When it comes to technological advancements in golf, most of the focus is on golf clubs. This is somewhat understandable given the wide selection of clubs available on the market. But you may be wondering, do golf balls really make a difference? The answer is a resounding yes.
Golf ball technology has evolved rapidly over the last decade or so. From new materials to different dimple patterns and cores, golf balls are becoming increasingly more influential to a golfer’s game.
Do you have a low swing speed? Looking for better ball flight? The modern golf ball is able to address these needs.
For advanced golfers, using the right golf ball is particularly important, as it can provide more distance off the tee and better control around the greens. A high swing speed combined with maximum distance increases the potential for lower scores.
In fact, many professionals believe that choosing the correct golf ball is just as important for their game as choosing the right golf clubs. You won’t see a pro playing with cheaper golf balls (or lake balls for that matter). The Pro V1x and other expensive ball options appeal to this group.
For the average golfer, swing technique may be the top priority, but golf ball choice should be considered as well. The more forgiving golf balls are designed to help a beginner or senior golfer make the most out of every swing. A softer ball or a distance ball can add important yards during each round. More on those balls later.
Is there a difference between golf balls?
Yes, in the same way that there’s a difference between a Hyundai and a BMW. Both car manufacturers bring something to the table, but depending on your driving style or transportation needs, one car may be a better fit than the other.
When selecting the best-suited golf ball for your game, there are a number of factors that need to be considered. Let’s take a closer look at some of the notable differences between golf balls. This information can help play a role in the decision making process.
Golf Ball Construction
In order to fully understand how your ball will react when it comes into contact with your golf club, it’s important to know exactly how a golf ball is constructed. Below, we’ll provide a brief explanation of the five different types.
- One-piece balls are what you’d find on a mini golf or putt-putt course. This are solid golf balls all the way through, no special core or unique features. These golf balls are not designed for use on an actual golf course.
- Two-piece balls, as the name suggests, consist of two parts – a core and an outer layer. These extremely durable balls are designed to travel further and straighter than most other golf balls. They’re also significantly cheaper compared to their three, four and five-piece counterparts (less materials and technology means a lower cost). A range ball is usually a two piece ball with an extra tough cover. The Callaway Supersoft are an example of a great two piece ball.
- Three-piece balls provide similar distance to two-piece models, but usually offer greater greenside spin. In terms of their construction, they usually have a liquid or solid rubber core, an outer mantle and then a solid cover made from either Urethane or Surlyn. These balls are best for golfers with a swing speed of at least 80mph. A Titleist golf ball like the Titleist Pro V1 falls into this category.
- Four-piece balls are more expensive and best utilized by more advanced golfers. With these premium ball options, there is often an additional layer that’s designed to increase driving distance while producing backspin with the mid-irons. The Pro V1x and the Callaway Chrome Soft are examples of 4 piece golf balls.
- Five-piece balls are the newest on the market, providing high levels of performance and excellent spin separation. These golf balls typically have three mantle layers, which are designed to cope with a wide range of shot conditions and swing speeds. For optimal results, the three layers of the ball are sandwiched between a soft urethane cover and a high-performance core. The TaylorMade TP5x fall into this category.
Golf Ball Spin Rate
For those looking to hit straight shots off the tee and into the greens, a low-spin distance golf ball is ideal. Thanks to a decreased spin rate, a distance ball should roll further after the ball hits the ground.
Nearly all golf ball manufacturers have an offering in this category, since these golf balls are well-suited for beginners, especially those who often struggle with slicing or hooking. They also serve the average golfer quite well, and let’s face it, most recreational golfers are average at best. Maximum distance is often the top priority. There are even some illegal golf ball options out there!
Mid-spin golf balls are designed to bridge the sizable gap between high-spin and low-spin balls. A new ball in this category offers solid distance, but gives the more advanced player better greenside spin. As a result of their all-round quality, these balls are usually marketed as being suitable for all players.
High-spin balls, on the other hand, are suitable for more experienced golfers. These are harder golf balls to play with if you don’t have a high swing speed. There is no need to shell out money on an expensive golf ball unless you can make the most of its technology.
While many people pay no attention to the dimples on their golf balls, dimples play a significant role in ball speed and ball flight.
Most balls typically have around 300-500 dimples. These vary in depth, depending on the brand, creating a unique effect on the ball’s flight. Smooth golf balls travel considerably less distance than a dimpled ball. Seems counterintuitive, but it’s true!
Although the vast majority of dimples are round, some golf ball manufacturers have experimented with different shapes. Callaway, for example, features several golf balls with hexagon-shaped dimples.
Golf Ball Colors and Numbers
While the classic white ball color is what most golfers still opt for, brighter colors such as orange, yellow, and pink are becoming increasingly more popular. It’s worth noting that this consideration is purely a matter of personal preference, and won’t provide any kind of scientific advantage to your game.
That being said, some people who often struggle to pick up the flight of the ball claim that brightly colored balls are much easier for them to track through the air. Women’s golf ball options tend to feature a different color to set them apart from other offerings.
Golf ball numbers don’t make much of a difference either…unless you believe in luck.
Do Golf Balls Make a Difference for Beginners?
Definitely. Using specific golf balls can make a tangible difference in your performance. Golf balls are designed in very specific ways, so if you have a slower swing speed or need a low spin ball, you shouldn’t be playing with the same ball as Bryson DeChambeau.
Find a new golf ball that will help you make the most of your game.