golf tips blog

Date : 6/1/2018

Freund Friday 6/1/18 - The Golf Ball

How much thought do you put into that little white thing you smack around the golf course? Probably not much. You make sure to mark it in your own special way before placing it on a tee and beginning your trek across the wide expanse that is a golf course. But does it suit your golf swing? You use your golf ball for every shot you take each round.  A properly fit golf ball can increase your distance, improve your accuracy, and help you hit the ball closer to the hole. All of which leads to lower scores.

There are hundreds of golf balls in production today. Some of them are from well known companies such as Titleist, Bridgestone, Callaway, etc. Some of them are relative new-comers like Vice, Snell, or the elusive Kirkland Signature. All say they are the best for your game. So how do you know which is truly best? The easy answer is you must try them. But that can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. Another option is to use an online ball fitting tool. Most golf ball manufacturers have this on their website. But a bit of quick research has shown me that they will try to push you to their “premium” top of the line and most expensive ball regardless of the fitting outcome.

So what do you do?

Let’s discuss some golf ball basics. If you have ever cut open a golf ball (or picked up a ball that has been chopped by a mower) you will know that golf balls (much like ogres and onions) have layers.

The outer most layer, or the cover, is made of one of two materials: either urethane or surlyn. Urethane is a softer cover that is used in premium golf balls. The softer cover helps promote spin, especially in short irons and wedges, but is a less durable material. Conversely surlyn is a firmer cover that may improve distance but does not spin as well. Before you blindly reach for that Urethane ball so you can spin it like the pro’s, remember that increased spin includes increased side spin. If you play a fade you may find that it fades a little more.

In addition to the cover, there is a core. The core is the literal and figurative heart of the golf ball. Found in the very center, Titleist likes to describe the core as “the engine” of the golf ball. It’s what makes the ball go. Characteristics such as core stiffness, resiliency, compression, and size all factor into each ball’s feel, distance and control.

If you are purchasing a 2-piece golf ball that’s all there is, core and cover. However, almost every ball manufacturer also has a 3, 4, or even 5 piece golf ball. These extra layers are called the mantle. The mantle reacts to each club differently. It helps the core to increase distance and control spin off of the driver and works with the cover to increase spin with irons and wedges.

A 2-piece ball will likely go the farthest and straightest, but will be difficult to control around the greens. Inversely a 4-piece ball will often sacrifice a little distance for increased feel with your wedges.

Now that you know the basics, you can match your swings characteristics and your needs to the golf ball. There will still be a trial and error period where you will need to test out a variety of balls. The ball you hit the farthest may not spin enough around the green. And a ball that is great around the greens may spin too much when you hit your driver.  You might find that the most expensive golf ball is not the best for your golf game – so spend some extra time fitting the best ball for you! 


Anthony Freund
Assistant Professional
Three Lakes Golf Club

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