Golf Digest editors picks

HOT LIST 2007: VALUE-PERFORMANCE BALLS

Gold (Editor's Choice)

CALLAWAY HX HOT

  • Street Price: $25 a dozen.
  • Key Technology: A resilient core and a rubber-like DuPont HPF polymer in the mantle are designed to maximize ball speed. The ionomer cover is slightly softer than last year's version. Hexagonal dimples help to reduce drag by increasing dimple coverage of the ball.
  • Panelist: "This ball would work well for a lot of players . . . One of the longest I've ever hit."
  • Judge's Verdict: If priority numero uno is to outdrive your buddies, we believe we've found your ball.
gold

BRIDGESTONE e5

  • Street Price: $25 a dozen.
  • Key Technology: This is the only two-piece urethane ball on our list. The design features a large, high-energy core that aims to increase ball speed. The company's characteristic seamless cover has a 432-dimple pattern. One purpose of this pattern is to increase spin rates for golfers with a low trajectory.
  • Panelist Comments: "A handsome ball. . . . Gets good height and holds its trajectory. The right ball for playing in the early morning or on soggy fairways."
  • Judge's Verdict: It's a unique ball that should be tried at least once. We like the softer feel.
GOLD

BRIDGESTONE e6

  • Street Price: $25 a dozen.
  • Key Technology: The e6 is a three-piece, low-compression ball with a 330-dimple pattern. The Surlyn cover features Bridgestone's seamless design. The resilient inner mantle helps reduce excess sidespin.
  • Panelist Comments: "Clean and simple. It reduced my hook, which gave me instant confidence to free up my swing. . . . Extra points for the alignment mark."
  • Judge's Verdict: The company is a perennial leader in technology and innovation. Check your iron distances and be pleasantly surprised.
GOLD

TITLEIST NXT

  • Street Price: $27 a dozen.
  • Key Technology: There are 392 dimples in the icosahedron pattern of this two-piece ball. The cover is a firmer version of Titleist's Fusablend material. The 1.55-inch core is slightly smaller than that of the NXT Tour.
  • Panelist Comments: "Jumped off the face of the driver. . . . Decent carry and held the greens well. . . . Nailed a cartpath, and the thing didn't scuff too badly. You could've kept playing with it."
  • Judge's Verdict: This ball is more than a serviceable compromise of distance, feel and price.
GOLD

TITLEIST NXT TOUR

  • Street Price: $27 a dozen.
  • Key Technology: The main differences between it and the regular NXT are a softer cover and a dually constructed core with a diameter of 1.58 inches. This larger core features a soft inner section and an outer part that is more firm.
  • Panelist Comments: "I was pleasantly surprised at its soft feel for a longer ball. . . . I'm generally a tour-ball guy, but I'd play this if I were going to a tough course with a lot of water hazards."
  • Judge's Verdict: It's nicknamed the Pro V1-Lite for a reason. Save yourself a buck-fifty a ball and see if you miss its big brother.
silver

MAXFLI FIRE

  • Street Price: $20 a dozen.
  • Key Technology: The three-piece ball features 442 dimples that are engineered to help hold the ball's line in windy conditions. The core compound is encased in the company's HPF SpeedMantle. The ball's designers say the cover climbs the clubface faster than average balls, thereby helping launch the ball higher.
  • Panelist Comments: "Looks and feels like plastic, but it goes a long way. . . . Bright red box looks sharp. . . . Felt a little rocky."
  • Judge's Verdict: The "grip it and rip it" mentality is captured in ball form. And why not—John Daly plays it.
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