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When it comes to golf balls, a lot of people assume that low compression balls are for slow swing speeds while high compression balls are for fast swing speeds. Though that could be true, it’s not always the case, and in this post, we’ll talk about what golf balls you should use with a slow swing speed.
In order to figure this out, we tested a number of different golf balls with golfers with slower swing speeds. Two of my playing partners have what’s considered a “slow” swing speed. One of them shoots in the 90s and the other one in the 80s. This post will talk about the results we got.
What Swing Speed Is Considered Slow In Golf?
The average driver clubhead speed for most men is around 80 to 90 MPH and for women, it’s about 20 MPH slower. Typically, golfers with slower swing speeds are beginners, seniors, and lady golfers.
Do you bomb your drives 300 yards down the middle of the fairway, to envious appreciation from your golfing buddies? Does the head of your driver fly through the air at a supersonic rate?
No, probably not. And that’s the same for most people. If you’re curious, you can see the average driver distance by age here. The numbers probably aren’t what you’d expect.
There are charts used by golf professionals when fitting players for clubs. A fast swing speed – which needs an extra stiff golf shaft – is over 105 MPH. Indeed, many Bridgestone ball types are split into two categories – those for speeds over 105mph and those for speeds less than that holy grail of golf.
Someone with a speed of around 95 to 105 MPH needs a stiff shaft. And a regular shaft – called regular because that’s where most male golfers inhabit – is around 83 to 95 MPH.
With a good swing, I can get a bit above 95 MPH, which caused some head-scratching when I went for a driver fitting – because I was right on the cusp. I was advised to go with a stiff shaft.
So, a slow swing speed is 72 to 83 MPH – roughly – and that would need a senior flex. Women tend to be under that, somewhere around 72 MPH.
How can you work out your swing speed? There are several simple ways:
- Have a fitting at a golf shop and get the data
- Go to a driving range fitted with launch monitor facilities
- Alternatively, many clubs these days have a swing room with a launch monitor
- Or buy your own launch monitor. They’re not as expensive as you might think
I’ve been using the Garmin G80 for the past year. It’s fairly accurate and will tell you things such as swing speed and smash factor – ie how well the clubhead has connected with the golf ball. They were £349/$499 at the time of writing. I consider it one of my best golf investments.
I’ve seen some advice online on how to measure swing speed – such as going to the driving range and seeing how far your drives carry (how far the ball flies before it hits the ground). Then divide that carry distance by 2.3 and you’ll know your swing speed.
That sounds like a lot of effort and not overly accurate to me. It doesn’t take into account wind speed, for example. It might give you a rough idea, but I’d recommend getting a more accurate number.
Of course, it’s not just about club head speed. It’s about the connection with the golf ball – that smash factor – and tempo and timing. I’ve heard several professional golfers say the mistake most amateurs make is just trying to hit the ball too hard.
Are Low Compression Golf Balls Better For Slow Swing Speeds?
Low compression and softer golf balls could be a good fit for golfers with slower swing speeds, but it’s not always the case. I’d argue that having the right shafts to match your swing speed is the most important factor.
Yes perhaps if you’re using a super-hard golf ball – such as a Titleist Pro V1x or a Bridgestone Tour B X – you will lose a few yards with your driver. But you might gain elsewhere – such as around the green.
Titleist will argue that golfers will hit shots with a wide variety of swing speeds. Bryson DeChambeau – who uses Bridgestone balls – doesn’t hit his wedge shots at 130mph, after all. Titleist also says that all of their balls will work for all players.
They continue to say: “The truth is that every golfer has many different swing speeds, not just one. Golfers utilize a wide range of swing speeds to execute the vast array of shots that are required in every round, and to play your best, the golf ball must perform for all of these different shots.
There are a number of important factors to consider when deciding which golf ball is best for you, but swing speed should not be one of those factors.
At Titleist, we design and produce golf balls to deliver total performance at every speed, with every club, on every shot, not just the 14 drivers you may hit in a round.”
One thing most ball manufacturers agree on though is that having a ball fitting is crucial. It is your most essential piece of golf equipment and knowing which clubs and which balls are absolutely right for you could save you a lot of shots. And maybe even help you to win that comp you’ve been dreaming about.
One thing I will say is that hitting a Pro V1x does feel very hard on the clubface after hitting a very soft golf ball and, psychologically, that might mean it isn’t suitable for players with slow swing speeds.
If the ball feels like hitting through butter, you might just feel more confident with it. But everyone is different – so get a fitting or try out different balls yourself.
Other Factors You Need To Consider
Price is the first big factor in choosing a golf ball. Are you playing a course with a lot of water and might lose several on your round, for example? If so, perhaps a cheaper ball is the way to go. That would rule out a Pro V1 or a Srixon Z Star or a Taylormade TP5.
But if you want the best, what should you consider? A 3 or 4-layer golf ball will spin more on greens for extra stopping power. If your ball flight is low, you might need a ball that will fly higher such as a Pro V1x. Or if it’s windy, perhaps a Titleist AVX would work as it flies lower.
Should low handicap golfers with slower swing speeds play the same ball as a mid/high handicap player with a slow swing speed? Titleist would say absolutely! Their balls are designed to perform for all golfers, not just highly skilled players, they say.
