Before getting into the world of golf ball selection and answering the question “What Golf Ball Should I Use?”, it’s vital to honestly evaluate your golf game. Your skill level, swing speed, and your specific needs while playing on the course will determine the exact type of golf ball that suits you best.
Key factors when selecting a golf ball
- Swing speed is key in choosing the right golf ball for you.
- You maximize performance by matching swing speed to golf ball compression.
- Two, three, four or five layer balls have different properties for different skill levels
- There are low spin and high spin golf balls depending on your spin rate
Understanding Your Swing Speed
Your swing speed is one of the most important factors when you select a golf ball. Your swing speed will determine how much your club head compresses the golf ball which affects the overall distance it will fly.
- Higher compression golf balls suit faster swings
- Lower compression balls suit slower swing
How do you measure your swing speed? Next we'll look at how to determine your swing speed and pair you with the correct compression golf ball.
Measuring Your Swing Speed
I use the Voice Caddie SC4 to monitor my swing speed. The SC4 is very accurate. I've compared the readings I get from it to the TrackMan and GC Quad monitors and it gives me the same swing speeds.
- Beginners usually have swing speeds around 60-80 mph so should play low compression golf balls
- Intermediate players swing between 80-95 mph so should play medium compression golf balls
- Advanced players’ swing speeds range from 100 mph or more and should play higher compression golf ball
Matching Swing Speed with Compression
Pairing your swing speed with the right golf ball compression level is key to achieving peak performance. High compression balls, with a compression rating of 90 or higher, are suitable for players with a swing speed over 100 MPH. Golfers with a swing speed between 85-100 MPH should opt for low to mid compression golf balls.
I have written a comprehensive article with charts about compression here. Compression affects a golf ball’s flight, with high compression balls providing a lower flight with less spin and low compression balls giving a higher flight with more spin. Finding the right ball fit can help you determine the best compression and ball type for your swing speed and playing style, ensuring you make the most of your game.
Types of Golf Balls: Decoding Layers and Materials
Two-Piece Golf Balls
Two-piece golf balls are often referred to as hard golf balls but that isn't always the case. They are an excellent choice for beginner and higher handicap golfers because they are cheaper. You lose a lot of balls as a beginner or high handicapper and you don't feel as bad if they are cheap.
These balls generally have a large core and a tough surlyn second layer, also known as a cover. They are designed for maximum distance, less movement left and right, and higher ball flights, making them ideal for newbies and high handicappers.
The perks of two-piece golf balls are their resilience and the increased distance they provide. They are often more affordable than multi-layer golf balls, making them a popular choice for golfers who are just starting or those who don’t play often.
Generally two-piece golf balls do feel harder on the club face when you hit them. The surlyn cover does not spin as much as urethane and you can expect a two-piece golf ball to roll out much more.
Multi-Layer Golf Balls
Multi-layer golf balls offer more control and spin, making them more suitable for intermediate and advanced players. There are three multi layer balls:
- 3-piece golf balls: suitable for mid to low handicap golfers, offering more spin than two-piece balls
- 4-piece golf balls: made for experienced players who have faster swing speeds. These golf balls often have a higher compression rating, providing more spin and a firmer feel
- 5-piece golf balls: provide even more control and spin, designed for professional players
The 5-piece golf balls are crafted for the most skilled players, offering advanced control and performance. Understanding the differences between these multi-layer golf balls can help you choose the best option that matches your skill level and playing style.
Golf Ball Spin: Understanding Its Impact on Your Game
The spin of a golf ball significantly impacts your game by influencing the flight and distance of the ball.
You will achieve various types of spin on a golf ball, such as left-to-right spin, right-to-left and also backspin. Lower spin golf balls offer more distance due to lowered backspin, and are great for players who slice or hook because the balls generate less side spin as well. Higher spin golf balls provide more control and are better for experienced players with a consistent swing.
Wondering how compression and spin relate to golf balls? Let’s delve into the characteristics of low and high spin golf balls and how they affect your game.
Low Spin Golf Balls
Low spin golf balls are designed to reduce backspin, resulting in straighter shots and more distance for most golfers. Additionally, they usually have a durable cover that can withstand wear and tear. These balls are ideal for golfers who need a more reliable and straight flight off the driver.
The lower spin rate of these balls helps achieve a straighter and further flight compared to high spin balls. If you’re looking for more distance and a straighter flight, low spin golf balls may be an excellent choice for your game. A great example of a relatively low spin premium golf ball is the TaylorMade Tour Response or the Titleist AVX.
High Spin Golf Balls
High spin golf balls are designed to provide more control over your shots, especially around the greens. Popular high spin golf ball models include the Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x, Callaway Chrome Soft X LS, and TaylorMade TP5. These balls have been tested and proven to offer more spin and control when hit.
Golfers who can generate spin with their wedges typically prefer high spin golf balls. The advantages of using high spin golf balls include better control and accuracy, especially when approaching the green. They also feel a lot softer around the greens off the club face. However, they may require some practice to use effectively and may result in a loss of distance compared to low spin balls if your swing speed is not high enough.
