How to Find the Right Ball for Your Game

Basics of Golf Equipment

How to Find the Right Ball for Your Game

Golf's biggest advancements have come via dramatic improvements in ball construction. Compared to 30 years ago, today's golf ball travels farther, rolls longer, doesn't lose its round, flies straighter, and won't split its cover if you look at it wrong. Precisely engineered dimple patterns have allowed manufacturers to alter everything from trajectory to spin rates. As a result of these breakthroughs, players now have the opportunity to choose and play the best ball for their games. More below...

Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls

Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls

The Titleist Pro V1x golf ball is designed for serious golfers of all levels seeking long distance with Tour-validated feel and performance. With a softer Urethane Elastomer cover, the Pro V1x provides improved playability and feel with mid and short irons. This 4 piece golf ball has fewer dimples and a harder feel the the Pro V1 golf ball. This will equal lower trajectory and less spin. This will spin less off every club for golfers that have a swing speed over 105 mph, creating green holding capability with out over spinning the ball off the green. This is the top selling golf ball in the world. Featuring an improved, higher coverage 332 dimple design. The Pro V1x golf ball maintains long, consistent distance with softer feel and Drop-And-Stop control around the green.

Callaway Warbird Golf Balls

Callaway Warbird

This bird will fly. A 2-piece golf ball built for distance. Longer than ever with even better feel. With its softer, high-energy core, the new Warbird Golf Ball yields astounding ball speed with lower spin for decreased drag, providing longer distance with a softer feel.

TaylorMade Penta TP Golf Balls

TaylorMade Penta TP Golf Balls

TaylorMade Penta TP Golf Ball The TaylorMade Penta TP Golf Ball is the first 5-layer tour ball. Each layer is designed to provide optimal performance on every shot. It has the benefits of the TP Black and the TP Red in one ball. This ball is long off every club, has increased short game spin and controlled launch and spin off irons. The Penta is engineered for Tour professionals but is playable for everyone!

Titleist NXT Tour Golf Balls

Titleist NXT Tour

The Titliest NXT 2010 Tour Golf Ball is designed for average to highly skilled golfers seeking the ultimate combination of soft feel, high performance control and long distance. Advanced, multi-layer construction, with a new Tour-proven, higher coverage dimple design and Staggered Wave Parting Line provide longer, more consistent distance. The NXT Tour is longer with the driver and long irons while maintaining soft feel and high performance control into and around the green.

Our Best Tips

Determine which compression is best for you
Determine if you like two- or three-piece balls.
Pick a ball that suits your level of play.
Choose a ball that fits your budget.
Consider the material.

Years ago, everyone played with a soft, easy-cutting, natural rubber, balata-covered ball--whether you were a scratch player or a 25 handicap. Today, you're lucky to have numerous choices. However, options don't necessarily make things easier. In fact, finding the right ball for your game can be confusing. Rather than have you spend hours researching your options, we did it for you.

Ball Types

There are two main classes of balls: spin, and distance.

Spin: Designed to provide 'workability' over distance, they are often of three-piece construction. A central core (liquid in the highest spin balls) is surrounded by rubber windings, which is often covered with a thin, soft material called urethane or synthetic balata. These balls spin more, making them easier to draw or fade, and they hold the green. They also have a softer feel but won't travel as far as distance balls. These are the balls of choice for many touring professionals, they already have the distance but need good workability. Popular examples of multilayer balls are the Titleist Pro V1x and the Nike One.

Distance: Their cover is typically Surlyn (a durable, very firm material) or a Surlyn blend and are generally two-piece with a solid core. The inside of the distance ball is a firm synthetic material. The combined firmness of the cover and core allow the ball to travel longer distances and be very durable. However, these balls don't spin a great amount. Less spin means less control and stopping ability in certain cases. These have a harder feel than balls with wound construction. These are the balls of choice for the 'general' golfer like you and me as we need the distance and don't have (yet) the ability to work the ball like the pros. The Precept MC Lady and the Maxfli Noodle are two very popular examples of this category.


Synthetic 'Balata': A polyurethane blend that provides a balata-like responsiveness with Surlyn-like cut resistance. Usually combined with wound construction for the ultimate combination of soft feel and better control. Generally used in todays high-end balls.

Surlyn blends: A hard, tough-to-cut cover offering less feel but more durability. Gives more distance but less maneuverability at a good price. A popular choice for beginners.

What We Recommend

Most novice players should try two-pice balls that use a more durable cover so that mis-hits don't ruin the ball's roundness and flight characteristics. For some price comparisons take a look at Golfsmith, they have a good selection of different grades of new and refurbished balls.

For the advanced player we came across Heralded by Golf Magazine as one of the best innovations in golf, is an online golf ball fitting system that is scientifically rigorous in its approach to ball fitting, independent of all ball manufacturers, and brand-neutral in its recommendations of a golfer's best choice for a golf ball.

This system is based on analytical modeling and optimization of ball speed, actual ball flight characteristics, ball construction and compression variables, that provide individualized rankings of recommended balls needed by that particular player to get maximum performance out of their golf ball and game. Probably overkill for a beginner golfer but worth checking out for better golfers.

Our Best Tips

Determine which compression is best for you.
Compression is a measure of how hard the ball may feel--the higher the compression number the harder the feel (and the less it compresses during impact). A common misconception among players is that a 100-compression ball always flies farther. This is not true. Clubhead speed, rather than compression, is most important to distance. For some golfers, a lower-compression ball will fly farther. In fact, many of todays touring pros prefer a lower compression of about 80 for the added 'feel' rather than just distance.

Determine if you like two- or three-piece balls.
Today, spin rates are a function of cover softness rather than construction. Still, a two-piece ball generally produces more distance and less spin, while a multi layer (three-piece or four-piece) ball gives you more feel and additional spin. A three-piece ball often flies higher than a two-piece as well, because spin is what causes a golf ball to lift.

Pick a ball that suits your level of play.
If you mis-hit or top the ball a lot, you're not going to want an easy-cutting ball. Conversely, if you're a scratch player, you're not going to want something that feels hard and gives you less spin and control--even if it won't cut.

Choose a ball that fits your budget.
Golf is an expensive sport. Let's face it, we all lose golf balls - if we didn't, we'd be on TV. Some balls cost more than $5 a piece, and this can add up very quickly if you lose a lot. Find the right ball for your budget. Often similar balls - of the same construction - vary greatly in price. Be conscious of this. Also, you should seriously consider getting recycled balls, they cost a fraction of the new ones and play just as well. A large selection can be found HERE

Consider the material.
While most two-piece balls have a synthetic core that varies only in softness, some companies are now adding exotic materials such as tungsten and titanium. Companies claim that because these exotic materials are dense and the center of gravity is more centrally located, the balls spin more. Some companies use these materials in ball covers, promising added feel and distance. Other companies use multilayer construction. These are higher-priced balls generally made with synthetic covers. They provide a good combination of durability, soft feel, and consistency.

Myths About Golf Balls

More dimples mean a higher trajectory.
Not true. The optimum number of dimples on a golf ball is between 350 and 450. Trajectory is determined by the dimple's depth--not the number.

Golf balls travel farther when they are warm.
Somewhat true. Colder temperatures do decrease a ball's velocity more than warm temperatures; although, the air temperature affects distance much more significantly than the temperature of the ball. The moral of the story is don't bother putting the ball in the oven before teeing off. Your pocket will do just fine. A two-piece ball will have a little faster initial velocity off the clubface in cold weather, so keep that in mind next time the frost is on the ground.


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