Rory McIlroy switches to new TaylorMade TP5x golf ball, gaining distance

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Rory McIlroy switched to this year’s newly-announced edition of TaylorMade’s TP5x at the DP World Tour’s Dubai Invitational. (David Cannon/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy switched to this year’s newly-announced edition of TaylorMade’s TP5x at the DP World Tour’s Dubai Invitational. (David Cannon/Getty Images)

    Written by GolfWRX

    It’s been said many times. The golf ball is the one piece of equipment that a golfer uses on every single shot. For PGA TOUR players, who are incredibly precise with their gear setups, they must be fully comfortable with the feel and performance of whichever golf ball model they use.

    PGA TOUR players do not take golf ball switches lightly.

    Rory McIlroy did recently make a change, however. He has switched to this year’s newly-announced edition of TaylorMade’s TP5x, which is engineered with a new "Speed Wrapped Core" that helps reduce spin on long shots while enhancing spin around the greens.

    McIlroy switched to this year’s edition of the ball for his first two events of the year, back-to-back DP World Tour tournaments in Dubai. McIlroy finished second in the Dubai Invitational before winning the Hero Dubai Desert Classic. He cited the ball’s lower launch and lower spin as contributing factors to the change.

    “I thought it was a good opportunity to at least test it in Dubai,” McIlroy said earlier this year. “You've got desert conditions, there's not a ton of wind, it's a place that I'm comfortable with. I obviously tested it a little bit at home, liked that it was a touch of a lower launch than the golf ball I was previously playing, then a touch lower spin as well.

    “The greens got pretty firm at the weekend on both courses, so it was a good test to still make sure that the mid-irons were spinning enough going into greens and still being able to hold greens. And it's fast, it's a really, really fast golf ball. Definitely feel like I've picked up a little bit of speed with it, especially off the tee. And it's a little — it's funny, it's a lower-spinning ball, but it feels a touch softer to me around the greens, so I like that feel of it.”

    In offseason testing with the new TP5x ball, TaylorMade said McIlroy gained distance with his irons and ball speed with his driver. The ball produced a flatter and lower peak trajectory with the driver and a softer feel with more spin around the greens.

    The ball switch coincided with McIlroy’s move into TaylorMade’s new Qi10 driver. McIlroy preferred the look and feel of the larger head, according to TaylorMade, and the Qi10 also launches higher than the line’s LS (low spin) model. That makes it a good complement to the new TP5x ball, which has a lower peak height.

    A view from above TaylorMade’s new Qi10 driver. (Courtesy TaylorMade)

    A view from above TaylorMade’s new Qi10 driver. (Courtesy TaylorMade)

    “I think the sort of lower launch with the short irons and then the little bit more of a softer feel around the greens was sort of the big selling point to me,” McIlroy said. “I like to play a low spin ball, but not so low spin that when you're hitting a 6-iron or something into the green that you can't hold it.

    “A very comfortable shot for me at the minute is sort of hitting this like hold-off sort of cut. The fact that it doesn't spin too much when I hit that shot, I really like because I've always had this fear with whatever golf ball that I've played that if I hit that shot, there's a tendency to come up short because it spins a little too much. But I don't really have that fear with this golf ball, which is a really nice feeling.”

    To accomplish the improvements to performance and feel, TaylorMade says it designed a new, progressive, five-layer construction that optimizes stiffness between the core and mantle layer. The company calls the new piece of tech “Speed Wrapped Core.”

    Michael Fox, Senior Director of Product Creation for TaylorMade golf balls, provided further insight into the 2024 TP5x creation in a company press release: “Our learnings from countless player and Tour tests show that golfers, unsurprisingly, favor a softer, more muted sound with added distance. Historically, the challenge has been the inability to improve one without negatively impacting the other. With this understanding, we've evolved our golf ball design process by uniquely decoupling feel and speed through material advancement, a complete departure from the conventional. The material-level advancement positions our TP5/TP5x family as having the best feel in the industry with faster constructions."

    As TaylorMade announced on Thursday morning, the new 2024 TP5 and TP5x golf ball models will be available at retail on Feb. 15, and will sell for $54.99 per dozen, available in classic white, yellow, and pix versions.