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More layers than planet Earth: TaylorMade’s new Penta TP ball

Wondering about that funky new logo on Sergio Garcias visor? Here’s Oxford’s take:

Penta- combining form five; having five: pentagon.

Five, a number more commonly associated with wasted strokes and Monday finishes, isnt usually very popular on the golf course _ Garcia had eight of Ëœem through the first three rounds of the Deutsche Bank Championship, only half of which came on the three-shotters.

But TaylorMade, which continues to charge hard into the ball segment of the equipment business on the strength of its exceptional TP LDP offering, is out to change all that with its newest orb, the Penta TP. And who knows – the fives on his card and his ever-present putting woes notwithstanding, Garcias improved play at TPC Boston might well be evidence of good things to come.

Forget the two-piece/three-piece debate. The Penta is the first-ever ball of its kind with five (count Ëœem, five) layers of what TM promises and Sergio hopes will be nothing but fairway-finding, green-grabbing, long-bomb goodness.

Theres method to this madness, too “ Callaways excellent Tour i and iX balls, introduced last year, capitalized on the notion that constructing a ball from layers of materials with various densities would allow the ball to perform differently depending on the conditions under which its struck.

The Penta TP: You can hear the first-tee "Penta-gone" punchlines already.

The Penta TP: You can hear the first-tee "Penta-gone" punchlines already.

Put (overly) simply, a firm and dense outer layer will spin more readily at a slower swing speed; as the layers move towards the centre of the ball, they become progressively more soft, imparting less spin and higher launch conditions as the player moves back from wedges and short irons through to long irons, woods and driver.

The result, says TaylorMade, is a significant step towards what manufacturers consider the Holy Grail of golf balls: a product that generates maximum distance, optimum spin and the perfect trajectory off every club in the bag, from lob wedge to driver.

Its something that, despite all the recent quantum leaps in golf technology in recent years, has remained elusive, said Dean Snell, the head of golf ball research and development for TaylorMade and the man commonly considered the father of Titleists revolutionary Pro V1.

“We spend a lot of time with tour pros asking questions; most think the ball they play is lacking somewhere, Snell said in a statement.

Some say their ball performs great in the short game but costs them distance, while other players said the opposite about their ball. Some feel their ball performs great off the middle and short irons but isn’t long enough off the tee and doesn’t spin enough on short shots.

The takeaway was simple: If we could create a ball that performed well in all areas we would have a revolutionary product. That’s what inspired us to create our newest ball, Penta TP, which is every bit the breakthrough we hoped it would be.

Heres an abbreviated breakdown of each layer and its characteristics (the full release is at the bottom of this post):

Layer 1 “ Cover Urethane; promotes a higher than average spin-rate and lower launch angle off wedges for more controllable, stoppable shots into the green.

Layer 2 “ Outer Mantle Firm and fast for ËœGoldilocks spin off short irons _ not too much, not too little. Promotes higher ball speed (hence more distance) for slower swingers (120 mph or less).

Layer 3 “ Middle Mantle Semi-firm and fast for mid-launch and mid-spin off the middle irons, providing maximum control. Also promotes ball speed for slower swingers (120-140 mph).

Layer 4 “ Inner Mantle Soft and fast for maximum distance and high-launch conditions off longer irons. Activated by medium-to-fast-speed (140-160 mph) swingers.

Layer 5 “ Core Extremely soft, low-compression for high launch and low spin off the driver; activated by faster swing speeds for maximum distance off the tee.

The Penta TP, which made its Tour debut with Garcia and Retief Goosen at last months PGA Championship, will start its retail debut at selected locations in the U.S. in December, with nationwide release mid-February.

Expect to see it in Canada early in 2010, said Richard Sullivan, the director of marketing for TaylorMade-adidas golf Canada. Since Garcia and Goosen debuted the ball at the PGA, several more TM players have put it in play, including Justin Rose, Matt Bettencourt, Jason Day and Y.E. Yang, who won the last major of the year playing the TP LDP ball.

Despite his obvious feelings about that ball, “he feels so strong about the new Penta that he switched for the FedEx Cup,” Sullivan said. “That says quite a bit about the performance of the ball.”

