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TaylorMade SpeedSoft, SpeedSoft Ink golf balls: What you need to know

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: TaylorMade rolls out the new SpeedSoft golf ball, a two-piece design that features the company’s first foray into sub-50, low-compression technology. Almost as intriguing as its soft inside is its aggressive outside. While available in both white and yellow options, the company’s proven commitment to visual and aesthetic enhancements to golf ball looks will now add SpeedSoft Ink to the lineup. It features an array of splash pattern color options on top of the two-piece, low-compression SpeedSoft technology.

PRICE: $25 per dozen.

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3 COOL THINGS
1. Soft touch. The data on lower compression golf balls and average golfer preferences is clear: Softer wins. A recent survey of avid golfers by Golf Datatech showed that two-thirds were interested in playing a low-compression or soft-compression golf ball, and the player group most likely to benefit from more from value-priced, low-compression golf balls is also the most interested in playing them. The Golf Datatech surveys shows about 80 percent of those with handicaps of 15 or higher expressed interest in playing softer compression golf balls. Enter SpeedSoft, the first TaylorMade ball with a compression under 50. For perspective, while there are other balls on the market with compressions lower than 50, SpeedSoft’s compression rating is around 25 percent lower than TaylorMade’s softer tour-level urethane ball, the TP5, and also would be lower than the company’s most recent ionomer entry, the three-piece Soft Response.

2. Power play. Making a golf ball with a lower compression seems no more complicated than deciding to manufacture a softer mattress over a firmer mattress. For certain players, most golfers in fact, prefer a softer feeling golf ball. But the hazard of reducing compression is losing the resiliency in the core. A Nerf ball is soft but you’re not going to hit it very far. The challenge in a golf ball is to take the softer compression, which satisfies the feel preference of most average golfers, and engineer it to rebound like a firmer core. SpeedSoft uses what the company is calling “PWRCORE” to make that happen.

“PWRCORE is an extra-large, super-low compression core that allows us to create incredible feel and also maximize the velocity,” said Mike Fox, TaylorMade’s senior global category director for golf balls.

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3. Inked up. TaylorMade has been pushing the boundaries of visual technology and aesthetic customization in its golf balls since the introduction of the Pix alignment feature in its TP5 balls five years ago. There have been a steady stream of new Pix versions and next-leve novel customization programs like MySymbol ever since, and while TaylorMade also has produced yellow versions of its popular models in the past, SpeedSoft will offer a dramatic departure. The SpeedSoft Ink uses a modern-art style splatter of color (red, blue, green, pink) to jump off the white base. Fox believes in the mission of non-traditional looks, particularly to appeal to the growing number of newer and younger golfers.

"We're spending millions of dollars because we feel that it's, it's worth it as a way to allow golfers to do something they haven't had abilities to do before,” Fox said, noting the extreme investment TaylorMade has made in the color, optics and customization manufacturing technologies. “We like that it’s a difficult challenge. But this is finding new ways to change the marketplace, and it's not always going to be the easiest path because if it was the easiest path, the leader probably already would have done it. You have to kind of find something that has some market interest, be able to find that space and then grow that space. And that's really what what this is.”