TaylorMade TP5, TP5x balls (2024)

Gear: TaylorMade TP5, TP5x balls (2024)
Price: $54.99 per dozen
Specs: Five-piece, urethane-covered golf balls available in white, yellow and Pix patterns.
Available: February 15

Who It’s For: Golfers who want an elite combination of distance off the tee and with long irons, plus greenside spin and a softer feel.

The Skinny: Adding a new material to the core of the 2024 TP5 and TP5x balls allowed TaylorMade to decouple the relationship between speed and feel, so its most-premium balls could each be made faster but feel softer.

The Deep Dive: Historically, the two things that golfers want the most from a golf ball — more speed and better feel — have worked against each other. Manufacturers have worked with different materials and different manufacturing techniques to create better golf balls, but to get more speed, they have traditionally increased compression and produced firmer-feeling balls. Softer, better-feeling balls with lower compressions were more satisfying to hit, but that softer feel typically came at the expense of speed.

After taking three years instead of the typical two years to release an update to the 2021 TP5 and TP5x balls, TaylorMade feels that it has decoupled the old relationship between speed and feel and developed a way to give players more of both. 

Working with Dow Chemical, TaylorMade has added a material it calls Speed Wrap to the rubber in the core of the TP5 and TP5x. According to TaylorMade, this core additive has never been used in golf balls before but changes the way the ball sounds when you hit it, producing a softer, deeper sound. 

Golfweek had a chance to tour TaylorMade’s golf ball factory in Liberty, South Carolina, in late 2023, where TP5 and TP5x cores are turned into balls. When a TaylorMade representative dropped an old core and a new core on the ground and bounced them, the difference in sound was immediately apparent. The 2021 core produced a higher-pitched, clicking sound, while the 2024 core with the Speed Wrap additive sounded quieter and almost muffled.

TaylorMade TP5 (2024)
TaylorMade TP5 (2024)

The five-layer TaylorMade TP5 for 2024. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

The Speed Wrap additive makes the balls sound and feel softer, but it does not make the new TP5 and TP5x balls faster. However, TaylorMade golf ball designers were able to make the cores in the 2024 TP5 and TP5x balls firmer, which gives them more speed, while the Speed Wrap softens the sound and feel produced at impact. The result, for most golfers, is a faster ball that also feels and sounds better.

Beyond changing the composition of the core in the TP5 and TP5x balls, TaylorMade has also updated the three mantle layers that encase the core. Each of the mantles has a different level of firmness, with the firmness increasing as one layer is added over another. The change in the level of compression, referred to as the delta, in the TP5 is about 53. The compression delta of the TP5x is 71.

On full-swing shots like drivers and 3-woods off the tee, the blunt strike from the club sends energy into the ball, through the mantle layers and into the core, activating it to generate speed and reduce spin. Full-swing shots hit with your short irons and wedges, which have more loft, make the balls behave differently. In those cases, the soft urethane cover can easily be grabbed by the grooves. Along with the added loft, it helps to create more spin for added control. On delicate chips and pitch shots, the core may not be activated at all, but the softness of the urethane cover layer again helps players generate more spin and control.

While both the 2024 TP5 and TP5x have a softer feel than their predecessors, the TP5 should still feel softer than the TP5x because it has a lower overall compression. The TP5x should provide players with more speed with wood and long irons because it is firmer, and it will generate a higher launch angle, too. The TP5, however, is designed to create slightly more spin than the TP5x with wedges.

TaylorMade TP5x (2024)
TaylorMade TP5x (2024)

The five-layer TaylorMade TP5x golf ball. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

TaylorMade’s tour staff has added the new balls to their bag quickly, with Rory McIlroy experimenting with the TP5 early in 2024 before opting to play the standard TP5x and winning his fourth Dubai Desert Classic on January 21. LPGA Tour star Brooke Henderson also added the 2024 TP5x to her bag earlier this season.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek