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If you’re anything like I used to be you probably just play whatever golf ball you found in the bushes the last time you played. I did that for a while because I thought all balls were the same, but that’s actually not the case at all and could be hurting your game.
If you have to run or you just don’t care about all the specifics and want to know what ball is right for your skill level, check these out:
- Best Golf Balls For Average Golfers (shoot above 90).
- Best Golf Balls For Mid Handicappers (shoot in the 80s).
If you actually like knowing what goes into a golf ball and how things like layers, compression, and spin affect the ball, continue reading. Every type of ball is designed for different types of golfers, so we’ll be talking about what to look for at different stages.
What Are The Different Types Of Golf Balls?
The very first thing to consider is what type of ball you should be playing. The easiest way to look at this is whether you should be using a 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 piece golf ball.
Golf balls are made with different layers and each has its pros and cons. As a general rule, a ball with more layers is designed for better players.
The number of layers on a ball can impact your shot height, your distance, your spin rates, and how the ball feels at impact.
Better golfers will probably want a ball that has a lower ball flight and more spin. Beginners will want a ball that launches high, spins less, and gets max distance.
There is quite a bit more that goes into it, but let’s just quickly run through the characteristics of each type of ball and what they’re designed for.
1 piece golf balls: These balls are made from a single piece of material and normally are super firm. You’ll pretty much never see these balls on the course or range because they’re primarily used as mini golf balls.
2 piece golf balls: These balls are designed with a large core and then are covered with a second layer. These balls can be either soft or firm, but they’re made for beginners and high handicappers. Max distance, more forgiveness, and higher ball flights are what these balls will offer. Example: Callaway Supersoft.
RELATED: The Difference Between 2 And 3 Piece Golf Balls
3 piece golf balls: These balls are designed for golfers who want a bit more out of their ball, typically mid to low handicappers. Again, they can be firm or soft, but the main benefit is that they’ll spin more than 2 piece balls. Example: Titleist Pro V1.
RELATED: The Difference Between 3 And 4 Piece Golf Balls
4 piece golf balls: These balls usually have a higher compression rating and are built for better players with faster swing speeds. Compared to 3 piece balls, these will normally be firmer and will spin more. Example: Titleist Pro V1x.
5 piece golf balls: These balls aren’t as common as the rest but are also built for better players. They’re pretty similar to 4 piece balls, but the additional layer tends to make the ball a bit more “soft” at impact. Example: Taylormade TP5.
Learn More: Want to know more about each layer and how they can differ? Click here to find out what the different types of golf balls are.
What Is Golf Ball Spin?
Ever wonder why your golf ball curves three fairways over? That’s because the ball is spinning a lot. How about why your ball lands on the front of the green and rolls off? It’s because the ball didn’t spin.
The amount of spin your golf ball has is really important, no matter what skill level you are. Generally speaking, you’ll want more spin as you get better and less as a beginner.
Your ball can spin from side to side, it can have backspin, and it can also have topspin. See how backspin and sidespin affect a golf ball. You can also see why your golf ball goes right here.
Sidespin could help you draw or fade the ball, but it can also make your slice worse. Topspin can add fairway roll while backspin can help you stop your ball quickly on the green.
When looking for a golf ball, you need to look for 2 different things:
- The amount of driver spin
- The amount of wedge spin
The amount of driver spin is really important for beginners and high handicappers. These golfers normally slice and hook the ball all over the course. That could be part of the reason a lot of people lack distance.
That’s why you’d want a golf ball that has a lower amount of driver spin. We did a test to see how they compared, so click here to see do low spin golf balls go further?
The amount of wedge spin is really important for better players who can spin the ball with their wedges. Average players can’t do this and it’s why they don’t need a ball with high wedge spin (plus, it’s cheaper).
Learn More: Want to know more about golf ball spin and how it impacts your game? Click here to find out about golf ball spin and how it impacts your game.
What Compression Golf Ball Should You Use?
ln the past, one of the most important things to consider was the compression rating of the ball. It’s still something you’ll want to look at, but it’s not as important as it used to be.
All this means is how much your ball compresses when you hit it. A ball can compress too little or it can compress too much. Having the wrong ball can hurt your distance and it can cause the ball to spin off the planet.
A golf ball that compresses too much will probably result in less distance. The reason is that it’ll launch the ball too high and won’t roll out as much. You can see do high or low compression golf balls go further?
A golf ball that doesn’t compress enough will also result in low shots that get no distance. The biggest downside is that you’ll get a bunch of spin off the tee. Here comes the banana slice.
As a general rule, the faster you swing the club the more compression you’ll want. That being said, if you swing the club 110 MPH but don’t make solid contact, it doesn’t exactly matter then.
If you’re someone who has a slow swing speed (under 85 MPH), you’ll want to get a low compression golf ball. Anything with a compression rating below 70 should be a good number. You can see the best low compression golf balls here.
