At first glance, golf balls seem pretty simple. See the ball, hit the ball. However, manufacturers produce large lines of balls that vary in construction, material, performance, and price. With all the different options out there, it’s worth noting which balls and performance benefits fit your game best, and catering your balls characteristics to enhance your game where you need it most.
Depending on your golf needs, you may be able to enhance your game with the right golf ball. Worried about your hook or slice? Want your ball to fly farther? Looking for a different trajectory? What if you are looking for more control or spin during your short game? Chances are that there is a great ball out there to help you meet these goals. Here are some of the basic golf ball types to choose from:
- Distance: Golf balls built for extra distance performance can gain speed immediately off the tee, allowing for maximum trajectory.
- Spin: Golf balls made to help you add spin to your short game.
- Straight: Golf balls that help reduce side-spin, lessening a hook or slice.
- Soft or Hard: Some golfers prefer responsive golf balls with a soft feel, while other golfers prefer balls with harder impact for a steady hit.
- All-in-One Performance: Plenty of golf ball manufacturers now offer balls that offer a delicate balance of distance, control, and feel.
Golf balls are constructed at minimum of two pieces, a core and shell covering. Higher performance balls have one to three additional layers between the core and the cover, made of materials that change the way the ball travels and feels. The standard size for all golf balls today is 1.68 inches.
The core of a golf ball is its innermost layer. It is usually made of a synthetic rubber compound or resin but can, in 3-, 4-, or 5-layer balls, be filled with liquid instead. The materials selected for the core and the layers surround it impact the spin, control, initial velocity, distance, compression, and feel of the ball. Most of the weight in a golf ball comes from its core materials.
The cover of a golf ball if often made with durable urethane to prevent nicks and scratches. There are generally between 300 and 350 dimples on the cover of a golf ball. This range of dimpling, not too few or too many, helps add movement to the air around the ball, which in turn increases height and distance to its trajectory.
Piece Golf Balls:
Most golf balls on the market feature two-piece construction. These balls have large, solid rubber cores surrounded by durable plastic and urethane covers. Most two-piece balls are geared towards value, durability, and distance. They are designed to help amateur golfers hit the ball high and far, and are tough on the outside to last long and resist extreme scratching or scuffing. As a result of these benefits, most two-piece golf balls spin less than other types.
Piece and Multi-Layered Golf Balls:
These golf balls are generally used by professionals and low handicap golfers who are after low spin from their drivers and high spin from their scoring irons. The Mantle layer is the key feature that distinguishes these golf balls from their two-piece counterparts. There can be one, two, or even three additional mantle layers, each contributing to lessening spin when the ball is struck by longer woods, hybrids, and irons. The synthetic materials of the core and cover, as well as any additional internal components and the dimple pattern of the golf ball, make these balls click at impact and “drop and stop” on the green when spun by better layers. These balls are also typically more expensive, as they require a great deal more of energy to make and more unique materials.