Golf Ball Feel: Soft vs Firm
How a golf ball feels is subjective and can impact your performance on the golf course. Soft golf balls provide a better feel and are great for players with slower swing speeds, while firm golf balls offer more distance and control, making them perfect for players with faster swing speeds.
We’ll now compare soft and firm golf balls, focusing on how they affect feel and performance.
Soft Golf Balls
Soft golf balls, such as low compression golf ball options, are ideal for players with slower swing speeds, providing a better feel. These balls usually have a compression rating between 70 and 90.
Advantages of soft golf balls include:
- Better feel off the club face
- Less speed loss when not hit perfectly
- More distance off the tee.
These balls can improve spin, distance, and overall performance for golfers of all skill levels and swing speeds. Examples of soft golf balls include the Srixon Soft Feel and Callaway Chrome Soft, both offering exceptional feel and control with decent distance and spin performance.
Firm Golf Balls
Firm golf balls, such as high compression golf ball, are designed for players with faster swing speeds, offering more distance and control. These balls have the following characteristics:
- High compression rating, usually over 90
- Hard cover
- High compression, giving you high velocity
- High launch angle
- Low spin
- Firm feel
Firm golf balls are suitable for advanced players who need more distance from their shots and a durable cover that can withstand the increased impact from faster swings. If you have a fast swing speed and desire more distance and control, firm golf balls may be the perfect choice for your game.
Budget Considerations: Balancing Performance and Price
Your budget significantly shapes your decision when selecting a golf ball. Low handicap golfers typically opt for premium golf balls, while beginners or high handicap players prefer cheaper options.
We will guide you in finding the best golf ball for your budget by discussing the benefits of both value and premium golf balls.
Value Golf Balls
Value golf balls offer the following features:
- Decent performance at an affordable price
- Ideal for beginners and casual players
- Focus on maximum distance and straighter shots
- Affordable option
- May not offer advanced spin control or fancy materials
Examples of value golf balls include the Wilson Smart Core and Noodle Golf Balls, providing a good balance between performance and price for golfers who don’t want to spend too much on golf balls.
Premium Golf Balls
Premium golf balls provide superior performance but come at a higher cost, making them suitable for advanced players. These balls typically have 3-5 layers and offer better performance, control, and feel than value golf balls. Top brands for premium golf balls include:
If you’re an advanced player seeking the best performance from your golf ball, premium golf balls may be worth the investment. Examples of premium golf balls include the Titleist Pro V1, TaylorMade TP5, and Callaway Chrome Soft, all designed to offer exceptional performance and control for skilled golfers.
Top Golf Ball Recommendations by Category
Having discussed the various considerations for selecting a golf ball, let’s now examine our top golf ball recommendations tailored to different skill levels and preferences. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, we’ve got you covered with the best golf ball options for your game.
Best for Beginners
For beginners, we recommend Noodle Golf Balls, offering a budget-friendly option with decent performance. They have a low compression rating, a soft compression core, and a two-piece construction, making them an excellent choice for starting players.
Another great option for new players is the Callaway Supersoft golf ball. These balls focus on distance and accuracy, with a low compression core and a soft cover for a soft feel. Both Noodle Golf Balls and Callaway Supersoft provide a good balance between performance and cost for beginning golfers.
Best for Intermediate Players
Intermediate players can benefit from the Bridgestone E6 and Vice Pro Plus golf balls. The Bridgestone E6 offers a nice mix of soft feel and performance, designed to maximize distance off the tee while maintaining control and feel around the greens.
The Vice Pro Plus provides Tour-like performance at a reasonable price, with a firmer core suitable for golfers with swing speeds over 95 mph and a three-piece cast urethane construction for premium performance.
Best for Advanced Players
For advanced players, we recommend the Titleist Pro V1, TaylorMade TP5, and Callaway Chrome Soft golf balls as some of the best golf balls available. These premium golf balls offer exceptional performance, control, and feel for skilled golfers. Their advanced core technology and multi-layer construction make them a top choice among professional players worldwide.
Investing in premium golf balls can significantly improve your game, providing the performance and quality you need to excel on the course.
SO WHAT GOLF BALL SHOULD YOU USE?
Ultimately, the best golf ball for you will depend on the factors we outlined above. But here are some very quick general recommendations:
- Beginners: a two-piece distance golf ball get the most distance and also deviate left and right much less on mishits.
- Intermediate Players: If you have a moderate swing speed and want a balance of distance and control, a mid-compression golf ball will suit you.
- Advanced Golfers: High-swing-speed players and golfers who need precise control should go for a multi-piece golf ball that matches their swing characteristics.
- Budget-conscious Golfers: If you’re on a budget, Kirkland Signatures are fine for everyone.
In the quest to improve your golf game, choosing the right golf ball is a key step. By understanding your swing speed, skill level, and course conditions, you can find the best golf ball for you. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question, “What golf ball should I use?” The perfect golf ball for you is the one that complements your game and makes you enjoy cracking open a box and playing more golf.