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Selecting the right golf ball is an integral part of the game. For golfers, choosing a ball that matches their playing style is the first step toward improving on-course performance.
Not all golf balls are created equal. Golfers can select from a number of internal and external ball constructions, suited for players at every skill level.
Many golf balls are built with two-piece construction, composed of an inner solid core and external cover. This design delivers distance, durability and the benefit of reduced spin—a combination best suited for less-experienced players.
Most major golf ball manufacturers offer a wide array of balls that are designed for specific golfers, from the first-time novice to touring professionals. If you're looking for a gift, personalized golf balls can make a work outing or wedding party event more unique.
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Think about color when you're selecting your golf ball. Selecting a distinct color helps golfers more easily track their ball in all conditions, allowing for a more enjoyable round.
Brands such as Callaway, Bridgestone® and Srixon® have developed golf balls specifically for female swing speeds. These balls feature a soft cover and lower compression core for even greater distance and forgiveness on the green.
Golfers should try a variety of brands when choosing their ball. After you have settled on a brand, playing with the same ball on a regular basis will allow you to eliminate one variable in your game.
Factor in compression rating when looking for the perfect golf ball. Compression ratings of more than 100 are appropriate for golfers with a high swing speed, who can carry drives more than 240 feet in the air. Those with slower swing speeds should select a ball with compression ratings between 80 and 90.
More advanced players might look to a multi-layer golf ball. These balls are composed of a solid core and two to three internal layers designed to produce better feedback and a higher spin. Multi-layer balls enable golfers to manipulate their ball flight, while providing better control for shorter shots.
What is the difference between golf ball piece counts?
Modern golf balls range from two- to six-piece constructions. Two-piece constructions feature a core layer and an outer cover, while multi-layer golf balls feature a series of core/mantle layers and an outer cover. Deciding which golf ball construction is best for your game depends on your skill level, swing speed, and desired performance.
Which golf balls are best for beginners?
Two-piece golf balls are often recommended for novice or high-handicap golfers. The larger core construction maximizes distance while minimizing spin, resulting in longer shots with greater accuracy. A thicker cover construction is also more durable, which can be an important factor if the golfer hits a wayward shot. They are ideal for golfers with lower swing speeds because of the added distance, penetrating trajectory and reduced sidespin they deliver.
Which golf balls are best for more experienced golfers?
Multi-layer golf balls are better suited for experienced, mid- to low-handicappers. The series of core/mantle layers enhance control and feel to allow golfers to sculpt shots and generate shot-stopping spin command around the green. The thinner cover construction also increases spin control while providing the soft, crisp feel serious golfers want. The elevated levels of control and performance a golfer can achieve with multi-layer golf balls make them popular with players who have faster swing speeds and more consistent swing characteristics.
Why do golf balls have dimples and why are dimples important?
It's commonly said that dimples make the golf ball fly, similar to the wings on a plane. Environmental factors, such as drag, slow the golf ball the instant it leaves your clubface. Dimples create a thin layer of air that clings to the surface and travels around the back of the golf ball, which increases lift and decreases both wake and aerodynamic drag. Testing proves that dimples make a difference. Without them, golf balls travel a significantly shorter distance and fly with far less predictability.
Varying dimple shapes, patterns and sizes affect distance, the stability with which the golf ball flies and spin rates on both full and partial shots, so manufacturers are continuously testing and working to improve them.
What is golf ball compression?
Core compression refers to the overall density of the golf ball. Low-compression golf balls, with a rating of 60–80, were originally designed for novice, junior, female and senior golfers. However, skilled golfers are also starting to use them. The lower compression rating of these "soft" golf balls allows for more deformation of the golf ball at impact, especially with metals and longer irons. This deformation reduces spin rates on low- and mid-lofted clubs, which results in straighter ball flight and increased distance. When using short irons and wedges, contact between the clubface and golf ball is prolonged, resulting in a softer feel compared to golf balls with a higher compression.
Higher compression golf balls, with a rating of 90 and above, are typically designed for more experienced golfers with faster swing speeds. Since high-compression golf balls are harder to deform and spend less time on the clubface, golfers with more aggressive swing speeds are able to achieve greater command and control over the golf ball.
Can using a damaged or scuffed golf ball affect my performance?
Your golf ball's cover layer is constructed to exact specifications in order to consistently perform a certain way. Cuts, scuffs and other damage to the exterior compromise those specifications and cause your golf ball to perform in an unpredictable, unintended way. Imperfections in the ball's cover change the way air and drag interact with the golf ball and ultimately result in the loss of distance and accuracy. For example, if some dimples are shallower than others because of a scuff mark, your shot could end up anywhere from 3–5 yards offline and up to 6 yards shorter than your intended distance. It's important to monitor the condition of your golf ball to ensure it is performing properly.
High-quality, multi-layer golf balls commonly feature softer cover compounds, such as urethane, which tend to resist cutting on poor clubface contact. However, these materials are more susceptible to cuts when the ball comes in contact with harder surfaces like trees and cart paths. Two-piece golf balls, or golf balls with lower core compression, often feature firmer cover compounds, such as ionomer, which tend to be more durable and resist cuts on both poor strikes and contact with hard surfaces.
Which golf balls do the professionals use?
While many different golf ball brands are used on Tour, the brand that's most used on Tour is Titleist. The majority of professionals play the Titleist Pro V1 or Pro V1x.
How can I make sure I choose the best golf ball for me?
You can make sure you've picked the right ball for your needs by visiting your local store for a golf ball fitting. Use the DICK'S Sporting Goods Store Locator to find a store near you with a golf simulator, so you can test out a number of golf balls. A DICK'S associate will analyze the distance, trajectory and spin of each ball you hit and help you find the perfect ball for your swing.
Once you've picked a golf ball, it's important to stick with it for a few rounds so you can understand how it performs.