Choosing The Right Golf Ball

There's no golf without golf balls, and experienced golfers know that choosing the right golf ball is just as important as choosing the right golf club. Golf balls may look alike from the outside, but its what's inside that can offer better loft and backspin. So before you order a case of personalized golf balls or logo golf balls, take some time to find the ball that best suits your game.

Building better golf balls
There are four main characteristics to evaluate in golf balls: construction, core, cover and compression. The construction of a golf ball is important because it affects the way the ball will react when it's hit with a club. Construction can be one-piece, two-piece, three-piece or four-piece.

One-piece golf balls are the most basic of designs and are generally used by beginners and on driving ranges. These golf balls are generally made from a piece of Surlyn. They're durable and inexpensive, but you won't get as much distance because they have low compression. These golf balls are seldom used in games.

Two-piece golf balls have a solid core covered with a thin layer of Surlyn. They're durable and fly farther than one-piece balls.

Three-piece golf balls are softer, which enhances backspin. They generally have a solid rubber or liquid core, a layer of enhanced rubber and a Surlyn cover.

Four-piece golf balls are the newest arrival on the links. These balls add a middle cover for extra loft and backspin and are covered in urethane rather than Surlyn. Take care when you're playing with the latest balls. There's no harm in trying them when you're playing for fun, but some new balls give the player such an edge that they've been banned from USGA tournaments.

Cores
The core of a ball affects its distance and spin, as well as your ability to control the ball. Here, you'll have to make some choices that cancel each other out. Do you want more spin or do you want more distance? Do you want better feel or do you want more control?

Cores come in two main types: solid and liquid. Solid cores are generally made of rubber or a synthetic substitute, and offer more loft and longer drives. Liquid-filled cores have a rubber center filled with water. They have better spin, but they don't drive as far. Liquid-core golf balls are getting harder to find, because new construction techniques and materials allow for longer driving distances and increased spin.

Covers
The cover of ball affects its feel, especially on softer hits like putts and chips. Surlyn, a plastic material, provides more distance but less spin. Balata-covered golf balls are softer and have a better feel, but they don't drive as far and they're vulnerable to cuts and scratches.

The trademark dimples are molded into the cover of the ball, and they have a big impact on how the ball flies. A golf ball generally has between 300 and 500 dimples. Generally, larger dimples increase trajectory and smaller dimples lessen trajectory.

Compression
This measures the feel, or firmness, of golf balls when they're hit with a club. The amount of compression you need depends on whether you're playing a power or a finesse game..

Firm golf balls feel hard when they're hit. The harder the golf ball, the more explosive the hit is and the farther the ball will travel. As a tradeoff, these balls are much harder to control than balls with a softer feel. They are the most durable golf balls, aimed at high-handicap golfers who need more distance and iron play rather than spin shots.

Mid-feel golf balls are suited to the majority of golfers. They won't drive as far as firm golf balls, but the extra compression allows for more control and a bit of forgiveness for less than ideal shots.

Soft-feel golf balls are used by low handicap and professional golfers. These are the least durable golf balls and also have the shortest flight distance on drives. In exchange, the golfer is rewarded with exceptional control and spin. Most professional golfers choose balls with a soft feel.

Spin
Compression, core and cover all combine to determine how much spin a golf ball has. If you've ever marveled at a shot that rolls back into the cup or watched a professional drop a tee shot within a few feet of the pin, you've seen the power of spin.

Low spin golf balls decrease side spin and allow for a straighter trajectory. Though the ball may not travel as far, the lack of spin will increase its roll once it lands. These balls are suited to players that slice the ball and struggle with distance.

Mid-spin golf balls are favored by most players. They offer a good balance of distance and control.

High-spin golf balls greatly magnify the natural backspin on club hits. High-spin are preferred by professionals who need a tremendous amount of control over their shots.

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