Are you an amateur golfer looking for more information? Or are you an expert player seeking updates about the game? Then, this buying guide for the best golf balls is meant for you. This guide provides an in-depth understanding of the essential equipment in golf.
For example, do you know why golf balls have dimples?
Similarly, if you still don't know which features are key when buying your gear, then read on. So, are you ready for the learning experience? Let's get to it!
Golf Ball Basics
Did you know that Golf dates back to 100BC? The first form of Golf is the Roman game of paganica. Here, players used to hit stuffed leather balls with a bent stick. However, the modern game traces back to Scotland (around the 15th century). The key difference being the hole! Older practices didn’t have a hole until the Scottish developed one alongside several rules, some of which are still carried on to date. Enough about the game: Let’s discuss the golf balls.
1.1 The Making of Golf Balls
Making of golf balls has evolved for centuries. Ancient golf balls had distinct differences. Hence a one-piece golf ball was quite different from a two-piece one and so on. Then, in the 1900s, golf balls were much smaller compared to the modern-day golf balls. Also, the balls for American tournaments were not suitable for European competitions. Making of golf balls unfolded depending on the historical era as follows: -
The game of golf emerged in the 1400s in Scotland. During this time it was the peasants that curved out golf balls from wood. Then, 1600 saw the emergence of leather golf balls. These were simple triple-layered leather sacks filled with goose feathers. The filling had to be wet so that they shrink into the right size. Then when the feathers dry, they expand into the leather cover, giving the golf ball a smooth round shape. The shells had a painted outer finish. Making the leather golf balls was time-consuming and tedious. Still, they were an improvement of the wooden golf balls. These balls could achieve a decent flight and last longer than the wooden golf balls.
The third prominent era in the making of the golf balls was in the 1800s. During this time, the first rubber golf balls came to be. Nicknamed Gutties, these golf balls were the first mass-produced batch. Making of these balls consisted of heating and pouring rubber into molds.
Then, the balls makers hit them using hammers to achieve small dents that gave the balls a much distance. It is these dents that later evolved to dimples. Rubber is still a favorite material for making golf balls today.
The modern-day golf balls are of rubber or synthetic cover and molded core. They have layers that vary according to the intended hardness. Other golf balls use Surlyn, thermal plastic, or urethane for their nucleus. Manufacturers inject this core filling using modern technology. Also, the outer cover is hard and dimpled. Finally, the craftsmen paint the logo or brand name on the surface of the ball before applying a final coat. These balls are of superior performance. They vary in size, construction, spin, compression, and feel. Different golf ball brands also add their styles to appeal to their target players. The next section will explore all these aspects of the modern golf ball.
1.2 What Is The Standard Size Of A Golf Ball?
As per the USGA and the R&A rules of golf, a typical golf ball should not be smaller than 42.67mm in diameter. Its circumference is under 134.058mm. Furthermore, the width and height should be less than 43mm. The golf ball's weight remains below 1.620 ounces. Its initial velocity is also less than 250 feet per second. These balls' carry and roll range should not exceed 280 yards.
Golf balls feature dimples measuring 0.01 inches deep. A standard golf ball will have between 250 and 500 dimples. These also have a part to play in improving the player’s performance. Check out the FAQ section for an in-depth explanation on this.
Why are these numbers relevant to a beginner, average, or expert golf player? Well, the golf ball market is full of a variety of construction designs to suit the different players. It's only wise that each player should use these standard parameters act as the threshold. This way, the player has a check that ensures he doesn't compromise his performance for style. What then are these golf ball construction styles? Let's explore this next.
1.3 Golf Ball Construction
Golf ball construction refers to the style and material of the golf ball. This aspect is what determines its trajectory or flight path dynamics. For example, the pioneer golf balls made of wood could only travel up to 100 yards. Today, the Guinness world record for the longest drive is 515 yards. This drive was in a PGA competition. How cool is that? Both the style and materials used will detect how the ball will respond to the club. Here is a list of the most common golf ball constructions available today: -
1.3.1 One-Piece Golf Balls
Are you a beginner golfer? Then the one-piece golf ball is a primary, durable, and inexpensive gear suitable for you. Also, this golf ball works well for players on crazy-golf courses or driving ranges. A one-piece golf ball is of a firm Surlyn and mold-in dimples. Due to its general soft feel and low compression, it rarely gives the player much distance when hit.
1.3.2 Two-Piece Golf Balls
A two-piece golf ball is of a rigid resin or acrylate and a tear-resistant cover. This two-layer design is hard and durable yielding most distance for the player. Still, this ball is quite cumbersome to control. Hence, it is popular with regular golfers who want to improve their skills of the game.
