What is the best golf ball for you based on your game, playing needs and goals. And of course don’t forget about your budget. The answer is probably not what you’d expect. Yes the pros all play very advanced balls like the ProV1. But is that ball right for you?
Golf balls have become quite expensive in the higher end of the scale. Of course you are getting quite a bit more for your money. Compared to 20 years ago the top-of-the-line balls are great assuming you can keep from losing them. You certainly won’t have to worry about cutting them up like the old balata balls.
The big question is ‘are they worth it’ for YOUR game?
Golf ball selection is worth some serious thought because the golf balls on the lower end of the cost scale have gotten quite a bit better too. Even you low handicappers can get great balls for your game… if you don’t let your pride get in the way.
Here’s what you need to know to make that decision.
General Golf Ball Types
Distance Balls – A ball designed to react quickly off the clubface for maximum speed, which results in overall distance. Distance balls are often two-piece designs with cores designed for maximum velocity off the clubface.
Spin Control Balls – A ball designed to reduce spin and help manage hook or slice tendencies. Golfers who are seeking to reduce hooks and slices may seek a low-spin golf ball. These are generally two-piece balls with specially designed covers.
Total Performance – A ball intended to create the best balance of spin, distance and control. Total performance balls are often multilayer, multi-construction golf balls. Total performance balls are preferred by better players. These can be 3- or 4-piece balls. These balls cost more than other balls and are the “new kid on the block” when it comes to golf balls.
Golf Ball Cover
Surlyn Cover: Surlyn is an extremely durable, but slightly harder cover material. Surlyn withstands nicks and cuts better but offers less feel.
Urethane Cover: Typically softer and offers greater feel and control over the ball, from the golfer’s aspect. Urethane covers are usually found on multi-layer balls and are typically found in total performance golf balls.
Balata Cover: All but gone. But up until about 15 years ago these were the only balls that top players used due to their soft feel.
Golf Ball Construction
Two-Piece Balls feature dual construction made up of a large solid inner core (that generates excellent distance) surrounded by a highrestitution outer cover. This enables maximum energy transfer to the ball at impact.
Multi-Layer Balls are typically three or four layers in which the core is wrapped in one or two mantle layers under an outer cover. Three-piece and four-piece golf balls are a good match for golfers with moderate to high clubhead speeds who want distance and feel.
The 2-piece ball – Best for beginners and intermediate players.
A two-piece ball is usually the least expensive. This construction is used by 60 to 70 percent of golfers. The core is typically synthetic rubber that’s been heated and pressurized to harden it, which gives the ball lots of speed. The cover is generally made of ionomer, a type of plastic, and is often thicker than the covers on three-piece or four-piece balls. As a result, they tend to be more durable. The balls tend to be harder, so they spin less.
Balls In This Category – Price $15-$25
The 3-piece ball – Best for more experienced players.
Provides low spin off a driver to go far, yet provides more spin off iron shots, for better golfers who can, for instance, create backspin that causes the ball to roll less after it lands on the green. May cost twice as much as a two-piece. The core is typically synthetic rubber similar to that of a two-piece ball and is just as hard. The middle layer is generally extremely thin and made of isonomers. The outer plastic cover can be thinner than most two-piece balls, and softer. As a result it sticks to the club face a little better on shorter shots, which aids spin, though thinner covers are also more apt to tear.
Balls In This Category – Price $25 – $50
The 4-piece ball – Best for stronger players.
Four-piece balls are generally recommended for players with faster swings. Typically, it has the same hard inner rubber core as two- and three-piece balls, but that is surrounded by a second, thinner layer of rubber to soften the feel. It contains two outer layers, one made of ionomer and one of hard plastic. This allows the manufacturer to tweak the characteristics of the ball. While these balls are often dubbed “tour” or “pro,” it doesn’t mean they’re better overall.
Balls In This Category – Price $25 – $50
If you’re a golfer who goes through 4-6 golf balls per round you might want to think hard before you spring for the expensive 3-piece balls. You just spent an extra $20 for your round if you choose a Pro V1 or Nike One Black.
You can find excellent all around golf balls for under $20 per dozen. The Pinnacle Gold has always been one of my favorites and the Nike Power Distance Super Soft may be the best golf ball on the planet for the money. It combines distance and feel like no other ball for under $20.
Of course the gold standard in golf balls is the Pro V1. This is the ball preferred by most of the touring pros. The only ones who don’t are the “super pros” who get paid to play a competing ball. Folks like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson fall into this category. But the fact that the average pro who doesn’t get paid to play a ball chooses a Titleist Pro V1 says a lot.
This ball typically sells for a consistent $45 per dozen. You can get better deals for high numbered versions and for logo balls so look around.