If you’re someone who has a high swing speed (above 100 MPH), you’ll want a high compression golf ball. Anything with a compression rating above 90 should be ideal.
If you have more of a moderate swing speed (between 85-100 MPH), you’ll be somewhere in the middle. Low to mid compression if you’re towards the bottom number. Mid compression if you’re towards the upper number.
Learn More: Still curious about what compression is right for you or how it fully impacts your game? Click here to find out what compression golf ball to use?
Should You Use Soft Or Hard Golf Balls?
When it comes to soft and hard golf balls, a lot of people are kind of confused about what they should be using or what the benefits of each are. I’ve heard some people say one thing and then someone else says something completely opposite.
Some people think that soft golf balls spin more on the green and firm golf balls go further. Some people think that softer balls are better for beginners and firm balls are for better golfers.
This could be true, but it’s not always the case.
Scratch golfers might use a softer ball while some beginners use a firm ball. When you think of a soft golf ball, the “soft” part could mean two different things:
- A soft compression rating
- A soft feel at impact
A ball with a soft compression rating is designed for someone with a slower swing speed. Any ball with a compression rating below 70 or so is considered low compression. Normally, these balls are designed for beginners, high handicappers, and seniors (it’s not always the case though).
A ball with a soft feel at impact could be used by all skill levels. The way the ball feels when you hit it is pretty much personal preference. You can get high compression golf balls with a soft cover and you can get low compression balls with a firm cover.
Different cover materials will feel different and will offer different features. If you’re curious, click here to see urethane vs ionomer vs Surlyn golf ball covers.
Learn More: Still curious about what’s the right choice for you? Click here to find out should you use soft or hard golf balls?
What Is The Easiest Golf Ball Color To See?
If you’re not always landing the ball in the fairway or you just have trouble seeing the ball in the air, you might want to consider changing your ball color.
I’ve generally always used white balls, but there are times when they can be hard to see. I wanted to do a little test to see if colored balls actually made a difference.
I wanted to see what color stood out the best in three different situations:
- When the ball was in the air
- When the ball was in the fairway at a distance
- When the ball was in the rough
Long story short, a red or orange ball was the easiest to see in most situations. If you have trouble seeing a white ball, maybe you should give it a try.
How Much You Should Spend On A Golf Ball?
As a general rule, you should only buy premium golf balls if you’re a low handicap golfer. Beginners and high handicaps lose a lot of balls, and that’s why cheaper golf balls are the best choice.
Golf balls have different prices because they’re all built differently. The more features a ball has the more expensive it’ll be.
As a beginner and high handicapper, you won’t be good enough to benefit from all the features (plus, you’ll lose a lot). That’s why you should buy a cheap golf ball. Something around 2 bucks or less per ball.
As you start getting better (mid handicap) and want a ball that spins a bit more, you’ll then want to upgrade to a higher-end ball. Not a premium ball (Pro V1). Something between 2-4 bucks per ball.
The only time I’d recommend spending $5+ per ball is when you’re shooting in the 70s. If you’re not, there really isn’t any benefit to doing so.
RELATED: Cheap vs Expensive Golf Ball Test
Best Golf Ball For You
Now that you have a better idea of what to look for in a golf ball, the next step is to actually pick one to play. It’s pretty simple to find the specs of each ball, all you have to do is check the company website or you can read our golf ball information chart.
I’ve tried pretty much every ball on the market and have picked a few that I think would be the best options for each type of golfer. Everyone will be slightly different, but it’ll give you a good starting point.
Beginner golfer: These golfers lose a lot of balls, I mean A LOT. That’s why the most important thing to consider is the price. Losing multiple $5 balls per round probably isn’t going to sit right with most.
Picking a cheap ball that’s built for distance is another big factor, as well as a ball that flies as straight and as high as possible. Check out our list of golf balls for average golfers below.
High handicap golfer: These golfers are considered “average” and will still lose a few balls per round (at least) and that’s why the price is still a big thing to consider. At this point, you still won’t benefit from buying a more premium ball.
One of the easiest ways to lower scores as a high handicapper is to find more fairways. That’s why I’d focus on playing a ball that’s extremely forgiving and provides low spin off the driver. Check out our list of the best golf balls for average golfers.
Mid handicap golfer: Once you start getting a bit better you probably want a bit more out of your golf ball. At this point, you’ll probably be able to control the height of your shots and maybe even the shape and amount of wedge spin.
That’s why you should start looking for a ball with a bit more spin. You still want a ball that’s low spinning with your driver, but a ball that has decent (not max) short game spin is the way to go. Check out our list of the best golf balls for mid handicappers.
Senior golfer: This is when things start getting a little bit tricky. As a senior player, you might be a scratch golfer or you might shoot somewhere close to 100. One thing that’s pretty common though is that your swing speed decreases.
Since that’s the case, you should start playing a ball with a lower compression rating. If you’re a high handicap, go with a low compression and low spinning ball. If you’re a mid handicap, go with a low compression and higher spinning ball.
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