By Lawrence Bredenkamp
I am continually amazed at the answers I get when I ask people which golf ball they use, and then why they use them. I sincerely believe that the vast majority of us play with golf balls for one of three reasons:
- Because of advertising and seeing what the top players use.
- Because you have had a good round previously with this type of ball or
- Because you got them cheaply or for free.
Of these three reasons I find the first to be the worst reason to use a particular ball.
Don’t get me wrong; the pros usually use a ball for a specific reason, but when you get to their level of skill you would understand the dynamics of both the golf swing and a golf ball. Something I don’t think the average golfer understands or cares to understand. We just want to play golf!
I play with a 5 handicap golfer who is a millionaire, and he only plays with balls that he can buy on special or that he has won. What’s more, he uses one ball for five or six rounds of golf. And there are others in my group of friends who play only with Titleist ProV1’s although they are high handicap golfers and have no idea that the ball is in no way helping their game. They use them simply because they have been told that this is the best ball on the market and the pros use them.
So what golf ball should you be using? Well honestly, I think for most of us, my rich 5 handicap friend has got it right, but technically here is a short answer for you.
Golf balls have essentially got three spin rates: low, medium and high.
A high rate will give a greater amount of revolutions but will not roll any great distance. With this type of ball it is easier to work the ball and hit different types of ball flights. This is a great golf ball for around the greens and for greater ball control. Hence you will see more and more professionals using this ball. Bear in mind though that the pros will change balls according to whatever contract they are bound by at the time.
A medium spin rate will not provide as much control on the green, will spin less and roll a bit further. It is not as easy to work the ball.
A golf ball with a low spin rate will roll a lot further than the others but will provide less control around the greens. The advantage of this type of ball for the high handicap golfer is that it will reduce the effect of a slice or a hook because of the limited amount of spin. This is probably the type of ball that most golfers (remember that the average golfer’s handicap is over 18) should be using.
Advertising definitely works, and whilst the soft-covered balls are fantastic balls for the few (less than 2%) of golfers who will benefit from them, the vast majority of golfers are not necessarily doing themselves or their games a favor by using these balls.
At the end of the day, I suppose the choice of which golf ball to use should come down to trial and error. Try as many as you can in the same round of golf and see which type/brand you prefer. It’s a bit like wine tasting. Some wines described as ‘great’ might not appeal to you as much as others that are classified as cheaper or blend wines. It’s all a matter of personal taste.
So you decide which golf ball to use, and while you’re at it, I’m off to the shop to pick up some cheapies on special!
Lawrence Bredenkamp is a qualified EGTF golf coach and takes great pleasure in helping people improve their game. Head over to his site, Play The Lie, for more information on how to improve your golf swing and lower your scores. While there, sign up for his free 6-week tutorial designed to reduce your golf handicap by 15%.