The short-lived Tour Speed might have gone, but the AVX remains
By Tony Dear
It would be one thing to list the 2024 Titleist AVX’s design characteristics and say how/why those features might benefit a golfer. It’s quite another, however, to explain why the AVX exists in the first place.
For the Fairhaven, MA-based manufacturer to maintain its brand’s universally recognized tag as the ‘Number One Ball in Golf’, it needs to offer several different models at various price points to satisfy a wide range of golfers – you’ve probably noticed, that we don’t all swing the same or need the same things from a ball. Some players need a ball that spins less, while some do better with one that launches higher. Some need a dozen to cost $35 or less, and some of us (not me, though) need lime-green golf balls.
At the sharp end, Titleist currently has five premium balls made with urethane covers – the material used for the higher-end golf balls preferred by better players. There are four versions of the top-selling, show-stopping Pro-V1 (standard Pro-V1, Pro-V1 Left Dot, Pro-V1x, and Pro-V1x Left Dash), as well as the AVX. But whereas the four variants of the Pro-V1 have covers made with Cast Thermoset Urethane, the AVX uses Injection Molded Thermoplastic Urethane (TPU).
The differences between the two types of urethane are fairly complex and probably the domain of those who studied chemistry beyond high school. For us golfers (we’re aware the golf/advanced-chemistry overlap probably exists), it’s perhaps enough to know that very few facilities in the world are capable of producing Thermoset Urethane which, once cast, cannot be reversed or recycled. It also costs more and takes longer to produce than TPU.
That alone may explain why the AVX is $5 cheaper per dozen than the four Pro-V1s. It might also be part of Titleist’s objective of offering a range of balls at different prices. If Titleist wants to retain customers their entire lives, it needs to offer multiple types of ball so that if/when a golfer’s requirements change there is another Titleist ball waiting for them. It doesn’t want another brand being inserted at some point in the golfer’s journey.
So what is the AVX anyway, and what might it do for you?
The ball first appeared in 2018, has now been updated three times, and has perhaps become more established and popular than anyone anticipated. The acronym ‘AVX’ stands for ‘A’lternative to the pro-‘V’1 and pro-v1’X’. It was originally made in Ball Plant 3 alongside the Pro-V1 family, but production has now shifted to Ball Plant 2 where the company’s less-expensive, ionomer-covered balls (TruFeel, Velocity, Tour Soft) are made.
The new AVX is a three-piece ball as before, but its gradation core has been altered (actually, everything has been altered.) It is now slightly smaller than 2022’s version and the difference in firmness between the soft center and stiffer outside is greater. That creates more ball speed, helping you to hit the ball farther. Between this core and the cover is a firm casing (otherwise known as the ‘mantle’) which reduces spin when the ball is hit with a low-lofted club.
The softer, thicker urethane cover no longer has 2022’s tetrahedral catenary dimple pattern but a much grander-sounding quadrilateral dipyramid catenary one, instead. This new dimple pattern and the softness and thickness of the cover contribute to a ball that feels softer than its predecessor, flies lower on a more piercing trajectory with the longer clubs, and creates more greenside spin with the short clubs.
In comparison with the Pro-V1, the AVX will launch/fly slightly lower and feel slightly softer. And for the budget-conscious, it will be slightly more affordable.
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