The Ultimate Guide to Golf Balls, Everything You Need to Find the Best Golf Ball

Best Golf Ball

 
What is the best golf ball for you? To answer this question, it is first necessary to study the golf ball a little more closely. Today there is a massive variety of golf balls on the market—balls boasting a myriad of different constructions, make-ups and characteristics. To help you sort through these often technical details of the golf ball, below we have greatly simplified these features and factors to bring you the Ultimate Golf Ball Buying Guide—a guide that will help you select just the right golf ball for you, one that matches your playing style and preferences.

Golf balls have a lot of unique characteristics. For instance, have you ever pondered why golf balls have dimples? Or have you ever wondered what the numbers on different golf balls mean? Below we will cover the various characteristics of golf balls and explain, in some detail, what they all mean.
 

What is the Diameter of a Golf Ball?

Ultimate Golf Ball Buying Guide
Before 1990, the diameter of the “official” golf ball depended on whether you were playing with an “American Ball” or a “British Ball.” The reason being is that the R&A and the USGA, the governing bodies of golf, could not agree on the official size.

At the time the USGA golf ball measured 1.68-inches (42.7mm). While the size of the British golf ball was a wee bit smaller, coming in at 1.62-inches (41.1mm) in diameter.

So if you performed the necessary calculations, you would have found that the British golf ball was 3.7 percent smaller than the American golf ball. Interestingly enough, while 3.7 percent does not sound like a huge difference, experts showed that the smaller British ball encounters 7.5 percent less wind resistance than the American ball—wind that must be cut through during the ball’s flight. Possibly giving an unfair advantage to the players using the British Golf Ball.

Well the R&A and the USGA finally agreed, and the minimum size of golf balls was standardized in the Rules of Golf in 1990. Now the official rule states that a golf ball “must be spherical in shape and be no less than 1.68-inches (42.7mm) in diameter.”

 

How Much Does a Golf Ball Weigh?

Weight of Golf Ball. Source Poolarity

 
According to the United States Golf Association, the official mass of a golf ball can be no more than 1.620 ounces, or 45.93 grams. And because heavier balls have the ability to cut through wind better than a lighter ball, all golf balls manufactured in the U.S. have a weight of exactly 1.620 ounces.

Note: Even though the seldom used British ball is smaller in diameter than the American ball, the weight of a British golf ball is 1.620-ounces.
 

Why Do Golf Balls Have Dimples?

Golf Ball Dimples
 

What Do the Dimples on a Golf Ball Do?

What are golf ball dimples, and why are they even there? Wouldn’t a perfectly smooth ball be better for things like putting? Well, maybe, but the amount of strokes it would take to reach the putting surface would increase dramatically with a smooth ball.

As the legend goes, the value of adding dimples to the surface area of a golf ball was actually discovered quite by accident. Golf balls were initially smooth in design, but some of the earliest golfers started to recognize that the older golf balls in their bag—the ones with nicks and indentations on them from being struck time and again—actually flew further than the smooth golf balls right out of the package.

Golf Ball Dimples

When a golf ball is smooth, it flies straight, just like a bullet, with no lift. The dimpled ball, on the other hand, because it is spinning, climbs into the sky much like an airplane. Additionally, dimples create a turbulent layer around the surface of the ball, which actually makes it slice through the air more easily, as the dimples reduce the drag force. The only downside is that the ball must spin for the lift force to be created, and a spinning ball has more drag than a non-spinning ball. But this is a trade off most golfers can live with, especially when you consider the following: “a perfectly smooth ball that is hit with a driver will travel approximately 130 yards. Add dimples to the ball, and that same swing can generate distances of 290 yards or more.”
 

How Many Dimples are on a Golf Ball?

While there are rules governing the diameter and weight of a golf ball, there are no such rules dealing with the number of dimples you can have on a golf ball or the pattern of those dimples. Most golf balls have dimples of uniform size, but some have different size dimples and many manufacturers have experimented with different numbers and patterns.

After many, many years of trial and error, it has generally been found that less than 300 dimples is too few, and more than 500 dimples is too many. So, when players ask “what is the most common number of dimples on a golf ball?” It is suffice to say that most balls on the market today have settled into the middle ground, with roughly 350 to 450 dimples.

On an interesting note, one manufacturer once unveiled a ball with a whopping 812 dimples—a ball that never “took off,” so to speak.

