On a chilly, overcast morning at TPC Summerlin, Titleist Brand Ambassador Jimmy Walker walked off the third green with his head down and a Vokey Design wedge in his right hand, a new prototype Titleist Pro V1x golf ball bouncing up and down off the face.
This was a common sight Tuesday, officially Day 2 of the tour seeding and validation process for new prototype Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls, but not because some sort of juggling contest had broken out here in Las Vegas.
It was simply one quick way to test the feel of the new models.
Titleist Golf Ball R&D tour reps Fordie Pitts and Jeff Beyers also spent the day juggling requests from players who wanted to test the new models, whether on the course, on the range, on TrackMan, at the short game area or on the putting green.
White boxes and buzz were everywhere. Here are a few sights and sounds from a busy Tuesday just west of The Strip:
- Early Tuesday afternoon, Titleist golf ball loyalist Sung Kang walked into the locker room after playing a full practice round at TPC Summerlin with the new prototype Pro V1x. Inside he bumped into Fordie Pitts, who was stocking up with more golf balls for another round of player testing. “I just made 11 birdies with the new ball,” Kang said. “I think I’m good.”
- Before his afternoon practice round, Titleist golf ball loyalist James Hahn spent 10 minutes at the short game area with Jeff Beyers discussing the differences between the new models and the prior generations. During the conversation, Beyers dropped a few of each model on the ground for Hahn to hit various chips and pitches.
“Can I play them this week?” Hahn asked. Beyers nodded.
“Do you know where I can get them?” Hahn responded with a witty smile. “Do you know a guy?”
He took both models out on the course for further testing.
After his first swing with the new Pro V1 prototype, Kokrak, a Pro V1x player for as along as he can remember, shook his head but with a captivated look. “Wow, that is much different than I was expecting it to be,” he said.
One of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour, Kokrak hit a few drives with each model. He then hit a few more drives with each one, putting just a little bit more into those shots. “That’s the swing if I need to carry a bunker,” he said.
After each set of swings, Kokrak walked back to Beyers' computer to check out the numbers. He repeated that process with short, mid and long irons, and wedges, and then took both models to the short game area. "I'm looking forward to testing these out on the course," he said.
- Titleist golf ball loyalist Ken Duke was the first player to take the new Pro V1 prototype to TPC Summerlin’s first tee this morning. After his drive split the fairway, he hit wedge to 3 feet.
On the next hole, Duke hit 6-iron from 180 to 15 feet. He looked over at Pitts. “I like that feel and it fits right in my window,”he said.
- Pitts also walked alongside Titleist golf ball loyalist John Huh for a few holes as he tested the new prototype Pro V1x. On the second green, Huh looked over at Pitts and said, “Do you have extra dozens of these in the locker room?”
- On his walk back to the driving range, Pitts noticed Titleist golf ball loyalist J.J. Henry drop a ball in the first fairway, setting up about a 95-yard shot. He watched as it landed just past the hole and spun back to a couple feet.
Pitts clapped. “First one, baby!” Henry hollered, referring to what was his first shot with the new prototype Pro V1. On the walk to the green, Henry and Pitts discussed the changes to the new models. Henry said he’d catch up with Pitts on the range tomorrow to do some more testing on TrackMan.