How to Compare Golf Balls for the Average Golfer

How to Compare Golf Balls for the Average Golfer

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Choose the right ball before you tee off.

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Finding the golf ball that best suits your game isn't as easy as just buying a ball that PGA Tour pros use. Many high-performing golf balls contain features that help low-handicap players hit the ball farther or control the ball better. But players with average swings don't have the skills to take advantage of all those high-end features. If you're an average player, select a golf ball that matches your game.


Start from the outside and look at different covers. Softer covers, such as urethane, spin more and offer greater feel on shorter shots. If you're capable of controlling the spin on your short approaches, for example, consider a soft-cover ball. But if the extra spin won't do you any good, consider a more durable cover, such as surlyn, which won't cut as easily if you mishit the ball.


Choose between two- and three-piece balls. A two-piece ball contains a cover wrapped around an inner core and typically offers an average player greater distance. A three-piece ball contains an extra middle layer wrapped around the core. Three-piece balls offer more feel to help your short game, but as with softer covers, the added feel may not benefit an average golfer. You'll also find four-piece balls, but they're designed for above-average players.


Look for spin control balls. A ball with a lower spin rate is ideal for players who tend to hit hooks or slices, because the ball limits the effects of sidespin.


Match your swing speed to the balls' compression numbers. If your swing speed is average, 80 mph for example, you need a ball with a softer core to maximize your distance, so look for a midrange compression number. If your swing speed is 90 mph, which is above average, use a ball with a firmer core and a higher compression number.


Look at the price of the balls. Even if you can afford expensive balls, they probably won't perform any better for an average golfer than a mid-priced ball.


  • If you have trouble selecting a ball, perform nine-hole tests with two or three top choices and see which one works best for your game.
  • Consult with your teaching pro, if you take lessons, before you shop for golf balls.