 

What Do the Numbers on Golf Balls Mean?

What Do Golf Ball Numbers Mean. Source Titleist

 
Golf balls all have a number stamped onto them, typically right below the ball’s trademark or logo. Golf ball numbers can either be a single digit number, a double digit number, or a three-digit number. And it is that “number of digits” that unlocks the secret to what each number means.
 

One-Digit Numbers

Golf balls with a single-digit number—usually a 1, 2, 3 or 4 (but it can be from 0-9) merely use that number for identification purposes. For example, if you and your playing partner are both using the same brand of ball, say Titleist, the number on the ball is to prevent the two of you from mixing your balls up during play.
 

Two-Digit Numbers

Although it is very rare these days, some golf balls may have a double-digit number stamped onto them. This number identifies the “compression” rating of the ball. These days, compression is no longer a major selling point for most golf ball manufacturers, as the solid core ball has nearly made the wound ball a thing of the past. However, there are still a few manufacturers that highlight this compression rating, expressed as a double-digit number, which can range from the low 30s all the way up to the high 90s.
 

Three-Digit Numbers

Finally, there are those golf balls with a three-digit number stamped below the trademark—a number that is usually in the 300s or 400s. This number represents the number of dimples on a ball. And while knowing this number does not give the golfer any insight into the way the ball may behave, some manufacturers choose to boast about their dimple pattern and thus include this number on their golf balls.

To summarize, single-digit numbers from 0-9 (usually 1-4) are for identification purposes; double-digit numbers (30s on up) indicate the compression rating of the ball; and three-digit numbers (usually in the 300s or 400s) highlight the number of dimples present on the golf ball.
 

What’s Inside of a Golf Ball?

Golf Ball Core

Source: Golf Info Guide

 
If you looked inside a golf ball, you would first find its core. The core is the center of the golf ball, the stuff around which everything else is constructed. Not too long ago, the core of golf balls were made out of tightly wound rubber bands—wound so tightly as to create a solid yet malleable core. Today, however, the core is typically a one-piece structure made out of some type of rubber—or various resins and acrylates that, when combined, produce a solid rubber-like center. In addition to balls with a rubber-like core, there are also some high-end golf balls with a liquid center.
 

Cover of the Golf Ball

Although the cover of the golf ball—the part of the golf ball that wraps around the core—can be made from a variety of rubbers, plastics, composites, etc., most are typically made from one of two types of golf ball materials: Surlyn or Balata—or a blend that includes both of these materials.

Surlyn is a hard resin material that is used to cover a good majority of the golf balls currently in play. This hard resin cover allows for soft feel and good control. As a result, it is the cover recommended for those new to the sport of golf, as well as for average to high handicappers. There are also golf balls that have a mixture of Surlyn and other materials in the cover. These golf balls also feature a hard resin and provide added durability with a little less feel. Balls with a Surlyn blend tend to add more distance while providing less maneuverability. Surlyn and Surlyn blend-covered golf balls are more affordable than those with Balata covers.

Balata is a rubber-like mixture that is used to make golf ball covers. The substances in the Balata-covered ball combine to provide excellent feel and much better control than Surlyn-covered balls. Because of this, Balata-covered (and urethane-covered) balls are often the choice for professionals and very low handicap golfers. Balata-covered balls are also more expensive than the former, often much more expensive.

 

How Are Golfs Made? The Different Types of Golf Balls

In terms of construction, there are essentially five types of golf balls from which golfers can choose: one-piece, two-piece, three-piece, four-piece and five-piece golf balls. Each of these types has a different makeup, its own characteristics and a general purpose.
 

One-Piece Golf Balls


 
Used primarily on driving ranges due to how inexpensively they can be manufactured, a one-piece ball is unique in that it essentially has no core. Instead, the one-piece ball is made with a solid piece of Surlyn—a golf ball cover material—with dimples molded into the ball. In addition to being inexpensive, one-piece golf balls are also very soft (due to the absence of a core) and oddly very durable (which is why they are used on driving ranges only). A one-piece ball, as you might imagine, is a very low-compression golf ball and, as such, lacks any kind of real distance when hit. Because of this, it is seldom used as a playing ball by golfers in the know.
 

