The NXT Distance is two-piece, Surlyn-covered ball. For a Titleist, it is a very firm (hard) golf ball. The NXT Distance replaces the HP Distance in the Titleist lineup. It becomes the second firmest ball in that lineup. It is less firm than the new DT Distance, and more firm than the Tour Distance SF. Since this is a hard-feeling, low-spin ball that likes to run, many players will want to automatically exclude this ball from consideration.
We have experienced mixed results with the NXT Distance. Against some serious competition, it has done quite well during comparative sessions on our range, but on-course it has failed to win any converts. During our playing rounds we experienced good control with longer clubs, but had problems with it from 150 yards and in. The driver and the long fairway woods were the strong suits for this ball.
On-course, all testers found this NXT particularly unappealing around the green. Pitch shots and chips were problematic for everyone. Each tester found that the ball ran far too much. Each found that getting the ball to check up was difficult. Titleist claims “shot-stopping control” for this ball. We did not experience that. All testers also found the NXT Distance to be too hot and hard coming off of a putter. Learning the pace of the ball was difficult on all but the slowest greens.
Things went better for the NXT Distance at the range. We hit it a series of ten, informal shoot-out sessions during which drivers, woods and mid-irons were used. Some sessions primarily featured the Wilson Smart Core Straight Distance and the XL 3000 Super Straight in conjunction with the Pinnacle Gold Distance and Pinnacle Extreme. Other sessions featured comparison balls from Titleist – the HP Distance, the Pro V1 and both the standard Tour Distance and the new Tour Distance SF (Soft Feel) version. Some sessions included all the above mentioned balls.
In these shoot-out sessions, the NXT did very well when it came to the tightness of its dispersion patterns. In most sessions, it produced the tightest patterns of all balls being hit. The performance of the NXT was notable not only for its online consistency, but for its distance consistency, as well. Whereas its prime “distance ball” rivals, the Smart Core, the XL 3000 and the Pinnacle Extreme generated better overall length in most sessions, none produced the same, predictable consistency. Left to right, front to back, the NXT Distance gave us tight groupings regardless of the club being used.
When it came to overall distance, the NXT did not fare quite as exactly as we had expected it to. It is a long ball, but it is not super long. The NXT was the longest of all of the Titleist balls during our shootouts, but it was often well shy of the Wilson Smart Core Straight Distance in both average distance and in best hit distances. Against the Top Flite XL 3000 Super Straight and the Pinnacle Extreme, the NXT fared better. They were longer on average, but the margin was small.
As stated above, the NXT produced uniform distances. The downside to this uniformity was that the NXT generated very few mega hits throughout the sessions. All of the other non-Titleist distance balls produced some mega-hits, but the NXT won best-hit honors in only one session, and then, by only a few feet over the XL 3000. The NXT made its best showing off of drivers, but the Smart Core was often five to ten yards longer than the NXT on best hits with woods. With irons, the Wilson was three to five yards longer on average in most sessions, though this gap varied depending upon the tester. In one 4-iron session, it was eight yards longer on average.
The trajectory of the NXT Distance is relatively flat and penetrating. When hit alone, we appreciated it. When hit in alternate shot shootout routines, it became nondescript in comparison to some of the other balls. The Smart Core, and to a lesser degree, the XL 3000, launched off of the club face with greater enthusiasm. They could both produce high, soaring trajectories that carried noticeably farther than those of the NXT.
Titleist claims an advantage for the NXT Distance of nine yards over that of the replaced HP Distance. We saw much less advantage than that, but would guess that the claim is not unreasonable. Most of our range hitting has been onto soft, well-grassed landing zones that have had high moisture content. The NXT is a definitely hotter ball that can give more roll than the HP under appropriate conditions. (We have seen good roll during playing rounds.) Under certain conditions, we could see the NXT achieving that extra nine extra yards over the HP Distance on long drives. The NXT certainly feels and behaves in a much livelier manner.
Aside from the HP Distance, the NXT also produced superior average distance over the Titleist Pro V1 and the Titleist Tour Distance SF for all testers. The Tour Distance, while not as long as the NXT still produced good distances and tight patterns. Due to its superior feel, all of our testers favored it over the NXT and the HP Distance.
As to feel: The NXT has a very crisp, snappy feel that impressed some as feeling rock-like. This ball feels better when hit hard. This caused a problem with a couple of players. They soon developed an overly aggressive attitude when teeing up an NXT. They had trouble overriding their internal belief that hard feeling balls such as this one need to be hit hard to work well. Consequently, they pulled and hooked a disproportionate number during range sessions. Both of these testers preferred the Titleist Tour Distance SF and other, softer feeling, distance balls such as the Strata Distance, Callaway Rule 35 Red and Precept MC Lady. They disliked the NXT Distance from the very beginning.
Other testers found the ball hard feeling, but not unpleasantly so. All found that in the category of hard, two-piece distance balls, the feel of Wilson Smart Core and the Pinnacle Gold Distance was superior. They rated the feel of the NXT as more pleasant than that of the Pinnacle Extreme and the XL 3000 Super Straight, however. They also preferred it to that of the new Maxfli Revolution Solid – a ball that is in direct, market-segment competition with the NXT.
Against the other Titleist balls, all found the feel of the NXT to be less enjoyable than that of the Pro V1, the HP Distance and particularly the Tour Distance. These three balls all feel like Titleist balls; the NXT Distance does not. We also hit the new NXT Tour briefly. It had a noticeably softer feel than did the NXT Distance – much more Titleist-like. For short game purposes, the difference in feel and performance was pronounced – especially off of a putter. The shorter hitting Tour version uses a different, softer material for its cover. For playing purposes most of the crew preferred the NXT Tour over the NXT Distance.
We did not like the feel or performance of the NXT Distance when it came to sticking greens. We very much did not like it as short game ball. There were positives, however. The NXT performed well off of longer irons and woods. It was a very consistently accurate ball – one of the best we have tested in that regard. All testers found that they produced good drives with the NXT. This aspect of the game gave this particular Titleist its strongest showing for all testers. Durability has also very good. Scuffing has been minimal. After sustained use, the NXT Distance will still clean up easily and look as good as new.