How to Choose the Right Golf Ball
How familiar are you with golf ball models? If you answered "not much," you may wonder why there are so many versions of such a simple thing.
Well, there's more to golf balls than meets the eye. Though they all look the same, they can do very different things for different players. If you're serious about your game, choosing the right golf ball is essential.
Getting ready for your golf lessons in Naples FL? If so, this article will help you figure out which golf balls you'll want to use!
Step 1: Know the Pieces
Every golf ball has three key elements: the core, mantle, and cover. Here's how each of these elements impacts ball flight and velocity.
The core takes up the most space underneath the ball's cover. Think of it as the engine that drives speed and performance. It usually consists of synthetic or pressurized rubber molded into a sphere.
The core helps the ball retain energy in flight. When you hit a ball with a club, it flies off the face with 100% of its energy. A well-designed core will keep about 80% of that energy to provide enough speed and spin.
You'll find the mantle between the ball's core and its cover. Its main purpose is to seal the ball so that moisture can't enter the core. Adding one or more mantles also helps adjust the ball's performance characteristics.
Depending on the thickness of the mantle layer, manufacturers can adjust spin up or down. The mantle also helps the ball keep its speed after impact without sacrificing spin.
The cover encases both the core and mantle. It also houses the standard dimple pattern that keeps the ball airborne by disrupting the flow of air. The most common cover materials are urethane, ionomer, and Surlyn.
The firmness of the cover can have a major impact on spin or distance. At lower impacts, such as deft chips, wedge grooves can grip the cover. That's often enough to create enough spin to stop the ball on a dime.
Step 2: Consider Your Needs
Beyond the characteristics of a golf ball, choosing one is also about your needs. Here's what you need to know before buying a golf ball.
Golf balls come in four general performance categories. These are:
- Premium value
- Soft spin value
- Distance value
The premium category consists of expensive, tour-level balls. They deliver everything in a single package, from control to the distance of the tee. If you want the best golf balls money can buy, get the premium ones.
As the name implies, premium value balls offer much of the same technology as premium balls at a lower price. If you want the best golf ball your game deserves without breaking the bank, this is the category for you.
Soft spin value balls are usually intended for moderate-speed golfers. These golfers tend to emphasize soft feel and greenside spin. If your speed isn't what it used to be, these balls will help your short game.
Finally, distance value balls are the firmer option designed for golfers who want to get extra distance at all costs. They offer high-velocity performance on all shots.
Choosing a performance category will help you narrow the field a lot. The next step involves testing models based on your ability. All golfers fall into one of these three handicap ranges:
- 16+ handicap
- 5-15 handicap
- Handicap of 5 or better
If you're a 16+ handicap golfer, it's best to use beginner golf balls. These tend to fly straight and provide forgiveness for mishits. Look for balls that offer distance and spin to compensate for a lack of advanced technique.
For a 5-15 handicap, your priority is to maximize distance as you go through your bag. In general, you should benefit from high-launching iron shots. You should also opt for models that can help with your short game.
With a handicap or five or better, you're likely imparting enough spin on the ball already. Focus on balls that produce the right spin window off the tee and offer more control with your scoring clubs.
Step 3: Start Testing
So far, everything you've read about choosing a golf ball has been theoretical. Now it's time to start doing some actual testing.
Take at least one sleeve of each ball you want to test and bring them to the range. Then, create a different "station" to evaluate each ball. Focus on the shots you'll encounter most often, such as chips, lobs, and pitches.
For easier comparison, make sure to hit every ball from the same spots. That's the best way to learn which balls "feel" best for your game. Sound matters as well—you should be able to hear contact clearly.
Once you've narrowed the field to two or three models, bring them to the course and put them in play. Side-by-side testing will be essential for real-time feedback on spin impacts, aerodynamics, and so on.
Pay particular attention to the full ball flight. Two golf balls can have the same spin and yield different results due to aerodynamic qualities. If possible, hit several shots from the same spot as well.
On the course, focus on short-game shots and approach shots. With chip and pitch shots, evaluate factors such as feel, spin, and release. Approach shots are all about release and trajectory.
If you have access to a launch monitor, take advantage of it. Keeping track of the spin rate and launch angles will help you pick the right ball for you.
Book Golf Lessons in Naples FL
As you can see, selecting a golf ball isn't a walk in the park. With so many brands out there, it's easy to pick a model incompatible with your play. Fortunately, the above guide is sure to set you straight!
Need more advice on picking golf balls that fit your playing style? Want to test your new balls on a course? Consider booking golf lessons in Naples FL—contact us here to learn more about our services!