Two-Piece Golf Balls

One Piece Golf Ball
 
The type of ball used most frequently by weekend and high-handicap golfers, the two-piece ball combines durability with maximum distance due largely to the manner in which it is constructed. These types of balls are made with a single solid core, usually a hard plastic of some kind. The very solid core is typically made of a high-energy acrylate or resin and is covered by a durable, cut-proof blended cover—a cover that is usually made from Surlyn, a specialty plastic or similar material. It is this cover on the two-piece ball, combined with the solid core, which gives it more distance and “roll-out” than any other type of ball.

While the cover on the two-piece ball is designed for added distance, this type of ball cannot be as easily controlled as those higher-piece, softer balls. However, because it can be used round after round without incurring any damage and is relatively inexpensive compared to other balls, it is typically the ball of choice for everyday, ordinary golfers.
 

Three-Piece Golf Balls

Two Piece Golf Ball
 
The three layers of a 3 piece golf ball golf ball consist of a solid rubber core or liquid core; an enhanced rubber or liquid-produced layer over the core; and a molded cover made from tough Surlyn, urethane, or balata-like material. Three-piece golf balls offer more control than two-piece balls, as they are softer and can generate more spin.

As a rule, the more layers that are added to a golf ball, the more spin separation manufacturers can create. This translates to a greater level of customized performance for a driver compared to an iron or wedge. Three-piece golf balls, then, represent the first level of ball that will feature a noticeable spin-separation advantage.
 

Four-Piece Golf Balls


 
The four layers on a 4 piece golf ball each have their own purpose, yet these distinct layers work in concert to produce a ball that combines both distance and an incredibly soft feel. The inner core of the 4 piece golf ball is comprised of solid and durable rubber, designed to provide explosive distance off the club, particularly the driver. The next layer, which immediately covers the first, is an inner cover that is made to transfer the energy from the club strike to the tough and explosive core.

The third layer or middle cover of the four-piece golf ball is what differentiates this ball from the three-piece ball. This middle cover is made from special materials that help to increase driving distance while also producing mid iron spin and feel around the green. The outer cover of the four-piece golf ball is where the great feel of this ball originates. This cover, which is the thinnest layer of the ball, usually contains between 300 and 400 dimples for great lift off and carry; is very soft and durable, and is typically made of premium-grade urethane.
 

Five-Piece Golf Balls

The 5 piece golf ball represents the latest in golf ball technology. Similar to a three-piece or four-piece ball, both of which offer plenty of spin separation and performance benefits, the 5 piece ball, with its extra layer, takes these benefits a step further. Although you can expect to take a hit in the wallet when purchasing this ball, you can also expect the very best in performance.

The 5 piece ball is manufactured with three mantle layers, sandwiched between a high speed rubber core and soft urethane cover. Each of these mantle layers is designed to react to different shots and swing speeds differently in an effort to produce the most optimized performance possible, while the core and cover offer some of the best distance and feel, respectively, that money can buy.
 

Golf Balls and Spin

In the last section we talked a lot about spin as it relates to the different layers of various types of golf balls, but what exactly makes a ball a “low spin,” “mid-spin” or “high-spin” golf ball and what type is best for you? Let’s take a look:
 

Low Spin Golf Balls

If you have a slice or struggle to get the extra distance you would like after the ball hits the ground, you may want to switch to low spin golf balls. Low or lower spinning golf balls are designed to decrease the side spin of your shots (when hit squarely), thus allowing the ball to fly straighter through the air, especially when compared to mid and high spin golf balls. While low spin balls may cost you a little distance in the air, they usually make up for it with an increased roll out after the shot has landed.

Mid Spin Golf Balls

A ball that bridges the gap between the lower and higher spinning balls, the mid spin golf ball is one that is designed to incorporate the best of both distance and feel. Aimed at perhaps the largest category of golfers—players who do not want to sacrifice distance for feel and vise versa—the mid spin golf ball offers solid distance for most players with varied feel and softness for making shots around the green. Of course, the exact properties of these mid spin golf balls will vary by brand, but nearly all golf ball manufacturers now offer a mid spin ball that is aimed at attracting this largest category of golfers.

