Friday, September 11, 2015

My day with a Monsta......


Being a perfectionist and knowing that there is not just one road to reach perfection, I tend to look to the "little guys" a lot for new ideas and better products. The reason is because sometimes we just get caught up in the money, fame, and flash of the big guys.  They spend millions upon millions each year to research not only performance, but what people want to look at.  It's called "rack appeal" and it happens all the time with clubs. Not so much with balls, however - well- outside of the packaging that is. A flashy box always helps, but what's inside is a little white sphere with dimples that has the unfortunate purpose of being smashed as hard as possible with a heavy piece of metal - repeatedly - until it's discarded or lost. The former - smashing as hard as possible - is what makes us want a premium performance ball.  The latter is what makes us not want to pay a premium for it.  Enter the "little guy".   This time around, it's MonstaGolf.  
From their site: 
  ""Monsta Golf started as an idea back in the spring of 2013 by 2 working dads from Boston who love the game of golf.  Dave and Ken, the founders of Monsta Golf, realize(like most of us) the key to an exceptional golf game is consistency and the short game.  Money is in the short game, as we all know.  Using the same golf ball while honing your skills is an important factor in being consistent.  Almost every brand of golf ball performs differently, especially around the greens. This causes variations in accuracy and performance. Some golf balls are for distance, some for spin.  The top performing brands currently on the market that are constructed to do both,  retail for $48/dozen or more.  Golf can be expensive enough!
“We need to create a pro performance golf ball that’s  affordable,  so it can be used every round you play.  Allowing  the development of  a more consistant game and control around the greens.  In addition,  we don’t want to cringe every time we lose a $4-$5 ball in the woods.” (Yes, this will probably happen no matter what ball you use!)


I couldn't have said it better myself --- so I copied and pasted. Hey, I've got things to do, clubs to build and cigars to smoke. I digress....

MonstaGolf intriqued me from the get-go. I saw them on twitter (@monstagolf) and followed them to Facebook ( and stalked their feed reading all the stuff people were saying about them. I got on some of my own forums and asked around if anybody had tried them.  The people who had couldn't say enough about them. There were even people who said they had tried them and though they're not the go-to ball, are still using them on occasion. That tells me there's got to be something to them. 

About me:  If you've been following the blog - few and far between as it sometimes is (hey I'm busy!!!) you know that I'm a decent player. I'm currently playing off 3.7 (GHIN#2111361) and I get out maybe once per week.  I've been playing a LONG time and I'm pretty sure I'm one of a handful of people under 45 who have actually used persimmon clubs in a tournament because that was still the only technology out there.  So, I know something about feel and the like, on top of being a club builder.  My current ball bobbles between a ProV1 and the Callaway SR3 (what's left of them).  They're both pretty comparable for me but I tend to play the ProV1 on drier days since I do get a little more spin on the greens, and the Callaway flies longer so I get more carry in normal to wet conditions. Both retail around $45 for the dozen and have very soft covers so you can imagine that I'm always looking to save a few bucks. 

THE REVIEW - AS COMPARED TO MY PROV1:   If you want the hard facts just go to the end. If not, hang on for the story. For the record, I paid for these balls and the only reason I'm doing a review is because I like to do them. My style is putting you in a story setting and allowing you to follow me and the way I play.  Real life is the only way to test, in my opinion. Talk it out- nitpick - whatever. If you want numbers, there's like 20 other sites that have compression and yardage numbers you can pick at. 

oooooh Shiny.
So anyway.....

I pulled the trigger on MonstaGolf balls just this week. Out of Massachusetts they got here to PA in 2 days via USPS. Free shipping as well. Great start for those of us who don't like to pay shipping that's a big one. I opted for the "naked" dozen. No packaging. You can call me green, but the difference between $32.99 and $34.99 is enough to prompt me to skip the shiny black box and Green Monsta eye.  If you like to think I did it solely for the environment, please do.

