Snell Golf launched back in 2015 offering premium golf balls at direct-to-consumer prices. At first, it seemed like a long shot business plan for Dean Snell, the man who helped develop the original Titleist Pro V1. Trying to compete for golfers' attention in the golf ball market is very challenging. Companies like Titleist, Callaway, Bridgestone, and TaylorMade have significantly larger budgets to pay for commercials, tour sponsorships, and retail space. It's a real David vs. Goliath battle.
Fast forward four years later, and the small golf ball manufacturer based out of Massachusetts is thriving. Thousands of golfers like myself have gotten tired of spending upwards of $50/dozen for a premium ball, and when they realized they could get the same performance for significantly less, they started to switch. The growth of the direct-to-consumer golf ball market seems to accelerate every year. You can say the cat is officially out of the bag.
A few weeks ago I was sitting in the clubhouse at my course getting ready for an early morning round. A golfer sat down next to me with a box of Snell Balls. I asked him how he heard about the brand, and he shrugged "a friend of mine was using them and told me about them." I've gotten similar responses from other golfers who I've noticed using the balls over the last couple of years. Once golfers try them out, they usually can't see any difference, but they like the cost savings. Unless they have true brand loyalty, the switch seems to make sense.
What's New in 2019
I initially tried the first version of the Snell Tour ball back in 2015. After testing it on launch monitors and playing multiple rounds with it, I could not detect any significant differences between the Titleist Pro V1, or any of the other premium tour-level balls out there. Since then, I've been playing the ball, and I know many readers of the site have made the switch too (I often get emails thanking me for the cost savings).
Last year they refined their offerings to the original Tour Ball (MTB Black) and offered a higher-spinning model (MTB Red).
This year they are sticking with the MTB Black but made some changes from the MTB Red based on feedback they received from golfers. Many players felt that the MTB Red spun too much, causing some issues in wind conditions. There were also some comments about limiting driver distance compared to the Black model. When I initially tested the MTB Red, I found significantly more spin on wedge shots, which is why I stuck with the MTB Black model.
The new model is called MTB-X. It's a three-piece design that will still offer a little more spin than the MTB Black, but not as extreme as last year's release. It's comparable to models like the Titleist Pro V1x, Taylor Made TP5x, and Callaway Chrome Soft X.
There's now some more color in the line. The MTB Black, MTB-X, and the Get Sum models are all available in optic yellow. This is a trend occurring with many other manufacturers because some golfers seem to prefer the contrast of yellow. Snell is currently back ordered on some of the yellow models because the launch was so popular.
Lastly, and possibly most importantly, Snell has revised its pricing structure. In the past, they only offered two tiers of pricing, which were for a dozen balls or the Value Packs (6-dozen).
You'll now see discounts starting at two dozen and the value packs are only five dozen (they range from $32.99 down to $27.99). Compared to the other premium balls out there, that equates to roughly a 30-40% savings.
Testing the New MTB-X
I wanted to see how the new MTB-X ball performed, so I put them to the test.
I took the MTB Black, MTB-X, Titleist Pro V1, and Titleist Pro V1x on my launch monitor. As usual, I'm not out to prove that one ball is necessarily better than the other. I'm looking for relative performance - I always encourage golfers to test balls before they pick one because there might be differences based on your swing characteristics.
On the whole, I saw the most differences in my short iron performance. The Snell MTB Black and Titleist Pro V1 had very similar results, and the higher spinning models of each ball matched up reasonably well. When I got to mid-irons and even my driver, I saw almost no differences between any of the balls. I've done a lot of ball testing over the last few years and have seen a similar pattern occur between premium golf balls. They do an excellent job of spinning plenty when you need them to with short irons and then having a low spin on your longer clubs and driver to help with distance.
Here are some numbers from my Sand Wedge. Based on what I saw, I would say that Snell did what they said they were going to do, which was reduce the total spin on the MTB-X versus the MTB Red (when I tested last year there were more than 700 rpms of difference).
With the driver, I did not see any significant differences in the balls outside of minor deviations in my swing. It's also worth noting that I saw no changes in performance with the yellow balls on any club.
This is now the third time I've tested a Snell release against Titleist, and once again I do not see any significant differences between the balls. However, one costs $47.99 per dozen, and you can get the other for as low as $27.99.
Similar Performance For Less Money
The story has not changed with Snell Golf. Their whole model is to offer quality golf balls at lower prices. By taking out the middle man and keeping their marketing spend lower they can do that. Every time you see a commercial with Rickie Fowler and the TaylorMade TP5 ball, or Tiger and Bryson talking about Bridgestone balls, you are indirectly paying for it by the increased cost of the ball.
I've tested a lot of products since I started this site. Sometimes you have to pay more to get better quality, but in this instance, you don't. I'm confident that if you tried any of their balls, you wouldn't find any major changes in performance versus more expensive brands. I'm happy to help you all save money because golf balls are one recurring expense that we can't avoid.
If you're interested in testing out the balls, they do offer an MTB test pack, which can help you decide if the MTB Black or the MTB-X is more appropriate for your game. Also, they still have their Get Sum ball for as low as $14.99 per dozen if budget is more of an issue.
You can learn more about Snell Golf on their website.