You might be thinking that not much has changed in the world of golf balls, but you’d be wrong. Golf ball technology has come on in leaps and bounds recently and buying the right ball is nearly as important as picking the right clubs. Many players feel a certain loyalty towards brands, but picking the right ball should be more down to different specifications. We’d like to help you understand some of the different terms you’ll encounter, and hopefully enlighten you and make your choice easier.
Different golf ball construction
How a golf ball is constructed will directly impact on the way it reacts when coming into contact with the club. While manufacturers are constantly pushing the barriers, there are some more common constructions.
One-piece golf balls – This is the most basic type of ball. It’s the least expensive to produce and designed with the beginner in mind, as well as for driving range work and if you’re thinking of enjoying a game of crazy golf. If you’re looking to buy cheap golf balls this is what you’ll need to look at. They are generally made from a solid piece of Surlyn that has had dimples molded into it. This is one of the cheapest golf balls, but its lower compression means you won’t get any distance when it’s hit.
Two-piece golf balls – These are used by the average golfer because they offer a good combination of durability and maximum distance. The balls generally have a solid core and a hard plastic cover. The core is usually made from a high-energy acrylate or resin with a blended cover that is tough, and cut-proof. By far the most popular golf ball due to its virtually indestructible quality and high roll distance.
Three-piece golf balls – These consist of a solid rubber or liquid core, a layer of enhanced rubber or a liquid produced layer, and a molded cover of either Surlyn, Urethane, or latex-like material. This type of ball is softer and offers more spin. Thereby giving the player more control over the flight of the ball.
Four-piece golf balls – The more layers that are added to a golf ball the more spin separation is created. This means a more customized performance for a driver, when compared to an iron or wedge. The layers in a four-piece golf ball all have a specific purpose. The inner core is solid rubber which is designed to offer explosive distance when using a driver. The next layer transfers the energy from the strike to the hot core. The third layer aims to increase driver distance along with mid iron spin and feel. The outer layer gives the golf ball its feel. There are usually 300-400 dimples and it is made from a very thin layer of Urethane, which makes it durable yet soft.
Five-piece golf balls – TaylorMade were the first to mass produce a five piece ball, but many manufacturers have added them to their product list. The five-piece ball does things better than all the rest. It might be the most expensive, but with the big price tag comes the highest Tour-level performance.
As well as construction, the spin of a golf ball is important.
Low, mid, or high spin – which is the best?
Low spin golf balls – A low spinning golf ball will reduce the side spin of a shot. This means the ball will be able to fly straighter through the air. It might not travel as far, but the lack of spin in the air will lead to increased roll on landing. If you’re the kind of player that slices the ball, or struggles to get good distance, this is the type of ball for you.
Mid spin golf balls – This ball fills the gap between low and high spin balls. The aim is to offer the best of both with regards distance and feel. They are suitable for most players and will offer solid distance with varied feel and softness. The level of each, of course, depends on the brand.
High spin golf balls – This ball increases the spin in the air. Hitting a golf ball releases it into the air with a certain degree of backspin. With a high spin ball the spin will be increased, resulting in a longer carry.
One final thing worth mentioning is compression. Balls with lower compression are usually softer and create more distance. High compression balls can be controlled better and often used by better players who are able to produce a faster swing speed.