By Mike Stachura
It seems easy pickings to turn a curious eye to a direct-to-consumer golf ball brand that markets via non-traditional locales like skate parks, pushes new colours that proclaim a tagline to "Embrace your vice." But that’s getting lost in the obvious. Looked at another way Vice Golf is doing what traditional ball companies do: offering a broad lineup of models that differ in construction and technology, and most importantly, player type.
Its 2020 models include five options, with four new versions and an improved 2019 design, but its flagship product is the multilayer cast urethane cover Vice Pro family. The premium collection includes the Vice Pro, Vice Pro Plus and Vice Pro Soft.
The new Vice Pro for 2020 continues the three-piece cast urethane construction of past versions and is designed for the meat of the better player market with target swing speeds between 95 and 110 miles per hour. Its primary changes for this year include a new softer ionomer mantle designed for less spin and better tee-shot distance. The Vice Pro design also reduces the overall ball compression and the hardness of the cover for a softer, more forgiving feel.
Built for faster swing speeds, the 2020 version of the Vice Pro Plus again is a four-piece cast urethane cover ball with two mantle layers. The larger core features a higher compression than its predecessor for improved distance for higher swing speeds, while the thicker outer mantle layer uses a new ionomer that combines resilience with soft feel.
The 2020 version of the Vice Pro Soft is aimed at the majority of golfers (swing speeds under 95 miles per hour) who also are looking for the short-game playability of a cast urethane cover. The Pro Soft’s three-piece construction includes a low compression that targets the preference of average golfers while adding a thicker mantle layer and reducing the cover thickness for better short game performance. It features the same chemical additive in the core as the Pro and Pro Plus to improve initial velocity.
While the Pro Soft comes in the same three main colours as the Pro and Pro Plus (white, neon lime and neon red), the Pro Soft has extended its colour family with the new Pro Soft Hue, which includes a white ball with the coral script, as well as full-colour offerings that might make both Sherwin and Williams blush: Blue Light and Peach Parfait. As the company’s press release details, the new colour palette “brings an absolute summer feeling to every golf course.”
Also new for 2020 in the Vice lineup is the Vice Drive, a two-piece softer feeling ball targeted at new golfers. The fundamental change is a dramatically lowered core and overall compression from past models. The Drive now lists its core compression at 25 and its overall compression at 50, down from 55 and 80, respectively. Its large core also includes the chemical additive found in the premium balls for better resilience.
The Vice Tour, three-piece ionomer ball, also has been tweaked for 2020, featuring the energy-enhancing chemical additive in the core found in the premium balls. Like the Drive, it comes in white only.
All Vice Golf balls are offered in bulk purchase discounts from the company’s website