Helpful Tips

How to Choose the Right Golf Ball Based on Skill Level

Hand wearing

Learning how to choose the right golf ball isn’t exactly rocket science, but it takes more than just buying the cheapest balls your local golf pro shop carries. Over the years, balls have been able to keep pace with new and innovative club designs. Most manufacturers have made it a point to meet USGA regulations in terms of ball performance, in order to target players who have low to high swing speeds. These same manufacturers have focused on redesigning balls to help maximize distance and feel. But learning how to select the best balls can help you shave some points off your score and give you those extra yards you’ve been working for.

How to choose the right golf ball should depend on your playing style and your skill level. Two-piece balls with a lower compression are a better choice for beginners, however, three-piece balls can provide more spin control and can give the low handicap player more of an advantage on the field. Compression ratings can also have an impact on the type of ball you choose. If you have a high swing speed, a ball with a rating over one hundred is a great fit, whereas a ball with a compression rating of eighty is a better choice for players that have a slower swing speed.

Personal Preference and Skill Level

When you’re looking for balls that can change how you play the game and improve your performance, and impact the golf chipping techniques you use, it’s important that you focus on finding balls that will work for your skill level. A high handicap player will usually focus on balls that are designed for improved control or more distance, while the low handicap player will look for balls that offer more spin.

Choose a ball based on construction type. These days, balls are sold as multilayer, or two or three-piece designs. The three-piece balls are often designed for the golfer who wants more backspin, while multilayer golf balls are marketed toward players who want to reduce the effects of spin.

Two-piece balls are by far the most popular option. These balls feature a large rubber core that’s surrounded by a urethane rubber or plastic cover. The cover will provide the ball with the type of velocity it needs in order to achieve the desired distance. Since two-piece balls are known to produce low spin, a slice to the right or a hook to the left will be minimized. Three-piece balls feature a solid core and a mantle layer with a urethane or soft plastic cover. Compared to two-piece balls, the three-piece balls provide more spin control and provide low handicap players with the type of drop and stop movement that pro players are known for.

Compression Rating

Golf ball approach

For a golfer with a higher than average swing speed, one that can carry their driver more than two hundred yards in the air, a ball with a compression rating that’s over one hundred is a great choice. Players that have a much slower swing speed should go with balls that have a compression rating around eighty.

If you normally find that you come up ten yards short when it comes to your desired driver length, then a ball that’s designed to improve distance will be the right choice. If you normally find that you’re hitting greens but the balls are failing to stick, then go for balls that are designed for additional spin.

Find some of the best golf balls for high handicappers by heading over to my full Buyer’s Guide!

The Old Golf Ball Design

Back in the day, every player used the same soft rub balls that were equipped with the balata cover. These days, the modern golfer is able to choose from hundreds of different styles and types, all of which are designed to conform to USGA standards. In order to determine which type of ball will work the best for you, you’ll need to know if you spin the ball enough to produce a slice or hook and how fast you swing. You’ll also need to come to terms with how good or poor your club and ball control is and whether or not you’re likely to hit the ball off the center of the clubface.

Beginner Level

A beginner will end up losing plenty of balls as they learn how to get the hang of the game and perfect their swing. As you become a better player you can pick a ball with a lower spin, which can minimize a hook or slice, and one that has a hard cover that can handle any mis-hits. Two-piece balls with a low compression rating are often the best choice for beginners.

Seasoned Players

A ball that spins more will make it much easier for the seasoned player to fade or draw the ball. They have a softer feel and hold the green. These balls usually feature the multilayered or three-piece construction. The ball’s center core is covered by synthetic balata or urethane. These are often the qualities that a pro golfer will look for. A player who is able to hit the ball far will look for one that offers more workability.

A Whole New Level of Performance

Over the course of the last two decades, despite the fact that club technology has taken leaps and bounds, many players will agree that modern golf balls have changed the game more than anything. As you can see from the selection available, these balls are able to deliver an incredible performance in terms of spin, control, and distance.

Essentially, because of modern golf balls, it can be challenging to compare the legends of the game to modern-day players. Twenty years ago, golfers were relying on inferior balls and some living legends believe that these modern golf balls make the game too easy to play. But ultimately, the right golf ball for you isn’t going to be as easy to pinpoint, since personal preference usually plays a big role when it comes to determining which type of ball will help your golf game.

The Serious Golfer

Up close image of a golf ball

You’ll find some golfers who claim that they don’t care what type of ball they use, but if you’re serious about the game, then it’s time to decide on a ball and stick with it. If you change the type of ball you use frequently, then you will end up having to constantly adjust to the new feel of a ball, which isn’t ideal if you’re trying to achieve consistent results. Switching to a type of ball that works for you will definitely be detrimental when it comes to putting and your short game, which are both aspects of the game that heavily rely on the feel of the ball.

How Do I Try Out a New Type of Ball?

One of the most popular ways you can try out different types of balls is by using a launch monitor and a driver, however, I recommend trying out short game shots using a variety of balls at the range. Decide what ball performs the best for each type of shot, especially the shot that’s the most important to you. Even if you have to sacrifice a little distance, the right ball can have a major positive impact on your overall game.

You Get What You Pay For

So, can a higher-priced ball provide a much better performance on the green? Yes, they can. Top of the line multilayer balls complete with urethane covers are considered superior to lower-priced balls since they tend to preform very well throughout the bag. As an example, on wedge shots, these balls often spin more due to the softer urethane cover. Off the tee, these balls share a similar performance to firmer balls. Moderately priced balls can travel a little straighter and farther off the tee, but it’s usually less than six yards. The extra spin is probably the biggest advantage urethan covered balls offer. These balls will be worth the price if you have a decent short game.

Related Questions

Do Golf Balls Really Make a Difference?

Yes, they do. But aside from the different types of core and outer materials used, another major difference you’ll run into is price. Obviously, balls that are designed for beginners won’t cost near as much as balls that are designed for the seasoned player. Again, the type you choose should be based on your skill set and playing style.

Can I Use a Range Finder to Lower My Score?

Yes. The best golf range finder will help you identify the distance from yourself to the next flag, a hazard, or a bunker. If you find yourself missing shots by several yards then models such as the Bushnell Tour V4 Jolt can help to improve your shot accuracy. This model is considered one of the most accurate devices on the market, so you’ll no longer have to worry about eyeballing the distance when you’re on the green.

Can Soft Golf Balls Go Further?

While a softer ball can go further from the tee if you have a lower swing speed, in reality, it’s only going to be about five or six yards total. Which is why it’s more important to fit the irons to your ball and then worry about fitting your driver to the right ball in order to maximize your shot distance.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to choose the right golf ball for your game can require a little experimentation on your part, but if you’re willing to take the time to try out different balls in order to find one that will meet your expectations on the green, then you should have no trouble finding a ball that can give you the edge you’re looking for on the course.