The new TaylorMade TP5 and TP5x balls continue the company’s technological heritage of using a five-layer construction to optimise launch, spin and speed specifically for the requirements of wood, iron and wedge in your bag. But the latest iteration’s upgrade focuses on the layer just below the cover.
Simply put, says Eric Loper, director of golf ball research and development, “It’s the fastest material that TaylorMade has ever used in a golf ball.”
The way TaylorMade’s five-layer construction works starts with a soft inner core of very low compression, just 16 on the TP5 and 25 on the TP5x. The low compression keys a lower spin that is a key component of distance in the longer clubs in the bag. That core is surrounded by two layers of stiffer and more resilient rubber materials to provide speed. The cover is a soft cast urethane material to provide feel and spin on the shortest shots.
But it’s the fourth layer, the firm mantle between the soft cover and the ball’s three-part core, that is the difference maker for the 2019 TP5 and TP5x, Loper said. It’s a material his team has been researching for the past four years. While it’s been used in other industries – Loper wouldn’t say which ones – he said it hasn’t been used in golf before. TaylorMade is calling the resin material HFM, a reference to its high-flex modulus. A material with a high-flex modulus has a high resistance to bending or stress.
Loper said the new material is 30 percent stiffer than past mantle layers on TaylorMade balls, but simply being stiffer isn’t the achievement.
“We were looking for a material where we can increase the stiffness to get more ballspeed but be able to maintain durability,” he said. “That is really the engineering challenge here: More rigid yet withstand that collision at impact.
“By making that HFM stiffer, it increases that spring coefficient so when the ball returns to shape after being compressed, it comes off with more velocity. HFM more efficiently converts deflection into ballspeed.”
Loper said the primary beneficiary of the stiffer mantle layer is the driver: “It retains our ability to keep the driver and iron spin low yet increase driver ball speed.” He said the firmer HFM mantle also applies more force to the driver face at impact causing more deflection and more ball speed.
Loper said the firmer mantle layer also helps short shots launch lower with more spin because “the soft cast urethane cover is pinched between the wedge and the rigid inner layer forcing that soft material into the grooves.”
“The ball velocity increases we’re seeing are coming from the golf ball more efficiently converting deflection into speed, but also coming from our ability to impart more force to the face,” he said.
The new TP5x will have a firmer overall compression, moving from 90 to 97, while the softer TP5 will stay at 85. Loper said adjustments were made to the compression of the core layers to keep the new TP5 at the same compression it was. Loper said the new TP5 and TP5x have improved scuff resistance, as well.
According to Loper, the TP5 launches lower on iron shots and has more spin coming into the greens on full and partial wedge swings. The TP5x produces generally higher launching iron shots.