In the U.S., MSRP for the Penta is pegged at US$45.99 a dozen.

TaylorMade Introduces Penta TP

First Five-Layer Tour Ball Delivers a Superior Balance of ¨Performance in Five Key Shot Categories

Carlsbad, Calif. (September 1, 2009)“ TaylorMade Golf has introduced Penta TP, a new tour ball designed to deliver a superior balance of performance in five key shot categories, the result of three years of research and development.

“We spend a lot of time with tour pros asking questions,” said Dean Snell, head of TaylorMade golf ball R&D. “Most think the ball they play is lacking somewhere. Some say their ball performs great in the short game but costs them distance, while other players said the opposite about their ball. Some feel their ball performs great off the middle and short irons but isn’t long enough off the tee and doesn’t spin enough on short shots.

“The takeaway was simple: If we could create a ball that performed well in all areas we would have a revolutionary product. That’s what inspired us to create our newest ball, Penta TP, which is every bit the breakthrough we hoped it would be.”

Penta TP is the first tour ball with five solid-layers, with each layer engineered to optimize performance in five key shot categories that skilled players need “ driver, long-irons, middle-irons, short-irons and partial wedges. The five layers of Penta TP include the core, inner mantle, middle mantle, outer mantle and cover, and each one plays a critical role in optimizing the performance of each of the five key shots.

Layer 1 “ Cover The soft Urethane Cover promotes a higher than average spin-rate on the all-important partial wedge shots required in the scoring zone, within 100 yards of the flag. These are the types of shots where many current tour balls fail to deliver the goods because they launch too high and don’t spin enough. Instead, most tour pros want a ball that launches lower and spins enough to stop fast after one or two bounces, which gives them maximum control over these types of shots. Penta TP’s soft, durable Urethane Cover has the necessary characteristics to deliver that coveted combination of lower launch angle and higher spin-rate, while also providing soft tour feel.

Layer 2 “ Outer Mantle The firm and fast Outer Mantle promotes optimum spin off the short-irons to stop the ball quick without sucking it off the front of the green or drawing it back too far from the hole. The Outer Mantle is the fastest mantle in the ball; because it’s positioned just beneath the cover it’s easily compressed by slower swingers (ball speeds 120 mph and below), helping them to generate higher ball speed for increased distance.

Layer 3 “ Middle Mantle The semi-firm and fast Middle Mantle, which surrounds the Inner Mantle , promotes mid-launch and mid-spin off the middle irons. Mid-launch promotes control; mid-spin keeps the ball from up-shooting, ballooning and falling short of the target. The Middle mantle consists of a fast material, allowing medium-slow swingers (who average from 120 to 140 mph in ball speed) to generate more ball speed and distance, as they will compress only the two outermost mantles underneath the cover.

Layer 3 “ Middle Mantle The semi-firm and fast Middle Mantle, which surrounds the Inner Mantle , promotes mid-launch and mid-spin off the middle irons. Mid-launch promotes control; mid-spin keeps the ball from up-shooting, ballooning and falling short of the target. The Middle mantle consists of a fast material, allowing medium-slow swingers (who average from 120 to 140 mph in ball speed) to generate more ball speed and distance, as they will compress only the two outermost mantles underneath the cover.

Layer 4 “ Inner Mantle The soft, fast Inner Mantle, which surrounds the core, promotes soft feel, high launch and low spin off the long-irons for exceptional distance and high, soft-landing flight that helps the ball sit quickly on the green. The Inner Mantle consists of a fast material, which helps players who average from 140 to 160 mph in ball speed to generate more ball speed and distance, because although they don’t swing fast enough to activate the core, they are able to activate the three layers between the core and cover including the inner mantle, which is the deepest of the three.

Layer 5 “ Core The extremely soft, low-compression core is the most critical layer to promoting high launch and low spin off the driver, which are well known to be the launch conditions that promote maximum carry and distance. Despite being soft and low-compression, Penta TP’s core is still very fast, which allows players who generate fast ball speed — in the 140 to 180 mph range — to generate more ball speed. Which means that if long-hitters who play a tour ball will likely be longer with Penta TP.

