The Equipment Insider

In the works

Titleist acquires feedback on new EXP-01 golf ball, which remains in the early developmental stages

Titleist, which has more than 75 people in its research and development department, is asking thousands of golfers in the playing public to assist in its R&D effort with a new experimental golf ball.

Titleist is calling this initiative the EXP Project and the first ball the EXP-01. Beginning Oct. 1, the company shipped an undisclosed number of balls to golf shops and retail outlets at $39.99 a dozen. Individuals could also order the balls at Titleist.com. Shops and retailers were limited to six dozen.

Perhaps an intended outcome is that Titleist created a buzz for a new ball during a time when most golf equipment and ball manufacturers are feverishly preparing for the PGA Merchandise Show in January 2020, when much of the industry’s new products are introduced.

“Part of this whole process is to get feedback from golfers – who is playing it and where are they coming from,” said Michael Fish, Titleist product manager. “The EXP has given us a platform to introduce some of our more innovative products with different technology that we’ve been working on in R&D in the experimental prototype phase.”

Titleist EXP-01 ball
Titleist's EXP-01 ball features a three-piece construction. The urethane cover, though, is believed to be manufactured differently than the brand's thermoset cast urethane cover that is present on the ProV1, ProV1x and AVX balls.

Fish was largely mum about specifics of the ball but did say that “It’s definitely aimed at a better player.” What we do know is that it’s a three-piece ball and Titleist seems intent on getting feedback on a new cover on the EXP-01. It’s a urethane cover but manufactured in a different way from Titleist’s thermoset cast urethane that’s featured on the ProV1, ProV1x and AVX.

Without going into detail, the company calls this “MTR Developmental Cover System,” which has been developed through experimentation. Fish wouldn’t say how many prototype covers the R&D team went through before deciding on the one on EXP-01 but part of the emphasis is on short game spin.

The limited product introduction of the EXP-01 is different from a similar test marketing of the AVX in 2017. The AVX was a fully tested product that was ready for market. The test run was to see if the product was viable, company officials said.

The EXP-01 is probably not the final product and the company wants player feedback to determine if the ball has issues and what changes need to be made. No one had played the ball prior to the prototype introduction except a few Titleist employees.

Fish said that as of the first week in November, about 1,000 golfers had responded via the feedback card that was included in each dozen.

“We’re in the process of sorting through some of that data and seeing what golfers of different levels who play different balls think of it, along with their views of durability, performance, feel and the cover,” Fish said. “We haven’t taken a real deep dive into all the data points but so far, we’re seeing positive feedback. We expected golfers to think it was a high-quality product.”


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