Soft vs. Hard Golf Balls

Soft vs. Hard Golf Balls
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Having the right golf ball when playing a game of golf is crucial to your game being a successful one. If you are a beginner, then you may or may not be aware that there are several types of golf ball out there, with varying thicknesses and styles.

If you are keen to find out the difference between soft vs hard golf balls, then you have come to the right place.

In this article, we explore both soft and hard types of golf balls, looking at construction, compression and how to choose the best ball, to determine which style of ball is most suited to which type of player.

Golf Ball Construction

The construction of a ball is essential to how it reacts with a golf club. Not all golf balls will be right for every club, and their construction will depend on the final result that they will produce. Golf ball manufacturers are continually innovating golf ball design as we move into the future.

Below we cover the most popular golf ball types.

One-piece Balls

A one-piece ball is known as the basic, and cheapest type of golf ball to produce. It is designed to be used by beginners, and for use on fun crazy-golf courses. The one-piece is a very soft ball, made of Surlyn and is also durable, however, will not give a good distance due to having a lower level of compression.

Two-piece Balls

Two-piece balls are harder than the one-piece and feature acrylate layering which is covered with a blended cover that provides the ball with a powerful distance in comparison to any other style. For this fact, it is a favourite choice among golfers. Although it provides a good amount of distance, a softer ball might provide easier control.

Three-piece Balls

Three-piece balls are softer and provide a good amount of spin. They are usually made with a solid liquid or rubber core, and feature an enhanced rubber layer with a durable Surlyn or Urethane cover. Thanks to the increased amount of spin these provide golfers extra control over the ball’s flight.

Four-piece Balls

Four-piece balls feature layers that each have their purpose. All of these layers together produce an exceptionally soft golfball that offers a long hit. Its inner core is usually a solid rubber which provides exceptional distance. The layer before transfers energy through from the strike of the club, and the third increases driver distance. This ball is usually designed from Urethane and is incredibly soft.

Five-piece Balls

Five-piece balls are the latest and most recent design of golf ball on the market. With more layers, they offer a substantial amount of spin and performance advantages. They are probably the most priciest balls to buy; however, they do provide the performance required at tour level.

Golf Ball Compression

The compression of a ball is also necessary to note when buying. Lower compression balls will usually be softer, and compress more to provide a greater distance. Golf balls with higher compression, however, tend to offer more control and are often used by good players who can produce faster swing speeds.

Soft vs. Hard Golf Balls?

So what is the difference between soft and hard golf balls? In the past, hard balls were designed mainly for distance and therefore provided less spin on shots on the greens. Soft balls, on the other hand, were designed to promote spin. Therefore softs were better for spin, while hard golf balls were better for distance.

Nowadays, with innovations in the golfing industry, golf balls are being designed with a combination of distance properties from hard balls, and spin properties from soft ones. This is thanks to the added layers on golf balls and softer materials which encourage the golf balls to react favorably with each swing.

Today, the main difference between expensive and cheap golf balls depends on the materials used in the core and mantle of the ball. You will find that the more layers a ball incorporate, the more pricey it will be.

Do Dimples Affect Golf Balls?

Dimples are designed onto golf balls to give them drag. This means that after being struck, they won’t move too fast in the air, and will gently slow down until they land again. The dimples affect the ball’s flight by increasing turbulence on the ball’s surface.

If you were to use a smooth ball without dimples, it would travel shorter as the area of the ball would be more exposed to the air pressure force. In the past, these smoother balls were the norm, however only after they became scuffed, or misshaped did players realize that they would travel a longer distance.

How Do I Choose the Best Golf Ball?

One thing that many golfers struggle with is knowing exactly which type of golf ball to purchase. This is again due to the wide variety of golf balls available on the market. A suggestion could be to try a variety of golf balls around the course, to find out how each of them reacts to your swing and which goes furthest. This way you will get an idea of which type of ball is most natural to control for you and which is most comfortable to play with.

A good factor to look for in a golf ball is how long it takes to stop after swinging, as you will want a ball which is stable enough to land without moving too far every time, making you chase it and hence waste valuable game time.


We have discussed the fundamental differences between soft vs. hard golf balls, taking a look at the various types of balls out there and their constructions. We hope this article has been useful in giving you a bit more information on golf ball types, and hopefully, you will have a better idea of which kind of ball to look for, and which is most likely to be suited to you.

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