The TaylorMade Penta TP5 ball might give you another option if you like “Tour” balls like the Titleist Pro V1 or Pro V1x. Most high-level golfers (including many professionals) think those two Titleist balls are head and shoulders above their competitors, but this TaylorMade ball is one of several that are making a play to challenge Titleist’s supremacy.
After you finish with this review, you might want to click over to the reviews of the Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x balls we’ve posted on other pages of our site. That way, you can see how the three balls stack up against each other.
For now, though, let’s concentrate on this TaylorMade ball and its characteristics. I’ll describe how it’s made and then share what I’ve learned about its performance – I used it as my game ball for five full rounds.
The TaylorMade Penta TP5 ball features 5-layer construction. In fact, it is TaylorMade’s second 5-layer ball – the first was called the TaylorMade Penta.
According to the company, the ball’s core (layer number one) has a high Coefficient of Restitution (“COR”) and low compression. As a result, it’s softer and produces much less driver spin than the earlier TaylorMade Penta. In theory, the changes in the core combine to make the TaylorMade Penta TP5 ball longer and softer than its Penta predecessor.
Next, the Penta TP5 has not one, not two, but three mantle layers. The inner mantle is soft and resilient to promote ball speed and feel. The middle and outer mantles work together to maximize ball speed and deliver controlled spin.
Finally, the cover is the fifth layer of the ball. A “cast thermoset” urethane material is used to deliver plenty of greenside spin for your short game. It’s also intended to give the ball an extremely soft feel.
The combination of these five layers, according to TaylorMade, results in a ball that can deliver “unparalleled performance” and “Tour-like results” even if you’re not a Tour-caliber player. Of course, I needed to see for myself whether that was true or not. So, I took a couple of sleeves of TP5s out to the course (by the way, the MSRP for a dozen is $46). In total, I played five rounds using a TaylorMade Penta TP5 ball. Here’s what I discovered about its playing characteristics.
First, I always liked the distance, feel and short-game spin I got from the original TaylorMade Penta, although I also had some issues with its (lack of) durability. It always seemed like the cover would be scraped or nicked after a couple of holes, and I don’t mean because I hit a tree or a cart path.
I found out that when I was hitting my driver, woods and longer irons, the TaylorMade Penta TP5 ball gave me longer carries than the original version. The distance gain may have been caused by a slightly lower trajectory, or it may have been due to the reduced spin TaylorMade claims its Penta TP5 provides. I don’t know the cause, but the distance gain with my longer clubs was noticeable. My shots with the shorter irons and wedges were about the same length as I got with the earlier Penta (yes, I take extensive notes while I’m evaluating golf equipment, and I keep them forever). Distance-wise, I’d say the TaylorMade Penta TP5 ball is (on an overall basis) about the same length as the Titleist Pro V1x, give or take a few yards.
The TaylorMade Penta TP5 ball also feels slightly softer than the original Penta, although I think the difference is so insignificant it’s hardly worth mentioning. The same was true for short-game spin – the TaylorMade Penta TP5 ball may have spun slightly more on my chips and approach shots, but there just wasn’t a meaningful difference between it and its predecessor. I’d rate the TP5 just behind the Pro V1 in the short-game spin category. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
That brings us to the durability issue I always had with the original Penta. Is the TaylorMade ball more durable? Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to be. After just a few holes, my TP5s had the same assortment of nicks, scrapes and cuts as I saw with the original Penta. Again, I’d have to give the Titleist Pro V1 the edge on this one.
The Bottom Line: The price is fairly steep ($46 per dozen), but I was impressed by the distance, feel and greenside spin delivered by the TaylorMade Penta TP5 ball. It’s a Tour-quality ball and a good alternative to the Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x, and it’s available at a slightly lower street price. All in all, the Penta TP5 is a worthy challenger to Titleist’s longstanding dominance in the Tour-caliber ball category.