If you’ve visited a golf store or pro shop the last decade or more then you’ve probably run across boxes of golf balls with the word “Noodle” on the box. The original Noodles came out as an alternative for players with a slower swing speed than… say… Tiger Woods!
Woods was making a huge splash on the PGA Tour and golf balls like the ProV 1 were commanding high prices. Looking back, not much has changed. Well, a few things have – Tiger and the golfers of the early 2000s are aging as younger players make their names.
And, the Noodle has changed – but only slightly! The question is does the Noodle still fit the needs of the intended customer? And, is it even a good golf ball?Here’s what I’ve learned since returning to the Noodle Long and Soft golf ball for a recent outing.
Who Needs the Noodle?
Since their introduction, the Noodle branded golf balls have been marketed towards golfers that don’t have swing speeds anywhere near professionals. The reasoning is that the “softer” build and core of the ball helps with compression when struck. That, in turn,is said to equal more distance and control off the clubface.
In my opinion, that makes the Noodle brand a nice choice for;
- and me!
Please don’t be offended by me listing ladies or youth. I know plenty of lady and youth players that can clean my clock on the course. I’m just speaking in generalities with low handicappers and pros being on one side of the spectrum and everyone else as being on the other side.
I’m 55 and have been playing recreational golf since I was a teen. I’ve played in typical business outings, tournaments, and such similar to the majority of weekend golfers. I’ve also worked in the golf industry. I know for a fact that I can’t swing for the fences anymore, and that’s probably been the case since the 90s!
The Noodle branding has always focused on being a softball for players that can’t compress a golf ball such as a ProV-1 or similar. But why? Simply put, Taylormade’smarketing campaign for the Noodle brand is aimed towards those with slower swing speeds that may have a natural slice or hook.
From my experience, the Noodle Long and Soft golf ball may have reduced the number of times I hit my reoccurring slow slice and helped me stay in, or near, the fairway.
Yes, I still find the rough, bunker, and bushes.But I feel like it’s because of a bounce and a roll into the hazards more often than just blasting one with a hard curve to the right over several trees never to be seen again.
As for around the greens. For me, the Noodle seems to have a fair amount of bite when coming in high to a green – more on that below. I’ve found it to be exceptional when playing a bump and run style of play. It is exceptional with a nine iron as well as a wedge with a short chip and roll to the hole.
Back to biting the green, if you’ve mastered the art of spinning a ball back five to ten feet to a hole then the Noodle may not be for you. It tends to hit and roll a bit depending on the firmness of the green. In truth, that can be said for just about any golf ball.
But the softness of the ball which improves distance for many may have the exact opposite effect when smashing the ball hard with a wedge to create a backspin.
Observation from Play
I’ve hit on a nice combination. I’ve never been a player that could come anywhere close to matching the distance of a great daily player, low handicapper, or a pro. Believe me, I’ve tried! I feel like the Noodle branded golf balls fit my current game perfectly.
The combination of realizing I should swing slower fits perfectly with playing a box of Noodles. Slowing down always offers more control for us duffers. I noticed with the new style, and the Noodle, that my slice is not crazy and is more manageable and playable.
Also, my hybrid play has improved with the noodle and slower swing speed. I now play a bunch of Hybrid shots from the fairway. The Noodle is possibly the best ball I’ve ever hit using a hybrid or higher lofted fairway wood. The results off of the tee easily transferred to hitting a Noodle off the deck.
I’ve always been decent around the greens and I’ve found over time that no golf ball in the world can improve my putting.The Noodle fits my “bump and run” game perfectly.
Pros and Cons
Here are the positives I feel most accurately fit the Noodle Long and Soft.
- Improved distance for slower swing speeds, helped me with a slice.
- Great with fairway woods and hybrids.
- Does well around greens, nice roll when putting.
- Price – can be found from $12.99 on sale to $25.00
Here are the negatives I feel most accurately fit the Noodle Long and Soft.
- Does not bite the green/spin, mostly for those with great wedge play. (See above)
- I don’t think I got as much roll off the tee, but have not tested that. I feel like the drive died a bit after the first bounce but still had improved distance off the tee.
- Players with high swing speeds probably will hate it.
- Many perceive it as an “old man” or “ladies” ball. I say get over it and try a box!
Noodle Long and Soft Specs
- Produced by Taylormade – it was not part of the Maxfli brand sale to Dick’s Sporting Goods.
- Ultra-soft 34 compression core
- 342 aerodynamic dimples that help cut air resistance for a longer carry.
- Sold in boxes of 12, 15, 24, and bulk packs.
- Price per dozen averages $12.99 to mid $20s
- Also available in Noodle Easy Straight, Noodle Easy Distance.
Author Bio: Kent Whitaker, also known as “The Deck Chef,” is an award-winning culinary writer and cookbook author. He’s also penned Young Reader, NASCAR, and History titles. The former winner of the Emeril Live Food Network Barbecue Contest also works as a sports writercoveringthe PGA, LPGA, football, motorsports, and bass fishing. Kent currently lives in East Tennessee. You can reach out to Kent at www.thedeckchef.com, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @thekentwhitaker