Archives for the ‘Golden Tee golf balls’ Category

2015 Ball Analysis

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In addition to the stock balls, there are now 23 different balls available in the game to play, 12 of which are available for purchase on the 2015 edition.  The Grabbers are especially popular this year, combining distance and backspin to help carry and stick tough greens.  Browse this category to check out all the virtual ball selections in Golden Tee.



Javelin Balls (New to GT 2015)

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javelin

javelin stats

Description: Hit it far and keep it close! Long distance with less stray on landing. 

New to GT 2015! 



Grabber Balls (New to GT 2015)

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grabber

 

grabber stats

Description: Soft landing ball with higher backspin and roll. 

New to GT 2015! 



2014 Ball Analysis

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In addition to the stock balls, there are now 21 different balls available in the game to play, 12 of which are available for purchase on the 2014 edition.  Browse this category to check out all the virtual ball selections in Golden Tee.



Sniper Balls (New to GT 2014)

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Sniper

Great for record drives! Big distance but less spin for curve shots.

*Available to purchase in GT LIVE 2014.



Razor Balls (New to GT 2014)

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Razor

A lower bounce, softer landing ball, with a backspin boost for ultimate control.

*Available to purchase in GT LIVE 2014.



Archer Balls (New to GT 2014)

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Archer

Great for keeping shots close to the pin, the Archer balls fly high and land soft.

*Available to purchase in GT LIVE 2014.



2013 Ball Analysis

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My buddy Juan Schwartz has helped with some analysis of the new virtual ball offerings in 2013.  Here’s what you can expect!

SPECTRUM:

Golden Tee describes this ball as carrying far off the tee with lower loft.  Here’s how designer Jim Z. describes this offering:

“Unlike the other balls included, the Spectrum’s biggest attribute is what it does before it touches down. It carries longer than most golf balls but also keeps a lower trajectory. This give the player plenty of options when it comes to using Golden Tees, and the carry in the ideal wind can be significant. The ideal ball for elevation changes and perfect for the player that wants to show off with massive drives.”

It actually appears to perform almost identically to the Hurtles, even though the yardage distance shown differs from the Hurtles.  The 180 shots (straight-line angle back and forward shots) may go just slightly shorter than the Hurtles.  So based on the analysis, if you play Hurtles today, there doesn’t seem to be a reason to switch to these.

SETTLERS:

Golden Tee describes this ball as bouncing lower with less stray after landing.  Here’s how designer Jim Z. describes this offering:

“The Settler is the ball that I would play, only because I like to play it safe when it comes to shots into the green. Unlike the Bounder, this ball almost doesn’t bounce whatsoever and it will be a fantastic option if you want to throw darts into greens. It stays close to the ground and is a much more controlled golf ball. This, with the addition of Bite, gives players a really fantastic duo on tougher par-3s and par-4s.”

Pretend your shot already has bite on it even when you don’t actually have bite applied — that’s what you can expect.  If you do apply bite to this ball, it will stop on a dime when it lands.  You can see how this may be helpful when approaching tough greens!  In terms of distance, though, they are noticeably shorter than balls like the Hurtles.

BOUNDERS:

Golden Tee describes this ball as creating higher bounces with less roll distance.  Here’s how designer Jim Z. describes this offering:

“This is the first time we’ve really adjusted the physics of the ball once it hits the ground, and the Bounder will certainly showcase this. The first bounce after it hits will be massive, and you’ll pick up extra distance on the following bounces as well. If you’re trying to reach look drivable par-4s or looking to maximize your distance, this is the ball for you.”

Bounders claim to have less spin, but when the shot is finished they actually have more spin — the first hit bounces higher and gives the backspin more time to engage on the next couple hops.  The bounces are about twice as high as what you’d normally see.  Even landing in sand you’ll see a higher bounce, which could be beneficial in some cases if you are trying to clear it into a green.  However, if there is a big wind or green slope, the ball will carry farther in that direction, so it’s tougher to stick greens in these conditions.

In terms of distance, they are close to identical to the Hurtles on both 180 shots (where they may be just slightly shorter) and full A1 and C3 curve shots.



Settler Balls (New to GT 2013)

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Keep it close! The Settler is a lower bounce ball with less stray after landing.

*Available to purchase in GT LIVE 2013.