High Spin Golf Balls

In terms of spin, the final category of available golf balls is the high spin ball. The high spin golf ball is manufactured to increase the ball’s spin when in the air. When an average golf ball is struck, it is released into the air with a certain level of backspin. A high spin ball will increase this spin and create a longer carry. Golfers with a long right to left draw can benefit greatly from a distance standpoint when using a high spin golf ball; and those golfers with an out-of-control right to left hook may find that a high-spin ball helps to remedy this problem. That is because hook shots are produced by the draw spin of a given shot overpowering the backspin of the ball, so an increased degree of backspin may be just what is needed to say goodbye to that hook forever.

Keep in mind that, due to its backspin, a high spin ball will not produce the roll-out of a low spin or even mid spin ball. However, these balls do offer a huge advantage around the greens, where increased feel and control can often be the key to lower scores.
 

Golf Ball Compression

Compression is a term you are likely to hear frequently when researching the perfect golf ball for your preferences and playing style. But what is compression and how can the compression of a golf ball affect your game? These are the questions we will answer below.
 

What is Golf Ball Compression?

Golf Ball Compression
 
When you strike a golf ball, its compression is the factor that will dictate how the ball will react off the club. Compression is a measure or calculation of the deflection a golf ball encounters when it is struck by the golf club. Most manufacturers will list the compression of their golf balls on the package (and some will stamp it right onto the golf ball). This measurement is a number between 0 and 200, although you will rarely find golf balls with a compression as high or low as these two extremes. A compression of 200, for example, means the ball will not compress at all when struck; while a compression of 0 means the ball will deflect a minimum of 5 millimeters (1/5 of an inch). Most golf balls on the market have a compression that falls somewhere between these two poles, usually between 50 and 100 in compression.

So how do manufacturers determine the compression of a golf ball? A good way to understand this measurement is to think about a rubber band. If you place a standard rubber band around three of your fingers, chances are you will feel a little pressure. However, if you stretch the rubber band out as you wind the same three fingers three times around, you are definitely going to feel an added degree of pressure. This is compression. Although you are using the same amount of material for each experiment (one rubber band), and while you are occupying the same amount of space (three fingers), you are producing different pressures by compressing the rubber band around your fingers. This is the same manner in which compression works inside of a golf ball. When the solid rubber core of the golf ball is compressed it will produce less and less deflection the more you compress you it.
 

How Can the Compression of a Golf Ball Affect Your Game?

Before golf balls had a solid core (rather than one consisting of tightly wound rubber bands), lower compression golf balls were often viewed as “ladies’ balls” because they failed to create the distance of higher compression balls; and most men would not be caught dead playing with one of these lower compression balls. Today, this has all changed thanks to the solid one-piece cores inside of golf balls. As we mentioned above, most golf balls of today have a compression rating of 50 to 100, with the majority falling into the 80, 90, 100 compression ranges—the degree of hardness a ball has.
 

What Ball Should I Use Based on My Handicap?

Generally speaking, golfers with a high handicap would be better served by a low compression ball. Lower compression balls tend to be softer and compress more to create more distance off the tee and fairway—and distance is a problem shared by many weekend and high-handicap golfers. Players with a mid to low handicap may want to opt for a higher compression ball, as these balls offer much more control than their lower compression counterparts.
 

What Ball Should I Use Based on My Swing Speed?

If you remember, lower compression balls will deflect more upon impact. And it is this deflection that helps create distance after the ball has been struck. Therefore, players with slower swing speeds should definitely opt for a low compression golf ball, as the added deflection can make up for the distance they will lose due to the slow club head speed.

Conversely, players with great club head speed—those who are usually better and more experienced golfers—can get away with a highly compressed ball because their swing speed can create more of its own deflection on impact. And because high compression golf balls have more control and feel, they get the best of both worlds.

Should I Use a Different Compression Ball Based on Weather Conditions?

Studies have shown that cooler weather can affect the manner in which the ball reacts when being struck. Cold weather tends to further compress balls, as the materials within the golf ball will contract as the temperature drops. Hence, the balls will have less deflection when hit. That being said, when playing in cooler weather, players may want to use a slightly lower compressed ball than that to which they are accustomed. This will help counter the effects of the colder weather, and will ensure they maintain the distance they are accustomed to without losing too much of the feel and control they crave.
 

Types of Compression?

Golf balls generally come in three compression types: high compression, medium compression and low compression. Below we will briefly review each type of ball and the types of players they typically suit.

High Compression Balls?

