How To Buy Golf Balls: The Ultimate Golf Ball Guide For You!
Today I am going to give you an in-depth and well researched guide on golf balls.
Specifically, I will tell you the information on how to buy golf balls, and answer the most asked golf ball questions.
From learning about the inside construction of golf balls, to what kind of golf ball is best for your playing style; you’ve found the right place.
Table of Contents
Back in the day, as a competitive golfer in the 1970s, my golf ball choice was Titleist, specifically the Titleist Pro 90. But being completely broke most of the time, I played whatever ball brand I could find or get my hands on. Maxfli, Ben Hogan, Top Flight and a few other golf balls definitely got the job done on the course.
All these balls did have one thing in common, a very long, thin rubber band wrapped around a rubber ball filled with liquid inside. If you cut off the cover, the band would start to spin out of control on the table until all of it wound off the core, leaving a large pile of rubber bands on top of the table. Cutting golf balls open never got old.
I will explain to you how to buy golf balls, and answer questions you might have along the way.
Do Golf Balls Make a Difference?
Nowadays, almost everything has changed about golf balls. From the layered construction, to the solid core, to the cover, dimple patterns and the endless manufacturers who all claim that their golf balls go longer, go higher, go straighter, spin more and farther than any other ball their competitors offer. For sure there are a lot of big claims they make to their consumers and surely, they must all be true! Well, maybe.
People want to know what golf ball has the most spin? This golf ball guide buying guide has been written to give you the best information on golf balls so you can make an informed decision about which are right for your handicap range and overall game.
The inside materials are made of a durable, composite rubber-like material that will last for many years.
The outside of golf balls is made from one of two materials: Surlyn or Urethane. Surlyn is found on the less expensive balls and has good strike feel, exceptional durability and good spin characteristics.
Urethane covers are found on the more expensive golf balls and has an excellent strike feel, good durability and the very popular characteristics of low spin golf balls.
The number and shape of the dimples on today’s golf balls can be configured for high, medium and low ball flights.
Balls are manufactured with two to five composite layers, each layer matching the golf club distance intended.
What Category of Golf Balls are Out There?
In today’s golf ball marketplace, there are golf balls that are designed for every level of golfers out there:
Cheap Golf Balls
These balls are designed for the beginning golfer. Typically, these balls have a surlyn cover that will withstand more abuse than the more expensive balls. They tend to be the “Distance” balls that feel harder when they are struck by a club or the “Soft Feel” ones that feel like you are hitting a marshmallow.
The fact that they are inexpensive is not lost on beginning golfers that tend to lose more golf balls at a faster rate than their more experienced peers.
Average Golf Balls
These balls are designed for the average golfer with more experience. They can have a surlyn cover, or urethane, have a medium price point and often perform almost or just as well as the more pricey premium balls.
Many times, golf outlets will put these balls on sale and are very tempting because they can be easier on the wallet.
Premium Golf Balls
These balls are designed exactly as you might expect. Companies use the absolute latest in technology in all categories to give the more advanced player everything they are looking in a golf ball.
They have great feel, great flight characteristics, last a long time and a spin rate to make you look like a professional. All of these features do come at a price, and we describe what ball it takes to hit a straight drive here.
Whether you are a golfer that can actually tell the difference between flight characteristics and spin rates, or just likes to play with top notch equipment, these are definitely the best, but are they best for you and your game?
Golf Ball Performance vs. Durability?
The answer to this question is that it depends on what you need from a golf ball. Once in a while, this question comes up from one of my students: If some golf balls wear out easier, why wouldn’t everyone just buy the balls that last longer? Great question!
What we are really talking about is how the golf ball feels when you are putting and chipping. Advanced players almost universally like to have a soft ball strike feel on and around the greens, but also a ball that flies a long distance off the tee.
The firmer feeling golf balls (which are the cheaper ones) can often give a stiff feel when struck with a club. They also tend to have a much lower spin rate than the premium balls making them fly straighter off the tee.