As I opened them, I was really impressed. Very nice cover which had that "sticky ball" feel to it. (Insert joke about sticky balls here) It was pleasing to look at with the big green logo and single number. Very clean and minimalistic.  The aim stripe is just two arrows with MonstaGolf written in. Very easy to line up for putting or tee ball. Not too long and not short like some other balls. I took to putting right away putting it right up against a proV1 and a ProV1x that I had. Both brand new - hey we gotta be fair. 

Immediately I could feel that the MonstaGolf was soft. Super soft. I use an all metal putter with no insert so I felt everything. Dead heat with the ProV1, softer than V1X. I liked it. I even did a blind test where I closed my eyes and had a friend put them down in front of my putter to strike. I picked out the same two balls but couldn't tell which was which.  
Since it was still evening and I didn't tee off until the next day, I decided for the "wedge bounce test". You know, the old Tiger Woods juggle it off the blade and then between the legs - just without the 200 yard rocket at the end. Here's where the balls started to differ.  The MonstaGolf felt soft. Almost TOO soft, but it wasn't a disgusting marshmallow feel. I could feel the ball but it had a hint of a "thud". The PV1 was soft but more "crisp".  In non-golf terms and assuming you've eaten both of these, it was the difference between biting a Red Delicious apple and a Mcintosh.  The red delicious has a softer bite but still good and hearty - where as the Mc is a touch more snappy.  At this point, it didn't bother me but it's worth noting if you're a player that likes a harder feeling ball like a TopFlite Gamer or the like.   Seeing as how they both have urethane covers, I believe the MonstaGolf is thicker in this regard. I'll explain later.....

LOL - googly eyes
Flash forward to my round. Dauphin Highlands Golf Course.  We're playing the whites (myself, Cigar Joe , and a friend Dave). On the putting green I put 2 balls down and putted. Drained them both from 10 feet. Was it the ball or was it me, dunno, but I did have confidence looking down and reading "MonstaGolf"with those heavy black arrows saying - this way to the hole.   Pre-round I also chipped in 4 times out of 10. The balls grabbed the green like velcro - no exaggeration - even on the little chips so I had to hit my chips to carry a little farther than normal because they weren't running out as much as with the PV1 but it was consistent so once I got used to it things were no problem. MGB gets the square here because more spin around the green is always a plus in my book. 

On the tee,  I set it up so I was looking right into that green eye. It was a great focus point and since it was like a smaller ball I felt it was the literal interpretation of "aim small, miss small".  I didn't miss. My first drive was a touch on the toe and fading but SkyCaddy measured it at 317yds. I'll take that.  There was very little side spin when I KNOW there should have been more. Instead of the right rough just off the fairway I SHOULD have been by the cart path 10 yards farther right. Intriguing. 
2nd shot was a 58* wedge to a tucked pin. I was so stoked for the drive that I plopped it in the bunker short. Perfect to test the sand capabilities and durability. If anything destroys a Urethane cover it's a sand trap. I played a perfect splash from 30 feet to  settle 3 feet from the pin.  One hop and stop.  Ball completely in tact. 

Initial look after the long bunker shot.
Sand still lodged in. 
2nd hole it performed very well off the tee again, although i skunked the shot and ended up in the bunker about 60 yards in front of the green on the fly (drivable par 4- 270 yards).  You'd think I was doing it on purpose to test a ball or something.  I used a 54* wedge to play the long bunker shot into the green. I hit it to roughly 12 feet but upon picking up the ball I noticed it had a large grain of sand lodged in the cover.  I expected this out of the first bunker but my thoughts are that the resilient thick cover provides nice cushion against this sort of thing where normally the thin cover of the PV1 nicks or gets some sand burn. A harder swing was enough to embed the sand though. I was able to dig it out and remove the piece of cover that was torn and play on.  Through the next holes the ball performed EXACTLY as it had the first two. I even put a new ball in play just as a for-instance but saw no flight issues due to the deep puncture in the cover. 