  • High compression golf balls can generate distance, but only with players who have a swing speed of 105 miles per hour or above. Because of the high speed impact on a fast swing such as this, the needed deflection that is important for distance is naturally created. Players with a high impact swing need a ball that is also dense enough to offer some control around the greens—a high compression ball with a compression rating of 90 and above.

Medium Compression Golf Balls

  • A great ball for the average golfer with an average handicap, medium compression balls (with an 80 to 89 compression rating) offer a combination of distance and control that suits most of your everyday or weekend players. Medium compression balls are designed for those with a swing speed of 85 to 105 miles per hour. However, if you do not know your swing speed, medium compression golf balls are probably the perfect solution for any distance or control issues you may be having.

Low Compression Golf Balls

  • Players with a swing speed below 85 miles per hour can benefit greatly from low compression golf balls. Low compression golf balls offer more deflection than their high and medium compression counterparts and, as a result, create more distance off the tee and fairway. Beginners, juniors, ladies and seniors will find benefits with a low compression golf ball—balls with a compression rating below 80.

 

Types of Golf Balls


 
There are several different types of golf balls—golf balls that are designed for different players and for different purposes. These include the Tour-Level Golf Balls, Distance Golf Balls, Golf Balls made for Feel and Women’s Golf Balls. To help you understand the difference between these four types, below we have compiled a brief description of each.
 

Tour-Level Golf Balls

The name given to these golf balls essentially tells you the types of players for whom they are intended: Professionals, as well as mid to low handicappers who have plenty of experience on the golf course. Designed to provide the very best in feel and control, Tour-Level golf balls are multi-layered (usually 4 or 5 piece golf balls). The mantle layers that are sandwiched between the core and cover of these golf balls give golfers much more control over the ball and enhanced feel around the greens. This affords these highly experienced players the opportunity to sculpt and shape shots when needed, and provides a greater degree of spin that is coveted around the greens. The cover on Tour-Level balls is characteristically thinner than that of other balls, which also augments spin control while providing the clean, crisp feel that exceptional players demand.
 

Distance Golf Balls

Beginners and players who just can’t crack the 20-25 handicap barrier may want to seriously consider switching to a Distance golf ball. These lower compression, (usually) two-piece golf balls provide maximum forgiveness by reducing the side spin that tends to exaggerate slices and hooks—shots that can quickly add up to a poor round. This reduction in side spin not only helps the ball fly longer and straighter, it also produces more roll once the shot hits the fairway. The larger core on Distance golf balls helps to enhance the carry of the shot in the air, while the thicker cover provides added protection against trees and other hazards on wayward shots.
 

Feel Golf Balls

Golf balls that are designed for feel are the lowest compression golf balls on the market today. When hitting longer shots with a driver or fairway wood, the low compression of Feel golf balls allows for greater deflection of the ball at impact, which in turn leads to straighter, longer shots with less spin when using low lofted clubs. Perfect for those with slower swing speeds, the Feel golf balls are also much softer than other types of balls. This softness allows for prolonged contact with the ball when using short irons and wedges, which translates to a softer, better feel around the green.
 

Women’s Golf Balls

Due to slower swing speeds, women golfers need a ball that combines both distance and a softer feel, which is exactly how Women’s Golf Balls are designed. With a two-piece construction, Women’s golf balls are generally low compression, which enhances the deflection or deformation of the ball at impact. This in turn leads to greater distance and control; in a ball that is very durable thanks to its thick resilient cover. If you are a woman, beginner or weekend golfer with a swing speed less than 80 miles per hour we strongly recommend you give these balls a try.
 

Golf Ball Fitting System

Source: Golf Ball Test

 
There are many golf manufacturers that help “fit” players with their perfect ball. These golf ball fitting systems can help you find a ball that suits your swing and style of play, and while no system is 100 percent accurate, these “systems” are often a good place to start. Below we will briefly discuss three of these golf ball fitting systems: The Bridgestone Method, the Titleist Method and the Srixon System.
 

The Bridgestone Method

At the golfing website Bridgestonegolf.com, you’ll be asked to fill out a brief online questionnaire so that the company can fit you with just the right ball. They will first ask whether you are brand new to golf or someone who knows a little about his/her game. The next questions include:

Age and Gender. Gender and age are important questions because they can usually help determine swing speed. On average, women and seniors have slower swing speeds than men.

