Choosing a golf ball is not easy if you’re a casual player. Even some pros end up switching brands after disappointing tournaments.
Can choosing a golf ball be easier if you understand the basics? Yes. Once you know what types are available and what each layer of material is for and how it influences your shot, buying a perfect fit becomes easy.
Although there are many things to consider overall, for the average golfer things aren’t too hard. Let’s start things off with the first question you should really be asking yourself.
What’s My Skill Level?
This is the first question you should seriously entertain before choosing your golf balls. If you’re a beginner, you’ll probably need more help with distance than spin. Some golf balls have a lot of spin which means that your hook or slice shots will be even worse. But, you still want a good backspin in order to achieve that extra lift and distance.
If you’re nearing a single-digit handicap then your swing speed and technique should be pretty solid. In this situation, you would benefit more from a low spin ratio to maximize your distance off the driver.
You will still need a good spin for your irons. If you’re looking for balls in this category, you’d want what’s known as performance balls. They have rubber cores and one or two inner layers that optimize spin control. Only after those extra layers do they feature the urethane cover with 300 to 500 dimples.
Understanding Popular Golf Ball Choices
The most commonly used golf balls are of two-piece design. This design comprises a solid rubber core and a cover which could be either urethane or Surlyn®. The size of the core affects the softness or hardness of the ball.
Generally, if you’re looking for a bit more distance, two-piece golf balls will deliver. They’re referred to as improvement balls and rightfully so. The larger the core, the more velocity you can get off the tee. And, because of the lower spin you’re able to hit straighter shots.
Hybrid balls are the next logical step. While they’re not as forgiving as two-piece golf balls if you’re still struggling with hooks and slices, they can take your game to another level once you start getting a good grasp on swing technique.
These balls generally have just an extra layer between the core and the cover. The layer allows the ball to have more spin so that mid- to low-handicap players can exercise more control over their shots. They’re still forgiving but they also let you get more performance out of them if you’re in that transitional period.
Do You Need Performance Balls?
What are performance balls? Just add a couple of extra layers to the previously mentioned golf balls. Four-piece and five-piece designs are known as performance balls or pro balls.
These balls feature a rubber core which may or may not be solid. Sometimes you may even find liquid-core pro golf balls.
Adding one or two more layers in between the core and the cover gives even more spin control.
At the same time, they have more spin when using irons, which is a performance feature that you won’t see in any two-piece or three-piece golf balls. But keep this in mind. Just because you’re looking for a ball with an outstanding performance in the five key areas of golf – driving, mid irons, short irons, long irons, and short wedge shots – doesn’t mean it’ll do any good if you don’t have the necessary skills.
Should I Pay More or Less?
Another interesting question is whether or not you’re willing to pay for performance. As a beginner or average player, you shouldn’t feel too big of a difference between cheap and expensive two-piece golf balls. However, if you want to increase the frequency of your tee time, you may need to pay extra to get better durability.
This is also valid if you’re purchasing practice balls. Just because you buy them in bulk doesn’t mean the cheapest balls are the best choice. Practice balls tend to take the most physical punishment so you’ll want to take the durability into consideration.
Some golf balls can help you improve your game while others allow you to showcase your excellent technique. When choosing a golf ball, the most important thing is to determine your skill level. Know your problem areas and the part of your game that lacks the necessary finesse. Once you’ve got that down, choosing the right golf ball becomes infinitely easier.