The Titleist Professional Golf Ball

A reflection on everything I love about golf. Today – the Titleist Professional Golf Ball

The Titleist professional was a golf ball that was released around 1995 and a predecessor to the ProV1. Prior to the “Professional” being released the ball I played in tournaments was a balata ball. Historically, Titleist made the best balata balls and aside from a decent ball Maxfli made the choices were limited. The reason this ball makes my things I love about golf daily, is not because it was so good, it is because the balata balls were so brutal. In a tournament, it was not uncommon to keep 3 balata balls in your back pocket and rotate them every hole so you didn’t knock the roundness out of one of them, from playing it for too many consecutive holes. If you boned one off a tee it would literally slice the cover of the balata and you would have to replace it with a new ball. It was a common practice to ask your playing partner if the ball was “out of round” or “not fit for play” and if you could replace it in the middle of a hole.

My love for this ball came to me as I sat in Jim O’neal’s office at Palo Alto Hills in 1996. Jim offered me a job as an assistant professional at an hourly wage of $5.50 and while I thought $11,000 a year wasn’t great, when he said I’d receive free golf balls from Titleist I took the job immediately. The idea of free golf and free golf balls, and this new “super” ball that didn’t cut and had “professional” written on the side of it was too much for me, I felt like I had won the lotto. I loved that ball and played every round with it until the ProV1 came out in 2000.

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