Brand. The site will next ask you what brand of ball you are accustomed to playing, just to give them a baseline of where to start. Players can also check the “I’m not sure” box if they usually play a collection of different balls.

Average score. By asking you for your average score, Bridgestone can determine whether you are a beginner, intermediate or low-handicap player. Remember, it’s important to tell the truth if you want a ball that truly meets your needs.

Preference. Finally, they will ask for your preference—the part of your game that means the most to you: distance, feel or accuracy.

After you answer the five questions and provide your email address, Bridgestone will send their recommendation(s) to your inbox.

Bridgestone also offers one-on-one golf fitting programs at different golf clubs and retail outlets, as well as group fitting events that are available by appointment.
 

The Titleist Method

The Titleist Method is an in-person, three-step process that begins with an exhaustive assessment of your game, your performance objectives and a selection of your personal preferences, again, distance, accuracy or feel.

The second step in the Titleist Method is an on-course evaluation called the “Green-to-Tee” fitting process. This process involves an evaluation of all of your shots on the golf course, with a heavy emphasis on shots into and around the green—where scores can usually be lowered.

The third and final step of the Titleist Method is to play the ball the company selects for you continuously to ensure it meets all your needs and the preferences you indicated. This, they say, will help build confidence and consistency.
 

The Srixon Method

Like Bridgestone and Titleist, the Srixon Corporation also hosts events in which individuals can be fitted for the proper ball. At these events, you will usually undergo a series of swing tests on an actual golf course while a club professional evaluates your performance. An assessment will also be given to determine your personal preferences in a golf ball, after which you will receive three recommendations from the company to try.

Srixon makes a number of award-winning golf balls, including those that promise maximum distance; maximum spin; golf balls that pair up perfectly with those who have moderate swing speeds; 2-piece balls that are durable and distance-oriented; women’s golf balls; and golf balls for ultimate feel; among others.
 

Are Used Golf Balls as Good as New Golf Balls?

Used Golf Balls
Source: Lake of Golf Balls

 
The question, “Are Used Golf Balls as Good as New Golf Balls” is one you have probably heard many times. And, unfortunately, the answer is not exactly cut and dry. Some golfers swear by the performance of their used golf balls, while others prefer to play only the shiny brand new balls right out of the box. Of course, used balls that are cut or damaged in any way should never be played, and there is certainly a graduated spectrum when it comes to used golf balls that must be considered. Below we will explore the notion of used vs. new golf balls in terms of both cost and performance, and present our findings to help you make the most educated and budget-conscious decision.
 

Cost of New Golf Balls vs. Used Golf Balls

If you have ever been to a pro shop or golf equipment retailer of some kind, it should come as no shock that new golf balls cost more than used golf balls—often substantially more.

If you are looking for top-of-the-line golf balls—balls that are often referred to or labeled as “Tour Level” golf balls—you can usually expect to spend $40 or more for a dozen balls; while the brand new two-piece golf balls may cause you to spend roughly $30 a dozen.

Used golf balls, as we said above, are much more affordable than new ones, If you buy from a pro shop or golf retailer, used golf balls are often placed into one of four categories: mint, near-mint, average and value (or AAAA, AAA, AA, and A). These ratings are based on the condition, age and type of used ball and where it is found. Mint condition golf balls are usually about two-thirds the price of new balls, while the balls at the bottom of the spectrum—value or A balls—cost just a small fraction of what a new ball costs.

Often there are children or teenagers who collect and sell used golf balls right from the golf course, usually at rock-bottom prices, so in terms of price, it truly depends on “where” you buy your used golf balls as well as their condition.
 

New Balls vs. Used Balls: Performance

So how do used golf balls stack up against new golf balls in terms of performance? Actually, the answer may surprise you.

Most golf ball manufacturers claim that their balls can be kept safely for five years if stored in normal domestic conditions, but excessive heat, such as from the trunk or the interior of an automobile, can reduce the ball’s lifespan. Golf manufacturers also say that golf balls should be replaced frequently to keep in step with advancing technologies, but then again, why wouldn’t they say that? They are in the business of selling golf balls.

So how about water? Can prolonged submersion in a lake or pond negatively impact the ball’s performance? The old answer was “yes,” but a recent study conducted by Golf Laboratories of San Diego (California) tested the performance of submerged golf balls against new golf balls before issuing the following statement:

“There seems no obvious reason why an otherwise undamaged ball, protected by a modern covering material, should behave any differently {than a new golf ball} because of a period of submersion.”

