While advancements in golf club technology have been amazing over the course of the last two decades, most agree that the golf ball has changed the “modern” game more than anything.
Today’s golf balls simply deliver incredible performance in terms of distance, control, and spin as compared to what golfers had to choose from years ago.
In fact, the golf ball alone makes it hard to compare the great players of today with some of the legends of the game, who played with much more inferior balls, and there are some who actually believe that the newer golf balls are making the game too easy, which is a debate for another day.
Of course, even though the golf balls available today are tremendous from a performance standpoint, golfers still have to determine what’s the best ball for their game.
Looking at what the different balls have to offer in terms of technology, as well as what they’re designed to do on the course is part of the process in choosing a ball. And what they’re designed to do will be increasingly important for lower-handicap golfers, whose games are more about precision and control.
But as is often the case in golf, personal preference will also play a major role in determining the right ball for your game.
Here are three factors to consider before making your choice:
1. BUDGET VS. SKILL LEVEL
Let’s be honest … the higher your handicap the more likely it is that you are losing your fair share of golf balls on the course. Therefore, it would be wise to find the best ball that suits your budget. Every major golf ball manufacturer offers multiple brand lines that will deliver high performance and fit nicely into most any budget. That being said, there is a reason why premium golf balls cost more. They are simply the best. But premium balls are not just for low-handicappers. High handicappers can also benefit from premium balls because of their ability to spin and go longer distances, as well as their soft feel around and on the greens. Sticking to a budget, however, is a great idea for everyone when it comes to choosing a ball.
2. FEEL PREFERENCE
Different golf balls have different feels based on their respective designs. And it’s worth pointing out that balls in the same budget range but from different manufacturers can offer very different feels as well. Some feel soft coming off a driver while others are firmer, and the same is true for shots played from around the greens. And where different feels between golf balls might be most obvious is when putting. What kind of feel do you want in your golf ball? Once you’ve answered that question, through research and some trial and error you can find a ball that suits your preference. But don’t disregard feel when making your decision, as feel is such an important part of golf.
3. MAKE A COMMITMENT
My biggest pet peeve is when a self-proclaimed serious golfer tells me that they don’t care what kind of ball they play because they use whatever they can find. And we’ve all been there and done that. But at some point, if you are truly serious about your game, it’s time to decide on a ball and stick with it for a while. When you change the type of ball you play on a frequent basis, you are constantly having to readjust to a new feel, which is not good for achieving consistent results. And it can be especially detrimental to your short game and putting, aspects of the game which rely heavily on feel. So find a ball you like and stick with it. If you do, you’ll enjoy more success.
The good news when it comes to golf balls is that there are many great options to choose from on the market today.
Finding the right ball for your game will probably require some modest experimentation, but if you take the time to find a ball that performs well and meets your expectations in terms of feel, you’ll be able to play that ball on a consistent basis and have the confidence that it will meet your needs on the course.
About the Author Tyrus York is a PGA Teaching Professional at the High Performance Golf Academy in Lexington, Kentucky, which is one of only two Golf Channel Academies in the state. He was named the 2014 Kentucky Section PGA Teacher of the Year, and he also serves as the head coach for the Transylvania University women’s golf team.