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Playing a low compression golf ball is crucial if you’re a golfer with a slower swing speed. There are many different options to pick from, and in this post, we’ll cover which are ideal for different types of players.
Here are the best low compression golf balls:
One thing to note is that some of these balls won’t be ideal for you. The right one for you is mainly based on your skill level, which we’ll be talking about throughout the article. If you’re curious about compression ratings, you can read our golf ball compression chart here.
|Wilson Duo Soft+||2||35||Low||High|
|Srixon Q-Star Tour||3||75||Mid||Mid|
|Titleist Tour Soft||2||60||Mid||Mid|
|Bridgestone Tour B RXS||3||64||High||Low|
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What Is Golf Ball Compression?
Golf ball compression is how much or how little a golf ball compresses when you make contact. Low compression balls require less speed in order to fully compress the ball while high compression balls require more speed.
Think about dropping a rubber ball and rock to the pavement. Which one will bounce higher? Obviously, the rubber ball will because it’s able to compress (squish) and then decompress (return to normal shape), which is how energy is created.
The same goes for golf balls. To get the maximum distance on the course, you need to play a ball that you can compress the right amount. That being said, you can also over-compress the ball.
Generally speaking, low compression balls (under 70) are best for slower swing speeds and will generate the most distance. High compression balls (over 90) are best for fast swing speeds. Mid compression (70-90) is somewhere in the middle.
Who Should Use A Low Compression Golf Ball?
A low compression golf ball is softer and easier to compress compared to a high compression ball, which makes it a good choice for ladies, high handicaps, and seniors. This results in more distance for these types of golfers.
A low compression golf ball should be used by golfers with slower swing speeds (under 90 MPH), as they will generally fly further with lower driver spin. They can also assist with added spin and feel around the green where you need it with your shorter clubs.
A low compression ball is one whose core threads are wound around the core, less tightly than others. A less tightly wound ball is considered softer than one which is tightly wound and is given a lower compression number, say 70-80, rather than 90 or 100.
Since they are softer and impart more spin, the ball will compress more on impact, but the added distance off the tee won’t necessarily include added accuracy unless you’re hitting well. If you’re slicing, for example, as many high handicappers do, a ball with a high spin rate will slice just as easily as it will spin backward.
As with all golfing equipment, there are pros and cons to a low compression ball, and they are not suited to low handicappers, who generally enjoy a higher swing speed.
Will A Low Compression Golf Ball Go Further?
Since a low compression ball is easier to compress, it will typically go further for golfers with swing speeds under 90 MPH. Once swing speeds get above this point, you may get more distance with a ball with a higher compression rating.
To get maximum distance from the ball, it must be compressed fully on impact. This requires the golfer to partially flatten the ball – something high handicappers, seniors, and women generally struggle to do.
I have specified the player type here because a player who can compress a high compression ball sufficiently will not need a low compression ball (as it would give him less control.)
Unlike Titleist, most golf ball manufacturers believe that compression in a golf ball is a vital aspect of its movement, and the science involved makes sense to me. The more clubhead speed you can deliver, the further the ball should go, regardless of direction.
If you are an older golfer or one with limited movement due to excessive size or an old injury, perhaps, you are almost certainly not going to generate the same swing speed that you could in your prime.
Take a baseball batter with a ball in hand; he tosses the ball up and then hits it a certain distance. Take the same batter and have a pitcher throw a screamer at him, which he hits with the same force as the first shot. The ball flies well past the first distance due to increased compression on impact.
A slow swing speed cannot compress a golf ball as much as a fast swing speed, and a low compression ball helps compensate for this. We actually did a test to see how they compared, so if you’re curious, you can see do high or low compression golf balls go further?
What Is The Advantage Of Low Compression Golf Balls?
- Increased driving distance – The main advantage of a low compression ball is that it will take less force from the clubhead to move it forward. Good contact will give your drives more distance due to the ball compressing more easily, but be aware that this ball may have added spin, which could have you spend more time in the rough.
