Tips in Buying Golf Balls

By Larry Anderson
Golf ball types can affect speed, distance, spin and other variables.
Golf ball types can affect speed, distance, spin and other variables.

There are a large variety of golf balls on the market, many of which are designed to accomplish specific tasks. Some golf balls are designed to help players achieve greater distances off the tee. Others are soft and designed to spin, both properties that help advanced golfers achieve a high degree of precision over their shots. For golfers to choose the ball that best matches their game, it is critical for them to understand the various properties of golf balls, as well as try a few for themselves.

Distance, control or spin

Golf balls that promise golfers better distance on their drives react quickly when struck by a golf club. These balls tend to be hard and can help some golfers achieve an extra 10 to 20 yards. On the other hand, balls designed for distance can be hard to control on the green or when the situation calls for a finesse shot. Another type of golf ball is designed to afford golfers maximum control over each shot by reducing the extent to which the ball spins when it is struck. This type of ball helps golfers combat hooks and slices. The third kind of ball actually causes the ball to spin more than normal. As a result, it is often the choice of professional golfers who like the high trajectory of these balls. Professionals also can harness the spinning attributes of the ball to cause the ball to stop in a tight space on the green, or to cause the ball to go in the direction they want it to go.

Consider the construction

Golf balls are made of one piece, two pieces, three pieces or four pieces. One-piece balls are used most often by beginning golfers, and sometimes on driving ranges. While these balls have a soft feel when they are hit, are inexpensive and durable, they are not often used for playing because they lack the distance of other golf balls. Two-piece balls are the most popular balls among most golfers. They provide firmer feel, more shot distance and durability, though they are not as easy to control as balls that are softer. Three-piece balls are softer than one- or two-piece balls and spin more, too, which allows advanced golfers more control over the placement of their ball. Of all the most common golf balls, three-piece balls afford the most feel and control. Four-piece golf balls exhibit features similar to three-piece balls, but provide more feel and control. However, four-piece balls are relatively uncommon.

The outside of the ball

Golf balls may look similar, but even the outside covers of golf balls are different and are a factor in how they perform. Consider that soft covers may provide more feel, but are not as resistant to scrapes and abrasions as harder covers. As for the dimples on golf balls, most balls have between 300 and 500 dimples, which affect the way the ball travels through the air. Balls that have more dimples tend to fly lower to the ground than balls with fewer, larger dimples, which cause the ball to fly high through the air.

Think about the price

Purchasing a pack of golf balls can be a pricey affair, especially for beginning golfers who tend to lose a lot of balls in the woods, water and elsewhere. As a result, it can be an attractive option for such golfers to scoop up any balls they find and use them. One of the most common places to find golf balls is in the water, whether in a lake or on a course pond. However, golfers should keep in mind that golf balls that spend long amounts of time submerged in water will travel a shorter distance on the drive. For beginners, this may not matter. But for professionals or other avid golfers, losing distance is not an option.

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