IS SOFTER BETTER???
In recent years, there’s been a move towards softer golf balls. Is it a matter of the cover material, the inner core, outer mantel, the overall compression of the golf ball? The simple answer is…yes. Different companies utilize varying degrees of these characteristics to achieve the same thing. But is a lower compression ball for you? If so, which one?!? I took a look at the newest additions from Wilson Staff, the Wilson Duo and Duo Spin balls.
Wilson Staff has three primary balls in their rotation today, Wilson Tour FG Tour, Wilson Duo and Wilson Duo Spin. These balls are decidedly for different type players, but for the purpose of this review – we’ll focus on their low compression offerings, the Wilson Duo and Duo Spin ball.
WILSON STAFF DUO GOLF BALL
This ball is marketed towards a player looking for more distance. This ball sells for $19.99 at most places and for the purposes of comparison, I put against a similarly designed/priced Noodle Soft golf ball. The feeling off the driver, or iron is definitely soft. The 29 compression is one of the lowest currently offered in golf today. It was consistently longer than the Noodle Soft golf ball and felt amazingly soft off the woods and irons. The trajectory of the ball was about mid-flight. I didn’t notice any ballooning or lower shots, the shots all seemed ‘normal’. I typically like to work the ball with my driver, inducing a draw, but due to the lower spin off the clubs – it took more effort to draw the ball. Having said that – this ball would definitely benefit a person who struggles with slices or hooks off the tee box. Now, let’s be clear – no ball will fix a bad swing, but this one can certainly reduce the total spin off the tee. The science behind the lower spin is two-fold, for starters it uses a surlyn cover that minimizes spin and secondly, the dimple pattern is a seamless 302 pattern, designed to cut down the spin. During one of my test rounds, it was pretty windy and the Wilson Duo ball performed very well in wind. While the ball drifted with strong winds, it remained consistent and not over pronounced. Around the greens, it’s pretty apparent this is a distance ball. Short wedges hit into a soft green will hit and roll. With 25 yard shots, trying to keep the trajectory under 6’, I routinely saw about 24’ of roll off a lob wedge. The feel off the putter was exceptional. My concern about a mushy feeling was quickly put to rest. It has a soft, but solid feel to it and there were no surprises in regards to distance, feel or roll. It’s exactly as you would expect it to be.
WILSON STAFF DUO SPIN GOLF BALL
The Wilson Duo Spin ball also offers a soft, low compression design, coming in at a slight higher 35 c ompression. In comparison, it still feels very soft off your drivers, woods and irons. The difference in distance was negligible and not really a factor. I did see more spin off my clubs, easily working the ball with draws and getting pretty good stopping power on the greens. I performed my typical 25 yard shots, with a lob wedge, to measure spin. These balls came in at 19-1/2’ of roll, slightly better than the 24’ I saw with the Duo.
Price – at $19.99 a dozen for the Duo and $26.99 for the Duo Spin, they are better than average performers in this cost range.
Technology – The surlyn cover with low compression and seamless 302 dimple pattern reduces spin and increase distance off the longer clubs. The Duo Spin adds spin to help the short game around the greens.
Spin – Overall green side spin for the Duo is comparable to the Noodle. The Duo Spin performs on par with an NXT-Tour, but feels softer and spins around the green better.
Distance – this ball is superior to the Noodle Soft/Titleist NXT Tour comparison balls I used.
Feel – soft, yet solid feel to the ball, it seems to jump off the face. The feel off the putter was exceptional for both balls.
Durability – much better than expected, based upon the ‘soft’ feel. The surlyn cover adds some longevity to the round and unless you lose it, it should last several rounds.
Improvement – not much improvement needed for ball’s in this price-range/category.
Try It / Buy It – The Wilson Duo is a “Buy It” ball. Don’t confuse this ball with a ProV1/Bridgestone 330 or Snell ‘My Tour Ball’. This is a value ball made for the casual golfer who wants some help with their game, while increasing their distance. The reduced spin off the woods and long irons will help minimize slices off the tee. The soft feels great coming off your clubs and on the green. Distance is better than average and greenside control with the Duo Spin is better than any others I’ve played in this price range. At $19.99, the Wilson Duo is a bargain! If you want a ball that spins around the green, get a tour caliber ball. But let’s face it – we’re not tour players with a superb skill level, amazing touch, creativity and amazing club head speed.
-- P.J. Evans, GolfBalled.com Tester
A little about the tester…50 year old male, athletic build, single-digit handicapper with a 104mph driver swing speed. Long off the irons, have a strong short/wedge game and need some improvement with the putter.