In fact, a less-skilled golfer might benefit from using a high-performance ball because they miss more greens and need to get up and down more often, to save strokes. Bridgestone talks about the “hit and sit” factor of its balls around greens.
So, there’s a lot to consider and you have to decide what’s right for you. Do you need the maximum help you can get with your short-game shots? There aren’t many golfers who don’t!
Is Pro V1 Good For A Slow Swing Speed?
According to Titleist, the Pro V1 could be a great fit for golfers with slower swing speeds. What’s more important to think about is whether or not you could improve your scores with more short-game spin.
Titleist says: “While mid to high handicap golfers hit well-struck shots during their rounds, they just don’t hit them as often. Their missed shots, particularly on shots into greens, require more forgiveness.
Better stopping power from higher spin on approach shots and short game shots can often mean the difference between staying on the green or rolling off it.”
But of course, they are expensive. And there are some Pro V1 alternatives from companies such as Srixon, Taylormade and Bridgestone. Most ball makers these days have a fitting guide on their websites.
You type in various factors about your game and it tells you which ball is best for you. The best way forward would be, as I’ve already mentioned, to have a fitting at your club or at a golf shop. It might take an hour or so but it might just improve your game!
Best Golf Balls For Slow Swing Speeds
Now that you know more about swing speeds and factors you need to look at, you might be asking “what ball is right for me?” The choice really comes down to your skill level.
Golfers who shoot in the 70s should probably use a different ball than someone shooting in the 100s. You could use the same ball but I don’t think it would benefit you in any way (but will hurt the wallet).
For beginners and high handicaps (shoot above 90), the price is one of the biggest things to look at. You’ll lose a lot of balls so there’s really no point in buying $5 balls. You should also look for distance and forgiveness.
For mid-handicappers (shoot in the 80s), you should still look for distance and forgiveness, but you might also want more short-game spin. Being able to stop the ball quicker on the green is one of the best ways to improve your game.
For low handicappers (shoot in the 70s), you don’t need as much distance and forgiveness, and the main thing to look for is control. Being able to control the trajectory and shape of the ball is important. You probably also need maximum greenside spin.
I wanted to do a simple test to see which balls performed the best for different golfers. I know a couple of people who have slower swings. One of them shoots in the 90s and the other shoots in the 80s. We’ll talk about which balls performed the best for them.
Slow Swing Speed + High Handicap
A high handicapper is anyone that shoots above 90. At this point, you probably won’t hit many fairways and greens and will likely lose a lot of balls. The price is one of the most important things to consider.
Your shots off the tee will probably hook or slice, which means you’ll need a forgiving ball. Your wedge shots will land on the green and roll off, which is because you don’t know how to spin your wedge shots.
There’s no point in spending a bunch of money on a tour-level ball because it won’t make much of a difference. Once you’re able to put some level of spin on your wedge shots and start shooting better scores, then it might be time to upgrade.
The best type of ball for you will be an entry-level 2-piece ball. You can see our 2 vs 3 piece golf ball article here. They’ll fly high, straight, and should give you the most distance.
For one of my golfing partners, these were the two balls that performed the best:
Alternatively, you can see our full article on the best golf balls for average golfers. This covers a range of different swing speeds and factors to consider.
Slow Swing Speed + Mid Handicap
A mid handicapper is anyone that shoots in the 80s. At this point, you’re starting to get better and it might be time to upgrade your ball. You can absolutely use a cheaper 2-piece ball, but you might get more out of a higher-quality model.
You’ll probably still hit the occasional hook or slice, but you’re much more consistent. Distance is still a big factor as well. One other thing you might need is a bit more greenside spin.
You might be able to hit your wedges with a bit of spin, which means you’ll need a higher spinning ball. I still wouldn’t recommend a tour-level ball (Pro V1 or Chrome Soft), but a tour-value or cheaper 3-piece ball could be perfect.
For my mid-handicap golfing partner, these were the balls that offered the best value for the price:
- Titleist Tour Soft
- Callaway ERC Soft
Alternatively, you can read our full article on the best golf balls for mid handicappers. It covers most of what you need to know and compares a number of different balls.
Slow Swing Speed + Low Handicap
A low handicapper is anyone that shoots in the 70s. At this point, it’ll definitely be worth playing a tour-value golf ball. I still wouldn’t recommend something like a Pro V1, Chrome Soft, or TP5 because those are for faster swing speeds.
If you have a slower swing speed, you’ll need a slightly softer golf ball. That being said, you’ll also want a ball that offers a good amount of greenside spin. This is how you’ll control your wedge shots.
Most companies have their tour-level balls, such as the Pro V1. A lot of companies also have their tour-value balls. These balls are still really good, but they don’t spin quite as much. That’s what gives them a cheaper price tag.
Compared to other balls, these have a lower compression rating and also offer a good amount of greenside spin. I think it’s the perfect combination for low handicaps with slower swing speeds. Both are 3-piece balls with a urethane cover. See urethane vs ionomer vs Surlyn golf balls.
Here are our top choices:
- Taylormade Soft Response
- Kirkland Signature
Don’t get me wrong, you can absolutely use a tour caliber ball and put up some great scores. You can also use a cheap 2-piece ball and play good golf. All I’m saying is that, in my opinion, from the testing we’ve done, these are great options for the price.
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