Ball Review: Top Flite Strata

Golfmagic tests the Top Flite Strata in three different guises

Thu, 20 Apr 2000

The Top Flite Strata, made by Spalding, has been around for a few years now and it is gaining a big following around the world and can claim three major wins with Mark O'Meara's Open and the Masters wins in 1998 and Paul Lawrie's Carnoustie triumph.

The Strata range is aimed at the better player, ideally handicaps between scratch and nine, but it is also a versatile ball that anyone can use as they now have three models, The Tour Professional, ML balata and the Distance.

I tested all three and having always used a three-piece ball in the past, I tried the Strata for the first time last month and I was pleased with the results, especially with the Tour Professional model.

It takes some time to get used to the feeling of a two piece ball, but once you get familiar with it, it feels nice off the clubface, it is longer off the tee than my usual ball and I can spin it just as much around the greens. And it doesn't scuff up as badly when hit out of bunkers.

My only criticism is that they feel hard off the putter and take some getting used to at first.

The Tour Professional model was the best one of all and there was little to separate it from the ML balata model with its soft cover. But the Distance model felt like any other two piece ball, pretty hard and having used a soft cover ball for years, it was difficult to find my putting touch on the greens with that one.

In fairness, that ball is aimed at players wanting the maximum yardage off every wood and iron, not around the greens, so it was to be expected. But the other two, it was hard to distinguish any difference between them. They are both ' good players' balls and after a few rounds with each ball, the ML balata and the Tour Professional grew on me.

And the bit I like about those two is that they spin like silly if you hit a 'pure' wedge. The ball zips back a few feet and the group in front think that they have a pro behind them! Great fun at a pretty good price too.

I you are a single figure handicap player, go for the ML or the Professional model. If you are a higher handicapper or seek a bit of extra distance off the tee, the Distance model will suit you well.

In a market full of confusing golf balls, Top Flite have a winner in that there is a ball for just about anyone in the Strata range.

Tour Professional: £9 for three
ML Balata: £7.50 for three
Distance: £7.50 for three