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Are You Playing with the Right Golf Ball?

It’s a Wednesday evening in the heart of summer and you’re in a heated match in your weekly league.
Both you and your opponent missed the green left on a long par-3, the next-to-last-hole of the match, and
now face a tough chip to get up and down for par and keep the match square. They hit a crisp sand
wedge that grips the ball perfectly, causing it to check up before rolling out a couple of feet to gimme
distance. Meanwhile, you hit what feels like a good chip, only to see it the golf ball roll out six feet past the cup, and
ultimately a two-putt bogey, putting you down in the match.

Why did their ball get the right amount of spin and stop close to hole while yours rolled out? Most likely,
you’re playing the wrong golf ball.

For us golf nerds, new golf clubs are fun, fascinating, intriguing, and we spend an awful lot of time
thinking about which ones are right for our game. But don’t forget that the single piece of equipment you
use on every single shot is the golf ball, and that’s why it’s so critical that you choose the one that best
suits your game.

Golfers often find that selecting a ball out of the many options available is overwhelming, confusing, and
yes, maybe even intimidating. But if you take the time to research your options, you’ll see immediate
results, and that means lower scores and more fun.


Golf Ball Features

So when we think about which golf ball is right for us, we have to start by understanding a little bit about what makes up a golf ball.


The core is made up of several materials that give it a rubber-type compound. Intermediate Layers Golf balls range in layers from simple two-piece construction to multi-layer construction like three- and
five-piece balls.


The cover of the golf ball helps determine how soft it is and its playability around the greens. Covers
range from a simple surlyn cover, which you’ll find on lower-end balls, to a super-soft Urethane cover
which helps make for a ball with stopping power on the greens.

Nike RZN Golf Ball


The dimples provide the aerodynamics of the golf ball and affect both the trajectory and ball flight.

What to Consider When Choosing a Ball

You’ll want to take into account several factors when choosing the golf ball that’s right for your game.
Many golfers mistakenly think first about distance off the tee. Everyone wants to hit it longer and
straighter with the driver, but the actual distance you may gain off the tee by choosing a ball designed to
go longer will in reality probably only be a few yards.

Instead, you should focus on how the ball reacts from 120 yards and in, and for those shots around the
green – chips, pitches, bunker shots, and putts. In other words, the short game.

Better players almost exclusively play a ball with a urethane cover because it provides superior grip
between the clubface and ball, and therefore it creates more spin around the greens. Why do they prefer
that? Because that’s the area of the game where you can really save shots and score.


Compression is a term you’ll often hear when talking about golf balls. But what exactly does it mean?
Basically, compression is the measure of the deflection a ball undergoes when it’s struck. Compression is
measured between 0 – 200, with 200 being a ball that doesn’t compress at all and 0 being a ball that
deflects 5mm or more. Most golf balls range from 50 – 100 in compression.

Lower compression balls tend to compress more and offer greater distance, while higher compression
balls tend to offer more control and are favored by better players with faster swing speeds.

Spin Rate

When the ball is struck, spin is created on the ball, and this affects the direction the ball travels. Fighting a
slice? You’re probably coming over the top with your swing and creating side spin on the ball that makes
it bend to the right. Conversely, if you predominantly hit a hook you’re likely coming too far from the inside
and putting right-to-left sidespin on the golf ball.

Low spin balls help decrease that sidespin which means often-straighter shots, perfect for many amateurs
who fight a slice or hook.

High spin balls are designed to increase spin, which as we’ve discussed, is beneficial around the greens
on short-game shots.

Then there are mid-spin balls which help bridge the gap between the two and balance distance and
control. These balls are geared toward the widest range of players, those who don’t want to give up
added distance off the tee or short-game feel.

Swing Speed

A common misconception among golfers is that only players with “high swing speeds” should play high-
end, tour-caliber balls.

However, remember that you have a different swing speed for the different types of shots you play during
a round. Your driver swing speed is markedly different from your 9-iron swing speed, so you want to make
sure you have a golf ball that can perform for every shot you hit during a round.

Slow Motion Golf Ball impact


Golf can be an expensive sport, and everyone has his or her own budget to consider when purchasing
equipment. Think about what level you’re at in the game and how often you play. Do you tend to lose
quite a few balls during the course of a round?

For a beginner golfer or someone who just plays every once in a while, lost balls may be an issue, so
you’re better off with perhaps a two-piece, surlyn-covered ball that is on the lower end of the price

Conversely, if you’re a low-handicap golfer, selecting a three-, four-, or even five- piece, urethane-
covered ball will provide the control and precision around the greens you need.

We often talk about getting fit for golf clubs, whether that’s your driver, a set of irons, or a new set of
wedges, but golf ball fitting is just as, if not more important, as well as perhaps the least taken advantage
of. But to truly find out what ball is right for you, you should seek a professional to fit you properly.

Look for a ball that offers the best combination of distance, accuracy, and short-game precision, at a
price-point that fits your budget.. But pay particular attention to the scoring zone and short game, as
you’re likely to see the greatest improvement to your game in these areas.

Remember, when you do find a golf ball you love that performs the way you want it to, stick with it. The
more you play that ball, the more confident you’ll become, allowing your shot consistency to improve and
your scores to drop.

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