Do you put much thought into what golf ball you play? Most weekend golfers don’t. But the ball you play can dramatically affect your scores. The right ball can help you chop strokes off your golf handicap. The wrong ball can cost you strokes and boost scores. So you need to play a ball that fits your game. How do you do this?
Ideally, you should choose a ball based on how it boosts your scoring chances. This often comes down to a choice between distance and feel. Do you want a ball that you can hit farther? Or one that helps you putt better? Choose the one that improves your putting.
Below are some common questions we fielded from players in our golf lessons on how to choose a ball. The golf tips below will help you choose one that’s right for you.
1. Should I use a golf ball that is popular with Tour players?
No. The pros have different needs than you. They favor balls that provide short game spin and control. These types of balls help Tour players hit low shots around the green that check up on demand, saving them strokes. Weekend golfers, like those in our golf lessons, need balls that launch and spin more.
One choice for golfers with high golf handicaps is a three-piece ball with a urethane cover. Three-piece balls feature superior driver performance. The urethane cover also provides improved feel and control on approach shots. As you lower your golf handicap, you can start using balls offering better control on shots around the green.
2. What’s the difference between Urethane and Surlyn covers?
While both are polymers, they offer different performance characteristics. Urethane offers good greenside con trol, feel, durability, and distance. But it’s more expensive than Surlyn. Players with low golf handicaps (and the pros) appreciate balls with Urethane covers.
Surlyn spins less as you get closer to the green but launches higher off the tee. It also works wells when you need to hit for a short high approach shot. Surlyn balls are ideal for golfers looking for distance and low dispersion off the tee. Players with high golf handicaps will like balls with Surlyn covers.
3. Should I buy expensive balls?
Only if you have a really low golf handicap…and you’re serious about improving. But choosing a ball shouldn’t be about price only. Performance is also a factor. Premium balls tend to provide better performance than non-premium balls. So if you have a low handicap and you’re serious about improving, it’s worth playing a better ball.
But avoid buying a premium ball if you have trouble hitting the fairway with long shots. Instead, try a distance ball that spins less. If you bump and run a lot of short shots, rather than hit Phil Mickleson-type flops, try a ball that offers lower spin. If it comes down to a choice between price and performance, choose performance.
4. When do I retire balls?
It depends. Three things affect golf ball performance—use, the elements, and storage conditions. Store your golf balls at room temperature for maximum life and keep them dry. Storing balls in extremely hot or cold places, like the trunk of your car, limits life. Submerging balls in water for long periods also limits life. Bottom line: Keep balls dry at room temperature. Retire any you’ve used excessively.
5. How do I test balls out?
Test balls from green to tee—not tee to green. Buy several sleeves of golf balls with different construction types. Chip with these models. Narrow down your choice to three or four that you like. Then hit shots from 100 to 150 yards out. Lengthen out your shots. How do they feel? Eliminate any that don’t feel right. Take your top selections and putt those. How well they feel when putting them is critical. If you can’t decide between balls, go with the least expensive.
Two other golf tips on golf ball selection: Don’t rule out a ball fitting session with a golf pro or a retailer with a launch monitor. Also, select a ball before getting fitted for a driver. Why—because optimum clubhead loft depends a lot on ball selection.
Choosing the right ball can take your game to the next level. It can also help chop strokes off your golf handicap. Take your time choosing a ball. Make it the right one.