Types of Golf Balls

By Marc Jenkins

The golf ball is probably the second-most important piece of equipment--after the clubs--when it comes to your golf game. Numerous makes and models are available, which can complicate a player's attempts to find the one that best matches his style of play and the courses he plays. Here's a tip: It's mainly about the cover.

Surlyn-Covered Golf Balls

Surlyn-covered golf balls are probably the most common and inexpensive type of golf ball. A surlyn-covered golf ball is a two-piece ball that has a solid core with an outside shell covering that is made of a special ionomer copolymer called surlyn, which is extremely tough and durable. Because surlyn is so hard, it presents benefits and side effects to golfers. The balls will last a long time without damage, however, they will not always have the best green and grass reaction in terms of bounce, roll, backspin and fade once they touch the ground. Some examples of surlyn-covered golf balls are the Nike Juice 312 and the Wilson Smart-Core Straight Distance.

Balata-Covered Golf Balls

A balata-covered ball is a three-piece ball that is constructed out of a liquid-filled, rubber-wound core that is covered with a soft substance called balata, which is extracted from bully trees in the West Indies and Guyana. The soft material provides better playability on a multitude of shots. Players can receive more backspin on certain shots and more bounce or roll on others depending on what is needed and how it is stroked. Balata-covered balls are traditionally more expensive than other balls because of the material. Some examples of balata-covered balls are the Titleist Pro V1 and the Callaway Golf HX Tour.

Surlyn-Covered vs. Balata-Covered Balls

Balata balls are going to play better on the course because of their soft cover, but they will sustain plenty of cuts, nicks and dents after a short time of play. Surlyn balls won't have the cuts, nicks and dents because of their tough exterior, but they won't offer that superb playability you get from the balata ball. But surlyn balls offer greater distance and are cheaper and don't need to replaced as often.

About The Author

Marc Jenkins has been writing since 2008. His work has appeared in numerous online publications, and he is also co-host of the Double Play Sports Hour, a sports talk radio show on WBCR 1090AM in New York City. He studied English and mass communications at Virginia State University.

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