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The Ball: New golf ball start-up takes on the gorillas

Kiel ChristiansonBy Kiel Christianson,
Senior Writer
The Ball
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The Ball is a true premium golf ball by a new start-up. (Courtesy of ineedtheball.com)

If there is an undisputed heavy-weight champion of golf, it is the Titleist Pro V1. The commercials do not lie when they crow that it is "The Number 1 ball in golf."

Throw in a few other widely popular brands -- Nike, Callaway, Srixon -- and it's pretty darn hard to break into this market. A newbie golf ball is like a cotton-top tamarind in a gorilla cage.

But recently, a plucky little start-up has nevertheless introduced a seriously good new ball, called simply The Ball. Sold only online so far, at www.ineedtheball.com, it is the only three-piece cast urethane ball on the market with a tungsten core.

According to the rather enigmatically named Web site, spin rates off the driver are lower than "the leading ball" and carry and roll distances are farther, with spin-rate off wedges just a few RPMs less.

If true, these numbers are some of the best in the business, especially at $10 less than the price of "the leading ball."

Playing The Ball

There's a huge cottonwood tree left of the fairway on the first hole of my home course, about 315 yards from the members' tees. I tend to pull my opening tee shot (every stinking time!), and in four rounds of playing The Ball, I have found said ball just behind this tree, between 295-310 yards. Not bad.

Simply put, The Ball absolutely rockets off my driver.

In other aspects of The Game, The Ball performs equally admirably. The greens have been aerated, so they have been watered quite a bit recently. But during my last round with The Ball, there was not one approach I hit that ran out more than two feet past the ball mark. In several cases, The Ball ended up right next to the mark or even spun back a bit. No one else in my group seemed to be getting the same results with their balls.

The verdict on The Ball

Performance-wise and price-wise, The Ball is worth a look from any golfer who wants to play a premium ball.

How will this little cotton-top fare in the gorilla cage? The jury is still out. The packaging doesn't seem to carry the name anywhere, just the Web site. And the logo on the ball -- a snake eating its tail surrounding some cryptic squiggles in a colored circle -- doesn't exactly make it identifiable or memorable.

The traditionalist low-handicappers with whom I play could hardly even be convinced to look at The Ball, much less hit a few putts with it.

The bold alignment arrow on the side is a nice touch, though.

The Ball deserves a great deal of credit for being an excellent golf ball. But we'll see if The Market gives The Ball The Respect it deserves.

For more information, visit www.ineedtheball.com.

Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Ill. Read his golf blog here and follow him on Twitter @GolfWriterKiel.

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