Bounder Balls (New to GT 2013)

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Featuring a revolutionary elastomer core, the Bounder ball creates higher bounces with less roll distance.

*Available to purchase in GT LIVE 2013.



Spectrum Balls (New to GT 2013)

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The Spectrum ball carries far off the tee with lower loft.

*Available to purchase in GT LIVE 2013.



2012 Ball Analysis

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As of the 2012 release, you may have as many as 16 different types of virtual golf balls in your bag.  Now is a good time to take a look at all of them to see what’s right for your game.

Golden Tee’s site gives you a nice little graph showing the expected performance of each ball in regards to 4 factors: distance, backspin, curve, and loft.  So, at a high level, you can glance at the charts and see roughly how they compare, but I wanted to find out the numbers behind those charts.

When measured closely, you’ll find that the performance ratings vary quite a bit more than meets the eye.  Click here to open this spreadsheet in a new window.  In terms of pixels, the raw numbers you see in column D represent the length of each bar.  In the top center is a grid displaying the raw ratings.  Now, if you assume that the stock ball has average performance in each category, as seems to be indicated by the graph, then the stock ball should have a rating of 5.0 on a scale of 0 to 10.  Using this as our base, we get a better performance rating grid, as seen in the upper right.

From there, you can break down each of the 4 categories, sorted by highest-performing at the top (or left of the chart).  Now you can see more accurately how each of these balls stack up against each other in each category.

So, what categories are the most important to consider when choosing your ball?  In my opinion, distance is king and must be considered first.  Extra distance on straight shots alone can make the biggest difference in your score.  Curve is probably next — you want your ball to be able to curve sharply on your A1 and C3-type shots to give you even more potential to reach locations not otherwise possible with a lesser-performing ball.  Backspin is also important, but you’re probably looking for something in the middle — too much backspin can be hard to control, and not enough makes it difficult to stick some greens.  Finally, loft doesn’t seem to be much of a factor when choosing a ball.  You will learn loft much more from club selection than you will by changing balls.

Moving back to the grid in the upper-right, you can also see why most players choose Hurtles as their ball of choice.  They are among the longest in distance, and they have decent backspin and curve ratings.  According to the chart, they don’t have much loft at all, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, or a significant factor, when playing them.

Of course, all this analysis is contingent on the data being accurate, and according to many pros, some of the data is off base.  The distance ratings are solid — you can see proof of that with your distance marker off the tee as you change between balls.  Curve ratings should be pretty close.  For backspin, many believe the Hurtles rating should be higher (at least in the middle), while the Straight Jackets spin more than the Streaks.  Finally, the loft ratings seem to be off, lending even more support to the argument that this factor shouldn’t much be considered.  The Air-Os seem to have lower loft, while the Streaks and Hurtles have plenty of loft, it seems.  And there’s the final point why most of you should be playing the Hurtles in 2012 — they are long and don’t seem to have any weaknesses.



Torpedo Balls (New to GT 2012)

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Use these low-loft balls for good distance with maximum backspin and roll.

*Only available to purchase in GT LIVE 2012.



Frenzy balls (New to GT 2012)

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With cutting edge aerodynamics, this ball generates more distance with a bit more spin for curve shots.

*Available to purchase in GT LIVE 2012 and 2013.



Stock+ Balls (New to GT 2012)

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These balls provide the curve shots of the standard stock ball but with greater distance.

*Available to purchase in GT LIVE 2012 and 2013.



Best Virtual Balls for Amateurs in 2011

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By now you’ve probably seen the grid that the guys at IT put together to compare Distance, Backspin, Curve and Loft for all available virtual balls in Golden Tee 2011. It’s certainly a nice resource, but it might scare you away from trying different types of balls if you establish an opinion based solely on those numbers. My buddy Juan Schwartz took to the course to give six of the longer distance balls a test drive, and the results should help you even more when matching a ball with your club set!

Here are his notes — notice how many of these differ from the published ratings:

Spinnys hook 50% more than Hurtle, Streak, and Maniax (conclusion — amateurs shouldn’t use these since they are hard to control)
Straight Jackets hook 50% less (making this ball virtually unusable as well, since A1s and C3s act more like B1s and B3s) and also appear to go lower than Hurtle and Streak.