1.3.3 Three-Piece Golf Balls
Three-piece golf balls have a soft feel with a more prominent spin. Besides, they offer the player better control of the ball. The shots give the player a competitive spin-separation power. These golf balls comprise of the following triple stripes: -
- A liquid or compact rubber core;
2. Middle improved rubber or liquefied layer and;
3. A Urethane, Surlyn, or Balata cover.
1.3.4 Four-Piece Golf Balls
Every extra layer on the ball customizes it for better play and spin-separation. Indeed, the first layer has a firm rubber to cover the longest distance. The ball’s second film works to redistribute the energy from the strike. Plus, the third layer achieves a mid-spin that reaches far. Finally, the top most cover is a thin Urethane layer with at least 300 dimples. This four-piece golf ball covers the farthest distance while maintaining the softest texture.
1.3.5 Five-Piece Golf Balls
A five-piece golf ball works like a three-piece or four-piece golf ball. Also, its superb spin separation guarantees superior performance on the green. Besides, such balls achieve the longest distance. This superior construction retails in Pro Shops at premium rates. It is no wonder that these golf balls feature in major tournaments.
A five-piece golf ball offers the following layers for optimal performance: -
- An inner core for high speed;
- Triple mantle layers for the best shots and swings and;
- An outer urethane cover with a soft feel.
1.4 The Spin
A golf ball’s spin refers to the way the shots land on the green. It is how the ball bounces before settling on the green. The spin assists to keep the golf ball on firm greens. Hard pins become accessible depending on your spin style. Also, the players use this technique to increase their chances of setting up a short birdie.
A golf ball can spin in three ways. It moves in topspin when the upper side faces the direction of the throw. In turn, the underside spins while facing the player. This seamless style achieves a swift ball release when it lands.
Sidespin happens when the ball curves either to the left or right mid-air. Indeed, it is impossible to strike a ball that has a zero sidespin. That is, even a pro golfer rarely achieves a straight shot. Instead, they opt to perfect a ball flight pattern that suits their game.
Finally, a ball with a backspin rotates towards the player upon hitting it. Such a spin achieves high flying balls. Different golf balls launch differing spins as follows: -
1.4.1 High Spin Golf Balls
A high spinning golf ball has a unique design to achieve the most spin. These golf balls’ backspin has a high trajectory, resulting in a longer carry. Such balls are an excellent pick for players who hit shots from the right with a draw. They have a better feel on the green, hence, greater control for the player.
1.4.2 Low Spin Golf Balls
Unlike the high spin golf balls, low spin golf balls have minimal backspin. They decrease the occurrence of sidespins, resulting in the ball flying at a low height. In turn, such balls travel a short distance in the air. But, they have far-reaching roll when they land. Players who struggle to get a far reach prefer using such golf balls. Also, they work best for golfers who fancy slicing the ball.
1.4.3 Mid Spin Golf Balls
Mid spinning golf balls achieve a stable distance and feel. Hence, they are suitable for most golfers. They work best regardless of the conditions on the green.
Golf ball compression relates to the way the ball crushes against the club when hit. It is this impact that dictates how much energy shifts from the club-face to the ball. Indeed, a deeper squash translates to the ball traveling the furthest distance.
Most golf balls have a compression of between 40 and 100. A low compression golf ball is usually softer. So, they are ideal for beginners and high handicappers who grapple with slow swing speed. In contrast, high compression golf balls have a firm feel. They generate a faster swing speed that improves its control.
Note, players should choose a golf ball that matches their swing speed. Otherwise, they risk compromising their performance. For example, a golfer with a fast swing speed will not perform well with a low compression golf ball and vice versa. Still, winter temperatures tend to make the shells unyielding. Hence, a feebler compression golf ball would be ideal.
The construction of the golf ball determines its final feel. For example, a two-piece golf ball has a thick rubber core that results in a firm feel. Such balls go further and last longer. Still, three-piece, four-piece, or a five-piece golf ball has a soft rubber core and a soft urethane cover. This construction trades better control for durability and trajectory. Most low compression golf balls feel soft. In contrast, high compression golf balls tend to be hard due to their multi-layers. Still, their outer cover may seem smooth.
1.7 Golf Ball Brands and Philosophies
Do you know what philosophy your golf ball maker believes? This understanding is critical to all golfers. Each manufacturer makes a golf ball in line with its outlook. This outlook is their view