Does the golf ball you use really matter?

How to find the right golf ball to fit your game

Have you ever wondered if the golf ball you use really matters?  As a golfer, one of my gratifying feelings is taking a fresh golf ball out of the sleeve and teeing it up!  The next time you do, remember the golf ball is one, if not THE, most important tool in your golf armory.   

ISN’T A GOLF BALL JUST A GOLF BALL? DOES IT REALLY MATTER?  Consistency is the name of the game. Playing the same golf ball and finding one that fits your skillset will make your game more consistent. As I always tell my students, find something within your budget that you like playing and get to know it. A premium ball could actually hinder your game. So many players tell me they play any golf balls they find, meaning every round, hole or shot could be played with a different type of golf ball and cause inconsistencies. Golf is tough enough! Take advantage when you can by choosing the best ball for your game to help you lower scores and have more fun. 

HOW DO I KNOW WHAT BALL IS BEST FOR ME?  Things to consider when choosing a golf ball are price, distance, and spin control.   

Price: Considering your budget is the first thing to do. The more spin control you want, the more expensive the ball will be and will move you into premium golf ball territory. Set your budget first, then you can start thinking about distance and spin. 

Spin vs. distance with hard or soft golf balls: Have you ever tried the Bite Test? I know, it sounds crazy, but you can actually feel the difference when biting a hard vs. soft golf ball? The harder the ball, the further it tends to go with less spin. Harder golf balls tend to be much cheaper than softer golf balls. If you lose balls regularly then harder golf balls could be ideal for you. Soft balls stick to the grooves of your irons and wedges and spin much more. 

Swing speed and how it affects your ball:  The faster you swing a club, the higher the compression ball you need to get the proper performance out of the ball. For players with slower swings, there is a wide variety of lower compression balls out there to help your game. Soft golf balls compress more on impact and go further with a lower swing speed. They tend to favor players who don’t swing as fast, and can offer extra distance and control to beginners, juniors, ladies, and seniors. They may even improve the games of some lower handicappers.   

Layers on golf balls and how they make a difference: Many golf balls have several layers. Typically, the more layers the ball, has the more versatile it will play. Harder golf balls usually have fewer layers. Manufacturers will describe their golf balls as having “… multi-material layers that each provide some performance to the ball.” Most premium golf balls will have 4 – 5 layers. Cheaper golf balls tend to have less than four layers.   

How dimples affect the golf ball: Dimples on a golf ball provide in-flight stability and allow the ball to travel around 30% further when compared to a smooth ball. The small pockets grab the air mid-flight and act as mini wings to keep the ball afloat on a stable path as it spins through the air.  The shape, size, number, and formation of the dimples are all equally important. Please contact your local physicist for more information. 

When to stop using a golf ball: Many times, I have heard, “I’ve played the same ball for the last five rounds without losing it!” First of all, that is fantastic because your game is consistent enough that you rarely lose a ball. However, the benefits of that ball are diminishing with every shot taken. Time for one of my favorite things: Take that brand-new ball out of the sleeve and tee it up! 

The difference between a good ball and a bad ball: When it comes down to it, it’s all about personal preference and what fits your game and your budget. Don’t play a ball just because your favorite pro golfer plays it! Take the time to get fit for a golf ball from a local PGA Professional and see if it makes a difference. A ball fitting will usually start with the ball that you normally play out of your bag. A golf professional will then have you test brand new balls with a launch monitor that will show you ball speed, launch and spin. When those numbers are optimized you will notice a significant difference in your shot making.  

Hopefully this advice will help you find the right golf ball to fit your game. To make an appointment for a professional ball fitting contact Willis Case Golf course at 720.865.0700. 

Ben Tremayne is the Head Professional at Willis Case Golf Course.

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