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Ball Buyer's Guide

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Golf Ball FAQs

Below are a set of frequently asked questions for serious golfers. For additional FAQs, please visit our general FAQ section or our blog golfballtest.org.

Does the ball go further in humid or dry air?

There is a slight increase in distance as humidity increases.

Does the ball go further in hot weather than in cold weather?

Distances will increase as the weather gets warmer. Cold weather can decrease distance dramatically as the temperatures decline.

How does altitude affect golf ball distance?

Distances increase significantly as the altitude increases. This effect is increased as launch angles increase. i.e. lower launching players will get less benefit.

How does wind (head or tail) affect distance?

Head winds have more affect than tail winds on golf shots. A 230 yard carry will increase by 20 yards with a 20 mph tail wind and will decrease by 26 yards into a 20 mph. wind.

What is feel?

Feel reflects a combination of inter-connected factors, such as a ball's "hotness" off the clubface; cover hardness and workability; and even the acoustical signature of the ball and the feedback it provides to the golfer. Moreover, "feel" depends on the interaction of the ball with different types of club face materials – and will change depending on if the golfer is putting, chipping, pitching the ball – or when the golfer is looking to shape a mid-iron shot. Some balls come off the driver feeling like a "rock" – while others "feel" soft and easy to compress.

GolfBallSelector.com conducts a series of robot and human putter tests in developing our proprietary "feel" algorithms and index used in our fitting system.

What are the Characteristics of High Launch Angle?

An average ball speed golfer, who strikes the ball with a high launch angle, will generally have an initial launch angle off the clubface of more than 12.5 degrees. High launch angles with very low ball speed golfers could approach 14 – 18 degrees off the driver.

What are the typical Characteristics of High Spin Rate?

The determination of a high rate of spin depends mainly on the ball speed of the golfer. One point of view is that low spin is anything less than 2,500 RPM off the driver; and high spin is anything over 3,000 RPM off the driver. Some golfers though will spin the ball at over 4,000 RPM.

What are the typical Characteristics of Sub-Optimal Ball Flight?

Sub-optimal flight for most golfers means an excessive fade/slice or draw/hook. Sub-optimal flight also includes excessive backspin (undercut spin) whereby a ball may start out low, rise and then balloon and fall, with little roll.

When Spin is "good" and when is spin "bad"?

Achieving a more ideal ball flight means having enough lift to overcome drag and to have the ball stay at or just about it's initial launch angle as long as possible. Spin becomes your enemy if it causes the ball to climb excessively or if it is insufficient to keep it in the air long enough. Spin per se isn't good or bad, having the right amount for each shot is the key.

What exactly is "hotness" when you measure or evaluate a golf ball – and how do you determine "hot" versus "cold"?

"Hotness" is generally a term that is sometimes used to describe a calculation of the golf balls COR (coefficient of restitution), a term typically associated with drivers (http://golf.about.com/od/faqs/f/cor.htm). We describe a golf ball's "Hotness" mostly in terms of the relative trade-off of "Firm Feel" vs." Soft Feel".

What is compression – and why does it matter?

Compression is the measurement of how much a golf ball deforms when a load is applied to it. Compression may not affect distance as much as golfers think – due to changes in golf ball construction techniques over the years, but it does offer control and feel options to the golfer. While "feel" is sometimes considered a subjective term - we have found that a golf ball's cover hardness and overall compression do relate to how the golf ball feels when struck with a driver, mid-iron, wedge, and even off the putter on the green.

Does the sound a ball makes – the "click" - come into play in your evaluation?

Yes, the acoustic and haptic feedback obtained by the golfer is an important element in fitting the golf ball and in fitting the golf ball with the golf club. For example, two golf balls with identical cover hardness - but significantly different compression ratings can produce two tonally distinctive sounds when struck.

Have you conducted any studies on "value for money" in purchasing different balls?

Yes – These findings will be released in future versions of GolfBallSelector.com

How does the combination of shaft and ball selection affect performance?

How energy is loaded on to the shaft and released through the clubhead and through to the ball can be greatly affected by the selection of a shaft type. There is more to be said of shaft technology than just stiff, regular, steel or graphite.

How does club head speed relate to ball speed and to distance?

Ball speed is approximately 1.4 times clubhead speed. The most efficient players will approach 1.5 times.

Are there proxies for how ball speed relates to driver distance?

Yes, in general most golfers cannot hit a driver more than 250 yards carry unless they can generate a ball speed greater than 150 MPH. Most average golfers, with ball speeds of about 130 MPH, will carry the driver an average of 200 – 225 yards. Most lower ball speed players (less than 120 MPH) will hit their driver less than 180 yards carry.

Are golf balls going too far?

  • Driving distance since 1968 has increased no more than 12 yards.
  • There seems to be no improvement in accuracy or greens in regulation on the PGA tour.
  • The average winning golf score is improving; but at only one stroke per round… every 21 years.

Which is the longest ball?

There is no one golf ball or one construction which is longest for all golfers. However, there are some recognized patterns among the different types of balls:

  • Two-piece balls generally provide more roll.
  • Two-piece balls tend to be longer when hit with an iron due to lower spin rates and trajectories.
  • Weaker players often think they get more distance with harder balls because they can get them in the air easily with short irons, but their lower spin rates may cause a loss of distance in the longer irons and woods where they need it most.

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