Over the past few years there has been a surge in the number of manufactures who are offering golf balls direct to the customer and cutting out the middle man of a golf store or pro shop. The benefit of this is that we, the customer, are able to get ‘tour’ level golf balls at lower prices than ever. While this is a very good prospect for your everyday golfer there is a downside to this and that is for your local pro. It is the same age old argument when it comes to buying new clubs do you buy them online where you can get them cheaper or do you support your local pro and pay that will extra.
With this recent surge in the number of manufactures offering this service it has finally made its way over the pound and into the UK. Two of the easiest offerings to get here in the UK are from Vice and Snell. There are many other offerings you can get shipped to the UK but these often have high shipping costs which mean they are no longer any cheaper than the balls you can buy from any pro shop. Vice balls have been available in the UK for a while now while Snell only just started selling in the UK in April.
Vice currently offer a line up of 5 different balls; Pro Soft, Pro, Pro Plus, Tour and Drive. These range from a 4 piece urethane ball down to a 2 piece surlyn ball depending on what you are after. They also offer a range of different colours on their pro balls including neon lime and red.
The drive is a solid 2 piece golf ball and plays similar to that of the Srizon distance in my experience. It has a good distance off the tee and has a nice feel. Where this ball didn’t perform as well as some of the others is around the green it did not have quite the same control. The main selling point on these golf balls is the price they are available from £0.79 a ball.
The tour is a quality 3 piece golf ball with a surlyn cover. For me this was my favourite of the offerings from Vice, it performed extremely well both off the tee and around the green both on chip shots and putting. The performance for me was similar to that of the pro and with the tour available cheaper that is why it is my favourite offering from Vice. And unlike some of the other Vice balls it had fairly good durability.
The pro is a 3 piece urethane golf ball. Performance wise the pro is an excellent ball and I cannot fault it on how it performs, think pro v1. However my major gripe with this ball is the durability of the cover after only 2 holes playing it the cover was also starting to show small scuff marks which would normally not appear. I gamed a single vice pro for 36 holes and was surprised at the end, it was not as damaged as I was expecting it to be, there were quite a lot of scuffs however it did not seem like it had got that much worse than it was after the first 9 or so holes. If you can deal with a few scuffs the this ball is worth considering.
The pro+ is a 4 piece urethane golf ball which for me just did not perform as I wanted. Off the tee it offered good distance for me however I just was not a fan of the feel round the green. It felt a bit too hard for me. However that is not to say it is not a quality ball just not the one for me.
Unlike Vice Snell only have a 2 ball line up, a 2 piece surlyn cover ball called Get Sum and a 3 piece urethane cover ball called the My Tour Ball (MTB). They also only offer your traditional colours white and yellow.
The get sum is a decent 2 piece golf ball, I was pleasantly surprised at how the ball played and gamed it for longer than I thought I would have. I did give a couple away to some friends who have slightly slower swing speeds and they all said that they would happily game the ball.
My Tour Ball
The MTB is my favourite ball out of all the balls I tested for this article and possibly my favourite ball I have played all season. (Wilson DX3 Urethane and Spin are both still having time in the bag). The MTB ticked all the boxes for me it gave me good distance off the tee and stopped nicely on approach shots and chips. On the green it rolled true off the putter and had a lovely feel to it. The vice pro played very similar to this however the MTB barely had any marks on it compared to the vice after 18 holes. While I rarely use a single ball for more than 20+ holes as I have normally put it in some trees it is nice to know that my ball will still look fairly new after 18 holes.
As with anything in golf what works for one player wont necessarily work for another so my best advise would be pick up one of the tester packs that they have on offer and give all the balls a go and see which one fits your game and budget.
Best Regards and Happy Golfing