50 Words or Less
The Titleist Tour Speed golf balls has great ball speed and solid performance around the green. Slightly firmer feel than the Pro V1.
For a company that most see as exceedingly traditional, Titleist has shaken up their golf ball line substantially over the last few years. The long running NXT departed, AVX entered the fold, and a “Tour Only” Pro V1 hit the retail shelves. For 2020, there’s another new addition: Tour Speed. I tested it to figure out where it fits in the Titleist line up and what players should be reaching for it.
On the greens, the Titleist Tour Speed feels slightly softer and has a lower-pitched impact sound than the Pro V1. The difference isn’t huge, but it’s noticeable and consistent if you’re focused on feel. Contact creates a sound that’s a little more of a “thud” than the crisp “tock” of the Pro V1.
With a wedge, the Tour Speed feels slightly firmer than a Pro V1, but it’s not hard or clicky. On pitches and chips, it feels very solid off the club face. In the long game, the Tour Speed fits in the middle of the bell curve – it’s not noticeably soft or hard.
Per Titleist, the Tour Speed has a “proprietary TPU” (thermoplastic polyurethane) cover that “generates greenside spin.” When I took the Tour Speed to the course, I was satisfied with how it performed around the green, so I was very interested to see what the launch monitor had to say.
Testing the Tour Speed head-to-head with a Pro V1, I found that the Tour Speed had roughly 10% less spin on everything from pitches to full wedge shots. Here’s where I insert my standard caveat: your results may vary. I’m a low spin player, so it’s possible you will see a bigger difference.
I can’t tell you how significant 10% is for your short game. What I can tell you is that when I hit a good pitch, the Tour Speed checked up. A good full wedge ended up near it’s pitch mark. If you’ve got Tiger-level control, I’m sure 10% is life-altering, but I think the recreational player will be very happy with the Tour Speed around the green.
Before any launch monitor testing, I played the Titleist Tour Speed for a couple rounds at Eagle Ridge. These were my first rounds in over a month because I was sidelined by a wrist injury. Knowing that my wrist was weak and that my swing was rusty, I tempered my distance expectations off the tee. But then I was flying over my expected landing zones and hitting drives that met my normal expectations. Could the Tour Speed really be faster than my normal golf balls?
When I got on the launch monitor, the majority of the drives that I hit with the Tour Speed were extremely similar to those I hit with the Pro V1. The spin of both balls is fairly low, though I’ll repeat that I’m a low spin player and your results may vary. On most shots, I was seeing equivalent speed, too.
However, all my fastest shots – the ones that were 2-4 MPH better than the rest, came with the Tour Speed. Is it possible that the Tour Speed happened to get my best swings? Yes. Did I have some subconscious bias toward the Tour Speed after good showings on the course? Possible, but I hit a lot of drives to try to even things out. Realistically, I don’t think the Tour Speed is 4 MPH faster than the Pro V1, but, for the 100ish MPH player, it is possible that the Tour Speed provides a little extra juice.
In the approach game, the Tour Speed is not markedly different than the Pro V1. Ball speeds were similar as was spin. If I was splitting hairs, the Tour Speed might be slightly lower spin, but I don’t think the difference is meaningful.
Retailing for $40/dozen, the Titleist Tour Speed is at the high end of the mid-tier golf ball market but is still more affordable than the Pro V1. If you want most of the short game performance of the Pro V1 with the potential for a bit more distance and speed, it’s worth checking out.
Latest posts by Matt Saternus (see all)
- TaylorMade Stealth 2 HD Fairway Wood Review - March 30, 2023
- PXG 0311 GEN6 Driver Review - March 29, 2023
- Edison 2.0 Wedge Review - March 28, 2023
Matt: Another great review. I was given a box as a gift and played with the ball for 3 rounds. I usually play the AVX and the ProV1. My qualitative observation is very much in line with your observations. Interestingly enough, I was skeptical about the ball initially, but was surprised by the performance.
Initial Reactions: For some reason, the box, the color scheme of the sleeve, the multi-color arrow, the particular white tint and everything else about the ball screamed “mid-tier” and “not Titleist” to me. I was not excited to play with it the way I had been with, say, the AVX in 2018. The cover also doesn’t have that soft, tacky feel that the ProV1/1x or the AVX has. The cover feels rather thin and hard.
My drives were just as long as my gamers (AVX/ProV1), if not slightly longer. As an aging mid-handicapper (11-12) playing with single-digit guys from the tees that are probably too long for me (6700-6800 yards), I usually hit a hybrid or a long iron into the green on more holes than I should. The ball performed well there, flying slightly higher than the AVX, and with consistent distances.
I didn’t expect the Tour Speed to perform well on full wedge shots and chipping because the cover felt like a distance ball. I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I have a pretty good and consistent short game around the green. The Tour Speed performed pretty much the same as the AVX, which I have found is about the same as the ProV1 on chipping and pitching for me. On putting, frankly, I didn’t see much of a difference.
