There is nothing in the golfing world that gives you a “choice overload”, like a golf ball. Simply put, there are way too many golf balls available in the market and without knowing what to specifically look for in a golf ball, you’re probably going to end up wasting a lot of money and walking away with a ball that might possibly be the worst fit for your game style.
Contrary to popular belief, a player’s handicap is not a good indication of what kind of golf ball you need. To understand which ball is the best for you, you first need to realize the parts of a golf ball and how they affect your game.
A golf ball usually consists of three parts - The core, the mantle, and the cover.
The core is the heart of the golf ball, which essentially helps in retaining the energy that is generated once a club makes contact with the ball. A solid core allows you to retain more energy, thereby ensuring it flies with the right amount of speed, spin and launch once airborne. It is usually made up of different grades of rubber (polybutadiene rubber for you nerds out there!) that are typically used in a core to give it certain speed or spin characteristics.
The mantle is the part that separates the cover from the core. Its primary role is to keep moisture away from the core. Depending on the number of mantles being used, performance characteristics can also be adjusted for different parts of the bag, essentially fine-tuning spin and distance. It is made of a blend of different ionomer materials to get the exact hardness and speed characteristics which in turn lets you decide whether you prefer more or less spin, and also helps with ball speed retention without having to make the cover harder.
You usually get the option of choosing from two-part, three-part, or four-part golf balls when it comes to the number of layers.
- Two-part golf balls are easier on your wallet, long-lasting, and best suited for novice golfers. These are distance creators but lack accuracy.
- Three-part golf balls are slightly more expensive than two-part golf balls and are preferred by regular players as they offer a better feel and greater control of precision when it comes to long shots. These provide a little more spin and more forgiving.
- Four-part golf balls are the most expensive in the market. They are what some consider the best golf balls out there as the touch distance and control at the moment of the impact they offer is unparalleled. These are usually made for Tour pros to offset their high swing speeds as they give a high iron spin.
The cover of all golf balls has dimples on their outer layer as it directly affects the aerodynamics once airborne. Depending on the thickness of the cover and material, it too can change distance and spin.
With all that science behind us, we can finally address the main question, how does one choose the perfect golf ball for them? The best way is to try your ball against the others for your woods, irons, wedges and putter with a launch monitor in controlled conditions.
Find a golf ball type based on your skill level and personal preferences, based on your overall golf game and weaknesses.
Skill Level: High handicap players should opt for a ball that is designed for additional distance or control, whereas, low handicap players will want to ensure their ball is designed for additional spin.
If you find yourself to be 15-20 yards shorter while using your preferred driver, a golf ball designed for additional distance may be the best choice, whereas, if you find yourself comfortably reaching the greens but the ball tends to not stick on them, you would be better off with a ball specifically designed for additional spin.
Swing Speed: Depending on your swing speed, golfers that can carry their drives more than 240 yards would ideally choose a golf ball with a compression rating of 100, while golfers with a slower swing can use a ball with an 80 or 90 compression rating. Bridgestone has specific products just based on swing speed!
The ideal way to pick a ball? Get fit by a certified fitter that can look at how to optimize a ball based on your spin and ball speeds with driver, irons and wedges and the feel and markings that you might like for putters. At Clubworks we use the Trackman4 with 2 radars that really dramatically improves capture rates of spin and launch even on your wedges!