A golf ball that stands out from the off due to the unique packaging and branding. It’s a solid performer too, delivering particularly impressive results in the long game for an appealing price.
Impressive distance off the driver
Solid feel, ideal for year-round golf
Lacked a little short game spin control
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For many years, if you wanted to play a urethane-covered ball, you had very few options outside of the premium, Tour-played models you’ll find stocked on the shelves of pro shops all over the world. Things are changing however, and in 2022 we’ve seen a whole host of more affordable, urethane-covered options hit the market. There are now a range of good quality, potentially game-improving models in our best mid price golf balls guide.
The latest addition to this sector, it is fair to say, took me by surprise. Sounder is a British-based brand that first caught my attention with its understated, stylish golf clothing and accessory ranges. The Sounder ethos of talking to golfers who want to be part of a more accessible and fun version of the game also extends to a new 3-piece, urethane golf ball.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Sounder golf ball is the packaging. Gone is the usual cardboard, dozen-ball box and in its place is a cotton drawstring pouch that Sounder says is ethically sourced. It’s a small part of the overall offering (and of course has no bearing on performance) but I liked this unique touch.
As the images above show, the branding on the golf ball itself is also unlike anything else I’ve seen this year. Without question, this makes it stand out from the competition. Some golfers may feel as if this cheapens the look (detaching it from the typical appearance of the best golf balls you'll find on the market this year) but I liked that Sounder has done something different here. It will almost certainly catch the attention of your playing partners.
Of course, I wanted to see how it performed so I tested it on a launch monitor up against one of my favourite mid-priced, urethane-covered options, the TaylorMade Tour Response 2022 golf ball. I also played 18 holes with the Sounder ball to see how it fared in more of a real world environment.
Both on the course and on the launch monitor, it was clear the Sounder ball offered good distance. There was very little to choose between the Sounder and the TaylorMade Tour Response during my driver launch monitor testing - the former, I was impressed to see, was a fraction faster and carried one yard further. The ball flight was perhaps a fraction lower than I’m used to but in truth, I didn’t even notice any drop off in distance versus the golf ball I usually play - the Titleist Pro V1X.
The 7-iron data too, was solid. Carrying 166 yards with a mid-spin of 5313, I felt as if the Sounder ball offered a good blend of distance and stopping power in the mid irons. However, it is worth pointing out here that the TaylorMade Tour Response flew five yards higher and carried four yards further with the 7-iron.
The only area that I felt the Sounder ball came up short against the admittedly, slightly more expensive, Tour Response was in short game spin control. On the course, it felt as if pitch shots were running out a little more than I’m used to (albeit the greens were fairly firm and fast). So I hit a series of 50-yard pitch shots on the launch monitor - the Sounder ball spun around 2000 rpm less than the TaylorMade.
The last thing to mention is the feel. Of the many mid-priced urethane golf balls I’ve tested this year, the Sounder sits on the firmer end of the spectrum. There is a real contrast here with the likes of the Wilson Triad ball and the Sounder is closer in this regard to the Titleist Tour Speed 2022 golf ball, offering a responsive feel without being too soft. In terms of feel, I think this is a good year-round ball.
That brings me back to those non-performance elements, notably the look and the price. Whilst not for everyone, I thought it was refreshing to test a golf ball brand that’s looking to stand out from the crowd. From the packaging to the branding, this was like nothing else I’ve tested this year. Whilst better off the tee than around the green, the solid overall performance, provides good value for money.
In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."
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. In his time 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! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! 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: TaylorMade Stealth Plus 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
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