Despite both having the word soft in the name and the same price per dozen, there is some significant differences between the performance of Srixon’s Soft Feel and UltiSoft golf balls. See what happened when we tested them head to head.
COST: $34.95 (dozen).
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Unsurprisingly with both golf balls including the word ‘soft’ in the model names, the most noticeable characteristic when hitting a few putts before testing on the course was the soft feel.
When putting, the difference between the balls was only very slight, with the UltiSoft fractionally softer off the face than the Soft Feel.
And when striking my first shots with both models, the feel off the clubface continued to be the standout feature.
HOW THEY PERFORMED: Looking at the performance characteristics listed on the side of the box, both models suggested the two balls would be similar in most areas, with very slight differences to accommodate a range of swing speeds.
As my time on the range, short game area and golf course progressed with the Soft Feel and UltiSoft, this proved true. But the differences were more noticeable than I expected, giving golfers who don’t opt for premium golf balls two quality options.
Off the tee, the difference in feel was at its most obvious. The Soft Feel is firmer off the face and seems to launch with a bit more speed. This combination was the chief reason for the slightly longer distances I managed with the Soft Feel. The ball flight was nice and high with spin no issue, resulting in some really impressive drives into the wind and a very straight ball flight that if I missed with driver tended to go straight right or left, rather than fade or hook.
The UltiSoft from the tee was extremely soft off the face. This was no surprise given the low compression, which meant it was difficult to determine where the strike had taken place on the clubface. And while this lack of feedback would potentially cause an issue for a low handicap player, most players will be thankful for better feeling shots across the face that also launched nice and high, and seemed to lose less distance on mis-hits.
The flight of the UltiSoft with the long clubs was a little higher than the Soft Feel, but unlike some other low compression balls I have tried in the past, was fairly accurate. The added height did mean the UltiSoft wasn’t as good in the wind and was the shorter of the two models for me. As a higher swing speed player however, this wasn’t a surprise and experience tells me at lower speeds this distance trend might actually reverse.
Iron play with both models was again similar and the tendencies from the long game continued, primarily the UltiSoft launching higher. However, controlling the ball flight with both models was easier than expected. Working the ball high, low, left and right was possible with both models, and is another of the improvements I noticed on previous models I have tried.
When approaching greens, neither model displayed obvious spin like one would expect from a ‘Tour’ level ball, pitching and rolling out with all but the shortest irons and wedges. The added height of the UltiSoft did give it a slight advantage in this regard though, stopping quicker despite carrying a metre or two less consistently than the Soft Feel.
Around the greens I was able to hit all the shots I typically use during a round without any problems. Again, spin wasn’t excessive. But the softer compression of both models compared to my normal golf balls of choice meant an increase in height off the face, with the UltiSoft taking a slight advantage again, consistently pulling up a couple of feet short of the Soft Feel when hitting the same shot.
Overall, the two models proved to be more varied in performance than I had anticipated going into my testing. As I would have expected based on the swing speed recommendations, the Soft Feel was the better ball for me with its straight flight and increased distance through the entire bag. But I would have no problems recommending the UltiSoft to a lower swing speed player based on its all-round performance and particularly the almost automatic high ball flight with every club.
FACTS AND FIGURES
SUITABILITY: One of the most popular models for average players, the Soft Feel suits a wide spectrum of players looking for performance and soft feel off the clubface throughout the bag. Srixon recommends the UltiSoft for players seeking higher launch and distance with mid-low swing speeds.
SRIXON SAYS: Now in its 11th generation, the latest iteration of the Soft Feel has been engineered specifically for golfers wanting to maximize distance and control with exceptional feel. Featuring a soft cover, innovative core, and upgraded dimple pattern, the Soft Feel delivers all-around performance from tee to green.
An ‘Energetic Gradient Growth’ core provides a high-launch, low spin trajectory off the tee for added distance with an ultra-soft feel, while the softer, thinner cover promotes more greenside spin and a softer feel on all pitches, chips and putts. The upgraded 338 ‘Speed Dimple’ pattern reduces drag and cuts through the wind for more accuracy and consistency on every shot.
Like the Soft Feel, the second generation UltiSoft features a softer Energetic Gradient Growth core, 338 Speed Dimple pattern and a soft, thin cover that all combine to make it softer than the previous model. The low compression model offering exceptional feel, a higher launch, and maximum distance off the tee.
For more information visit www.srixon.com.au or phone 1800 222 227.