I’m old enough to remember most of the original Pokemon cards. Now, 20+ years later, I listen to my kids talk about ultra-rare Pokemon and a host of new characters that I’ve never heard of.
I feel old.
In a similar fashion, some of you grew up playing a simple 2 piece golf ball that you fished out of the pond at your local golf club.
Back then, there were 4 or 5 brands to choose from, and as far as you were concerned, the best golf ball was the one you didn’t pay for.
Times have changed my friend.
Golf ball technology is continually evolving, so it’s important to know what your options are and what golf ball will bring the best out of your swing.
With that in mind, let’s spend a few minutes focusing on the 5 piece golf ball.
What are 5 piece golf balls made of?
Generally speaking, a 5 piece golf ball consists of the following layers:
- A urethane cover (layer 1)
- Several mantles (layers 2-4)
- A synthetic rubber core (layer 5)
For the sake of time, I won’t bore you with details on each manufacturer’s proprietary blends or bow down to their fancy marketing terms.
What you need to know is this: Five piece golf balls have multiple layers. Each layer serves a different purpose to optimize performance. These layers can work wonders for golfers with the right skillset, but they aren’t for everyone.
What does each layer do?
The answer to this question is a bit complicated.
For example, if you hit a 5 piece golf ball with a driver, all five layers will be activated to maximize distance. This assumes you have a high enough swing speed to reach the core of the ball (TaylorMade says a swing speed of 75mph or more is needed to activate their TP5 golf ball).
However, if you hit a 5 piece golf ball with a wedge, you’ll only activate the outer two layers of the golf ball, the layers specifically designed to increase spin and help you land the best greenside shots.
The technology for these multi layered golf balls is really impressive. Some parts of the mantle are utilized differently depending on the club that’s in play.
The video below gives you a glimpse into TaylorMade’s 5 layer golf balls, how they work, and how far the technology has come. It’s worth a watch.
What is the biggest selling point for a 5 layer golf ball?
In simple terms, a golfer gets maximum distance where they’d expect it (with their driver, for example), but they also get higher spin rates and ball speed with their long irons. This combination was typically unattainable in the past.
Who should use a 5 piece golf ball?
This is the million dollar question.
(In some cases, this is literally a million dollar question.)
5 piece golf balls are designed for two groups of golfers.
Group 1 – PGA Tour Players
This may surprise you, but the most talented golfers in the world benefit the most from a 5 layer premium golf ball.
Rory McIlroy had this to say about the 5 piece TaylorMade TP5x golf ball.
The is the best ball I’ve hit…EVER.
I’m sure the R&D team at TaylorMade cried tears of joy at that press conference.
The key takeaway here is that professional golfers have the swing speed and shot shaping capabilities to make the most of this technology.
Instead of just getting speed OR spin with their long irons, PGA Tour players (and other professionals) can get both.
As you could imagine, a high-level player loves having the ability to get maximum distance while still sticking their shot on the green.
Group 2 – Low Handicap Golfers
If you are a low handicapper or a scratch golfer, pat yourself on the back.
You’ve already demonstrated the ability to hit the ball consistently well, so now its time to experiment with a 5 piece golf ball.
Two caveats worth mentioning:
- Make sure you have a high enough swing speed (75mph+) to activate all that these golf balls have to offer. My guess is that you do.
- Test 4 piece golf balls as well. They may actually produce better results depending on your swing type and golf ball preferences.
Should you use a 5 piece golf ball?
Yes, if you are a low handicap golfer that wants more speed and spin with your long irons, by all means, use a 5 piece golf ball.
If you are an average golfer (think mid to high handicapper), feel free to give these balls a try, but don’t expect them to work miracles.
I would strongly suggest you check out some of my other recommendations including:
And if you really want to push the limits, you should check out my post on the Best Illegal Golf Balls. Casual hackers seem to love that one. 😂
Who Makes the Best 5 Piece Golf Balls?
As you may have already guessed, I think the best 5 piece option is the TaylorMade TP5 golf ball.
I’m a true fan boy.
There are a number of reasons for this, but let me give you the most logical one.
TaylorMade launched the first 5 piece ball back in 2009 (the Penta). They have over a decade of data and experience to pull from.
The evidence seems to suggest that they’ve done a great job using this head start to perfect their technology, as each iteration of the TP5 ball gets better in terms of distance and control.
Other companies — including Callaway — have tried their hand at a 5 piece ball, but none of those options stay around for very long.
There are several high-level golfers that use the TaylorMade TP5/TP5x. Those who don’t often go with a premium 4 piece ball like the Titleist Pro V1x.
I don’t usually take the time to summarize a write-up, but in this case, I’m making an exception.
Here are a few nuggets of wisdom for the road:
- 5 piece golf balls aren’t for everyone.
- Average golfers typically do best with a 2 or 3 piece golf ball.
- The more layers a golf ball has, the more skills you need to make the most of them.
Have thoughts or questions? Feel free to post them in the comments below.