Are you having a hard time understanding the intricacies of golf balls? Don’t worry, most people are. After all, the balls are probably the most used piece of equipment in golf. Just think about it. On the average course, you may hit your ball over 70 times, depending on your handicap of course. But a golf club? Those you’ll use depending on the situation. You may use one club just five times, but the ball is part of every shot.
That’s why the construction is extremely important. Different layers add different levels of control over the direction, speed, and lift of your shots. While pro golfers tend to find their favorite brand and model from their experiences through the years, amateur golfers tend to need more in-depth research before settling on the most appropriate golf ball design.
Pros vs. Amateurs
All golf balls have two things in common: a core and a cover with dimples. The core partly determines the softness or the hardness rating of the golf ball, as well as the maximum velocity that the ball can achieve.
Layers are added between the core and the cover to provide more control, more lift, and better spin on the green. These extra layers also add a certain level of difficulty to the golf ball. More control is a bit confusing.
Think of it this way. A beginner doesn’t know how to control a golf ball’s trajectory. Some tend to hit hook shots others slice the ball off the tee. Therefore, a beginner will need a design that’s more forgiving which essentially takes some of the control away from the golfer. This should favor a straighter flight trajectory for the ball.
Although there’s speculation that wood was the first material used to make a golf ball, most of the evidence points towards leather balls being used in the early days of the game. But, the sport has come a long way since then, and over the past few decades golf ball designs have changed dramatically.
How do you know when a golf ball has multiple layers? It’s usually in the description. Depending on the number of layers, you’ll often see such terms as ‘two-piece,’ ‘three-piece,’ etc.
The interior layers may be made of a variety of polymers, resin, and rubber, depending on the manufacturer and engineering determination regarding how each layer is supposed to impact the behavior of the golf ball.
These golf balls are as basic as they come. They consist of the core and the cover. They’re also some of the most forgiving golf balls for amateur golfers because they have little spin. However, pro players have no use for them because they don’t allow much control over the trajectory.
Although this golf ball technically has only one layer, it’s still made from two components, hence the description.
The three-piece design features another layer that covers the core. This is also referred to as a hybrid golf ball because it’s still forgiving for unskilled golfers but at the same time it does allow a pro golfer to control the trajectory as well as achieve some decent spin on the green.
Four-piece golf balls have two inner layers between the core and the cover. A common misconception is that this design is guaranteed to have a higher compression. However, what determines the compression is the core and not necessarily the number the layers.
Five-piece golf balls are believed to be the most revolutionary engineering achievement in golf (at the moment, not unlike the number of blades in the top Gillette razor, which may go up at a moment’s notice). The three inner layers that stand between the core and the cover are designed to balance the ball’s performance across all possible situations.
One layer offers more lift, one offers better control on the ground, while the other is supposed to let you achieve the same ball speed and accuracy regardless of the iron. Needless to say, these balls require excellent technique to handle properly
So how many layers does a golf ball have? Technically, the layers are all the pieces that make up a golf ball, except for its core. Although you can refer to a golf ball as a five-piece design, it doesn’t mean that it has five layers.
As far as current manufacturing is concerned, a golf ball can have up to four layers. The more layers it has, the more skill you need to control its trajectory and the more costly it is.