- Increased Spin – Although I have just cautioned you about added spin, it is a big help if you are hitting the ball reasonably well; lifting higher into the air when approaching the green, and also stopping quickly.
- Softer feel – Not all low compression golf balls have this feature, but I personally find that those that do are great to play with. ‘Feel’ around the green is something better experienced than described, but it’s like hitting a rubber ball compared to a stone. With the one, you feel more control, whereas with the other, it’s just a ‘klonk’ on your clubhead with no transfer of information.
A low handicapper who has no trouble with distance off the tee may find that while the increased spin causes him no bother regarding spraying, it actually robs him of distance.
A pro I spoke to in this regard had an added concern – he felt that around the greens, the ball actually felt too yielding – too spongy – for him, but of course, that might just be a matter of preference. You can learn more about soft vs hard golf balls here.
Not all low compression balls are the same, and I suggest you try out several if you think these balls may assist your game. We’ll talk about some solid options soon.
What Is The Disadvantage Of Low Compression Golf Balls?
We just talked about the advantage of low compression balls. That being said, there are some downsides that you need to be aware of. It really depends on your skill level and swing speed.
Once you start getting better, your swing speed will normally increase. It’s not always the case, but it’s pretty common. Once your swing speed gets past 90 MPH with the driver, you’ll probably run into some of these issues:
- Less distance: Once your swing speed gets faster, your distance will likely increase with a higher compression ball. This is because you’ll end up over-compressing certain balls.
- High ball flight: Part of the reason that you’ll lose distance is that your ball flight could be too high. You might get a lot of backspin off the tee, which increases height and decreases the amount of rollout.
- Less short game spin: Low compression balls are typically built for high handicappers who can’t really spin their wedge shots. This means they aren’t designed to land on the green, bounce once or twice, and then stop.
The Different Types Of Low Compression Golf Balls
Despite Titleist not producing any specifically-low compression balls, I’m still sticking to my belief – and that of almost every other golf ball manufacturer – that compression is an essential aspect of a great golf shot.
However, if added distance comes with added spin, which affects your slices, then clearly, compression is not the final word, though it is a great start.
A two-piece low compression ball will give you added distance without excessive spraying to the side, and with its low cost and high durability is an ideal choice for beginners and high handicappers.
These balls are often covered in an ionomer skin, though an outstanding exception is the Bridgestone e6, which has a Surlyn cover and a compression rating of 50.
In contrast, a three-piece ball will not give the same distance, but the urethane cover will assist with spin and control at the green. This ball would be a good suggestion for a medium handicapper, who hits a reasonable distance from the tee box and can usually reach the greens in regulation.
Bridgestone has an ionomer-covered ball, the e12 Contact, which is wonderfully responsive around the green, certainly in my experience.
RELATED: Ionomer vs Surlyn vs Urethane Covers
Even four-piece balls are now made with low compression, and Callaway’s Chrome Soft at a compression rating of 75 is one of the finest. The urethane cover gives a very soft and responsive feel around the green, and distances from the tee are reasonable.
All golfers want to use the best possible equipment in their game. Fortunately for your pocket, the most expensive golf ball is not necessarily the best thing for your game. You can learn more from our cheap vs expensive golf ball test here.
Honestly, consider your own level: Can you hit 200 yards off the tee with reasonable accuracy at least 50% of the time? Are you playing off the blue tees because you can’t reach the green in regulation from the white?
Don’t let peer pressure or clever advertising hold up your game. If in doubt regarding your swing speed, see your local pro. Many of them have machines that can measure your swing speed accurately. The right ball for you might not be the most expensive one.
Best Low Compression Golf Balls For High Handicappers
A high handicap golfer is anyone that shoots over 90 on a full-sized course, which means that the average player will fall into this category. You would also throw beginners into this group.
The reason we broke things up into three different groups is that different golfers need their balls to do different things. A complete beginner is going to need something different than Tiger Woods.
