Updated January 2022
Taylormade’s TP5 lineup is getting a lot of hype lately (and made it into our list of the best golf balls overall).
The main difference between the Taylor Made TP5 and TP5x is that the TP5 has a softer feel while the TP5x feels firmer with all shots and the TP5 will have a slightly lower ball flight with irons and wedges.
With Dustin Johnson, Rory McElroy, and Jason Day playing them, it makes sense to give them a look. In this article, I’ll break down the differences I found after testing the latest models (2021) on Trackman and help you decide which one is best for you.
|Urethane Cover||Urethane Cover|
|Soft Feel||Slightly Firmer Feel|
|Mid-High Ball Flight||High Ball Flight|
|Most Short Game Spin||High Short Game Spin|
|Low Driver Spin||Lower Driver Spin|
|Highest Wedge Launch||High Wedge Launch|
As a competitor to the top premium balls on the market, the TP5 compares well to the rest of the pack and is a great choice for players that want a ball with a slightly firmer feel than most premium balls.
If you’re looking for more detail, you can check out our complete Taylor Made TP5 Review also.
The TP5x is the firmer lower spin brother to the TP5. It has similar technology built-in and gives players with a more aggressive swing another option.
Similar to the TP5 but designed for faster swing speeds, the TP5x helps keep the spin under control with a high piercing ball flight.
Both the TP5 and the TP5x are made with essentially the same 5 layer design. The differences in their performance are due to the relative firmness of each layer. I couldn’t find much reliable data on what the differences are on each layer, so it is probably more important to talk about the differences in performance.
Ball Flight Trajectory
According to the materials released by TaylorMade, there are distinct differences in these balls in terms of ball flight.
To start with, you will probably not see any appreciable difference in ball flight off the driver. TaylorMade claims that the TP5, TP5x, and even their Tour Response will give you the same ball flight with the driver.
The differences show up when you move to iron shots. Here you will see a mid-high ball flight from the TP5 and a high ball flight from the TP5x. This likely has to do with the differences in spin that I’ll talk about below.
With the wedges, you can also expect a lower launch from the TP5 as compared to the TP5x. As with the irons, this matches well with the higher spin rates you’ll get from the TP5.
Spin is probably the single largest differentiator between the TP5 and TP5x. The TP5 is a higher spinning ball on all shots throughout the bag.
In general, teh TP5 spins a little more than the TP5. This is likely due to the softer compression (and slightly softer cover when it comes to short game shots). The lower launch angle serves to prevent the higher spin rate from causing the ball to balloon up in the air.
|Driver||7 Iron||Partial Wedge|
|TP5||2450 rpm||7098 rpm||7696 rpm|
|TP5x||2170 rpm||6730 rpm||7474 rpm|
The TP5x is a lower spinning ball. Designed for those with higher swing speeds, it helps keep your backspin in check. This helps add distance to your drives (if you have a high enough swing speed to compress the harder ball).
The spin rate for a ball is less about preference and feel and is really just a matter of matching your swing to the correct ball. So I would suggest picking up a sleeve or a box and trying them out compared to similar balls on the market. Based on my using the ball I found that the spin rate was lower than the ProV1 on similar shots. So if that ball is a little too spinny for you then the TP5 might be a great option.
I didn’t see that much of a difference in spin with the 7 iron shots (only about 400 rpm). This could be a result of variation in my swings but I wouldn’t expect to see a major difference in performance on most iron shots.
Assuming the difference I found was accurate, your iron shots may be slightly longer with the TP5x, but not by much. The higher launch angle will help you use trajectory to stop on faster greens compared to the TP5’s lower launch.
The TP5x claims a higher ball flight, which you may think is a bad thing if you are playing in some wind. But this ball gets up there and has more of a piercing ball flight. So it actually plays quite nicely in the wind. Better than the TP5 due to the lower spin rate.
Short Game Spin
Wedge shots (about 80 yards with a 54-degree wedge) saw about the same difference in spin as the 7 iron.
