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Golf ball compression was a big deal back in the day because it made a huge difference in your game. Even though it’s not quite as important as it used to be, it’s something you need to consider, and in this post, we’ll cover what compression ball you should be using.
As a general rule, a low compression ball should be used by golfers that swing the club less than 85 MPH, a mid compression ball is for swing speeds between 85-100 MPH, and a high compression ball is for swing speeds above 100 MPH.
Don’t get me wrong, you can use the wrong ball compression and still put up some pretty decent scores. All I’m saying is that you’ll get optimal results if you match the compression rating to your swing speed. If you’re curious, you can see our golf ball compression chart here.
What Is Golf Ball Compression?
Golf ball compression is how much the ball compresses when you make contact. Low compression balls require less club speed to optimally compress the ball while high compression balls require faster speeds.
There are a bunch of reasons why you should pick the right compression rating for your ball. It won’t make or break your game, but it can help you get the most distance, the right spin rates, and have the most control.
If you don’t already know, here is what golf ball compression looks like:
As you can see, the ball squishes more when you increase speed. The ball that was tested was a Pro V1, which has a high compression rating (90) and is ideal for faster swing speeds.
Imagine if you swing the club at an average speed of somewhere around 90 MPH. You probably aren’t going to compress that ball very much, which is kind of funny because most weekend hackers use that ball.
There are a bunch of different types of golf balls that are made for different types of golfers. We’ll touch on what the pros and cons of each ball are later, but for now, let’s talk about the different compression ratings.
Low compression: These golf balls have a compression rating below 70 and are ideal for slow swing speeds (under 85 MPH). Examples of these balls are Callaway Supersoft and Bridgestone e12 Contact. These are normally 2 or 3 piece golf balls.
Mid compression: These golf balls have a compression rating between 70-90 and are ideal for swing speeds between 85-100 MPH (moderate). Examples of these balls are Titleist Velocity and Srixon Q-Star. These normally have 2 or 3 layers as well.
High compression: These golf balls have a compression rating above 90 and are ideal for swing speeds above 100 MPH (fast). Examples of these balls are Titleist Pro V1 and Wilson Staff Model. These are normally 3 or 4 piece golf balls and are built for professional golfers.
How Does Golf Ball Compression Impact Distance?
Having the right compression rating for your swing speed will let you compress the ball enough to activate the core. Once you’ve compressed the core, it will spring off the clubface and will give you the optimal distance.
The inside of a golf ball is made from a rubber material, almost like a bouncy ball you played with when you were a kid. When you drop the ball on the ground it compresses and then decompresses, which causes it to bounce up.
The golf ball pretty much works the same way.
Higher compression balls normally have more than three layers. That means the core is smaller and you need more speed to reach it. It could still work if you don’t swing fast enough, but it won’t give you the best results.
The opposite is true for low compression balls. They normally have a big inner core, which doesn’t require as much speed to activate. This is why they’re good for seniors and high handicappers.
We actually did a test to see how compression impacted distance at different speeds. If you’re curious, you can find out do low or high compression balls go further?
Can you over-compress a golf ball? A golf ball that’s compressed too much will take longer to return to its original shape as it flies through the air, which will cause ball speed and distance to decrease.
Another thing that impacts distance is the ball height. Most low compression balls are built to increase height, so if you have a faster swing speed, the ball will go even higher. That means it won’t roll as much when it hits the ground.
What happens if you don’t compress a golf ball enough? A golf ball that’s not fully compressed won’t be able to store as much energy in the core, which will result in less ball speed and distance.
What Is The Advantage Of Low Compression Golf Balls?
The main advantage of low compression balls is that they’ll increase distance for golfers with slower swing speeds. Other benefits could include higher launch angles, less sidespin, and more forgiveness.
A low compression golf ball is something with a compression rating below 70. Examples would be Bridgestone e6, Wilson DUO Soft+, and Srixon Soft Feel.
If you watched the video above, you know that more speed will compress the ball more. How do you do that if you don’t swing the club very fast?
This is a problem a lot of senior golfers, ladies, and beginners struggle with. The solution is to use a ball that will fully compress with less speed.
When you’re able to fully compress the ball it’ll be able to store enough energy and decompress, which is where distance comes from. This means you’ll be able to increase your yardages.
Part of the reason you’ll gain distance is that your ball flight will be higher. If you pair a slower swing speed with a Pro V1 (high compression), you might get really low shots. Less time in the air will obviously decrease your distance.
A higher ball flight isn’t always a good thing, especially for better players with faster swing speeds. Anything below 85 MPH (swing speed) and you could probably benefit from more height.
Another benefit of lower compression balls is that you’ll reduce side-to-side spin on your shots. When you’re able to actually compress the ball all the way, you’ll get much straighter shots. You can see how sidespin and backspin affect a golf ball here.
That’s another reason why distance increases (more height + more straight = more distance). Find out more about do low spin golf balls go further and straighter?
What Is The Advantage Of High Compression Golf Balls?
The main advantage of high compression balls is that they’ll increase distance for golfers with faster swing speeds. For faster swing speeds, these balls will give the optimal ball flight, spin rates, and control.
Just like with low compression balls, high compression balls also have their pros and cons. Sure, they can be played by all types of golfers, but they’re built for specific players to give them the best results.