Pretty much all weekend golfers will use a 2 or 3-piece golf ball, but with that, you also need to think about spin rates and compression ratings. In my opinion, these are the things you’d want to look for:
- Cheap price.
- Good distance.
- Straight shots.
- Mid to high ball flight.
I’m sure you know that high handicappers lose a lot of balls. We’ve all been there, spending just as much time looking through the bushes as we do in the fairway. Premium balls will really hurt the wallet.
You also might have a low to mid-swing speed, so distance is important as well. Nobody likes being 30 yards behind the rest of your group, so we need a ball that suits our swing.
One of the best ways to lower scores is by hitting more fairways. Some balls are designed to spin more (for more control), but that’s not what we want. If you slice or hook the ball, you need a ball that goes as straight as possible.
RELATED: 5+ Reasons Your Golf Ball Goes Right
You probably also want to get decent height on your shots. Some balls are designed to fly lower, but we’d most likely get more distance by using something that flies nice and high.
My own personal favorites are the Titleist Velocity and Wilson Duo Soft+. The Velocity was the best overall for me and also hits the furthest. The Duo Soft+ is the straightest ball I’ve hit off the tee.
The others are solid as well and are definitely worth trying out. They’re all pretty similar though in that they fly straight, high, and far. For in-depth reviews of each and the best places to get them, click on the links above.
Best Low Compression Golf Balls For Mid Handicappers
A mid-handicap is anyone who shoots in the 80s on a full-sized course. These golfers need a lot of the same features as high handicaps, but they also need their ball to do a few more things.
Mid handicaps still slice or hook the ball every once in a while and are why straightness is still a priority. You’ll probably be able to swing the club faster and that is why distance isn’t the main thing to look for.
Playing a ball that has a bit more short-game spin is something you’ll want to look for. Having better control over your wedge shots is a super important part of your game if you want to lower scores.
That being said, you’d still want a ball that has low driver spin. That will keep your ball straighter off the tee. Also, the price tag will start to increase as you add spin.
Here are some great low compression balls for mid-handicappers:
- Srixon Q-Star Tour (best value for the money)
- Titleist Tour Soft
- Taylormade Tour Response
I’m a mid handicap myself and all three of these balls are solid choices. My go-to would be the Q-Star Tour simply because it’s the cheapest. They’re all tour value balls which means they offer increased spin rates at a cheaper price (not as much as premium balls like the Pro V1).
Both the Srixon and Taylormade balls have a compression rating slightly higher than 70, but it’s really close to being low compression. The Titleist has a compression rating somewhere around 65. Read the full reviews above if you want to know more.
Best Low Compression Golf Balls For Low Handicappers
You’d fit into this category if you can consistently shoot in the 70s. The majority of you won’t be here (yet), but at this point, you need your ball to help in any way possible.
Sure, you could work your way into the 70s using any of the balls we’ve talked about, but if you really want to have max control over the ball, you’d want to upgrade to a 3 or 4-piece golf ball (premium ball). They even make a few 5 piece golf balls too.
Once you’re at this point, you’ll want to start controlling the height and shape of your tee shots. Windy conditions? Hit the ball lower. Dogleg left? Hit a big draw.
You also want to be able to land the ball on the green and have it stop quickly (just like you see on tv). This is the main difference between tour value and tour premium balls, the spin rates.
These two balls are actually the only premium balls that are close to being “low compression.” The Callaway is somewhere around 75 while the Bridgestone is around 65. This means they’re built for swing speeds under 105 MPH.
If your swing speed is above 105 MPH then you probably shouldn’t use low compression balls. You’ll probably get better performance out of a mid to high-compression ball (Pro V1, TP5, etc).
Note. This article is part of our series on golf ball compression. If you’d like to know more about it, how it impacts your game, and things to look out for, I’d recommend checking that out.
Articles Up Next
- Best Golf Balls For Average Golfers
- Best Golf Balls For Mid Handicappers
- The Different Types Of Golf Balls Explained
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