Sixteen years ago at the Las Vegas PGA Tour event, then called the Invensys Classic, Titleist introduced the Pro V1 golf ball which soon became the most played ball on the Tour and the most popular ball with amateurs.
Pros under contract with Titleist had been testing this ball, which was constructed from materials and with a design departing from the then accepted norm, for some months and really liked it. So when the USGA added the Pro V1 to the list of conforming balls they jumped at the chance tee it up “under fire.”
That week in October 2000 47 professionals put a Pro V1 in play and Billy Andrade won the tournament using it.
Many don’t know the Pro V1 wasn’t the first solid core urethane cover ball on the market. In January, at the PGA Merchandise Show, Callaway Golf had introduced one named the Rule 35 and in May Tiger Woods, the Tour’s dominant player, began playing Nike Golf’s Tour Accuracy made with similar construction.
Until then the best golf balls were like the popular Titleist Professional, a rubber liquid- filled core surrounded by windings of what looked like rubber bands and an outer cover of balata, a rubber-like substance made from the sap of a tree that grows in the tropics.
But the Pro V1 dramatically out performed and indeed out classed any wound balata ball. In April 2001, four months after it became available at retail the Pro V1 had 15 percent of the market in green grass shops, a spot it has never given up.
Today two out of three players on the world’s professional tours play either the Pro V1 or the Pro V1x.