Moreover, in 2016, the website PluggedInGolf.com conducted a thorough experiment in which they tested various grades of used golf balls (mint, near-mint, etc) against brand new balls of the same type right out of the box. Their conclusion, much like the one from Golf Laboratories of San Diego, was clear:

“Regardless of the club used by testers, and no matter what grade was given to each used ball, there was no significant impact on performance.”
 

Used Ball vs. New Ball: Final Verdict

So no significant difference in performance!

It goes without saying that the findings of these two studies should be great news to golfers everywhere. As long as the ball is modern and has no structural defects like rips or cuts; and regardless of its “grade” or where it is found (in the woods, lake, etc.); a used golf ball offers the same (or nearly the same) performance of those expensive new golf balls—balls that can add a lot of extra expense to the game, particularly for beginners.

 

Conclusion

As you can see, when it comes to selecting your ideal golf ball there are a lot of factors you will need to consider. From the characteristics and construction of the golf ball to its number of layers, spin and compression rating, the perfect golf ball can take on many different forms. Fortunately, golf fitting events, questionnaires, and swing speed analysis tests can be very helpful in determining the ideal golf ball based on your personal preferences (distance, accuracy and feel) and swing style; and regardless of those findings, used golf balls can save you a lot of money in the long run.

6 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Golf Balls, Everything You Need to Find the Best Golf Ball

  1. Any recommendations given this breakdown? I am a six handicap, swing speed about 90mph on the driver. I wouldn’t might a little extra distance, and maybe higher spin to control my occasional hook shots. I drive the ball between 230-250 yds. I currently use Bridgestone RX330. Thanks

    • Hi Ed, to get a little more distance and spin control you might want to try the following Golf Balls, which are all similarly priced to the B330 RX:

      1.) Bridgestone Tour B RX: Made of 3 piece construction, these balls are great for golfers with a swing speed over 90 mph, and Bridgestone has even stated they provide greater distance than the B330 RX.

      2.) TaylorMade Project (a): The TaylorMade Project (a) golf balls are made of 3 piece construction and have been designed to greatly reduce spin, due to its larger inner core, but can also provide superior distance thanks to the same dimple pattern as the TP5 and TP5x.

      3.) Callaway Superhot: The Callaway Superhot is also made of 3 piece construction, and was designed to create super long distances, due to its HEX Aerodynamics, while providing low spin thanks its High Velocity Core.

  2. Just going to throw this out there…I’m a golf ball elitist. By that I mean I tend to favor a ball and stick with it. I’m a 9 handicap, and the thing I see so many folks on the course do to build inconsistency into their game is just play any ol’ shag ball they’ve found on the course! Seriously?!? I see them start off with a top flight, lose it, pull a Bridgestone out and play it, eventually lose it, find a Titleist NXT and start playing it….and then wonder why they hit a 7 iron 160 yards on one hole, and then only 135 yards with the same club on the next hole. This article explains it all very well. Now on to some awesome news about golf balls. That news?!? “Direct to consumer balls”! I used to be a Pro V1X diehard. Could never get that “8 foot of backspin” on the wedge shot into the green like the pros get, but it would stop on a dime. But at $47 a box, made for an expense that hurt, even though I can usually make 1 ball last about 26-27 holes before lost/damaged. $47 a box means I’m paying for that pro golfer’s salary, and the store’s markup because of their own profit margins, etc. Golf Digest turned me into direct to consumer balls with “Vice Golf” getting a Gold Rating on the hot list. I now play the Vice Pro Plus, and have actually put a 1-4 foot backspin on several green shots! The more boxes you order, the better the discount. I buy 5 dozen for only $25 a box! Same distance as the Pro V1X, better greenside control and $22 per box cheaper! No brainer here. Whether it’s a Cut, Snell, or Vice, I’ll never buy a premium ball again. Check them out. The websites have ball recommendations per your game.

  3. Paul
    I’m a 72 year old who would really love to break
    100 on a consistent basis. I play with guys my age from the senior T box, which of course gives us an advantage. I have been playing with Kirkland golf balls fron Costco. What ball would you suggest.

Leave a Comment

Table of Contents

Categories

Top Articles