Decent all-round performance for a very modest price, with a particularly soft feel on and around the greens
Eye-catching colours give it real standout so a great option in frosty conditions
Really soft feel off the face allows you to chip and putt with confidence
Tacky-feeling matte finish won't stay looking as pristine for as long as a 'normal' high-gloss finish
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Volvik ViMat Soft Golf Ball Review
It isn’t that long ago that serious golfers only played white golf balls, yellow was just about acceptable in certain circles, and anything beyond that, including orange, was frowned on a little. Those days are firmly behind us, with some of the best balls on the market now featuring in our best yellow golf balls round-up, including the all-conquering Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x.
In fact, we now live in a world where pretty much anything goes in terms of golf ball colour. There’s now a myriad of rainbow-coloured golf balls out there, with some of the options available to you highlighted in our best personalised golf balls article as a simple way or making the ball you play stand out from the crowd a little.
Leading the way in golf’s ball colour revolution is the Volvik brand, with the Volvik Vivid ball available in an impressive palette of 11 colours. That model also claims to be golf’s first matte-finish golf ball, another trend that has been gathering momentum in recent years, with the new Volvik ViMat Soft model that we tested recently the latest in that category. It comes in eight different colours from vibrant to pastel and even white for the traditionalist.
But how does it perform? Well, its target audience is golfers in the mid swing speed sector (70-90mph) looking for a medium-high trajectory coupled with low spin off the driver and more spin on wedge shots as you home in on the target.
We tested it at the same time as a newly launched tour model from another brand and did a number of unofficial head-to-head comparisons off the tee in particular. There was no discernible distance difference between them, with both winning ‘longest drive’ an equal number of times (our slightly inconsistent striking no doubt a factor). The greens were quite soft on our test day so there was no problem getting the ball to stop quickly on approach shots.
Which brings us to on and around the greens. The ball is hailed as ‘extremely soft’ and we would agree with that. For a start, it is incredibly soft to the touch with the matte finish providing a tacky, almost rubbery feel in the hand - certainly a different feel to even Volvik's own Vivid model. Psychologically, this automatically has you believing that it’s going to feel really soft on chip shots and putts, and it does too! We would be quite happy to chip and putt with this as much as any urethane-covered tour ball.
When it comes to keeping the ball clean, the tackiness of the matte finish would instinctively seem to count against it compared to a ‘normal’ high-gloss finish and there is some truth in that. Playing in conditions where the ball was regularly picking up mud, it certainly looked more grubby and 'played' at the end of our test session than the other model we were hitting. But unless you’re fussy about how your ball looks or are expecting to get several rounds out of it if you don’t lose it, that’s probably a small price to pay for a ball that offers decent all-round performance for considerably less than £20 a dozen.
Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and even instruction despite his own somewhat iffy swing (he knows how to do it, but just can't do it himself). He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 89 of the Next 100. He has played well over 900 courses worldwide in 35 countries, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content. On his first trip to Abu Dhabi a decade ago he foolishly asked Paul Casey what sort of a record he had around the course there. "Well, I've won it twice if that's what you mean!" came the reply...
Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf
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