Dunlop's latest balls

Arrow Straight, Buttersoft and LoCo

Alan Taylor
Fri, 21 Mar 2003
Dunlop's latest balls
Dunlop's latest balls
The DDH Arrow Straight.

Dunlop DDH Arrow Straight and Buttersoft balls

Price: £11.99 (for 16 pack)

Dunlop LoCo balls

Price: £12.99 (for 12)

Golf ball technology is probably the one thing that has advanced significantly over the last 10 years.

Never has there been such a varied selection of balls that are all supposed to improve this game for us. So how do we know which is ultimately the best ball?

Well, this bit is quite easy; it’s the one that goes in the hole in the fewest number of shots. If we try a ball and find that we have our best ever round, then it is likely that the ball will find a place in our affection and some sort of brand loyalty will ensue.

The fact that each manufacturer seems to have a whole range of different ball types indicates that there is no single perfect ball. It’s more down to personal preference.

In the past, manufacturers have given balls combinations of letters and numbers to differentiate types within their range, some of them sounding more like models of Ford performance cars than golf balls – for example XR 3i, GTI, XL2000. All claim to be either longer or softer, some with more spin, some with less.

Now the clever people in marketing have decided that golf balls, should have a name relating to their performance characteristics. So we have Maxfli Noodles (long and soft) Titleist SoLo (soft and long) and Dunlop LoCo (low compression).

Dunlop, one of the forerunners in this ‘descriptive marketing speak’ with the LoCo, have now added new balls to their improved DDH range, an ‘Arrow Straight’ and a ‘Butter Soft’.

Those who have played a Dunlop DDH balls will recall how far they can be hit with a driver but at the expenses of a rock like lack from the faces of wedges or putters. These new balls are still long but around the green some feel better than others.

DDH Arrow Straight

Verdict

Hardest feeling ball of the three, not significantly longer off the tee than the other two but definitely the longest (upto one club difference) with irons.

Ideal for those who struggle to reach the green with their approaches on par-4 holes, because it picks up less spin and will not deviate much if the strike is not perfect. It also flies with a lower trajectory.

It is, however, very hard and ‘clicky’ off the putter which will tend to put off some golfers. Overall it performed well and is a good ball for beginners.

Golfmagic rating: 7/10

Dunlop LoCo

Verdict

Dunlop's latest balls
Dunlop LoCo - low compression ball.
This ball is also emblazoned ‘Crazy Long’ so do you have to be mad to use it? Actually no. It performs similarly to its stablemate, the Maxfli Noodle - long off the tee and a softer feel than the Arrow Straight. However, what some may find a handful is its willingness to bounce.

Off wedges and mid-irons into greens, stopping it is a problem. This is fun in winter conditions, when the ground’s soft but it can fly ‘hot’ off the clubface and overshoot the targetafter a high first bounce. It’s soft on the putter face but with a tendency to zip too far.

Enjoyable to play and will benefit those with slower swing speeds who tend to leave their approaches short.

Golfmagic rating: 8/10

DDH Butter Soft

Verdict

Dunlop's latest balls
Butter Soft - it's long with good feel.

A combination of the other two - not as ‘soft’ as a premium ball but noticeably different to the Arrow Straight. I hit my best drives with this. Either by luck or it suited my swing speed is hard to tell but I enjoyed the sensation.

With mid-irons and wedges it flew on a lower trajectory than the LoCo but stopped quickly on the green and consequently recorded my only birdie of the round - a tap in from a 100-yard pitch the kind of experience that endears you to a particular ball.

Off the putter face it felt similar to the LoCo but didn’t jump and rolled smoothly to the hole. A cheap alternative to some premium balls I’d even play in competition - if only it didn’t have DDH stamp to remind me how I disliked its ancestor.

Golfmagic rating: 8.5/10

Overall it’s down to personal choice but the new Dunlop balls are as good as any of the mid range, mass market balls and worth keeping in your bag, if only to make your contribution to a longest drive competition!