Forte Golf Balls
The golf ball market is a tough market to break into. Unless you have the backing of a major player or sponsor, you really are up against it, in terms of making any sort of impact. Unless your product is great. Forte Golf are trying to do just that. They don't seem to have a presence on tour, they don't seem to be in many golf retail outlets, they don't seem to be a household name and they don't seem to have the backing of any company or person of note. So, their golf balls better be good. Luckily for them, they are!
Carl: Let's start with the Tour Performance S. This is a golf ball designed for the better player. Its 3 piece construction is made for fast swing speeds and a high amount of greenside spin. This is exactly what it delivered. In terms of how it feels, I would say that it is similar to the Bridgestone B330s, which is widely regarded as one of the best balls on the market at present. It's the ball that Tiger Woods has chosen above all others as the best. Not that I am rushing out to buy a gross of them just yet, but the feel is very similar. It does go longer than the Bridgestone off the tee and I do not have any data to back that up, it's just that I know my distances from playing golf for 30 plus years and this ball was long. With the length, comes a strange feel and sound that will not impress some golfers. A strange feel because it makes a slap, rather than a crack. How to best describe this is, sometimes when you catch your driver on the edge and the noise is a little higher than normal, you say to yourself, "Damn, just missed it!" Well,,,,,,that. The noise is a little off putting because it's more of a click than a thwak! Especially apparent when putting with this ball.
Don't get me wrong, I liked this golf ball and if pure distance with greenside control is what you are after, then get on board. This golf ball will perform very well for you and the cover will last well too. I used the same ball for 9 holes and it still looked brand new, even though with my 100 MPH swing speed, I thrashed it, it took the beating. That's the good. The bad however is, the feel and the sound will put off some players. Also, the look of the ball. It has an old fashioned large font look to it. The "FORTE" is a little too big and sort of cheapens the ball for me. The other writing of "Tour Performance S" takes up 2 lines on the side of the ball and sort of prevents you from line marking it, which so many players do these days. At a price of $48.99 per dozen, this ball is worth considering if you want more distance off the tee and your swing speed is in excess of 100MPH with the driver.
The other ball I tried was better. It's called the FORTE 6 and is the first 6 piece construction golf ball on the market. The cast urethane cover hides the many layers underneath and they all seem to work well together to deliver one of the best golf balls I have ever used. Did i say long? LONG! Into the wind, this golf ball seemed to love going long as again and again, I drove it further than I usually do around my course. In terms of just how much longer, well that is the $64,000 question, but I would safely say, at least a club, or 10 meters. I know some of you will say that 10 meters is not that much, but into the wind I thought it became nearly 20 meters. There is something solid about this golf ball that loves to fly with lower spin off the driver. The spin around the greens was fantastic too. The outer layer is tacky like the old golf balls from yesteryear and it sits down quickly from the fairway and even quicker around the greens with wedge play. To compare it to a current golf ball, I would go as far as saying that it is as good or better than the Pro V1x, or the Bridgestone B330. Players beware though, you must have a fast swing speed to use this golf ball, if you do not, you will feel a heaviness playing it and will not enjoy the experience. some did not like putting with it in my group either as there was a strange sound off the putter, but it did not bother me at all.
The FORTE logo still looks a little large and cheap, but the alignment on this ball is better with the forte6 on the side much easier on the eye. That's the good. The bad is the price, at $76.99 per dozen, the golf ball will be out of reach for too many players. Yes it is good, but given the choice, I would buy the Bridgestones at $50, rather than the Forte6 for $26.99 more.
Mitch: I followed Carl’s lead and played the front 9 with the 3-piece Tour Performance S and the back with the 6-piece Forte 6. Out of the box the both balls instantly felt tacky so you feel like you’re going to get some spin – that’s positive. I can be a little wayward off the tee, so it’s important to me the ball has low driver spin. That being said, I want my ball to perform around the greens and behave predictably – don’t ask for much do I!
Tour Performance S – there’s a lot of writing on the ball! My first suggestion would be to shorten the model name to “TPS” or something similar, lose some letters. As a rule, I generally hit the ball high with plenty of spin, but I’m no “Iron Byron” either. From the 1st tee shot, I did notice a lower ball flight with good run out. This pattern continued throughout the course of the front 9 which was pleasing. Around the greens, the Performance S was indeed predictable. Full wedges “sat down” and pitches and chips checked nicely.
I had read about the unusual sound these balls made off the club etc. but I didn’t notice anything too much out of the ordinary. The only real complaint I had was that the ball “lost” it’s colour quicker than most and was more of an off-white by the time I’d finished 9. A plus was the balls durability – no scuffs, scratches etc. I’d spent some time on the beach, even after 4 or 5 bunker shots, the ball looked great!
Forte 6 – I’d just played 9 with a multi-layer ball with a urethane cover, what was the extra 3 layers going to give me? Stability in the wind that’s what. The day started with gusts of wind then nothing, then more gusts. By the time we got to the 10th, the gusts had pretty much disappeared and the wind was blowing solid. The Forte 6 was exceptional under these conditions. The ball seemed to cut through the wind better than most and the run out indicated lower spin. Cross winds didn’t seem to be an issue either, the Forte 6 held its line nicely. Around the greens the ball was excellent, behaving predictably and it felt pretty good off the putter too.
The sound and feel of the ball were acceptable – a little different but not something that would worry me too much. Like the 3-piece, the Forte 6 lost its colour making it a little hard to spot, especially in the rough. On 18 I took a kick off the cart path and that was the only mark on the ball after 9 so it’s durability was great.
The balls we trialled are apparently designed for the “better” golfer, the Forte 6 for the very low marker and touring pro. I was more than happy with the Tour Performance S, it’s characteristics similar to the ball I currently use. In saying that, I’m realistic enough to know there a several balls in “my” category that I’d be happy to tee up. The two biggest advantages I see the Forte ball having, are its durability and performance in the wind (especially the 6-piece).
On the downside, the balls ability to maintain its colour is a disadvantage. Price is another factor, at close to $80/dozen for the Forte 6 most will find it steep compared to its competitors, namely the biggest selling ball in the world. No doubt, the Forte balls are brilliant in the wind and very durable but they good enough to swing the market? Like everything, there will be fans and there will be critics, but how will you know until you’ve played them – go on tee up a Forte, you might be surprised.
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All in all, the Forte golf balls delivered what they said they would, which in todays world of grandeous statements written in mumbo jumbo on the back of golf ball boxes, is rare. Are they good? Yes. Do they perform? Yes. Would we play them again? Yes. Would we buy them over other golf balls? Unfortunately, the answer is no on the Forte6, but we would get on board the Tour Performance S. The graphic on the Tour Performance S needs to be changed to make it more appealing and the price of the Forte6 needs to be brought down to make it worth buying. The $76.99 price tag is just a little too high. We love the ball, we hate the price. It's only a combination of the 2 that make people purchase and stick to a favourite. Our recommendation... Try them for yourself, you will be pleasantly surprised.
A special thanks to the guys at Forte for letting us try some of their new golf ball range. We personally believe it's very important to get local product some sort of spotlight to make people aware there are alternatives out there to just playing the norm. In the price bracket of the golf ball market, the Tour Performance S sits very nicely and we believe it would make a great addition to anyone's golf bag. If you currently play either the Bridgestone B330 or the Titleist Prov 1x, you might want to consider a change.