**At this point, we can eliminate these two from being good options. Now let’s take a look at the Trackers, Maniax, Hurtles and Streaks.

They all appear to go the same distance when teed high.
Tracker has a slightly lower trajectory than the other three.
Hurtles go a tad further on thumb shots and have noticeably more backspin than Maniax.
Maniax actually appear to travel the same distance as Trackers.
Streaks and Hurtles appear close to the same in most aspects (except for the Streaks having a lot less backspin and roll, actually making them the balls to use when using the Ripper clubs), while Maniax and Trackers also seem to be about the same.

Applying these notes to the base ratings from Golden Tee, we now find that the balls compare more closely to the ratings below:

Distance Backspin Curve Loft
Hurtle 10 5 5 5
Maniax 8.5 4 6 6
Tracker 8 5 5 4
Streak 10 3 5 5

CONCLUSION — Everyone with a handicap of +22 or worse should stick with the Hawk clubs and the Hurtle balls for all 5 courses in 2011 since they offer the best ratings for distance, control and consistency.



Air-O Balls — Can You Benefit From Them?

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You may have seen some pretty awesome YouTube shots this month where you saw someone (probably Putz) drive a par 4 that you never thought possible, just by hitting it straight.  I’ll point out four pretty sweet examples:

Timber Bay #15
Grizzly Flats #7
Falcon Sands #6
Falcon Sands #7

I don’t even have examples of shots from Timber Bay #2 and #14 and Laurel Park #2 and #6, which can also be driven straight in some cases.  And don’t forget about some of the par 5s where the extra distance off the tee can help you reach the green in two!

After seeing these examples, it’s pretty tempting to want to change to the Air-O balls and show off with these long drives in front of your friends!  But not so fast – let’s take a look at how these balls can both help and potentially hurt your game.

First, you have to understand how the Air-O balls work.  Introduced last year (as the red box balls), these balls have all the same properties as stock balls except for one important difference – if you hit a straight 180 shot off the tee, you get a big distance boost, resulting in somewhere around a 10-15% increase based off the club you select.  The driver, for example, can average around 50 more yards than if you hit the normal stock balls.  So, all of a sudden your 350-yard drives are now going 400 yards!

It’s not quite as easy as it sounds, though – you have to be very accurate with your pull back and follow through to trigger the distance increase.  If you don’t create a straight line from your pull back angle through your follow-through angle within a degree or two, you won’t get the distance boost.  I’d say pros trigger the boost 90-95% of the time, but players like you and me might only be in the 75-80% range, especially when you are trying to angle the shot off to the side (actually, sometimes straight back and straight forward can be challenging too)!

When you consider the fact that the penalty (water and par) can exceed the reward (an eagle putt) in some cases, you might second-think that shot – how confident are you?  It certainly adds a fun but potentially stressful aspect to the game!

And here’s another issue you’ll come to discover – the balls can be a hindrance on par 3s and normally drivable par 4s.  How so?  Well, you may be put in a spot where you really want to hit a B2 shot with a particular club – but, now you have to adjust your strategy because that B2 could trigger a distance boost where you’ll overshoot the green!  You either have to hit the same club with a little bit of cut, club up and thumb the shot, or club down and hit the B2 planning to use the boost.  While having to learn and use different kinds of shots can help amateurs get better down the road, it’s certainly frustrating to have to veer from your comfort zone.

Finally, since the Air-Os act like stock balls in every other situation, you may be losing back to the field in several other situations – especially cut shots and some approach shots.  This deduction is not significant enough to figure in for amateurs, but you could theoretically drop another fraction of a stroke from the benefit shown for pros.

All of a sudden, the Air-Os might not seem like the best option for amateur players, but how can we know for sure?  Let’s break down each course to see if the potential benefits outweigh the downfalls that these balls can cause.

