How to choose the right golf ball
The right golf ball could mean the difference between winning or losing.
To the untrained eye, a golf ball is a golf ball is a golf ball. However, to those who play the sport, the type of ball used can be the difference between bogeys and birdies. Some characteristics are standard for all regulation golf balls. They must be no larger than 1.68 inches in diameter, not heavier than 1.62 ounces and round in shape.
These are the two main types of golf balls:
Balata balls – made of three pieces: A liquid filled core, the rubber wound around the core and the balata covering.
Balata is a soft substance that some say offers better 'playability' and is believed to allow a player to shape his or her shot. Balata balls are more expensive than Surlyn balls and have a shorter life span.
Surlyn – a two-piece ball made of a solid core with a Surlyn cover. Surlyn is a man-made material designed to eliminate nicks and cuts in the ball due to its 'uncuttable' quality. It is a harder ball than a Balata ball.
Classes of Golf Balls
There are two main classes of golf balls: spin and distance.
Spin – these balls are designed to provide shots with more spin. They are usually made of three pieces: a central core surrounded by rubber windings and covered with Balata. These balls do not travel as far as distance balls.
Distance – made with harder, more durable covers and solid cores, most of these balls are made of two pieces: a core made of synthetic material and a cover made of Surlyn. These balls spin less, which means less control and stopping ability.
Types of Golf Balls
1. Two-piece distance
Callaway Warbird, Pinnacle Gold, Top-Flite XL Pure Distance
$10-$20 per dozen
Less spin, which means less slice and hook. Although, less spin could prevent slower swingers from generating enough lift. The harder covering shows less damage and they're inexpensive.
A high launch and firm feel, but sacrifices the attributes of spin and control.
2. Two-piece low compression
Dunlop LoCo, Nike Power Distance Super Soft, Titleist DT Solo
$15-$25 per dozen
Because they're easier to compress, these balls can improve distance for moderate swing speeds. Low spin can also improve accuracy and softer covers improve feel.
Soft feel may mean less spin on short shots.
3. Two-piece performance
Maxfli A-3, Titleist NXT and NXT Tour, Top-Flite Infinity
$20-$30 per dozen
Balls with large cores have thin covers that can make it easier for the core to compress when the ball meets the club. This may lead to added distance.
May not offer the same spin advantages on short shots as other balls.
4. Multilayer construction
Note that these multilayer balls are becoming more popular on the PGA tour and are best used by advanced players due to their high price.
Callaway HX and CTU 30, Maxfli M3, Nike TA2, Strata Series
$25-$50 a dozen.
Each layer enhances performance. The soft cover enhances feel, the firm middle improves energy transfer to the core and the core adds to distance.
Some are made for tour-level speed swings. The balls are expensive.
Things to consider
Compression – The compression of the ball will affect the way it feels when hit. Most ball compressions are rated between eighty and one hundred. The harder the compression, the harder the ball will feel when you hit it. The amount of compression is a personal choice when considering the types of golf balls.
It is recommended that beginners use balls that are more durable so that 'near misses' do not affect the shape of the ball or damage the cover.
Clean and care for your golf balls with the same attention given to maintaining golf clubs and other equipment. The condition of your golf game depends upon the condition of your equipment.
Due to the many types of golf balls available, finding the one that works for you will take time and practice. Consider it an excuse to play the game more often!