Fitzpatrick’s golf ball is easy to spot on the course, due to the multi-colored markings.
The headline feels like clickbait, but it’s entirely accurate. Matt Fitzpatrick, the reigning U.S. Open champion and winner last week in Harbour Town, requires a grand total of six permanent markers — that’s not a typo — to mark each Titleist Pro V1x ball in his bag.
Excessive? Possibly. In Fitzpatrick’s case, though, the goal is to make his ball stand out for a good reason.
As the 2023 RBC Heritage winner shared in a recent video on Titleist’s Instagram account, the multi-colored markings started during his teenage years when he incurred a penalty for accidentally playing the wrong ball during a round.
“Then I got told off by my dad [for playing the wrong ball],” Fitzpatrick said. “I obviously didn’t want to do that again, so here we are with six different colors to mark my golf ball.”
Fitzpatrick, who is 28, has been employing this marking method since he was 14. He freely admits the process “takes me some serious time,” which should come as no surprise.
Here’s a detailed look at how he marks each of his balls:
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Fitzpatrick starts by using a golf-ball line tracer to mark the non-side stamp side, for alignment purposes, with a dark green marker. This is the opposite of what most players do — the side stamp tends to receive the marker treatment — but it’s Fitzpatrick’s ball, so he can do whatever he wants. More on that quirk in just a minute.
From there, Fitzpatrick uses light green, red, blue and dark red markers to fill in four dimples around the Titleist logo and play number. He was quick to point out that he doesn’t mark each ball individually with the six different colors but instead uses one color for each ball in the bag, and then moves on to the next color until the process is completed for all the pellets.
Now, we get to the most interesting quirk in the process. Instead of using the ball tracer to mark through the side stamp, Fitzpatrick prefers to go freehand and cross out just the Pro V1x with a black marker. From there, he adds one of his initials on either side of the side stamp. (My OCD is flaring up looking at the “line.”)
And voila! Fitzpatrick is ready to tee it up in competition with arguably the most colorful ball on the PGA Tour. Marking up a dozen balls takes some time, but if it keeps Fitzpatrick from wondering if he’s playing the correct ball in the heat of competition, then the process is well worth it.
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Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour.
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