Click here to view a breakdown of each course and how amateur players might see their scores change as opposed to pro players using the Air-Os.  The sheet makes the following assumptions:

  • You won’t always get a setup where you can take advantage of the extra distance.  Column D is my best guess for how often the hole sets up to potentially give you a stroke advantage.  As you can see, some holes very rarely set up for it, so you’ll only get the chance to benefit every once in a while.
  • On some holes, the Air-Os may offer a significantly easier approach shot (a chush, for example) without risk of getting in trouble.  Where this is the case, I’m assuming that’s worth a quarter stroke.
  • If the balls give you a shot at an easier approach but come with risk of losing a stroke, I’m assuming you’ll be smart and lay up, so there’s no advantage there.
  • Judging from the surroundings, a missed boost could cost you either 0, 1 or 2 strokes.  If it could be one or the other, I’ll average those instances.
  • Column I assesses the impact on amateurs who effectively trigger the boost 75% of the time.  I’ll also assume that even if you trigger the boost, you’ll only accurately nail the landing area you need 75% of the time.  Pros get 90% for both.  I also have a column of the accuracy required to break even, and what you could expect if you were perfect 100% of the time.
  • For normal par 3s and normally straight drivable par 4s, amateurs will be penalized a quarter stroke if you could lose 1 stroke, and you’ll be penalized a half stroke if you could lose two strokes.  This is assuming you’ll have to adjust from your normal B2 shot half the time, and half of that time you’ll lose a stroke or two because of it.  Pros lose a tenth of a stroke for 1 and two tenths for 2.

So, let’s take a look at row 5 for Alpine hole #4.  This hole offers one of the most significant advantages on any course if you have the Air-Os.  I’m guessing that 80% of the time you’ll have a shot to stick this green where people using other balls won’t.  However, there’s chance of a snow plug or even water if you mishit the shot, so it could cost you a stroke (water and par) or nothing (snow plug or long with a chip and a birdie).

Let’s say you play this hole 100 times and use birdie as the base.  It sets up 80% of the time for the boost shot, so you’re at +80.  Of those 80 attempts, you’ll miss the boost 25% of the time (20 times), with it costing you par half of those and birdie (no harm) the other half.  So that’s -10 more, putting you at +70.  Now, even when you do hit the boost correctly the other 60 times, you’ll be inaccurate 25% of the time (15 times), putting you at +55.  So, in summary, you can expect to eagle 55% of the time when others are getting birdies.

Pros are 90% accurate, so when you plug in 10% and 90% instead, they gain a stroke 69% of the time they play the hole with the Air-Os.

In summary, this grid shows how amateurs and pros may expect their scores to differ on each course by using the Air-Os.  You’ll also see how accurate you have to be with your shot-making just to break even using these balls, and how you could potentially benefit if you had perfect control of this shot!

Course Amateur Strokes Pro Strokes Break even % Perfect Strokes
Alpine Run -0.58 0.74 82% 2.38
Timber Bay -1.38 0.28 87% 1.65
Laurel Park -0.66 0.10 90% 1.60
Grizzly Flats -1.67 0.04 90% 1.45
Falcon Sands -1.76 -0.30 93% 0.93
TOTAL -6.05 0.85 88% 8.01

So, while it may be fun to play a few rounds with the Air-Os, you’ll likely see your game suffer over the long haul.  Stick with the Hawks or Flares and the Maniax and continue to focus on shot-making!



Stock Balls (Formerly D2 Straight)

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By default in Golden Tee, all players hit what is called the “stockball. It is free, and you never run out of them.  The standard ball used in Golden Tee LIVE provides good distance and spin control. These balls are perfect for beginners!

However, you can also buy a 12-pack of any of the high-performance balls for $0.50. This category contains breakdowns of each ball available for purchase.

One more note — you can only select which balls to use when you are on the first tee. After you start your round of Golden Tee, you are stuck with those balls the rest of the way, UNLESS you lose all of the current type of ball you are playing. If that happens, the game lets you play with the free stock balls for the rest of the round.



Tracker Balls (Formerly 2010 Gamer v2)

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DISTANCE — Players seem to have more “feel” with these balls, allowing them more distance control on thumb shots (especially when taking off distance).  Compared with the Orbits, the Trackers travel up to 30 yards farther on full-full shots (A1 or C3) and 10-20 yards farther on hammer shots (B2).  Thumb shots are almost identical, and judging from the distance marker, you should gain one extra yard on these shots.  However, some people still insist that thumb shots fly shorter, so you can determine that for yourself.  Also, drives into the wind seem to carry 10-15 more yards than the Orbits.  Of course, the Air-O balls give you the boost distance on B2 shots, but if you’re having consistency issues with that ball, then the Trackers should be in your collection as the longest ball of 2010.

