Every two years, at an early-season PGA Tour event, a box of new Titleist golf balls emerges that is, well, markedly different than most. Safeguarded by a member of the Titleist golf ball product management team, the contents of the box are revealed to tour pro after tour pro, with a couple straightforward questions: Which one do you like best? Why?
What’s inside? About a half-dozen of the same prototype Pro V1 golf balls, but each of them with a different sidestamp design.
As every new Titleist Pro V1 represents years of rigorous R&D and player testing, every Pro V1 sidestamp represents “at least five months of development that’s running in parallel to the overall process,” according to Senior Golf Ball Product Manager Frederick Waddell.
“Based on our player research and testing, we know that the overwhelming majority of golfers today are interacting with the sidestamp on their golf ball at some point during the round,” Waddell says. “But that’s not anything new. We’ve been incorporating alignment features into our Pro V1 models and implementing the feedback of tour players and dedicated golfers going back to 2002.”
Equipment standards dictate that every new golf ball listed on the USGA/R&A Conforming Golf Ball list feature a new, unique sidestamp that complies with specific design rules. For each new generation of Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls, Titleist designers create a collection of new sidestamps with varying features inspired by recent golfer feedback. Many of these are printed on golf balls at our Custom Operations facility for further internal analysis and deliberation. The semi-finalists, so to speak, are sent to Titleist Ball Plant 3 – the center of Titleist golf ball technology – where they are printed on Pro V1 and Pro V1x prototypes within the authentic manufacturing environment.
Next stop: The PGA Tour. While a winner typically emerges from the Tour players’ vote, the final decision is validated through further testing with dedicated golfers, both in-person at golf courses and through Team Titleist surveys.
“Any change we make to a Titleist golf ball has to be informed by what golfers are telling us and what they want,” Waddell says. “That is the foundation of our process and everything we do.”
In addition, in February 2018, new alignment aid sidestamp designs were made available through the My Titleist customizer on Titleist.com. They instantly became the most popular custom logo options selected by golfers, inspiring the new sidestamp designs for the recently-launched Titleist Tour Soft, Velocity and TruFeel golf balls, along with the new Pro V1 and Pro V1x Enhanced Alignment offerings.
Now that you have a better understanding of how we choose our sidestamps, we thought you would enjoy seeing all the different Pro V1 and Pro V1x marks throughout the years — one of the primary distinguishing marks of each model:
2000 Pro V1: When the original Titleist Pro V1 debuted in 2000, it incorporated three ground breaking advances: A large resilient core, multi-component construction, and a cast urethane elastomer cover.
LOOKING BACK: On Oct. 11, 2000, 47 golfers put the new Pro V1 in play at the PGA Tour’s Invensys Classic in Las Vegas, the first week it is available for competition, marking the largest pluralistic shift of equipment at one event in golf history. The winner, Billy Andrade, also plays Pro V1.
2003 Pro V1x: The new Pro V1x is introduced for the first time, featuring a dual core and a high-coverage 332 dimple design with 7 different sizes.
LOOKING BACK: On April 11, 2004, in a storybook ending to one of the most exciting finishes in Masters history, the winner relies on the Pro V1 golf ball to birdie five of the last seven holes, culminating with a dramatic 18-foot putt to capture his first major championship.
LOOKING BACK: Titleist Brand Ambassador Geoff Ogilvy captured his first major at the 2006 US Open with the '05 Pro V1
2007 Pro V1 and Pro V1x: Based on player feedback, new A.I.M. (Alignment Integrated Marking) Technology is added to 2007 Pro V1 and Pro V1x, extending the arrows on each side of the model name for improved alignment. A new staggered wave parting line design and tour-validated alignment integrated marking sidestamp were also introduced to the ‘07 Pro V1 and Pro V1x.
LOOKING BACK: On July 23, 2007, Padraig Harrington plays a Pro V1x in winning The Open Championship for his first-career major, triumphing by one shot in a four-hole playoff.
LOOKING BACK: On April 12, 2009, Angel Cabrera wins The Masters on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff, marking the second major for Cabrera who also captured the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont playing Pro V1x. Also in 2009, Bill Haas (Pro V1x) captured the 1,500th victory for the Pro V1 family with his win at the 2010 Viking Classic.
2011 Pro V1 and Pro V1x: The sidestamp design evolves again as we introduce the same Pro V1 and Pro V1x logo typeface to the A.I.M. sidestamp.
LOOKING BACK: The winner of the U.S. Open plays a Pro V1x golf ball to rewrite the record books, capturing his first major championship in wire-to-wire, runaway fashion with an eight-shot victory at at Congressional CC.
LOOKING BACK: In 2013, Brand ambassador Adam Scott (Pro V1) becomes the 1st Australian player to win at The Masters.
LOOKING BACK: On June 21, 2015, Jordan Spieth wins the U.S. Open, becoming the youngest player since 1922 to win two career majors and only the sixth player to win the Masters and the U.S. Open in the same year.
LOOKING BACK: On August 13, 2017, Justin Thomas earns the 99th PGA Championship in dramatic fashion for his first career major and his fourth victory of the year.
And on November 11, 2018, playing Pro V1x, Lee Westwood rallies to win the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa, earning the 3,000th victory for the Pro V1 franchise across the worldwide professional tours since its introduction.
LOOKING BACK: On May 19, 2019, the winner of the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black goes wire-to-wire to win his fourth career major championship in two years, all while playing a Pro V1x.
To learn more about the history of the golf ball sidestamp, click here.