You've heard it before -- the golf ball is the only piece of equipment you use on every shot, which makes it the most important piece of gear in the game. Choosing the right model for you can add serious yards to your driver (not to mention the rest of the clubs in your bag) and improve your accuracy, short-game performance, and even your putting. If you still play a ball because you found it in the woods or a pal recommended it, it's time to wise up and experiment with a variety of models. Your individual needs -- based on swing speed, launch angle, spin rates, and even feel preference -- are key to finding the ideal ball. Here are some of the latest models to consider.
IT'S FOR: Players who desire a soft, high-spin, Tour performance ball.
SKINNY: Geared for a range of swing speeds, this ball's large, soft core -- softest in the center and firmest toward the perimeter -- generates more distance than the current Z-Star. A new dimple pattern creates more uniform surface coverage for improved flight consistency. Its "Spin Skin" coating increases friction between the club and ball by 20 percent for added spin on shots around the green. Comes in white or yellow. The Z-Star XV ball, for 100+ mph swing speeds, is firmer and spins less off the driver.
IT'S FOR: Players who want Tour-like greenside control, very soft feel and a straight flight.
SKINNY: The six-piece construction includes an extremely soft core, four mantle layers (two inner, two outer) and a soft urethane cover. The soft compression core produces low driver spin for greater carry distance. The two inner mantle layers increase COR for higher ball speeds. The outer mantle layers, which are heavier than the inner layers, reduce sidespin on mis-hits for straighter shots.
Bridgestone Lady Precept
IT'S FOR: Players who swing 85 mph or slower and want higher launch and less spin.
SKINNY: An extremely soft "Gradational Core" allows players with slower swings to achieve faster ball speeds and more distance. A 12 percent thinner cover than in previous models combines with the soft core to promote higher launch angles and lower spin rates. The "Lady Precept" name can be misleading because any moderate- to slow-swing-speed player can benefit from this design. However, Bridgestone officials concede that the ball is built primarily around data gathered on female players. Comes in white, pink, and yellow.