Snell Golf burst onto the scene three years ago offering premium golf balls at much lower prices. Their direct-to-consumer model has shaken up the golf industry a bit, and their rapid growth has given legitimacy to their business model.
Recently they announced the first major change to their product lineup since the company started. Their tour-level balls now come in two options - The My Tour Ball Black and Red.
I got a chance to try them out recently, and I even put them up against what many consider to be the industry-leading golf ball. The results might come as a surprise to many of you, but certainly not those who have been playing Snell balls.
Overall, Snell has continued what they started with these new offerings. These are exceptional golf balls at a 40-50% savings compared to other premium brands.
Who is Snell Golf?
In case you haven't heard of Snell Golf, they are a direct-to-consumer brand that was launched in 2015. Dean Snell is the founder and he spent more than 28 years in golf ball research and development. He is listed on 40 U.S. patents and was part of the team that developed the original Pro V1 ball for Titleist. He also launched several popular golf ball lines for TaylorMade. Long story short - Dean knows how to manufacture and design premium golf balls.
When Snell launched their original line of golf balls back in 2015 they started a trend that has been changing the golf ball industry over the past few years. They didn't invest in huge marketing campaigns, player endorsement deals, or go through traditional distribution. Instead, they took all of the savings and sold directly through their website at much lower prices.
The main question was were the balls any good, and could they stand up to the performance of bigger brands like Titleist, Callaway, TaylorMade, and Bridgestone?
I wrote about them back in 2015 after trying out their original My Tour Ball. I couldn't tell the difference between its performance versus a Pro V1 or any other premium golf ball. That's exactly why I have been playing it ever since.
For many other golfers who have tried them out, their experience has been the same. This is why they have managed to grow significantly over the past three years and establish themselves as a real threat to the industry. Why purchase a dozen golf balls for $50, when you can get the same performance for $20 less?
Golf Ball Marketing Is Mostly Hype
Golf ball manufacturers pay handsomely to make sure their balls are everywhere. Television commercials, PGA Tour endorsement deals, and retail distribution all jack up the price that the consumer pays.
There is no question that Titleist made a significant breakthrough when they initially launched the Pro V in 2000. However, the industry has caught up with their performance. I have tried offerings from almost every single major manufacturer on the course, and could never really tell the difference. They all have exceptional feel around the greens, plenty of spin when you need it, and optimal driver performance.
That's always why I chuckle a little bit when I see commercials with the latest and greatest making outrageous claims. The honest truth is they are all great golf balls.
That's part of the reason why Snell has chosen not to play that game. They're not out there making bold statements that their ball is changing the way golfers play. Their value proposition is simple:
Quality materials + great design + no marketing fluff = high-performance ball for less money.
Golf is an expensive game and you can't play without balls. If there is an opportunity to save money without sacrificing performance, why not take it?
The New Offerings
Snell originally launched with only two models - the My Tour Ball and the Get Sum. You probably won't ever see eight different versions of balls from them because golfers really don't need eight different models to choose from.
This year they have made a slight change to their lineup. Their tour-level balls have two models, the MTB Black and the MTB Red.
The MTB Black is a slight modification from the original My Tour Ball. It is a 3-piece ball with a 360 dimple urethane cover.
The MTB Red is a 4-piece ball that was designed to have more spin on short irons.
Here is a breakdown from their website on the key differences compared to their original My Tour Ball:
Putting Snell to The Test
I decided to do a little testing with my launch monitor to compare the MTB Black, MTB Red, and the Pro V1.
For the past 6 weeks, I have been hitting all of these balls and keeping track of the differences. I'll give you some data in a bit, but here are my observations from about 30+ sessions:
- The MTB Red does spin significantly more with short irons; I was able to clear 10,000 RPMS many times and could not do that with the MTB Black or Pro V1
- They all performed mostly the same for me on mid-irons
- All three balls were almost exactly identical using my driver
Here is some data from my SW and Driver with each ball from a couple of sessions:
With my Sand Wedge, I was mostly looking for total spin. As you can see the MTB Red spun significantly more for me. All three balls carried a similar distance. The spin rate for the MTB Red, in my opinion, is the biggest takeaway.
With the driver, there are small differences, but I would chalk them up to me being a singular golfer with variations in my swing. Spin rates, carry distances, and ball speed are almost exactly the same.
The point of this test was not to definitively say one golf ball is better than another. I'm a pretty good ball striker, but certainly not a robot. Every golfer has unique characteristics to their game and there certainly will be different results based on how they are swinging that day.
However, what I think this test does clearly illustrate is that the Snell balls have comparable performance to what many consider to be the industry leader. If I put them up against other premium balls I would likely see very similar results.
The only major difference here is the price. You can purchase the MTB Red or Black for $31.99 per dozen versus upwards of $50 for the Pro V1. Additionally, Snell offers a six-dozen value pack which brings the cost down to $27.33 per dozen. That's almost a 45% cost saving, which is big.
It's also worth noting that after playing the original My Tour Ball for almost three years, I have not noticed any difference in durability on the course compared to other brands. I would expect the same from their new offerings as well but will have to wait and see in the spring.
I know that golfers cling dearly to their brand of choice. Keep in mind that the relationship that those companies have built with you has mostly been through marketing dollars. The price of the ads, tour contracts, and retail distribution are baked into the price of that golf ball.
Manufacturers like Snell have shown that it does not have to be that way. You can save a tremendous amount of money on one of the key golf items without sacrificing any performance. Often times that is hard to find because usually, you do get what you pay for.
If you are interested in trying Snell, I highly doubt you will be disappointed. The new MTB Red and Black balls are excellent. For me, the key difference was that the MTB Red spun more with short irons, which is exactly what they claimed.
You can try both models out with their MTB Test pack. You'll likely end up purchasing the value pack once you try them out because the cost savings are too good to pass up. For golfers who don't need or want a tour-level ball, you can still buy their Get Sum for the economical price of $20.99 per dozen, or just over $14 per dozen for the value pack.
I am happy to see that Snell Golf has come along and been able to thrive in a very difficult and competitive market. They are the David fighting against a bunch of Goliaths and holding their own. I can't help but root for their continued success because I believe the golf industry needs independent brands.
If you are interested in purchasing Snell golf balls you can visit their website here.