The TP5 showed slightly more spin than the TP5x on these shots.
Taylormade has said that the TP5x does use a slightly harder urethane cover compared to the TP5. So, I think one place where the TP5x may come up a little bit short of the TP5 is for those short chips and pitches on a fast green when you need some real stopping spin on the ball.
If you want to maximize wedge and iron spin, you may want to check out my comparison of the TP5 and the ProV1.
Distance (Driving and Long Game)
The TP5 and TP5x introduced a new technology that Taylormade calls “High Flex Modulus” (or HFM) in 2021. They claim that the material is more efficient at converting energy from the club impact into the forward momentum of the ball.
It’s difficult to test the “distance” of a ball as it can be affected by many other factors like spin and launch that make it more important to get the right ball rather than the “fastest” or longest.
The best way I know to test a ball’s distance is to see if there is a difference in the smash factor when using the same driver with each ball. Smash factor can be calculated by ball speed/swing speed.
|Average Smash Factor|
As you can see above, I got a better smash factor from the TP5x than the TP5. I also noticed that my average distance over about 10 test swings was a few yards longer with the TP5x (carry and total distance).
I tried them out on the course as well and got a little more distance off the driver and the 3 wood. Of course, this isn’t a scientific experiment, but on good swings, I saw the TP5x was consistently about 5 yards farther.
The TP5x is designed for high swing speeds with the driver. With a compression rating of 97, you should be swinging that driver around 105 mph or higher in order to get the most out of this golf ball.
The lower spin rate on this ball helps control both sidespin and backspin. So if you are working with a high swing speed, the TP5x will let you rip it without worrying about too much backspin causing the ball to balloon up into the air. This also means that the sidespin is controlled a little more than the TP5 as well.
Your results may vary and keep in mind that less spin may mean more distance off the driver but can also mean less ability to stop a long iron on the green. So balance your options and use the ball that matches your game.
Compared to its sibling, the TP5 has a noticeably softer feel than the TP5x.
As you get closer to the green, the difference becomes more pronounced. The TP5 feels a lot closer to the ProV1 than the TP5x. This is especially true with wedge shots and shorter pitches and chips around the green.
What I liked about the TP5 was that it fell somewhere between the ProV1 and the firmer TP5x. So if you want all the benefits of a higher spinning tour caliber ball but with a slightly firmer feel then this might be a good choice.
That being said, don’t put too much stock in the feel of a ball. Any new ball will feel a little different, but you may get better results with it. You can get used to the feel of it pretty quickly.
I enjoyed putting with both of these balls. I usually prefer a soft feel on the greens, and the TP5 was a little firmer than my usual gamer, but after a few putts, it was easy to get used to.
As an aside, I hear a lot of advice to start with putting when evaluating a golf ball. Frankly, with launch monitors and amazing analytics, that’s a bad idea. You’ll just end up picking a ball as close to the one you’re currently using because, well, that’s what you’re used to. That will eliminate balls that may really help the rest of your game.
It won’t take you long to get used to putting with any kind of golf ball…so go with the one that matches your swing.
Should I Play TP5 or TP5x?
Really, this decision should come down to just a couple of factors…
Swing speed, spin rate, and feel preference. If you aren’t getting the driver up to at least 105+ mph then the TP5x might actually cost you yardage so go with the TP5. If you have the swing speed for them both, then grab a box of both and get on a launch monitor or take them out to your local course and see which one plays better for you.
The Taylormade TP5 ball is a great alternative for those of you that like to play the ProV1. It is certainly a premium golf ball and in the same class as the more popular ProV1. With a lower compression than the TP5x, you can get great performance out of this ball with a driver swing speed around 100-110.
The TP5x is for the low handicap player with higher swing speeds that wants to control spin. So if you are swinging your driver at 110+ mph then the TP5x might help you add some distance, decrease the backspin, and help you get a more piercing ball flight into the wind.