CURVE — The Trackers curve better than the Orbits, and many agree that the curve is very similar to the Juice balls.

SPIN — Spin is comparable to the Maniax.  There’s enough of it, but not so much that it’s hard to control.

OVERALL — Some people think that these balls actually travel higher as well, especially with a 3-wood, so pay attention to that next time too.  It can provide benefits on some holes, but it can also endanger skipping over water!  The height issue is just a theory at this point, though.  Overall, this is the most consistent ball of the bunch for 2010.  With distance and curve, they are playable under most all conditions.

*Available to purchase in GT LIVE 2010-2013.



Ranger Balls (Formerly 2010 D2 Divas)

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The low compression core creates better distance with slower swing speeds. This means you get more distance out of a “slower” shot, and the ball just settles on the green instead of having a moderate amount of spin. So, this could be good for people who can’t pound long shots, but they don’t seem to offer any other advantage.

*Only available for purchase on GT LIVE 2010 or 2011.



Air-O Balls (Formerly 2010 D2 Distance)

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A firmer cover provides increased distance on straight shots off the tee. These balls can be exciting, because the extra distance off the tee with a B2 shot can be huge! BUT, it also becomes difficult to gauge accurate distance off the tee, because of the boost. Practice some big B2 shots off the tee with different clubs to get the feel, and then enjoy the consistency that these balls offer on all other types of shots.

*Only available for purchase on GT LIVE 2010-2012.



Player Balls (Formerly 2009 Gamers)

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The Player features a resilient rubber core for better distance. The soft ionomer cover creates all the spin and control needed for curve shots. These balls are great for amateurs still getting a feel for the game as they provide a great combination of distance and spin that’s easy to control.

*Available for purchase on GT LIVE 2009-2013.



Maniax Balls (Formerly 2009 Freaks)

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With maxed-out aerodynamics and a faster core, the Maniax generate great distance with a touch lower spin for curve shots. These balls are also a very solid option for your all-around game.

*Available for purchase on GT LIVE 2009-2013.



Streak Balls (Formerly 2008 XL Extreme Distance (Yellow))

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This ball gives you maximum distance and is best for low-lofted shots that can cut through the wind. The ball curves well to get maximum distance off your A1 and C3 shots.  However, you don’t get much backspin/roll at all with this ball, so it makes it difficult to get approach shots closer to the pin.

*Available for purchase on GT LIVE 2008-2013.



Orbit Balls (Formerly D2 Feel)

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This ball is best for high, lofted shots and gives you maximum backspin/roll. Sometimes I think this ball gives me too much roll, and I’d rather have the extra distance while keeping the normal roll of other balls.

*Available to purchase on GT LIVE 2010-2013.



Hurtle Balls (Formerly 2007 XL Extreme Tour (Black and white box))

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Another very long ball described to “travel the farthest, but backspin and roll are less effective”.  Very comparable to the Streak balls — slightly less distance, but slightly more curve.  This is currently the most popular ball in the game amongst the pros and is also recommended for all amateurs.

*Available to purchase on GT LIVE 2007-2013.



Pummel Balls (Formerly 2007 Quartz (Yellow ball with green box))

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This ball goes just slightly farther than the stock ball but has lots of spin. It’s described to have “maximum backspin and roll, with extra spin for superior curve shots”.  You can make this ball do about anything!

*First available in 2007, but no longer available to purchase in GT LIVE 2013.



Spinny Balls (Formerly TL Tours)

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A good all-around ball that gives you exceptional curve and superior backspin/roll.  It also doesn’t hurt you in other areas, except perhaps straight distance shots.

* Last available for purchase in GT LIVE 2011.



Juice Balls (Formerly 2008 Long and Soft Distance (Orange))

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This ball adds distance but maintains normal amount of spin for your hooking shots and backspin/roll.  It’s a great “control” ball that gives you a little extra distance to boot.

*Available for purchase in GT LIVE 2008-2013.



Straight Jacket Balls (Formerly 2007 TL Distance (Blue box))

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This ball is still tied for the longest ball Golden Tee has ever made. It’s described to have “ultimate distance, with more distance on straighter shots, and less spin control for curve shots”.  As you can tell from the graph, distance is about all you’ll get, making sacrifices on backspin/roll and curved shots.

*Only available for purchase in GT LIVE 2007-2011.