All of the Different Types of Golf Balls (We Cut Them Open)

When looking at the different types of golf balls available for purchase, you need to understand how the golf ball is designed and manufactured. All of the ball manufacturers claim on their packaging that theirs is faster, longer, spins more, spins less, is softer than their competition, and is just plain better.

Of course, this is simply good advertising and marketing so you will hand over your hard-earned cash for their golf balls.

To understand the different types of balls is to look at how many layers a ball has and what effect these layers have on the performance of those balls. Let’s take a look:

All golf ball layers and construction types of golf balls

Table of Contents

2 Piece Golf Ball

2 layer golf ball with construction pros and cons for different types

These golf balls have a very simple construction technique: one thin layer on the outside of the ball that comes in contact with the golf club and the large core on the inside. The outside layer is mostly made with a material called Surlyn that is very durable to last many golf rounds.

The inside core is made of various rubber-type composites. Since this is a two-piece manufacturing process and has fewer materials than the others, these balls are less expensive to make and tend to be the less expensive balls to purchase.

Pros

–        Durable balls that tend to last

–        Very Affordable

–        Great for beginners and mid handicap golfers

Cons

–        Lower spin performance

–        Average distance

–        Tend to be a firm feel

Examples

–        Bridgestone Precept

–        Callaway Hex

–        Srixon Soft Feel

–        Titleist Dt – Trusoft

3 Piece Golf Ball

3 piece ball for the construction type of a golf ball

The three-piece construction ball is the most popular choice for your weekend golfer and the best tour pros in the world.  These golf balls have an added layer between the cover and the core that adds a “feel” layer that makes it very responsive with pitching and chipping around the green that more experienced players prefer. The covers of these three-layer balls can be made out of the less expensive Surlyn plastic, or the more common, the more expensive urethane plastic.

The three-layer construction allows ball designers to create more combinations of flight characteristics, feel and spin combinations than the two-piece ball allowing for more variations of ball designs and adds up to a more expensive price at the cash register.  Many of the “Soft” and “Supersoft” types of golf balls are found in the three-layer construction.

 

Pros

–        Excellent all-around feel on the course

–        Many golf designs to choose from.

–        Excellent spin characteristics

–        Excellent control on and around the green

Cons

–        Can be expensive

–        So many brands to choose from

Examples

–        Titleist Prov1

–        Bridgestone Tour B330-Rx

–        Callaway Chrome Soft

–        Srixon Z-Star

4 Piece Golf Ball

Two and three piece construction for a golf ball

The four-piece ball construction is just that – a golf ball with four layers. Each layer with its own material and its own purpose when the club strikes the ball. The idea is that each club hits the club with a different velocity.  The driver strikes the ball with the highest velocity, therefore the energy is pushed into the core, the bottom layer.

The long irons, 2 through 6, hit the ball with less energy and push only partially into the ball, the second layer, and so on until you reach the outside layer which corresponds to the putter and wedges. Each layer is designed with the clubs intended to compress that part of the ball. 

The four-piece construction is complicated to manufacture and tends to be pricey when purchasing these golf balls.

Pros

–        Excellent all-around feel on the course

–        Excellent spin characteristics with irons

–        Excellent control on and around the green

Cons

–        Expensive

–        Questionable just how effective having four layers in a golf balls are for regular players.

Examples

–        Titleist Prov1X

–        TaylorMade Tour Preferred

–        Callaway Chrome Soft X

–        Srixon Z-Star XV

5 Piece Golf Ball

Types of golf balls at tellmemoregolf including layers and constructions of the golf balls

This golf ball design has exactly what you would expect:  five layers, each corresponding to the energy that various clubs bring into the ball strike.  I haven’t seen any data to confirm that having 5 layers in a golf ball has any real advantage over the less layered balls.

The TaylorMade TP5 5 layered ball has been around many years and has gained some traction with pros on the tour, but that said, there are not a lot of brand names making 5 layered balls.  This should tell you something about this controversial golf ball design and whether lots of golfers actually use them on the golf course.

Pros

–        Excellent all-around feel on the course

–        Excellent spin characteristics with irons

–        Excellent control on and around the green

Cons

–        Expensive

–        Arguable just how effective having five layers in a golf ball really is

Examples

–        Titleist – doesn’t make a 5-layer ball.

–        TaylorMade TP5

–        Callaway Hex Black Tour

–        Srixon – doesn’t make a 5-layer ball.

Conclusion: Types of Golf Balls: Tests and Research by tellmemoregolf.com

cmprsd Tell Me More Golf Vertical Logo with the motto we have answers

When looking at what types of balls there are in the game of golf, it ultimately comes down to how a ball is made, what characteristics a ball is designed for and at what cost the ball the consumer has to pay.

Currently, the most popular types of golf balls are the two- and three-layered configurations for most golfers.  The two for their simplicity and low price and the three for their course performance and feel.  The three-layer ball does require more cash for that added performance, but most golfers think the added performance justifies the extra cost. 

What golf ball should you use? The one that performs best at the price point you’re willing to pay. Beginning golfers should try out a few two-piece balls and find the right one for their game. The more advanced golfers should be thinking about the three and four-piece golf balls to try out on the course. There are many to choose from and sometimes hard to tell the difference between them. I try out new golf balls all the time on the course.

Last year I tried out the Callaway Chrome Soft ball and found it very inviting for spin characteristics off of my irons. I then changed my mind when I found the ball too soft for long putts. Back to the drawing board!

Buy a sleeve of three or four brands of balls and try them out for yourself. It’s the only way to know if a golf ball fits your game!

If you enjoyed this article, you will love my publication concerning How to Buy Golf Balls. It’s fun and informative!

Further Information

Distance Ball – a ball that is designed to spin less in the air and go a longer distance.

Soft Feel – a ball that is made with low compression and soft materials that feels light when striking or putting the ball.

Very Soft Feel – a ball that is made with low compression and soft materials that feel very light when striking or putting the ball.  This ball can feel too soft for many experienced golfers.

Matte Surface – most golf balls have a shiny surface on them.  A matte surface has a non-shiny surface on the face of the golf ball.

Compression – how much energy the golf ball deflects when struck by a club.  A low compression ball feels soft and can often go less distance in the air.  A high compression ball has a firmer feel and will often deflect more energy when struck, going farther in the air when struck.  Generally speaking, beginning men and women will use lower compression balls and more experienced golfers will prefer a higher compression ball.

Senior and Women’s Golf Ball – a ball that has a lower compression and is designed for a slower swing speed.

Ball Spin – Refers to the amount of spin the ball generates when in the air and heading towards a target.   Low spin golf balls will fly straighter and stop slowly when they reach their target. High spin golf balls fly less straight and will stop quickly when they reach their intended target.  This type of spin is more common for experienced golfers and professionals on tour who want to place their golf shots more accurately on the course.

Size of a Golf Ball – according to the USGA equipment standards, a standard golf ball must be:

–        Perfectly round

–        Not have a weight that exceeds 1.62 ounces, or 45.93 grams

–        Have a diameter that is larger than 1.68 inches or 42.67 mm.

–        Adhere to specific measurements of distance and velocity capabilities.  Something to remember:  by law, golf balls can not go longer than a maximum ceiling set by the USGA requirements.  This law exposes their false marketing claims that their manufactured golf balls go farther than their competition. This claim is dubious at best and downright misleading at worst.

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