Choosing a golf ball can be an intimidating process. There are so many models and styles available that it can feel like you need a degree to succeed. But we’re here to help.
There are ton of ball types for a reason: everyone swings their clubs differently. Below you can find a list of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing a new ball. You can check out reviews of the latest and greatest golf ball models here.
1. Stick with what works
We’re not saying you shouldn’t experiment with different golf ball models from time to time—it’s fun to try new gear and see how it affects your game—but if you’re really interested in shooting your best scores, it’s best to find a model that fits your budget and swing and stick with it. The best in the world are loath to change golf balls for good reason: Even minor changes in spin rate or feel can add another unnecessary variable to an already complicated situation.
2. Fit to irons, wedges and putter
A lot of folks understandably think selecting the right golf ball means finding the one that goes the longest off the tee, but in reality you’d be a lot better offer fitting to your scoring clubs. “How well is this working in my short game? How does it feel off the putter? How about my 7-iron?” Those are the questions you need to ask. Once you get the ball that works with your scoring clubs, you can easily adjust your driver and other long clubs accordingly.
3. Don’t be stingy
It’s totally understandable to regularly buy inexpensive golf balls if you tend to lose a lot of them or you just don’t feel that they affect your overall game much. However, if you’re at least somewhat serious about your game and scoring, laying down a little more cash can be well worth your while. Today’s balls are about a million miles from the fragile balatas of old, and one of the things that distinguishes a premium model is its urethane cover—every Tour model has one, and these pelotas are pretty darn tough. So if you don’t lose a ton of balls, don’t be afraid to invest in the more expensive ones.
4. Compress to impress
While there can be advantages for a very fast swinger (see “Tour player”) to use a slightly higher-compression design in terms of energy transfer and ball speed, most modern golf balls will produce relatively similar driving distances for the vast majority of players. The really big development in ball design in recent years is the ability for manufacturers to make soft, low-compression cores that are just as fast as firmer ones. So unless you’re swinging at 110 mph or faster, focus more on how a ball performs around the greens.
5. Change ’em up
It’s true that modern golf balls are extraordinarily durable, but the reality is that you risk losing some significant yardage off your driver (up to 5 yards) and accuracy with your wedges if you try to milk one ball for too long. Though they don’t go out of round or cut like balatas did, dimples can be negatively affected by wear, so if you can feel a physical scratch or scuff with your fingers (smudged logos and cover paint don’t count), it’s time for a new rock.