If you are starting to play golf you may find yourself drown into a lot of information and new things to learn. A beauty (or curse) of this sport is all the number of things you must know, this not only includes learning the golf swing, but also you must learn a lot of very strict rules, dress codes, different ways of playing it, knowing how the handicap work, finding the right teacher, the right equipment, where you are going to play, etc.
Again, this can be a handful, but I like to think that these things are the ones that make this sport such a special and addictive one. For most cases people start playing golf at least after they turn 40 years old. In general, at this time of their life they feel there is not a lot more to learn, people are satisfied with their education, job, family, etc. It may not be perfect, it never is but it is going the towards the right way. Thus, people find the golf learning process as a challenge. A challenge in which they need to succeed no matter what, they have to master the swing, know what to buy, be confident about the rules, watch tournaments, give opinions of the best swings in the world, etc.
So, I’m guessing that, since you came as far as this article, the title caught your attention, CHOOSING THE RIGHT GOLF BALL. Is this a true statement? Well, it is. Unfortunately, if you thought the answer was: A rounded white ball, you are wrong! Well maybe not wrong, but not entirely right. This means that according to your game, tour distance and the kind of golf course you are playing, which golf ball you should use. Now, in this article I am not going to overview golf brands, as most of them have balls of all types. So, I will leave the brand choosing to you, there aren’t that many either way, I would say that in between Titleist, Bridgestone and Callaway you probably have more than 90 % of the market share.
As most of my articles, I am not going to be extremely “techy”, I could give you very detailed explanations regarding the materials and aerodynamics of a golf ball and their results, but to be honest I do not thing they actually help you, if you feel interesting about that detailed information a basic google or you tube search will give you awesome results and videos to further understand the subject.
Traditionally there were only two kind of golf balls, they were referred as “the hard ones” or “the soft ones”, this would be respectably for the 2 piece and 3 piece golf ball, and according to level, the first one would be for beginners and the second one for low handicappers.
Although this change over the years and now you have all the way from 1 to 5 piece golf balls. The basic rule would be that the most pieces the ball have the softer and for better golfer it is. When we talk about pieces we refer to the interior of the ball, meaning from outside the ball you are not going to be able to know which kind of ball is it (To be honest eventually by touching or biting on them – yes, just stick your teeth in there – you will be able to at least difference between a soft and hard ball). So, this information is something you should try to remember and always ask, also in the dozen ball box there is always a ball cut in half showing the interior of it so you know what you are buying. In general golf balls, will provide more distance or control, but never both, you must choose one of them. So enough of introduction lets try to see which is which and who is who.
The first kind of golf ball is the once piece, this is almost outside of the regular market, they are very cheap and they last almost forever no matter how many trees they hit. They are mostly used for driving ranges or places in which golf balls get lost very fast. In general, early beginners used them the first couple of weeks as not only they lose a lot of balls in their practice rounds but also, they like to practice with more or less 5 or 6 balls per hole and if they are a bit far from them they may not even go to picked it up. As this balls are very hard, actually the hardest they are balls that go the farthest, meaning if you are a very short hitter, this may be the ball for you. But, as you know, there is no such thing as a free ride, meaning that this kind of balls will have extremely bad control. What does this mean? It means that the balls roll forever making it very difficult to controlled it when approaching towards the green, especially for lob or bunker shots. That is why beginners who can’t really control the ball yet don’t care about losing a bit of extra control versus the amount of distance they are earning.
The second type, is the two piece golf ball. This was the typical ball for beginners and seniors, this kind of balls still last a long period (As long as you don’t throw them into the water), and also provides good distance while they have at least a bit of control over the ball. I would say if you are in between handicap 25 to 36, or a senior over 60+ years, this may be the ball for you as the distance will give you more advantage that the prejudice you will get out of the lack of control of the ball. Also, these kinds of golf balls are still cheap.
The next type, the three piece golf ball are the most used golf balls in the world. Probably the most famous is the Titleist Pro V1. These kind of golf balls have great feel, this means that even though you may be losing a little bit of distance (But not much) they are going to be very easy to control, of course if you hit them right. They are also very good when it comes to putting effects into them, these balls react very good to intentional fades and draws. Unfortunately, these golf balls are a bit more expensive than the other kind of golf balls, and even though you don’t lose them they have a relatively shorter life, I would say that if no significant trees are hit, the shouldn’t last more than 2 golf rounds, after that they will start losing their charmed.
The fourth and almost last kind of golf balls are the four piece golf ball. If you ask me the feeling you get is very similar to the three piece golf ball, they tend to provide a little bit more soft feel meaning they are extremely useful for draws and fades as well of putting the famous backspin to the swing. They do last significantly less than all the other types and if you hit a tree they will more likely scratch and eventually stop working at a hundred percent. These golf balls are also expensive and they shouldn’t be use much more than a single golf round. The Titleist PRO V1 X would be an example of this four piece ball.
Lastly, we have the five core golf ball, by far the most expensive golf ball in the market and with a very short life span, professionals change them after 3 holes, but I would say they can last for about 9. These kind of golf balls have an extremely sensitive feel meaning putting control is very easy to it, while the almost have no downside regarding losing distance. If budget is not a problem and you are under handicap 15 these would be a great option for you and can help you get confident about having shots that go exactly to the pin, also they are much less affected by wind as they are very aerodynamic balls.
A final comment on this article, you may have seen lake or X-out balls. Lake balls refers to balls that were thrown into a water hazard and afterwards they were recovered. In general, if the golf ball has no scratches there should be only a minimal maybe impossible to tell difference, however, look carefully for scratches. If water got into the ball they will fly considerably less. Lastly X-out (Or practice balls) balls are usually released by the manufacture and they only have either a tint or printing problem though the ball itself is in perfect condition, you will see on the side of each ball the words “X-OUT” or “PRACTICE”. These balls are way cheaper but have in mind that are not allowed for official tournaments and you will be immediately disqualified if you use them.
Hopefully this article was very useful to you and now you can go with confidence and ask for the right golf ball in your pro shop.