Wilson Staff DUO Soft Golf Balls – Key Takeaways
- New update for Wilson’s softest ball
- “Specially formulated core” for more distance
- $22.99 a dozen. Available now
The Wilson Staff DUO Soft golf ball may have a better claim to being “the ball that changed the ball” than the original Callaway Chrome Soft ever did.
Not this one, mind you. The original DUO debuted in 2011 as a low-compression ball. In 2014, it broke new ground in soft with a damn-near Charmin-esque 29 compression. One can make a compelling case that the DUO jump-started the whole “soft feel” movement. The DUO has become Wilson’s signature ball franchise and is a favorite among the slow to moderate swing speed crowd.
And, not for nothing, hitting the damned thing is addictive.
Now called the DUO Soft, the ball is getting the requisite update for 2023. While we don’t know much, we do know some. Let’s get under the hood and see what’s what.
Wilson Staff DUO Soft: Not As Soft As Before
The DUO franchise is your basic two-piece ionomer-covered ball designed to move in the $20-per-dozen range. What started as the DUO has had several incarnations and variations. The DUO morphed into the DUO Soft and then the DUO Soft+. We’ve also had the DUO Spin, the underrated DUO Professional and your ball of many colors, the DUO Optix.
For 2023, Wilson is dropping the “+” suffix and giving us the DUO Soft. Wilson says this 2023 version is the same 25-compression as the previous version (our scale measured it at 45). Wilson says the previous model was 35 compression (our scale measured it at 45).
In its launch information, Wilson is scant on details, other than saying the new DUO Soft features a “velocity-boosting additive in the core for increased distance.”
“The velocity boosting additive is a peptizing agent which positively affects the crosslinking composition of the core to maximize velocity,” Frank Simonutti, Wilson’sGlobal Director of Golf Ball Innovation, tells MyGolfSpy. “The previous version had this peptizer as well, but we’ve increased the level of it in the new ball.”
The 2020 DUO core had a trademarked name: VelocitiCOR™. This new core isn’t getting any trademark love but the extra peptzier should give the ball a bit more pop.
Soft is Straight
While lower compression feels great, it does come with a ball-speed penalty if you are on the higher end of the swing speed scale. The flip side, however, is that lower compression also serves up less spin. While that may not be helpful around the green, for the golfer inclined to play a DUO Soft, it can be a gift from the golf gods.
“As clubhead velocity increases, we do notice a loss in carry distance,” says Simonutti. “But we can make up distance loss on the roll of the ball after it lands.”
Especially if that target golfer suffers from a slice. One of the features OEMs like to tout in their low compression balls is that lower driver spin tends to help the ball fly straighter, or at least less crooked. That could mean the difference between being on the right side of the fairway instead of the right rough. Or in the right rough instead of the right forest. One golf truism – balls that land in the rough or in the woods don’t get very much roll.
This ball is for people who play golf for fun. And no doubt about it, golf is more fun when you can find your tee shot.
If you’re into shaping your shots, playing hop ‘n’ stop approach shots and backing the ball up with your wedges, clearly the DUO Soft isn’t intended for you. And if you’re a high swing speed player who wants spin, this ball also isn’t for you.
But if you’re a high swing speed player who can’t find the fairway, the DUO Soft—and any low-spinning ball—might help. And any distance penalty you might pay because of low compression would be mitigated by the fact that you can find your ball.
The low to moderate swing speed player probably won’t notice much of a distance penalty, if any, with the driver. And it feels like hitting a marshmallow.
Wilson Staff DUO Soft – Final Thoughts
Wilson’s last two ball releases—last year’s Triad and the previous year’s Staff Model—were stand-up triples at worst. Both balls scored very well in MyGolfSpy’s Ball Lab and the Staff Model ball surprised everyone with its performance in our 2021 ball test. The DUO Soft franchise is a successful one for Wilson and this new DUO Soft is putting its thumb on the “feel versus distance” scale by firming up just a bit more.
It is odd Wilson isn’t resorting to any hokey trademarked names for its new core. Maybe that’s a good thing. The DUO franchise does, after all, have a dedicated fan base.
And if you like colors, Wilson has you covered in rainbows. Along with the traditional white, you can go all Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds with green, orange, red and yellow options. The DUO Soft will also be available with NFL team logos, thanks to Wilson Sporting Goods’ partnership with the NFL.
A new addition to the DUO Soft package is a QR code that brings you to a golf ball selector tool on Wilson’s website. It asks your average score, driver and 8-iron distances and what your goals are to direct you to either the Tour Model, Triad or DUO Soft. If you know your game it’s probably not much help. But for the non-gear geeks, it’s a step in the right direction.
The new DUO Soft will retail for $22.99 per dozen. They’re available at Wilson.com and at retail starting today.
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