September 6 2013
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
Billy Horschel has an inquiring mind when it comes to his golf equipment. The 2013 Zurich Classic of New Orleans winner not only knows how to use the gear in his bag, he also has an appreciation for the time and effort that goes into designing every club and ball in his bag.
After taking a trip recently to PING headquarters to see how his clubs were built, Horschel stopped by Titleist's Ball Plant 3, in New Bedford, Mass., to get a behind-the-scenes look at how his Pro V1x ball is made. (Click here for feature story on the Titleist Pro V1)
Along the way, he answered a few question about his ball testing process and what he took away from the plant trip.
Q: When did you first start playing a Titleist ball?
BILLY HORSCHEL: For as long as I can remember. I may have played with whatever ball my dad gave me when I was a kid, but I always remember having some sort of Titleist ball -- whether it was the Tour Professional or Tour Balata -- in my bag when I played.
Q: What is it about the Titleist Pro V1x that suits your game?
HORSCHEL: The ball is just so consistent and reliable. You always know what kind of performance you're going to get from the ball when you play. You're not going to have one day where the ball doesn't perform the way you want.
We talk all the time about trusting our equipment, and the ball is one of those things that you have to use on every shot. The Pro V1x has the flight and spin I'm looking for with every club in my bag. There are no surprises with this ball, and that's something I like.
Q: What kind of testing process do you go through with your ball?
HORSCHEL: When I test balls, I look at what may be a weakness in what I'm using at a certain time. What I mean by that is I look at certain shots where it doesn't quite come off the way I want. I'm trying to see if the new ball can help me improve in those areas.
Everybody has a go-to shot in a pressure situation, and mine is usually a 3/4 shot. I'll hit that same shot with all of my irons during testing to see how the ball comes off.
If the ball is coming off with the right trajectory and looks good to the eye, then I'll probably hit some with a half swing and go to the chipping green to see how it reacts and spins.
Q: How often do you use a launch monitor during testing?
HORSCHEL: I don't rely completely on a launch monitor when I'm testing. I consider myself a feel player who also likes to use technology. Normally I can get a good idea during testing if the ball flight suits my eye. That's usually an easy way to see if the equipment is performing the way I want.
But sometimes it doesn't hurt to go back to a launch monitor and double-check. Sometimes it may look like the ball is spinning too much, but once you get on the launch monitor, you may see that the numbers are pretty good.
Q: Have you had a chance to test out the new PING S55 irons?
HORSCHEL: PING built me a set, but I'm going to wait and test them out after the FedExCup. My S56 irons have been great this year, so I didn't see a point in messing with my bag setup at the moment.