TaylorMade Tour Preferred ball review

TaylorMade claims its Tour Preferred franchise is its best ever performing ball. Do we agree?

Andy Roberts's picture
Tue, 28 Apr 2015

The new Tour Preferred feels really good. It feels nice off the putter, which usually isn't something I notice, but I did notice this. I'm not going to critique anything about putting further, because the greens I was putting on were so bad that it wouldn't be fair...but say this, as someone who really struggles with putting, I dropped a few long birdies with these because the distance control was so easy, thanks to the feel. In my opinion, it's an underrated topic...but I notice the feel of balls really impacts my distance control with the putter.

I just put Ctapers in my irons, and then I kicked if off with a new ball. Maybe not a good combo to start with, but man, the TP feels nice. I didn't even bother with the TPx, because it was around 45 degrees, super windy, and I was playing on an exposed links-style course.

The ball actually holds really well into the wind. A few times actually, I was flighting it lower than I expected. Lots of the time, a ProV1 tends to balloon a ton on even easy shots into the wind. The TP didn't tend to do that. If anything, it tended to get knocked down a little easier. I prefer this, because then you can swing harder and flight it up. For me at least, easier to flight it up into wind than to keep it down.

The ball was checking great with longer chips as well. I was able to hit a few low spinners that bit hard and just basically stopped around the green. Usually I'll get a little trickle with a ProV1, after it checks, but the TP just checked, then stopped. Easy to pull the string on it when it responds like that. I really enjoy chipping with this ball.

Honestly, the only area I still haven't been able to really test with the TP has been the driver. It flighted well in the wind, but to give it a fair test, I need to wait and play in better weather.

THERE are few aspects in this game where you're proud to be #2 on the PGA Tour but when it comes to the golf ball market, TaylorMade is more than happy to come straight out the gate and say it.

Everyone knows Titleist is way out in front with the Pro V1 franchise and it will likely remain that way for years to come - it's the #1 ball for a reason with ball counts flying through the roof seemingly at every major event. So for TaylorMade, who claims it's the #2 golf ball brand on the PGA Tour right now, the new Tour Preferred and Tour Preferred X balls are under serious pressure to perform.

Before even opening my new pack of shiny TaylorMade balls, relief was instantaneous to see there was no wacky name emblazoned on the packaging. In the last few years when it's come to TaylorMade golf balls we've had the likes of RBZ Urethane and LETHAL, which in all honesty and while decent performing balls, sounded a little too loud even for TaylorMade.

I wanted to throw my new 4-piece Tour Preferred straight in at the deep end and so I took them for an outing at the greatest course I've ever played - Royal County Down in Northern Ireland.

Despite sending my first drive of the day onto the beach - I think my swing got caught in my skirt - I found 13 of 18 greens in regulation, missed just three fairways, recorded 34 putts and shot a round of 80, which for me, is a pretty good feat. What impressed me most about this ball was its control and consistency in the wind - something Ernie Els spoke to me about at Wentworth last week.

Now maybe that was a fluke for a first outing but I can safely say the TP has continued to shine. Taking the ball out for a second round last week on my home track, a much shorter and easier proposition than RCD, I went round in 70 shots and made a personal record of four birdies in one round.

TaylorMade, as you might expect, claims its new TP franchise is the best performing ball the company has released to date, but I'd honestly have to agree.

As you might imagine, there are a few key features of the new balls that TaylorMade would like you to know about, so I’ll just copy and paste them right here: REACT™ Core for greater ball speed on all shots for increased distance, Spin Mantle™ designed to deliver precise and consistent spin rates on given shots throughout the bag, and Low-Drag Performance Aerodynamics (LDP™) which is a 322-dimple pattern designed to minimise distance loss on low spin shots and also maintain a penetrating ball flight into the wind.

