Without a golf ball, you aren’t going to be able to play so it is arguably the most important bit of equipment!
You might think that one golf ball is much like another but there are many different features built into modern golf balls to help you maximize your potential.
For an in-depth look check out my ultimate guide to golf balls.
Here is a quick run-down of what to look for in a golf ball.
Golf Ball Layers
You will find that golf balls are available with between 1 and 5 layers. The more layers the ball has the better its performance. It will also tend to cost more as well!
5 piece golf ball
At the moment TaylorMade is the only company producing a 5-piece ball. Their TP5 and TP5x models are the premium offerings from the company and are designed with better players in mind.
4 piece golf ball
These also tend to be aimed at better players and particularly those with higher swing speeds as they tend to have higher compression ratings than 3-piece balls. The most well-known 4-piece ball is the Titleist Pro V1x.
3 piece golf ball
Mainly aimed at players looking for a ball that can offer performance benefits. Particularly in terms of how the ball can be spun. They come in a variety of different compression ratings to suit different types of players. They will also have different cover materials to enhance different aspects of their performance. The Titleist Pro V1 is a 3-piece golf ball.
2 piece golf ball
Probably the most common type of ball. Featuring a large core these balls can be made to feel soft or firm covering all segments of the market. They are targeted at high handicappers and beginners since they generally tend to be cheaper and therefore less painful to lose! The Srixon Q Star is a 2-piece golf ball.
1 piece golf ball
Unlikely you would want to use these balls on a golf course. They will be like rocks. If you are unlucky you might find them at your local driving range. They also tend to be used at mini-golf or crazy golf courses.
How hard or soft a ball feels when you hit it. Golf ball manufacturers don’t tend to specify a compression rating they will simply describe a ball as soft or firm. Softer balls should be a better fit for slower swingers but Mygolfspy has shown in their testing that softer balls don’t go as far at every swing speed!
If you don’t have great eyesight then a brightly colored golf ball can be much easier to pick out in flight and in the rough. Srixon is currently going all-in with their half-and-half strategy called ‘divide’ with each hemisphere a different vibrant color. Yellow is still one of the most popular golf ball choices other than white.
Several manufacturers also try to make the ball stand out more by adding graphics such as TaylorMade with ‘pix’ and Callaway with ‘truvis’.
What material is used in the cover and its thickness will usually affect the amount of spin you can generate with the ball. Tour-level balls will have a urethane cover which helps to maximize spin while cheaper balls aimed at less accomplished players will have ionomer or surlyn covers.
While better golfers are generally looking for a golf ball that spins more it may not necessarily be right for you. If you tend to hit a lot of hooks and slices then playing a high-spinning tour ball will make your shots cure more! You would probably be better off with a 2-piece ball even if it means you can’t spin the ball back on the green!