The higher flying and spinning Pro V1x will offer Neil the control he needs, especially with his scoring clubs. 

However, every golfer delivers the club differently to the ball and that's why Titleist has a range of options and why a golf ball fitting is worth considering.

What happens in a golf ball fitting?

(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

What Neil went through here was an in-depth fitting but as Tom explains in the video, there are other fitting options available to golfers. 

Perhaps the most valuable lesson for Neil was understanding how important it is to focus on the scoring clubs as this is where the biggest gains are to be had.

Neil Tappin
Neil Tappin

Neil has worked for Golf Monthly for over 15-years. Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. Neil is currently a 2-handicap golfer who has played the game for as long as he can remember. In his role at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: Titleist TSi3 Fairway Wood: Titleist TSi2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X