The latter is what gets me most excited about this ball. The Low-Drag Performance Aerodynamics, particularly when I played in Northern Ireland, helped me keep the ball on my intended line. I felt like I could play some nice knock down shots out on the links, but knew if I wanted to flight a short iron all over the pin, I could take dead aim down my target line and allow the wind to work accordingly without any freak results.

The other featured technology found in the Tour Preferred balls is what TaylorMade is calling Soft Tech™. Soft Tech™, is marketing speak, or maybe marketing double-speak for a cover material that TaylorMade claims is softer and more durable than anything they’ve ever produced.

Checking the durability out for myself at the end of my round with the second ball I put into play, you may recall I lost my first one on the beach, the end result was very pleasing: Soft and durable. Despite playing several shots out of the sand and even catching several on the thin side, my TP ball looked fresh and ready to go for another 18. While I'd not recommend you play the exact same ball two consecutive rounds in order to get the most out of your game, if a golf ball has good durability then it's going to save those pennies in the long run.

Not only does the ball look great and come with neat packaging but most importantly it ticks all the boxes in the buttery feel stakes, particularly in the short game, just as Sergio Garcia explains in the video above. One bounce, check and release.

When it comes to feel, TP is the perfect ball for the mid-to-low capper seeking softness around the greens. I received plenty of check on the longer chip shots and was also able to hit a few low spinners that bit hard. At times, I felt like I had it on a piece of string. On the dancefloor, the TP is also very easy to control distance on putts outside of 30-feet.

I tend to struggle getting the ball airborne with my irons but since switching to the new PING i25s I've had little problems. Since testing out the TP ball, however, I feel like that this part of my game has been strengthened even more and the additional spin, thanks to the new Spin Mantle, promotes an even higher trajectory on approach shots.

Off the tee, the ball appeared to spin a little less off the driver than the LETHAL ball but about similar to that of a Pro V1. Using a Flightscope monitor to assess my results, the TP ball generated 2800 RPM driver spin in comparison to the 3100 RPM with LETHAL. Driver carry was reaching just short of 230 yards and total distance was averaging around 260 yards. With a 52-degree wedge, spin rate was stronger than the LETHAL as the TP provided me with 9200 RPM instead of the 8700 RPM with LETHAL - an improvement of 500 RPM spin!


TaylorMade Tour Preferred has all the bells and whistles a low handicapper craves with a long, straight ball flight and ideal spin with the wedges. An ability to hold its line very well in the wind is what excites me most, however, as too the amount of check you receive on chip shots. TP is a very consistent, very soft and thankfully very durable golf ball. Not cheap at £45 per dozen but after all, this is TaylorMade's best performing ball to date. Well worth looking at both TP or TP X balls this season.

Click here for TaylorMade Tour Preferred ball owner reviews.

There are few aspects in this game where you are proud to be number two, but when it comes to the golf ball market where there is a clear leader, TaylorMade is more than happy to come straight out and say it.

So for TaylorMade, who claims it is the number two played golf ball brand on the PGA Tour, the Tour Preferred ball is under serious pressure to perform. 

And thankfully it does.  

This soft, four-piece Tour Preferred provided us with tremendous backspin with the wedges from inside of 120 yards and lots of grip from out the greenside rough and bunkers. 

It was arguably the best ball for pitching in our test. Many balls bounced once, checked and then released nicely to the pin. 

We really struggled to get the spin down with the driver, however. The spin rate was one of the highest in the test, veering close to 3000 RPM at times. 

While there is lots of technology packed inside this Tour Preferred ball, the best feature is without question the "low-grag performance aerodynamics" that ensures the ball stays on its intended line out in the wind. 

Despite catching several shots on the thin side during our day of testing, the ball appeared one of the most durable in the test.


A great ball for that "one bounce, check, release" type of shot around the green. It felt soft enough with the wedges but proved difficult to get the spin down off the tee. Launch angle was typically higher on the mid-iron shots. It has great durability and holds its line nicely in the wind, too. Good value for money at £33 per dozen.