Though TaylorMade is a regular winner of PGA Tour driver counts, it has never been much of a player in golf balls. Even the 2002 acquisition of Maxfli and its formidable intellectual property portfolio did little to bring golfers into that product fold.
But TaylorMade officials say that is changing with the introduction of its latest golf ball, Penta. “Sergio (Garcia) and Retief (Goosen) started playing it at last year’s PGA Championship, and Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Sean O’Hair and Y.E. Yang are using it, too,” says Lindsay Main, who handles global product marketing for the company’s ball division. “All told, we probably have 15 or 16 guys now playing it on the PGA Tour, and about 40 in Europe. And we anticipate all of our staff professionals eventually switching.”
What makes Penta unique is the five-layer construction that gives it its name. “There are five key shot categories in golf – driver, long irons, mid-irons, short irons and partial wedges,” explains Main. “And the five layers of the Penta are designed to optimize performance of each of those shots for players of all abilities and swing speeds.”
Penta, which sells for $45 a dozen, has a urethane cover intended to promote a higher-than-average spin rate on partial wedge shots within 100 yards. Underneath that is the outer mantle, which is supposed to produce the best possible spin off short irons so the ball stops quickly without being sucked off greens or drawing back too far from the holes. Slower swingers (120 mph-and- below) easily compress it because it is positioned just below the urethane cover, allowing them to generate higher ball speeds for increased distance.
Working from the outside in, the next layer is the semi-firm and fast middle mantle, which is designed to enhance mid-iron control and keep the ball from ballooning and falling short of the target. Then, there is the soft and fast inner mantle, for better feel, high launch and low spin off the long irons. And finally, we come to the core, which is low compression and extremely soft yet fast enough to allow players who generate fast ball speeds to enjoy even more distance.
According to Main, the layers of Penta are strategically configured to promote “progressive distance,” enabling golfers to achieve optimal length on their shots no matter what their swing speeds.
“More layers means more performance,” says Main. “Penta does that for Tour players, and for players with slower swing speeds.”