Many golfers don’t realize the importance of the golf balls they choose to play with. Golf balls are perhaps the least exciting element of golf when it comes to purchasing your kit, choosing a new driver or which bag to get based on which celebrity golfer is using is of course much more fun.
But, golf balls actually have a huge impact on the quality of your game and there are actually several things to consider when choosing them.
One of the most important factors to consider is golf ball compression. Compression can affect feel, spin, control, distance, height and more.
What is golf ball compression?
When we talk about golf ball compression, we are referring to the density of the ball and how it impacts a player’s game.
When a player hits a golf ball, the impact of the hit compresses the ball. Golf balls are rated in terms of compression. Anything rated between 70 and 90 will be a high compression ball, and anything rated below 70 is considered a low compression ball.
The lower the compression of a golf ball, the softer it will ‘feel’ and the higher the compression, the firmer it will feel.
Low compression golf balls are often advertised as being able to make the ball travel further, something all golfers will be tempted by. But, it isn’t as simple as low compression = added distance.
Let’s take a further look at the pros and cons of low compression golf balls to find out if they really do go further.
Pros of low compression balls
There are lots of reasons why low compression golf balls are a favorite for many, but let’s focus on the three main points when it comes to choosing golf balls: distance, feel, and spin.
- Added distance
Low compression balls are perfect for beginner golfers and seniors with slow swing speeds, because they are easier to hit further.
They are able to travel further because they compress more at impact with a golf club than higher compression balls, so there is a larger amount of energy released on the ball.
This is likely the biggest benefit of low compression balls. That added distance off the tee is going to make a big difference to their game, and on longer holes particularly.
That being said, there are of course several factors that determine how far the ball will travel, such as where on the club you hit the ball, swing speed etc. but, if you struggle with these elements, a low compression golf ball will give you that little extra distance.
- Soft Feel
The ‘feel’ of a golf ball refers to how the ball feels against your club, especially when hitting shots close to the green. A soft feel ball will make you feel more in control of the ball, and you might be able to achieve shots that you can’t with firmer balls.
The feel of the ball is actually quite important and can have a big effect on your game. The easier it is to control the ball near the green, the better your score will be, guaranteed.
Firmer balls will feel like hitting a rock, and your lack of control will be shown in your score at the end of a match. Lots of golfers tend to prefer a ball with a softer feel for shots around the green.
- Higher spin rate
Low compression balls often tend to have a higher spin rate than firmer ones. Spin rate is just simply how much the ball spins once you’ve hit it. A higher spin rate can be beneficial because it can enable you to hit the ball higher into the air. This can be useful if you’re struggling with height off the tee.
It’s also a pro because a higher spin rate also allows you to stop the ball quicker, too. This means, when the ball lands on the green, it is less likely to bounce or roll away, which can be very frustrating.
Spin rate is much-disputed among golfers and many will have a problem with a higher spin rate, we’ll come on to this in the next point.
Cons of low compression balls
As we’ve hinted at in the previous point, there are always cons to every pro. Some of the features of low compression balls can be pros for some golfers, and cons for others. One such feature is the spin rate.
- Too much spin
Low compression golf balls, as we’ve said, produce a high spin rate, which can be good for some but, others find it harder to control a ball with a higher spin rate and, if not used properly, it can actually hinder your game.
Contrary to the first pro, too much spin can actually result in loss of distance, which of course makes the point of using a low compression ball for the sake of distance null and void.
So, if added distance is important to you, but a higher spin rate is not, it’s a good idea to try a few different low compression balls to find which will work best for your needs.
- Too soft
A soft feel can be exactly what some players need to give them that added feeling of control on the green, but for some, a soft feel actually makes the ball harder to control, particularly when hitting off the tee because the player can’t feel the impact of the ball as much.
This isn’t really a con of low compression golf balls, though, rather more highlighting the fact that some players may prefer something else. But it’s worth noting, if you are someone that prefers a firmer feel, low compression balls might not be for you.
That being said, the only way you’ll know for sure is if you try some out. You may find you will have to play around with a few different types of balls before finding the right one for you.