Gear: Wilson Staff Model R golf ball
Price: $44.99 per dozen
Specs: Four-piece, urethane-covered ball
When it comes to golf balls designed for elite players, delivering distance off the tee and spin around the green is expected, but consistency is also critical. From shot to shot, when good players hit the ball just right, they expect to see it perform the same way every time. To boost consistency in the new Staff Model R ball, Wilson has opted not to add something, but instead, take it away—paint.
The four-piece Staff Model R has a large core that is encased by two mantle layers to deliver more speed and distance off the tee. It also has a soft urethane cover that can easily be grabbed by the grooves of wedges and short irons for increased control on approach shots, chips and greenside pitches.
However, instead of applying paint to the finished ball, Wilson has retained the raw urethane on the top, so the Staff Model R does not have a shiny, glossy appearance. Holding one in your hand, it looks like the ball has a matte white finish and it feels softy, almost chalky instead of slippery.
Wilson decided to forgo the paint because the Staff Model R’s dimples are only 0.004″ to 0.007″ deep. According to the company, paint can pool in the dimples and make them less aerodynamically efficient. Wilson also claims that paint is applied unevenly to some premium balls, and testing showed that uneven paint could cause a ball to drift offline by as much as 25 feet on a 200-yard 5-iron shot. Designing the Staff Model R without paint takes those potential shortcomings out of the equation.
For some players, the downside will be the Staff Model R is going to show grass stains and dirt more than a premium ball that has paint and a glossy cover. Wilson is hoping low-handicap golfers will be willing to make that tradeoff.