All Golf Balls Look the Same, but do they Perform the Same?

 


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Finding the right ball for you is about spin, feel, distance, and price.

Just like golf clubs, golf balls must fit the golfer, and as with clubs, you must match the golf ball that best complements your specific swing and style of play.

Golf balls, although not inexpensive, are affordable enough to allow a degree of experimentation. You should try different brands and types of balls before settling on one.

Distance and Spin

Today’s golf ball is about getting the 2 basic factors of distance and spin correct.

The trajectory (launch angle), provides the distance, and the spin provides better control of the golf ball.

Launch or trajectory angle is determined firstly by the driver, and then next by the golf ball.

If you already drive the ball long and accurate, perhaps the spin and feel of the ball around the green is more important.

Some top golfers will fit the golf ball, from the spin and feel of a ball around the green, back to the driver. Others will go from distance with a driver down to the wedge.

There are tracking devices used by professionals and ball manufacturers that track the flight and launch angle of the ball. The higher the COR of a ball , the higher the velocity this gives, but with a much lower feel to the ball

So what should you be looking for to get more distance through a better launch angle?

If you have, a low hand speed, then a ball that has high spin would give more optimum lift, hence more distance.

Conversely, a. higher hand speed would be better with a low spin.

Of course a downside to the higher spin ball, is that if you hit it incorrectly, then you will also put on the ball more side spin and the ball could go further off to the right or left of centre!

Feel

It is the core that determines the compression and the hardness or softness of the ball. The outer cover will determine the durability and spin.

The old balata balls gave lots of spin and a good feel, but were less good for ball flight, or durability.

The Top-Flite Strata golf ball, introduced in the mid-1990's, produced the first 3 piece ball. . It merged a high-spinning, soft-feeling Tour Balata type of ball, with the low-spinning, long-flying, and durable Pinnacle or distance ball.

This remarkable three-piece ball, was, indeed, two balls in one: It was a long-flying/low-spinning distance ball off the tee, and a high-spinning control ball off the irons.

They achieved this by adding a soft polyurethane cover on what was virtually a Top-Flite distance ball, and then adding a thin middle or mantle layer that encased the ball's already large and solid rubber core.

A few years later, balls such as Titleist's ProVI, Maxfli's M3 Tour, Callaway's Rule 35, Nike's TA2 (both the Long and Spin models), and others, including new balls from Strata, improved on Strata's original breakthrough, by improving the durability of their urethane outer covers and making them thinner and firmer for added distance.

At the same time, advances in rubber systems allowed ball makers to design cores that were more energetic or “faster, " for even more distance on shots hit with the longer clubs, while maintaining a nice soft feel.

Tour balls today, can provide good distance, durability and spin, but at a price.

What is best for you?

If you have a high hand speed, then a higher compression ball, like a ‘DT’ ball, maybe better. With a slower hand speed, a lower compression ball like the ‘Maxfli noodle’ would probably suit. (I am not a representative of either golf ball manufacturer).

The manufacturer, today, can make a ball with a large rubber centre that feels soft like the low-compression balls of years past, but flies far with a lot of initial ball speed like the old high-compression balls.

Therefore, it is wise now to read what it says on the box, and try them out. You will be amazed at how different balls react.

Price

Tour golf balls are still the best, but are a high price to pay.

Perhaps a happy medium is the mid-price range, which will provide good spin or distance characteristics, without having to pay through the nose. Plus if you lose those golf balls, then maybe you won’t need to spend as long looking for them.

Be honest with yourself, what is the ideal for you, is it distance or feel, or a happy medium all round.

Good luck in your ball fitting.

Bill Ritchie runs a site http://www.thegolfprofessor.com/ , dedicated to providing great golf tips, from the basics through to detailed tips, and practice drills, to help improve and enjoy your golf, plus topics on rules, fitness, nutrition, sloping lies, bad weather, history, and golfing articles.

You're welcome to reprint this article online, as long as it remains complete and unaltered, including the “About the Author" info at the end.

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