Last month, LA Golf began shipping “prototype” samples of its upcoming golf ball. We put “prototype” in quotation marks because golf brands of all sizes have, at one time or another, used the description to drum up interest in a finalized but yet to released product.
Given the lead time to produce something like a golf ball and the industry’s preference for launching new products in early January, my hunch is that what you see is what you’re going to get.
Thus far, LA Golf has kept details of its ball under wraps. We don’t know how the company will position the ball, what performance claims will be made or how much it’s going to sell for.
LA Golf’s other products, namely shafts and putters, offer bold performance claims with premium prices so it would be a deviation from the business model if the ball didn’t command a premium price.
That’s speculative, of course. Those details will emerge when the ball officially launches.
That said, we were able to get our hands on a half a dozen LA Golf balls. While the sample size isn’t enough to generate a full MyGolfSpy Ball Lab report, we thought we’d share a bit of what our initial tests reveal.
Urethane Cover – Made in Taiwan
The LA Golf ball “prototypes” are made in Taiwan. The cover is injection-molded urethane which immediately tells us they’re not coming from Foremost. The data we’ve collected in Ball Lab suggests Foremost is the best of the independent, or at least semi-independent, factories in Asia.
With supply chain issues and an increase in production of TaylorMade balls, Foremost’s direct-to-consumer (DTC) offerings have dipped a bit which has led some Foremost customers like Vice and OnCore to source some of their ball models elsewhere.
So based on what we know so far, the LA Golf balls are likely made at either GTS or Launch Technologies. GTS in particular has been popping up often of late as a source of DTC balls. LT, for its part, does a healthy DTC business while also producing balls for Callaway and other OEMs.
In both cases, quality and consistency have been hit and miss. But, again, the factory is not confirmed.
LA Golf ball – Construction
The LA Golf ball has four-piece construction. It’s a true dual-core design (think Pro V1x or Srixon Z-Star XV). As we’ve discussed, centering a core in a dual-core construction isn’t easy and when it goes seriously wrong, it’s seriously problematic. It’s a good bit of the reason why brands like Callaway and Maxfli have transitioned from dual-core to dual-mantle designs in their four-piece models.
With the static stuff out of the way, here’s what we can decipher from measurements taken inside Ball Lab.
LA Golf ball – Compression
On our gauge, the LA Golf ball has an average compression of 79. That’s oddly low for a four-piece construction where compression is typically part of the formula that creates the performance advantage. In that respect, it’s similar to the first version of OnCore’s Vero X1.
Broadly speaking, it falls in the mid compression range for our database as a whole. For a urethane construction, it leans to the soft side.
With respect to compression, similar balls include the Bridgestone RX, original OnCore ELIXR, Titleist AVX and Sugar G1. It’s appreciably softer than a Pro V1 and not at all comparable to something like a Pro V1x or Chrome Soft X.
My read on this is that, absent unique fitting needs driven primarily by spin (and low driver spin is touted on the box), the LA Golf ball doesn’t show as a ball that will hold up to higher swing speeds.
LA Golf ball – Diameter
Our diameter measurements found an average diameter of 1.6807 inches. That puts the LA Golf balls we tested solidly in the average range. They’re not pushing the limit to the extent that TaylorMade and Callaway sometimes do but it’s certainly not oversized, either.
LA Golf ball – Weight
The average weight of the LA Golf balls we measured is 1.599 ounces. That probably doesn’t mean much to you so, for context, in more than three years of Ball Lab, we’ve only measured a single model (Bridgestone e6) that was lighter.
Should the weight hold up to a full sample measurement, the LA Golf ball would be only one of five balls to fall within what we define as our “ultralight” range. For context, the most aggressive brands tend to be above 1.615 ounces on average and, while we’re dealing with small numbers here, anything below 1.605 makes us look twice.
A heavier ball is a longer ball and when ball weight is well below the average, some potential for distance is left on the table.
Final thoughts (for now)
On one hand, there are no major red flags with what we’ve seen so far of the LA Golf ball. In limited testing, compression, weight and diameter were consistent enough to not be of any concern.
With the balls we cut, a core may have been slightly off-center but not approaching the degree at which we’d flag it as “bad.”
Those are the positives.
That said, the compression is weird for the construction and that’s going to make it particularly interesting to see how LA Golf positions its ball and what it says it’s competing against. While four-piece construction may suggest otherwise, the measurements we’ve taken tell us it’s not spec’d for Tour speeds. Every indication is that “soft feel” will be part of the play.
Given the compression (and the side stamp), perhaps it’s better suited to Brandon Walsh.
Weight is also a concern. That’s especially true given that, as compression decreases, diameter and weight are often levers used to put distance into the ball. That’s also not the case here.
Again, all of this is preliminary and, while it’s unlikely, it’s at least possible that the ball LA Golf brings to market will be a bit different than this prototype version.
We will publish a full Ball Lab report after the LA Golf ball launches.
*We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.