A few holes after I removed the "scab" cover and
dug out the grit piece.
Iron feel is solid and regarding the "thunk" of the wedge bounce test - that wasn't really an issue once you actually were swinging at the ball. Chips felt good, like the ball was compressing well and it JUMPS off of irons. I really felt like I had compression on the face and got very good flight out of it. No ballooning, but still retaining the pretty wicked spin I experienced at the chipping green throughout all the irons. I guess theres' something to that 3 piece construction and high energy core they talk about. 

Here's where the review gets short because I've told you all I can about the performance of the ball. The reason being it was so consistent. It was consistent with itself from brand new until the last shot, and it was consistent with the ProV1 that I'm very used to with the difference being more spin from the MGB on the little chip shots. I would go so far as to say it's a little difficult to get it to run out with a lofted club - but I'm not going to complain about that. 

I think the one thing I can say I honestly DISLIKE about the MonstaGolf ball is it's visual durability in relation to other premium golf balls. I think this is where it loses the race.  The ball gets dingy. Like REALLY dingy.  When I play a full round with a golf ball, it gets battered and the like but when I wash it, generally it gets clean.  Over the course of the round, the ball got to LOOKING chewed up. it was still very much playable and very much performing perfectly but it really started to kind of look like a monster. If I could equate it to something, maybe like a refurbished ball that was hit too many times and the paint started to come off the raised areas?  Even while we were looking for the balls and rolling up to it in the cart, I had no problem identifying mine because that shine was lost. I don't know if I'm OK with that or not because they really look USED after one round, whereas I can get 2, sometimes 3 out of the same ball otherwise.  Believe me, I'm still going to play it again, but it's a peeve, maybe even a deal breaker for some people. Even my buddy Dave said "that thing looks awful". 
18 holes, 1 ball. The "reconditioned ball" scabs I
was referencing. All over.  Are these balls painted?


Overall performance:  It is my opinion that MonstaGolf balls perform on par with a premium golf ball. In this case the ProV1 (grey stripe).  MonstaGolf has  a little more spin for me around the greens and is sometimes difficult to release to the hole - which may be an issue for some golfers if they like to chip and run. You might need a lower lofted club to play some of your normal shots. There was no drop in performance throughout the entire round despite the blemishing. 

Look:  Awesome minimalist logo design and a nice focal point for the tee ball.  Alignment aid isn't obnoxious and does the job in lining up putts or tee balls if you prefer that. One additional thing I feel the need to mention is that there is no all white area on this ball. From every angle you will see either the aim mark, the number, or a good portion of the green eye. I don't mind because you can immediately identify it even in the rough, but some people do like that one area where you look down and see white ball. 

Durability: I feel the ball could be more durable over the course of the round. The fact that it can take a hit like a large piece of sand from a bunker and not make a big gouge out of the cover or begin peeling of after being hit a few times in that wound is great, but If I'm not bouncing it off cart paths or trees, I want to have a Grade A used ball at the end of the round, not a C+ at best. 

Price:  This can go either way. I like that the ball continues to perform despite the dingy, rashed look but players who do mind that will have to put a new ball in play more often than they would another premium performance ball. That being said, is the $13 savings a wash because of the frequency of replacement?? I don't know.  I'll continue to play the ball until it seriously falls apart or I notice a decrease in playability. 

Bottom line: It's a great ball for the price performance wise. It could be a FANTASTIC ball for the price if they can sort out that cleanliness/ visible durability issue. I'm glad I made the purchase and will be playing these balls until I lose them. A dozen will usually last me a good 1/2 season counting cart paths and whatnot. I wish I would have hit one to see how it took it but damnit I'm not good enough to hit that kind of target! 

If anybody wonders, I shot 76.  Made the turn in Even and pulled a BUNCH of putts on the back. Grr.