Golf Tips - Choosing the Right Golf Balls

By Joe Sullivan

There is nothing worse for golfers than wasting a good swing. Maybe it was a perfect drive on the range right before tee off. Maybe it was that perfect practice swing. Or maybe, just maybe, you wasted a good swing because your golf ball was not suited for the situation, or was piece of junk altogether.

I see far too many instances where a player uses the wrong type of ball. They might have the Great Big Bertha, some space age composite irons, or even the fancy wing-tipped shoes, but if the golf ball does not suit the player or the circumstance, then the overall outcome of the shot will be adversely affected.

There are essentially three types of balls:  balata, two-piece, or a combination of both. Basically, there are two things to consider when choosing the correct ball:

  1. What are you looking for?
    Are you a low handicap looking for ultimate spin and control? If so, choose a balata. This is essentially just a softer ball, which has a softer cover and allows for more spin. This is what Tiger and a lot of the big boys play (They are also quite a bit more expensive). If you are a higher handicap, you will be looking more for distance and durability. This is where a good two-piece ball will be best. This ball has a harder cover, and hence creates less backspin, which allows for you to hit it farther.
  2. The elements?
    It's important to look at things like the weather and the course conditions when choosing a ball. If, say, the course has been deluged with rain, then you will need a ball that will travel farther and produces less spin. If you are playing on a rock hard, sun-scorched track, choose something softer that will land soft and spin.

Also, keep in mind things like the temperature. If it's cold out, the ball will not compress as much, so you would want to play a 90-compression. (there are two compressions for men, 90 and 100.) Vice-versa if it's hot out.

Here are my recommendations for golf balls:

  • Balata - Maxfli HT or Titleist Professional
  • Half balata, half two piece - Precept EV Extra Spin or Titleist HP2 Tour
  • Two-piece - Maxfli MD or Wilson Staff TC2

There are more and more pros nowadays going from the pure balata to the half-and-half ball. It's a great type of ball and something I recommend for any playing ability.

Remember, you can cut off a few strokes per round by doing nothing more than choosing the correct ball. It's a good idea to keep a few of each in your bag and practice with them. Learn how they feel. See how you like them. Figure out which one to use so you can get an edge on your playing partners even before you tee off. *

Columns ©1999 Joseph K. Sullivan and GolfLink Inc. All rights reserved.


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