The ball is the only piece of our equipment used on every shot so it’s important to play a ball that fits your game. Manufacturers more than ever, are making use of hi-tech materials and fresh design ideas matched with advanced manufacturing techniques for golf balls providing more distance, better trajectory and spin control.
Choosing the proper ball starts with evaluating performance around the green, then moving back to approach shots with short and medium irons and finally to drives. Look for measurable distance and spin differences between two-layer “distance” balls and multi-layer balls to decide which is the best for you.
Number two in the ball business, Bridgestone has updated their popular e-series with a proprietary dimple design in a “spidering” pattern for 10 percent more dimple-surface-coverage. The pentagonal WEB dimple pattern on the e-5 (2-piece urethane cover), e-6 (3-piece soft Surlyn cover with anti-side spin mantle) and e-7 (3-piece Surlyn cover also with anti-side spin mantle) added to the aerodynamics of their dual dimple gives a more penetrating ball flight and more distance. All are priced at $29 dozen.
Callaway is enjoying a significant increase in ball sales with the 65 compression Chrome Soft that, even though it has a soft feel around the green, produces low spin from the tee making a very nice combination. This 3-piece ball has a urethane cover to complete the package of distance and control. Retail price is $38 dozen.
Dean Snell, longtime in charge of golf balls for TaylorMade Golf, has his own company producing two new models, the 2-piece Get Sum for average golfers with a low compression core and Surlyn cover and the My Tour Ball with 3-piece construction, urethane cover and also a low compression core. Get Sum is $21 dozen and My Tour Ball is $32 dozen on SnellGolf.com.
The fourth generation of the Z-Star ball has a modified dimple pattern for less aerodynamic drag and what they call SpinSkin that increases friction with the club. It also has a lower compression for more greenside spin and touch. $45 dozen with white and yellow colors available.
TMaG with the Project (a) ball is targeting mid-handicappers who need more approach-shot spin with the use of a cast urethane cover (like many tour balls) but which also gives low driver spin for distance. This 86-compression 3-piece ball has their SoftTech formula cover with better durability and sells for $32 dozen.
The Pro V1/V1x, even at $48 dozen are still the most popular ball and this year both received a new softer feeling urethane cover boosting spin on scoring shots without changing performance off the tee. The Pro V1 has a softer feel, slightly more long game spin and flatter trajectory for a shallower descent while the Pro V1x is somewhat firmer feeling, with lower long game spin and higher launch.
The S4 is a premium category 4-piece ball with the urethane cover colored with a white base combined with pearlescent blue giving it better visibility. At 105-compression with a proprietary core formulation made with the metal bismuth, the S4 is meant specifically for players with higher swing speeds. $45 dozen at Volvik.com.
Lower compression golf balls are popular and Wilson’s Duo model is an industry low of 29-compression and also sells at an attractive price of $20 dozen. This is a pure distance ball with high launch characteristics ideal for players with slower swing speeds who are also looking for the softer feel benefits of lower compression.