Titleist Pro V1: 15 years at Number 1

In 2000 Billy Andrade was the first Pro V1 player to win. He's done it again!

Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls
Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls
(Image credit: Titleist)

Billy Andrade of the USA was the first player to win a tournament using a Titleist Pro V1 golf ball. 15 years later, he's done it again!

On the 2000 schedule, the Invensys Classic at Las Vegas looked a pretty standard PGA Tour event. Held in mid-October, sandwiched between the Michelob Championship and the Tampa Bay Classic, on the face of it there was nothing particularly special about the event.

On closer inspection though, there were a few things of note about that particular tournament. Firstly, the event carried a substantial prize fund – one of the largest of the year at $4,250,000, secondly it was contested over five rather than four rounds, thirdly and most significantly, the event marked the competitive launch of a new golf ball that would go on to be the most successful of all time – the Titleist Pro V1.

In the mid 1990s Titleist led the way in providing performance balls with their Professional and Tour Balata wound models. But they were always innovating and towards the millennium, they had experimented with a number of prototype multi-component balls. By early in 2000 the experts at Titleist had singled out one of those prototypes and earmarked it as having particular potential. It had a solid core, a suryln casing and urethane cover featuring a 392-dimple icosahedral pattern.

In testing, the feedback from the pros was outstanding and they wanted to put it in play as soon as possible. Titleist needed to give the ball a name to get it onto the USGA’s conforming balls list; they quickly came up with Pro V1 – Pro being professional, V being the urethane veneer and 1 because it was the first. It was a temporary lab name that would be changed, or so they thought… When the guys at Titleist told the pros the “temporary” name, they liked it and it stuck.

Golf Monthly Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1X video review:

When the Pro V1 made its competitive debut at the Invensys Classic, no fewer than 47 players put it into play immediately. It was the biggest single shift in equipment in the history of pro golf.

One of the men to tee up the Pro V1 in Las Vegas was Billy Andrade. The (then) 36-year-old had been struggling with his game and was enduring a pretty terrible season on Tour. He’d missed 18 cuts and, other than a tie for 10th in the Buick Challenge, he’d recorded no decent results to speak of. He’d already sent off his application form for Q-school. He had nothing to lose in making a change.

It worked out pretty well for Andrade. He loved the ball, the extra distance he could achieve from the tee and the control it offered on iron shots. He won the tournament by a stroke from Phil Mickelson, saved his season and his career.

“I was really struggling,” Andrade says. “I won that tournament and it really jump-started the second leg of my career.”

Mickelson used the ball as well that week, so too did four others who finished in the top-10: Jonathan Kaye, Chris DiMarco, Tom Byrum and Joe Durant.

15 years later, the Titleist Pro V1 is still the #1 ball in professional golf and has been so for 15 straight years. In a fitting way of marking that milestone, Billy Andrade won again last week at the Boeing Classic on the Champions Tour last week, using the eighth generation of the Pro V1.

Billy Andrade won the Boeing Classic

Billy Andrade won the Boeing Classic, Credit: Getty Images

Titleist has continued to develop and improve both the Pro V1 and Pro V1X balls and they remain the favoured choice in competitive golf. On the pro tours worldwide at the end of August in 2015, 15,987 players have teed it up using Pro V1 or Pro V1X, the nearest competitor has just 2,682 players.

And the ball clearly appeals to the next generation of golfers as well as veterans like Andrade. At the recent British Boys Championship at Royal Birkdale 218 of the 252 competitors used a Titleist golf ball.

The Pro V1 revolutionised the game and it continues to dominate at golf’s highest level. Well played Titleist!

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?