When it comes to golf ball selection, you literally have a thousand options. They are priced in a range from mild to wild. When you use a ball that is properly suited to your game, your shot execution improves and your score decreases. Each shot and each ball are significant, yet we frequently hear golfers say they play with “whatever is in my bag.” Differences in performance between golf ball brands and models are significant, particularly on short game scoring shots. By using the same ball model throughout the round, you can eliminate this performance variation and improve your chances of hitting more greens in regulation and hitting the ball closer to the pin to convert more putts. This is a crucial first step toward creating a more consistent game. Bear in mind that you only use one piece of equipment on each shot: your golf ball.
Choose The Ball That Is Most Appropriate For Your Short Game
Golfers, regardless of their skill level, only hit their driver 14 times per round. Approach shots, pitches, and chips account for the vast majority of shots. For instance, if your average score is 90, you will make over 40 shots to the green but only 14 drives. Professionals and amateurs alike play their best golf when they limit their short game shots. Therefore, choose a ball that performs optimally for your scoring shots.
What About Swing Velocity?
Fitting a ball to your swing speed is a myth. A golf ball must perform for all golfers with all swing speeds on all shots; otherwise, no golfer will be able to hit it. The driver swing speed of a PGA Tour player is faster than that of the majority of amateurs. His swing speed with long or mid-irons, on the other hand, may be comparable to your driver swing speed.
Should I Use The Same Equipment As The Tour Pros?
Tour players make the game appear effortless. Even if they swing faster and more consistently execute good swings, they are still playing the same game. They continue to miss regulation greens and must get up-and-down. They, too, desire to make more shots that are closer to the hole. Whether you shoot in the 80s, 90s, or above 100 percent of the time, you face the same types of scoring shots on your approaches, pitches, and chips.
The distinction between Tour players and many amateurs is that they place a premium on the performance of their golf balls on their scoring shots. When you hit your shot the way you intended, playing with a high performance ball results in more greens in regulation and shots closer to the hole. Both amateurs and professionals make a greater percentage of three-foot putts than twelve-foot putts.
Compression of Golf Balls: An Overview
There is a widespread misconception that a player must match his or her swing speed to the compression of the golf ball in order to properly “compress” the ball. On every full swing shot, every golfer compresses the golf ball. Indeed, the differences in compression between driver swing speeds are nearly imperceptible.
Another myth is that players with slower swing speeds will hit a golf ball with lower compression for a longer period of time. No single feature of a golf ball’s design determines its performance or distance. Compression is a measurement of a golf ball’s relative softness and is related to how firm or soft a golf ball feels to the golfer. While choosing a specific compression has no performance benefit, many golfers (regardless of swing speed) do have feel preferences. Golfers who prefer a softer feel may prefer golf balls with a lower compression rating.
80 – The balls with the lowest compression are also the softest.
This creates a sling shot effect, propelling the ball forward. Nonetheless, it is more difficult to control. If you are not a long-driving golfer, a junior player, a senior, or a woman of average strength, choose a golf ball with an 80 compression rating. The 80 compression ball enables slower swingers to compress the ball more easily with the club face during the downswing, resulting in increased distance.
90 – The majority of male players and experienced female players play this position.
To maximize golf ball compression and spring effect at impact, the 90 compression ball requires a faster club head speed. If you’re unsure whether you should hit a 90 compression ball or an 80 compression ball, hitting several shots of each type on the practice range will help you determine which ball travels the furthest with your swing.
100 – The highest compression rating available; this rating is best suited to advanced players with quick swing speeds. If you typically drive the ball more than 275 yards off the tee and have a fast club head speed, opt for a golf ball with a 100 compression rating. You will be able to maximize the distance on all of your shots, but your range off the tee will be reduced if the club head speed is not fast enough to achieve the full spring effect.
On the practice range, compare several ball compression ratings and annotate the average distance you hit each ball with the same golf club. Because some players prefer a softer compression rating for approach shots, you’ll want to balance the distance measurement against how each ball feels when hitting wedges and short irons.
What About Choosing A Distance Ball?
Given that you will only hit 14 drives per round, selecting the ball with the greatest distance off the tee does not always result in a lower score. And even if you miss the green, you must still get up and down. Using the best scoring golf ball available will help you shoot lower scores.
How about a little spin?
Understanding the effect of spin on your game will assist you in selecting the best golf ball. Low spin on driver shots results in longer, straighter drives. Reduced spin produces a straighter flight but reduces stopping power on long iron shots. More spin provides more stopping power into the green in the short game.
There are significant differences in performance between golf ball models, particularly on scoring shots in the short game. Golfers who want to shoot lower scores will benefit from a golf ball with excellent scoring spin, the spin and control necessary to hit more greens closer to the pin with irons and wedges.
Preference for Golf Ball Feel
While many performance characteristics of golf balls, such as distance and spin control, are quantifiable regardless of launch condition, feel is a personal preference and is highly subjective. Feel is a player-dependent attribute. Certain golfers prefer a softer feel, while others prefer a more crisp, firm feel. Additionally, sensation is shot-dependent. While some golfers assess feel with full swing shots, others do so with partial swings or putts. While feel does not directly affect scoring performance, it is a significant factor for many golfers.
Preference for Golf Ball Color
Numerous factors contribute to the appearance of a golf ball: dimple pattern, side stamp, play number, and, of course, color. For players seeking increased visibility against blue and green hues (the colors seen during each round of play), a high optic yellow option may be the best option. These optic colors reflect more light than traditional white golf balls. While color has no effect on the performance of the golf ball, it can be a significant factor in some golfers’ selection process.
Construction of Golf Balls
Two-Piece Solid – The workhorse of all balls, beginners should begin with this. It’s a sturdy, rubbery ball that’s both durable and reasonably priced at $18-$30 per dozen. With a large, uniform inner core sandwiched between two hard covers, players can take “thin” or “fat” shots without fear of splitting the ball. The trade-off is reduced spin or decreased control in exchange for increased distance and a longer roll.
Multi-Layer or Three-Piece – Preferred by intermediate players, this softer ball produces a higher spin rate and, as a result, a higher price tag of approximately $28-$45 per dozen. The trade-off is increased control in exchange for decreased distance.
High Performance – Designed for players with a low handicap, this ball is less durable and has a softer cover for increased control. The design combines the benefits of high spin and distance at a cost of $45 to $60 per dozen. They are not recommended for beginners due to their proclivity for cutting and deforming.
Covering for Golf Balls
Golf ball covers are essential for beginners who require durability.
The following are the top three cover materials:
Surlyn – The most widely used material on the market due to its durability, cut resistance, distance, and affordability.
Balata – More expensive and softer, this material is prized for its spin, feel, and control. However, nicks and cuts are more likely to occur.
Elastomer – Used by players with a low handicap who desire spin without sacrificing durability.
The weather forecast also has an effect on which ball is chosen. Warm weather can cause balls to expand, necessitating players to use a higher compression. A harder ball is advantageous in areas with high humidity or at sea level. Where dense air slows the ball down.
Cold weather, on the other hand, tends to harden the ball. Players can mitigate the effect by selecting balls with a lower compression. Additionally, softer balls are advantageous at higher altitudes, where the air is thinner and there is less resistance.