Like most golfers, you’ve probably spent a lot of time and money choosing just the right set of golf clubs for your style of play. You’ve attended different demo days, tested different drivers and perhaps got fitted by a professional. But do you spend as much time choosing just the right golf ball for your game?
I occasionally play with golfers who only play with “found” balls, or “used” balls they buy in bulk on-line or at the pro shop. This might be ok for beginners, but if you are serious about improving your handicap, you should spend a little time choosing the right ball for your game. It makes a big difference. Choose a ball that doesn’t fit your game and you are cheating yourself.
For example, some golf balls have a hard core, some have cores that are soft. Some golf balls have two layers around their core, some have three. The dimples on golf balls are not there just for decoration. The depth and pattern of the dimples influences flight and spin. Manufacturers spend millions on research and development, always seeking to improve distance and control factors. As a golfer you have a certain typical swing speed, a certain level of control and a certain maximum distance you can usually hit your golf ball. Why not choose a golf ball that maximizes your style of play?
Here are some general rules you might take into consideration next time you choose your golf ball.
If you are a beginner: choose a ball that has a solid two-piece construction. Durable, affordable ($18-$30 dozen) it has a large, uniform core beneath a hard cover. You will get less spin and control, but greater distance and a longer roll.
A softer ball is preferred by golfers who have experience. This will give you more control and more spin, but less distance. Cost is mid-range: ($28-$45 dozen).
High Performance balls are best left to low handicappers. They have softer covers and can be more easily damaged but they provide high spin and distance. They also come with a higher price tag: ($45 – $60 dozen).
Also take into consideration your swing speed. This relates to the compression rating of a ball, i.e. how tightly the ball is wound.
- If you have a slow swing, look for a ball that has a compression rating of 80. It will give you more distance.
- Mid-range speed? (This is the majority of players): a compression rating of 90 will work for you.
- Players with a fast swing should use balls with the hardest compression rating of 100.
And remember the weather!
- In warm weather, golf balls have a tendency to expand and become softer. Choose a ball with a higher compression rating particularly if you live near the ocean or in a location with high humidity.
- On the other hand, cold weather causes the golf ball to get harder. Choose a low compression ball which will help especially if you play in a high altitude location.
Which brand to choose? It’s really up to you. Try several different kinds under different conditions. Once you find a ball that seems to work for you, stick with it for a while. Keep track of your scores and see if you improve. And note how you feel. I know it may sound silly to non-golfers, but the feel of a new ball on that first tee gives me a real sense of confidence. I always play better when I know that the golf ball I am using is one I enjoy playing and not just an old ball I found under a bush during the last round I played.
Which golf ball do you play? Why?