Why Wilson Staff Model ball is something completely different for Wilson

April 21, 2020

The Wilson Staff Model ball, built with tour-player input, is not surprisingly a multilayer urethane cover design, the preferred construction for balls played by professional golfers. But its construction is built on a firmer foundation, a departure from Wilson's lineup of largely lower compression, softer models. The reason is simple, said said Frank Simonutti, Wilson’s global director of golf ball innovation. “This ball is designed for the professional golfer, which is the one segment of the market that Wilson testing has shown does not prefer a soft feel golf ball,” he said.

Like most tour balls, the key to the Staff Model is the urethane cover, which allows a player to produce the kind of spin necessary to get shots close on those partial swings. What is interesting is that the Staff Model is the company’s most ambitious tour-level ball in some time in no small part because it actually features slightly less urethane.

The Staff Model’s complex four-piece construction uses a thinner but softer urethane cover, which helps distance while still allowing for the enhanced short game spin better players seek, Simonutti said. The cover on the Staff Model is now one-fortieth of an inch thick, or less than half the thickness of a dime.

“It’s only another five thousandths of an inch thinner than what we’ve done before, but it’s a big difference,” Simonutti said. “The urethane cover has always been the dead part of a urethane ball so as minimal as we can keep that, the better off we are.”

Simonutti said the softer formulation on the Staff Model’s cast urethane cover provides higher spin compared to the company’s most recent tour-developed ball, the FG Tour.

Of course, if you’re going to reduce cover thickness in search of speed, you need to build some energy into the rest of the ball. Specifically, that comes from a larger, firmer neodymium-catalyzed (for high resilience) polybutadiene rubber core, which accounts for more than 58 percent of the total volume of the ball or more than on the FG Tour.

The four-piece construction includes two surrounding mantle layers that work together with the cover to produce distance and spin. The inner most mantle is made of Dupont HPF polymer, “still the best thing for keeping feel and giving velocity,” Simonutti said. The outer mantle is a blend of two, firmer Surlyn ionomer materials, both geared to increasing initial ball velocity. That firmer outer mantle helps to pinch the cover between clubface and ball on the shorter shots for better spin.

As a unique entry in the Wilson lineup, the Staff Model also will include a unique distribution strategy. The balls will be available through Wilson’s website and will include a one-month trial program that allows for free personalization of number or a text sidestamp. Through the trial program, the price for a dozen balls drops from $50 a dozen to $45 a dozen based on how many balls are ordered. A subscription program for the Staff Model is expected to be launched, as well.