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Equipment Report

By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider

TaylorMade's new Tour Preferred ball line has been on TOUR for a few months, but in that short timeframe, one of the models -- the Tour Preferred X -- has already produced three worldwide wins, including multiple victories from Sergio Garcia at the Qatar Masters and Thailand Golf Championship.

The four-piece Tour Preferred and five-piece Tour Preferred X were officially unveiled on Thursday and include some of the company's latest innovations.

"Golf ball innovation doesn’t just happen overnight,” said Dean Snell, TaylorMade's vice president of golf ball R&D. “Rather, it is a series of ongoing conversation with our Tour players. These conversations have led to the introduction of breakthrough technologies including low drag aerodynamics for ultimate wind resistance, a five-layer construction for superior control throughout the club set and now our softest and most durable cover."

TaylorMade's Tour Preferred ball is geared for players who want the ball to spin more on mid-to-long iron shots. The added spin also promotes a higher trajectory on approach shots.

Tour Preferred X, the model Garcia, Dustin Johnson and Brian Gay are currently playing, has a similar spin rate and trajectory into the green as its predecessor Lethal.

Where the two balls differ is in greenside control. The Tour Preferred X features a new Soft Tech cover, which is being touted as the company's "most durable cover to date." Made from cast urethan, the cover produces a softer feel around the green and has a higher resistance to shearing.

TaylorMade said it anticipates that more than 80 percent of its TOUR players will play the Tour Preferred X model.

Both balls also have a React Core that produces increased ball speeds on all shots; a Spin Mantle layer that controls spin rates; and a 322-dimple pattern — Low-Drag Performance Aerodynamics — that's designed to minimize drag on low spin shots and also maintain a penetrating ball flight.

The Tour Preferred and Tour Preferred X will be available at retail March 1 for $46 per dozen.

To shop for TaylorMade golf balls online, click here.