Which golf balls are best?
For many golfers, the balls they choose are as specific to their individual skills as their clubs. Though most golf balls look quite similar to those who aren’t passionate about the game, anyone who has played competitively knows how different types of balls interact to different types of swings. From novices to pros, different golf balls offer the materials, design, and construction to fit any golfer’s game.
Are you still working on controlling your spin and distance? Or do you have a low handicap and want to shave a stroke or two? Regardless of your skill level, the right golf balls will give you confidence whether you are playing for fun or to win.
What to know before you buy golf balls
All golf balls have some similar characteristics; but they aren’t all made the same. Here are some features to consider as you shop for your new golf balls.
These little indentations aren’t for just for looks — they drive airflow around the balls which helps when it comes to lift and drag. Although they are only about 0.010 of an inch in depth, this makes a big difference when it comes to the distance they are capable of traveling. Without dimples, golf balls wouldn’t go nearly as far, as the effectiveness of air circulation would be diminished.
Materials and structure
In short, golf balls are made of plastic and rubber. However, there are variances to these materials. Surlyn is popular resin-based cover material that’s known for creating distance and providing lasting durability. Urethane is also a popular cover material that is preferred by experienced golfers for the spin and speed it produces. However, it’s a bit softer, less durable, and pricier. Golf ball cores are made of rubber, with some multi-layered balls having both inner and outer cores.
Compression basically refers to a golf ball’s density driven by the construction of the core. The higher the density, the harder the ball, and the better the performance for the seasoned golfer who has mastered control of his or her swing. As a rule of thumb, novice golfers do well with compression lower than 70, while intermediate prefer compression rates of 70 to 80. Balls with compression of 90 and higher are suitable for advanced players.
Golf balls are constructed in one to five layers. Those made with fewer layers are lower in price and suitable for practice and recreational play. While golf balls with three to five layers cost more, they offer better performance for serious golfers.
When you think of a golf ball, more than likely the classic white dimpled ball comes to mind. However, modern golf balls come in a variety of colors, including easy-to-spot yellow, orange, and pink.
How much you can expect to spend on golf balls
Just like golf balls vary in design and structure, they also come at different price points. Budget-priced balls, which include factory rejects with imperfections, are perfect for practice. Frequent golfers are likely to prefer standard balls with premium quality, however, professional — albeit pricey — golf balls are perfect for competitive and pro-lever players.
If you tend to practice at your game as much as you play competitively, it’s a good idea to have both budget-priced and high-quality balls on hand. Use the less expensive balls when you are working on your skills, and save those designed for serious play for tournaments.
Are you new to the game of golf? If so, consider golf balls with low compression, as they are softer and known to be easier to control. They are also suitable for golfers with slow to mid-level swing speeds.
Check your golf balls periodically for signs of damage such as cracks, deep scuffs, and chips that may interfere with their performance. While you may want to use them for practice or putting, they could potentially be too difficult to control for serious games.
How to pick a golf ball that’s right for you
Whether you are a novice, or a pro-level player who’s out on the course routinely, golfing with the types of balls that fits your individual style will benefit your game. Here are some steps to follow to help you make your make your decision.
Think about your skill level. If you are new to the game, you don’t have to invest in a pricey golf ball. In turn, you don’t want to sacrifice performance for lower quality if you are serious about playing, excelling, and winning at the sport.
Consider your swing. The ball construction and compression that’s best for you will depend on how many mph you can hit the ball, and the type of performance you prefer.
Evaluate the course. You’ll also need a ball that will perform well on the types of courses you typically play on. For example, some courses have more obstacles than others, meaning a worse golfer will lose money if he employs more expensive balls before he’s ready to adequately control them.
Estimate how often you will play. If you are an avid golfer, it’s wise to invest in a ball that’s known for longevity and performance. However, if you play infrequently, a less inexpensive ball will do. Because you will lose plenty of golf balls before you reach that more advanced level.
Think about how much you want to spend. The right ball for you will fit your skill level, match your performance expectations, and fit within your budget.
Don’t overthink it. The most important aspect of picking a golf ball is comfortability. If you know you like the feel of a ball, go with it. Especially around and on the greens, you need to know how the ball will roll. And your performance will be adversely affected if you aren’t sure the ball will do what you want it to.
Golf balls FAQ
Why is it important to clean golf balls during a game?
A. Keeping your golf balls clean in between holes will help you control accuracy with each swing, as dirt or debris on them can alter their performance. Keep a towel in your bag for this purpose, as not all courses have golf ball washers.
What is the standard number of dimples on a golf ball?
A. Most golf balls have 300 to 500 dimples. However, the number isn’t the only thing that’s significant, as the symmetry of these tiny indentations keep balls moving in smooth patterns and prevent wobbling.
I consider myself a mid-level golfer who is always trying to improve my game, though I need more practice time to achieve that goal. What’s the best compression rating for me?
A. Compression ratings that are suitable for golfers at your skill level typically fall around 80 to 90, as they offer good spin and lift and are easy to control for someone who is still honing his or her skills.
What are the best golf balls to buy?
Top golf ball
Our take: This is a top-notch ball that’s designed to perform and last, and is the perfect match for skilled to pro-level golfers.
What we like: It is known as a ball that delivers excellent distance and reliable performance, especially for the serious golfer who is no stranger to the game. The durable urethane cover adds to a player’s ability to control the ball.
What you should consider: Less-experienced players will find the Pro V1s tougher to putt and won’t reap the benefits of their enhanced spin control.
Where to buy: Sold at Amazon
Top golf ball for the money
Our take: Affordability is this ball’s main selling point, plus it offers respectable performance for most mid-level players.
What we like: This is an inexpensive and versatile ball that’s suitable for practice and recreational play, yet also provides distance for those who like to take their game to the next level. It’s available in several colors.
What you should consider: The downsides of the affordable price are some longevity and durability concerns. The compression may be too high for some golfers.
Where to buy: Sold at Amazon
Worth checking out
Our take: Although it offers the low compression that makes it perfect for players who are new to golf, this ball also performs surprisingly well, considering the soft construction.
What we like: This is a soft ball that’s easy to control, yet delivers reliable distance, lift and spin. It comes in several bright colors that can be easily found on the course.
What you should consider: Pros and competitive golfers will probably prefer a higher-compression ball. Most who have used these balls could do without the blue ones that are not easy to see like the other available colors.
Where to buy: Sold at Amazon
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Jennifer Manfrin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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