Conclusion: The Tour Speed is a ball that I initially didn’t want to like. I am still not entirely sold on the ball as there is something about it that doesn’t sit right with me (irrationally, I am sure). That said, it sure seems to perform well for my rather middle-aged Regular Joe game. I have too many dozens of the ProV1 and AVX balls at home that I have accumulated from the spring 4 for 3 deal and outings/ tournaments. So, I am not looking to buy golf balls any time soon. But, if I had to buy some at a pro shop because I had forgotten to pack my regular balls in my bag, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy the Tour Speed.
Thank you Duffer. Your review was as good as Matt’s
I played a few rounds with the tour speed. The only true thing I noticed a difference in was distance off the driver. It was a full 8 yards longer than the pro v1. Irons were about the same. Spin off the wedge wasn’t noticeable different. So to gain 8 yards and save money, I’m all in.
Wonder how it compares with the ProV1X, which typically has a higher launch and more spin than the ProV1.
I play to about a 9-10 handicap, but do not generate the clubhead speed that Matt or some of you do. Driver distance on good cracks will travel around 230 to 245 and max out there. I currently play Chrome-Soft, but not married to it. My question is……how would slower swing speed players fare with the Tour Speed? Again, Matt, always enjoy your reviews and the comments from my fellow golfers.
If you’re hitting it 230-245, I think you have plenty of speed to give the Tour Speed a try and perhaps see some additional or more consistent speed.
I have used this new ball in temps above 70 and found it to be as you have detailed. 60 and below and it is like a rock!
How was durability? I’ve read several comments online that the TPU cover shreds fairly easily.
I didn’t see any cover damage during my play or launch monitor testing, and the latter included a heavy diet of wedge shots.
How would you compare to Tour Response, Q Star Tour, Snell MTB Black?
The only head to head testing I did was against the Pro V1. We have full reviews of all those other balls on the site.
This ball performed well for me off the irons and that was about it. I normally play the AVX which gives me optimal launch and spin throughout my bag.
Maybe it’s not meant for my SS, delivery, etc with the driver, fairway, hybrids and wedges.
What struck me the most was how soft it was off my M Craft putter. I really had to give the ball a lot more to get it to the hole on long putts. Like putting a marshmallow tbh.
There’s an unwritten rule at Titleist, no ball they make is meant to outperform their flagship line (V1, V1X). Some may do better in one area for one metric but that is about it.
I am 70 years old, a 6 handicap, and still generate 95-102 club speed. This ball definitely flies farther off the tee. I am routinely hitting 275 yard drives at my course (elevation 3500 feet), and occasionally pass 300.
It is a touch harder on approach shots, but still checks up nicely.
I LOVE this ball…..:)
Hey Matt, I’m a little late to this review, but if you’re still out there… My question is this: Why did Titleist add this ball to the lineup when it already has the AVX? It seems to fit a similar demographic and provides similar playing characteristics. Just wonder what your observations are regarding which ball would be best for my 7 handicap game? Thank you.
I’d agree that it’s similar to the AVX but not identical. It really comes down to how much difference a given golfer can notice. At the Tour level, players can notice minute differences. For a 30 handicap, the difference between the AVX and Tour Speed is probably meaningless.
As for what ball you’d be best with, there are a lot of factors to consider. If you’re between the two you mentioned, I’d suggest buying a sleeve of each and seeing if there’s a meaningful difference to you. If there’s not, the Tour Speed will put a few extra dollars in your pocket.
The reason is that there are many mid-cappers like myself who would like to think we should be playing The AVX because we are not quite Pro V1 guys, but in reality this ball serves us better than the AVX. The AVX is basically for a Pro V1 guy who needs almost exactly the same spin as the Pro V1 but a lower ball flight. Us 12-cappers get too much spin from the AVX–and The Pro V1 as well. Our swing faults are uber magnified by the Pro V1 and the AVX.
While comparing the AVX to The Tour Speed, I had a much easier time fighting my miss with The Tour Speed which turns draws into hooks. Though slightly more forgiving than the Pro V1 –the AVX–because it is spinnier than the Tour Speed is definitely less forgiving. Now f you are a single digit capper and don’t quite need the height or spin of the Pro V1 you will be better served by the AVX, as its spin makes it more workable than the Tour Speed. So Basically
Pro V1–Low Single Digit to scratch player who needs height and spin.
AVX–Low Single digit to possible scratch player who needs almost as much spin but lower trajectory
Tour Speed–Mid Capper who needs more spin than a two piece, and a high trajectory.
I am a 12 capper–have played all three- and rather enjoy my experience with the Tour Speed which will be my ball until I become a lower single digit handicap.
This is my go-to golf ball and the only one I will use. Granted I’m someone who would be paranoid that using a different ball would mess with my play substantialy, but still. It feels great, goes far, and checks up incredibly well. Tack on that it’s cheaper than the Pro V1s or Pro V1xs, and it’s a no brainer.