The premium golf balls have a “premium” feel to them. They feel soft and have great spin control to feel controllable when around the green. Advanced golfers prefer this soft and controllable feel when striking the ball, while less experienced golfers may not need this “touchy” experience and might not benefit from the higher price they demand.
Golfers just starting out should look for a durable golf ball that suits the golfer. Some new to the game prefer the “Distance Balls” that promise to deliver more yardage, while others like the “soft feel” balls that get more yardage from slower golf swings.
These balls tend to be Surlyn covered balls that are sold almost golf shops and box stores, usually at a discount price. Remember that new golfers will go through more golf balls than most, so keep that in mind. They can be found anywhere from 5 to 20 dollars per dozen.
These are the balls that sell more than any other. They can be Surlyn or Urethane covered balls that represent a very large portion of what is in the marketplace today.
Manufacturers do their best to represent these products as comparable to premium balls, some are really good, but ultimately, they are not the same.
Their price to consumers gives away the fact that their quality is not to par. They can be purchased from 25 dollars to 35 dollars per dozen.
These golfers have worked hard on their game and want it to shine on every shot. Premium golf balls are the path for excellence in every ball category.
From length, durability, feel, spin and general ball control, these balls are the top of the line and are going to cost you for that excellence. Most of the top golf ball manufacturers make what they consider their best: Titleist, TaylorMade, Callaway and Srixon to name a few.
There are even online golf ball manufactures such as Vice and Snell that make premium balls that compete solidly with the top manufacturers. Expect to pay $45 to $60 dollars for one dozen balls.
What are 3 Piece Golf Balls?
All golf balls at every price have at least two layers: the cover and the core. The layers go from two to five layers and each layer represents the speed and the golf club that you strike the ball with. The cover represents the layer you put and chip with.
The second layer towards the core represents the irons, etc. The more layers, the more feel you have with your clubs. Realistically speaking, I haven’t seen much data that four or five layers make much, if any, difference.
Most of the premium balls are either three or four layers and this should indicate what the big manufacturers think about the two- and five-layer designs. Not much! A three-piece golf ball is the most common design you will see in most golf balls.
What Kind of Golf Ball Should I Use?
I have searched many, many times for golf balls that I wanted to put in my bag and the answer has always been the same: You need to test out golf balls that you think might work for you and are in your budget.
Go out to your nearest golf retailer and find a selection of balls that fits into your budget and try them out on the course. What feels right to one golfer can feel very wrong to another.
Two years ago, I was at it again trying to determine what golf ball was right for me. I bought a three sleeve of Titleist Pro V1s, Srixon ZStars and Callaway Chromesofts.
I spent the entire Summer rotating these three balls during my course play and one of them eventually said “Pick Me!”. You need to try this for yourself and see which ball “talks to you.”
I did and I’m still very happy with my choice today. Give it a shot! (or a few chips and a put) Golf balls don’t lie. You can think of it like a taste test. Ultimately, you can tell by the feel and distance of a ball that it is perfect choice for your game.
What About Colored Golf Balls?
In the last few years, golf balls with bright colors have made their way on the golf scene. It’s important to know that the color of a golf ball does not in any way effect it’s feel or performance. I use yellow-colored balls every day because I can see them much easier and can find them faster than the traditional white ball.
The standard white ball can be difficult to see in the air, especially on a hazy or cloudy day and often times can be difficult to locate in the rough. Other golfers just like the look of a colored ball and will change colors every time they play, just like their socks. Definitely up to you and your preferences!
Hopefully you have a better overall understanding of how the balls work and how to buy golf balls going forward. Thanks for reading!
Glossary of Golf Ball Terms
Covering on the surface of the golf ball.
Durable cover that has very good spin characteristics.
Very durable cover that lasts for many rounds.
Inside of a golf ball, usually made of rubber-like composites.
Amount of back rotation of a ball exhibits when it strikes the green.
Speed at which the ball rebounds off the golf club when struck.
Multiple Layer Construction
Multiple layers or composite inside a ball.
How the ball reacts after struck by a club, distance, spin, etc.
How long a golf ball lasts.