A senior tour pro opined to me some years ago about the introduction of the ProV1x. He said it increased his driving distance 5-8 yards, but it increased the distance for players with higher clubhead speeds by 25 or more yards. If this is true, the new balls disproportionately benefit those that need it least. Frank, could you please comment?
Your senior tour pro was only partially correct. The introduction of the ProV1 certainly increased the average driving distance on the Tour by about 6 yards. The reason for this increase was because the Pro V1, a multilayered solid core ball – which I call a Super Pinnacle — had similar properties to the Pinnacle when struck with a driver but the high spin properties of the balata balls off the wedges giving it the control around the green that the Pinnacle never had. The Pro V1 thus became a very acceptable ball for the elite players.
Another advantage of the low spin off the driver, is that the elite player is able to attain optimum launch conditions for maximum distance – i.e. low spin with higher launch angles. This in combination with the spring-like-effect, provided the elite player with a distance increase of about 25-yards over a period of about 7 years – an unprecedented jump in distance, and without any measurable increase in skill level.
The increase in average driving distance on Tour due to the introduction of the titanium driver with spring-like effect in combination with the multilayered ball between 1995 and 2003 can be seen in the graph below.