In a competitive golf ball market, Wilson has taken a fresh approach to separate themselves from the field. By employing modern materials and taking a highly analytical outlook for better on-course performance, Wilson’s Staff Model and Staff Model R seek to break from tradition.
They’re round and white (usually) with lots of dimples, so just how different can you make one golf ball to the next? Wilson asked themselves the same question, and sought to deliver a ball to market that is completely reimagined, from its core to its exterior. With two new high-performance balls hitting the market, Staff Model and Staff Model R, Wilson has elevated their product line to compete with some of the biggest names in golf. So, how did they do it? And what makes Staff Model and Staff Model R so innovative?
Staff Model R
Golf ball manufacturers are downright obsessed with attention to detail, testing and retesting materials, construction methods and even employing a variety of dimple designs for improved flight paths and reduced air resistance. However, with manufacturers focusing mainly on what goes inside the ball, Wilson believes the industry has overlooked one major component—the ball’s paint job.
Painting the Picture
We all enjoy opening a fresh sleeve of balls and admiring their glossy finish and snowfall white exterior. But would you be so enthused if you knew your ball’s appealing aesthetics were contributing to suboptimal aerodynamics and erratic flight paths? In other words, would you rather a ball that glistens, or a ball that gets you on the green more often? Wilson thinks they know your answer.
Despite best efforts from ball manufacturers, evenly distributing paint on a golf ball is a virtually impossible task, which results in inconsistent paint thickness across its surface. Excess paint then pools in the dimples, shallowing them out, causing asymmetrical drag, and negating their purpose—to keep the ball straight and airborne. “Dimples are a mere 0.004-0.007 inches deep and super sensitive to the level of paint on the ball,” explains Bob Thurman, Vice President Wilson Labs. The same principles apply when airplane wings are de-iced to ensure a safe and efficient flight.
Wilson’s hypothesis that uneven paint jobs contribute to diminished aerodynamics and inconsistent flight paths was confirmed during their extensive testing. Wilson came to the obvious, yet ingenious solution—don’t paint the ball.
“By eliminating the paint, we were able to eliminate all of the shortcomings attributed to the paint process used on all golf balls,” says Frank Simonutti, Wilson’s Global Director of Golf Ball Innovation.
The company admits Staff Model R may be more easily stained during the course of play as a result of their non-paint pursuit, but their confident players will see the results in their game and gladly accept the trade-off. After all, being stuck on a runway for de-icing may be a minor inconvenience, but no one is seriously suggesting airlines begin skipping the process.
Staff Model R also has some internal innovations, using a four-piece premium construction process, which includes a urethane cover for impressive distance and speed. Upon release, the ball is expected to be put in play by top tour players and skilled amateurs alike.
Is it for me?
If you enjoy a higher trajectory and want a ball with a bit more spin, Staff Model R is your ticket. A premium ball engineered for top players, those with lower handicaps and faster swing speeds will enjoy the best results.
Painted, but done using an innovative electrostatic process for best-in-market coat distribution, the Staff Model R looks normal, but performs extraordinary. Engineered for top professionals and those serious about improving their games, Staff Model uses a four-piece construction process to provide optimal spin, distance and feel—a winning combination Wilson believes will turn heads on tour.
The key technology lies in the ball’s core, made from industry-leading CIS polybutadiene. It’s firmer than previous models, and works in tandem with an extremely thin urethane cover to promote exceptional ball speed and greater spin when you need it most—namely around the greens. Wilson says they’ve been able to maximize the ball’s initial velocity, creating the fastest ball governing bodies will allow.
But it’s not all about speed and spin, Staff Model utilizes a HPF inner mantle that promotes responsive control and provides a delicately soft feel. After consulting with their tour professionals, the likes of Brendan Steele, Kevin Streelman and major champions Gary Woodland and Padgraig Harrington, Wilson is confident that Staff Model exceeds the demands of the game’s most discerning players.
Is it for me?
Staff Model tends to promote a lower ball flight and less spin than Staff Model R, ideal for players who prefer a more penetrating trajectory.