Viktor Hovland played a NEW Titleist Pro V1 golf ball at the Valspar Championship, his first time using the 2021 model in individual competition after teeing it up for the first time at last week’s team-format Zurich Classic.
Hovland decided to make the switch after using the ball on the range and during short-game practice at recent TOUR events, having noticed faster ball speeds with the driver and more control into and around the green. He finished T-3 at Valspar following a final-round 65, the best round of the day.
Said Hovland: “I’ve really liked it at tournaments just when I’ve been chipping around greens. I feel like I’m still able to launch the ball up in the air a little bit while getting that spin. And so then I was entering the testing process with the mindset of, ‘OK, I like it around the greens. Let’s see how it performs with irons and the driver.’ And for me, it didn’t do that much differently (than prior generation), which is a good thing because I liked where the spins were at, the launch angles, and the overall feel of it. So if it’s very, very similar with all those shots, but I feel like it performs better around the greens, I felt like it was a good decision just to start playing it.
“I think around the greens, I was able to get more spin, which is huge when you’re playing greens that are firm and fast. I don’t care how high you are launching, you need spin to get the ball to stop. So, that was a big thing. But then as well with the driver, I started to notice the ball speeds were a little higher, and it wasn’t like it was just coming off hotter with more spin. It was faster and, if anything, maybe spinning a hair less with the driver. So overall, I picked up a couple of extra yards, which is nice. And then with the longer irons going into greens, I didn’t feel like it was under spinning or anything. It still maintained that very similar look as what I’ve been used to. So I thought it was great.”
“At the end of the day, you need to hit the shot. But it helps when you have a ball that can optimize what you’re doing. If you can put the same swing and get another extra couple of yards off the tee, that’s huge because you literally just got better like that."