Progressive Distance Promotes More Yardage at a Variety of Swing Speeds The layers of Penta TP are configured strategically to promote “Progressive Distance,” which allows it to deliver terrific distance to all types of swing speeds. That’s because, as mentioned above, each layer is exceptionally fast. Slow swingers who generate only enough clubhead speed to activate the Outer Mantle will benefit. Medium swingers who can activate only the Outer and Middle mantles will benefit. Fast swingers who activate the Outer, Middle and Inner mantles will benefit. And of course, very fast swingers who activate every mantle plus the core will benefit.

Added Spin and Control in the Scoring Zone The added spin Penta TP promotes in the scoring zone is especially important in light of the groove-change rule that will be implemented in high-level competitions by the USGA and R&Amp;A in 2010. The new grooves will impart less spin depending on the lie (much less out of the rough) and swing type (shallow swingers will lose more than steeper swingers). Penta TP will help some players recover some of the spin likely to be lost because of the new rule. ¨¨Recent testing with TaylorMade Tour Staff pros drew rave reviews from Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Retief Goosen and Justin Rose, who complimented Penta TP’s all-around performance and singled out for praise the spin and control on the all-important 30- to 75-yard wedge shot. “That’s been the biggest shortcoming in today’s tour balls,” says Dean Snell, head of TaylorMade’s golf ball R&Amp;D department.

LDP Technology for Improved Distance on Driver Mis-hits Penta TP also incorporates TaylorMade’s LDP technology, which uses improved aerodynamics to promote increased lift to keep the ball in the air longer for more distance on the most common types of driver mis-hits, which occur on the top half of the clubface. TaylorMade robot testing shows that LDP improves driver distance on mis-hits dramatically, and that TaylorMade balls with LDP are clearly longer on driver mis-hits compared to competitive balls without LDP. Also, Penta TP’s dimple configuration delivers the same hold-the-line stability in the wind that the TP Red and TP Black are renowned for.

Three Years in Development, Five-Layer Penta TP Delivers a New Level of Performance “Penta TP took three years to develop as our golf ball R&D team carefully experimented with different mantle materials, compositions and thicknesses until the ideal combination was defined,” said Dr. Benoit Vincent, TaylorMade’s chief technical officer. Extensive computer modeling, prototype creation, robot testing and player testing went into creating what we believe is the finest all-around performing golf ball of its kind, a ball that delivers outstanding performance on every key type of shot a golfer has to hit while also delivering tremendously soft and responsive feel off everything from driver to putter.”

Penta TP on Tour Penta TP is already being played on tour, first by Sergio Garcia and Retief Goosen, who switched into it at the PGA Championship. Other players who have switched into Penta TP include Y.E. Yang, Justin Rose and Jason Day. “It usually takes players several weeks or even months of trial before they’ll change balls,” said Snell. “We’re seeing players switch into Penta TP after testing it for nine holes. That’s proof that Penta TP offers a dramatic improvement in performance.”

A Great Choice for Every Level of Player Penta TP was created for our tour pros, yet it’s a great ball for every level of player. You don’t have to be a fast swinger to achieve excellent distance with Penta TP, and it delivers the kind of spin in the scoring zone that a distance ball can’t compete with, giving shorter hitters the added control to get up-and-down more often. The same goes for higher handicappers “ the extra spin Penta TP promotes will only improve the quality of their short shots, helping them score lower.

Penta TP becomes available starting on December 1, 2009 in the Sunbelt states (Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, southern California and Hawaii) and February 15, 2010 nationwide at a retail price of $45.99 per dozen.

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James McCarten

When James McCarten isn't at the Ottawa offices of The Canadian Press, where he works as parliamentary news editor, he's either on the golf course or putting off his latest freelance golf-writing gig to spend time with wife Lisa and school-age kids Claire and Lucas. With 20 years of experience in Canadian journalism, James also suffers from a financially crippling addiction to all things Scotty Cameron.

1 CommentLeave a comment

  • Do they really think that we will believe this hooey?
    Like we will really go around buying the latest clubs or balls?
    We would be real suckers if we did that.
    Right?
    Right?

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