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Choose Wisely – How to select the right golf ball for your game

When it comes to selecting which golf ball to play, the choices can seem infinite and the options overwhelming. Especially for golfers new to the game or just coming back to golf, it can be difficult to distinguish what makes a more expensive ball better than a less-costly alternative or to understand how a ball suited to your swing can accentuate your strengths and offset your weaknesses. 

Fortunately, great options are out there for all types of players and all budgets, says Russel Imamura, Assistant Manager at The Golf Mart in San Diego. 

“There are golf balls that perform amazingly well that are suited for all skill levels,” Imamura said. “You can get a great all-around performance golf ball at a variety of different price points.” 

As players progress, most will gravitate toward a ball that emphasizes distance or one that focuses on feel. Although some seasoned golfers have it in their minds that distance balls typically feel “clicky,” today’s distance balls actually have a soft, large core. “Golf balls such as Wilson Duo and Callaway Supersoft are extremely soft feeling, and also go a long way off the tee,” Imamura said. 

Popular golf balls for players seeking more feel include the Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x, TaylorMade TP5 and TP5x and Callaway Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X. Their urethane covers are thin and soft, providing amazing interaction with short irons and wedges. And, they spin and grab, and feel buttery soft off the putter. 

The construction of golf balls has advanced greatly over the years, and a basic understanding of what’s inside can help you choose the right ball. Because your driver generates the fastest swing speed, it compresses deepest into the ball and interacts more with the core. A softer core generates more energy transfer and leads to greater distance. Irons and wedges typically produce swing speeds 10-15 miles per hour slower, so those clubs have more interaction with the middle layer and the core is not as important. For players looking to shape shots and spin the ball around the greens, urethane covers are preferred. 

“The more layers there are, the pricier the golf ball and higher performance,” Imamura explained. “These golf balls are made of urethane and anywhere from 4-5 layers. Everyone loves the cover that allows for those cool one-hop-and-stop shots. Distance balls are made from two or three layers but have a large soft core. That makes them easier to compress and get more distance off the tee.” 

TITLEIST PRO V1 AND PRO V1X – Everyone from the top pros to ordinary Joes play Titleist Pro V1s, which is why it’s the No. 1 golf ball in the game. And to make an even better version for 2021, Titleist changed the core, the casing, the cover and the dimple pattern to deliver longer distance, more greenside spin and control, and a softer feel. Also new for 2021 is the Titleist AVX, which offers mid-handi- cappers a premium ball that prioritizes distance with soft feel. > SHOP HERE 

CALLAWAY CHROME SOFT X LS – Want to hit bombs off the tee? That’s what the new Chrome Soft X LS is made for, according to Callaway. The ball features a 4-piece cover and single core that is much larger to create more distance with every club in the bag. The ball also offers maximum greenside control thanks to a thin proprietary urethane cover that delivers high spin, low launch, and excellent feel with your scoring clubs. It’s also available in Triple Track, which pairs with Callaway’s Triple Track putters to create an effective alignment system.  > SHOP HERE 

SRIXON Z-STAR AND Z-STAR XV – If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it could be the slogan for Srixon’s new tour performance golf balls, the Z-Star and Z-Star XV, which is why only minimal upgrades were needed for the 2021 editions. The Z-Star features a re-engineered, thicker cover that is more elastic to create more bite at impact and spin on the greens, while the XV has a reformulated inner core that increases speed and distance. Also, keep your eyes peeled this spring for the new Q-Star Tour Divide, which features a yellow and red matte urethane cover.  > SHOP HERE 

TAYLORMADE TP5 AND TP5X –  TaylorMade is sky high about a new Tour Flight Dimple Pattern on its 2021 TP5 and TP5x golf balls. The dimple design offers a unique dual-radius shape that helps optimize airflow around the ball during flight, reducing drag and promoting distance. While both models deliver distance off the tee, the TP5 offers a softer feel and more spin around the greens, and the TP5x is the fastest and longest ball in TaylorMade’s lineup. There are also pix versions of the TP5 and TP5x, which offer the company’s ClearPath Alignment system. > SHOP HERE 

BRIDGESTONE E-12 CONTACT – The Bridgestone e-12 Contact is all about the dimple. The Contact Force dimple pattern on the cover features a unique structure with a raised area in the center and an outer portion that slows horizontal rotation during flight. The result allows for 38 percent more contact with the clubface at impact than traditional dimples, creating faster ball speeds and straighter distance. They also come in a multitude of colors. > SHOP HERE