Examples of high compression balls are Titleist Pro V1, Taylormade TP5, and Bridgestone Tour BX. You’ll also see that these balls are all built for better golfers.
The main benefit to higher compression balls is that they’ll increase distance for golfers with swing speeds above 100 MPH. Lower compression balls will compress too much with these speeds, which won’t give you the best performance.
Another benefit is that these balls won’t go quite as high. People with faster swing speeds don’t need help getting the ball in the air. Less height will actually let the ball roll out in the fairway longer.
The final benefit is that the spin rates will be better for better players. You’ll be able to control the height and shape of the ball much better, which will give you better accuracy with the ball.
Do Low Compression Golf Balls Go Further?
As a general rule, low compression balls will only go farther for golfers with swing speeds below 85 MPH. For golfers with swing speeds above 100 MPH, higher compression balls will generate more distance.
For golfers with slower swing speeds, having a low compression ball will add height and straighten out your shots, which as a result, should give you some extra distance.
Even if it doesn’t, wouldn’t you rather lose some distance to hit more fairways? I don’t know about you, but I’d take that tradeoff all day long if I wanted to improve scores.
On the other hand, low compression balls will decrease distance for golfers with faster swing speeds. When you over-compress the ball it’ll go a lot higher than normal, which will cause the ball to fall sharply and not roll out down the fairway.
Learn More: Want to know more about compression and swing speeds? Click here to find out do low or high compression golf balls go further?
Which Golf Balls Have The Highest & Lowest Compression?
The golf ball with the lowest compression is the Wilson DUO Soft+, which has a rating of 35. On the other hand, the Mizuno RB Tour X has the highest compression, which has a rating of 110.
The Wilson DUO Soft+ is a ball that’s designed for swing speeds under 90 MPH. Having a compression rating of 35 will give seniors, ladies, or just anyone with below-average swing speeds more pop off the tee.
I’ve even used this ball myself and I actually hit it really well. My swing speed is somewhere around 95 MPH, but I was amazed at how straight these balls were. A fairway finder for sure.
The Mizuno RB Tour X is a ball that’s designed for swing speeds above 105 MPH, so that’s pretty much only going to be pro golfers. Sadly, that’s probably nobody reading this.
Learn More: Want to see more examples of high and low compression balls and how it impacts your game? Click here to learn what are the softest and hardest golf balls?
What Compression Golf Ball Do The Pros Use?
Professional golfers use golf balls with compression ratings between 75 and 102. Lower compression balls are used by golfers like Fred Couples and Lexi Thompson while the higher compression balls are used by longer hitters like Brooks Koepka.
It’s important to know that compression rating isn’t everything when it comes to golf balls. There are 75 compression rating balls for mid to high handicaps and there are 75 comp balls that are for the pros.
Fred Couples uses a 75 compression golf ball but his swing speed is somewhere around 105 MPH. The Srixon Q-Star ball also has a compression rating of 75, but the recommended swing speed is under 95 MPH.
The most popular ball on tour is the Pro V1, which has a compression rating of 87-90. The Pro V1x is also popular, which has a compression rating of 97-100. Most balls are somewhere in this range.
RELATED: Which Golf Balls Do The Pros Use?
What Compression Golf Ball Should You Use?
Now that you know all the details about compression, it’s time you figure out what’s right for your game. The best place to start is by knowing your swing speed.
Once you know your swing speed it’ll be a lot easier to find a good match. If you can get your swing tested then that’s the best option. If not, you can look at how far you normally drive the ball.
|Driver Distance (Yards)||~ Swing Speed (MPH)|
|Under 200||Under 80|
|Over 275||Over 100|
This isn’t an exact match but it should give you a good starting point. You’ll also need to figure out how much short game spin you need, but that’s a topic for another post.
If your driver distance is less than 200 yards: Your swing speed is probably less than 80 MPH and you should definitely use a low compression ball. Anything below 70 should give you the best results.
If your driver distance is between 200-240 yards: Your swing speed is between 80 and 90 MPH, which is still a bit less than average. At this point, you should still be using a lower compression golf ball.
RELATED: Best Low Compression Golf Balls
If your driver distance is between 240-275 yards: Your swing speed is between 90 and 100 MPH, which is average to above average. You’re probably in mid-handicapper range and should use a mid-compression ball, somewhere between 65 and 90.
RELATED: Best Golf Balls For Mid Handicappers
If your driver distance is over 275 yards: Your swing speed should most likely be over 100 MPH, which is above average and approaching tour level. A high compression ball (above 90) should give you the best results.
RELATED: Best Golf Balls For High Swing Speeds
Once you know the rough compression rating you should be looking for, the next thing to do is look at spin and feel. Do you really need a ball that has a high short-game spin? Do you prefer a hard or soft golf ball when it comes to feel?
Frequently Asked Questions
What compression golf ball should a high handicapper use? High handicappers and beginners will likely have slower-than-average swing speeds, which is why a low compression ball is ideal.
What compression golf ball should seniors use? Senior golfers normally have a slower swing speed as they get older, which is why a low compression ball is a good choice. The amount of short game spin you’ll need will depend on your skill level.
Note. This article is part of our series on finding which golf ball is right for you. If you’re curious about anything related to picking the right ball and how it can impact your game, I’d recommend checking that out.
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- 5 Piece Golf Balls: What You Need To Know
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