Advice: Choosing Golf Balls

Redstorm2011Redstorm2011 NYC/NJMembers Posts: 541 ✭✭
edited Jan 26, 2015 in Golf Balls #1
I've played a lot of different golf balls and still can't tell the differences and sometimes I think its all in my head. I started playing a year and a half ago but I'm pretty happy with my progress so maybe it's because I haven't been playing that long. I know there are significant differences but I'm thinking of this in general terms.



I've noticed there are about 3 general categories/levels with each manufacturer having their own model(s) for each.
  • Cheaper: Nike PD Soft, Titleist DT Solo, Srixon Soft Feel, etc.
  • Mid-Level: Bridgestone E-Series, Srixon Q-Star, Titleist Velocity, etc.
  • Tour Level: ProV, B330, Z-Star, NXT Tour, etc.


I've bought balls in all three categories but I'm starting to think that I may have been wasting my time and money trying out a ball in a category that I shouldn't even be in. Should I just stick with trying out balls in the category that fits my game? I believe I am probably in that mid-level. I'm just trying to narrow down my choices instead of looking at all the shelves lol.



Appreciate your feedback.
Callaway Great Big Bertha | Srixon Z-Star | Ping G25 | Mizuno JPX-850 Forged | Titleist Vokey SM5 | Studio Select Newport
Post edited by Unknown User on

Comments

  • RPJETRPJET Members Posts: 317 ✭✭
    You pose a very good question. There are some low single digit handicappers that say they can use any ball and it will make very little difference in their score. On the other side of that arguement, golfers will tell you that the ball is the only piece of equipment that is used on every swing and it is essential to find the right ball for your game.



    My thoughts are, if you have a reasonably repeatable swing, choosing the correct ball will definitely help you score better because you are aware of how the ball will react and you can play accordingly. If your swing is not fairly consistent, no matter which ball you choose, the ball will react differently on every swing, so the ball you choose really doesn't matter as much.



    Without knowing more about your game it is very hard to advise you on which type of ball you should use. If you have a decent short game and you are able to control the ball around the greens and spin the ball into greens with your wedges, than I would advise the tour level balls. If you are not there yet with your short game and you play most shots to roll out to the pin, then maybe the mid level balls will work best for you. If distance is what you are after it's possible that the cheaper balls fit you best right now.



    Until you can figure out which ball will enhance your game the best, I would suggest one of the mid level balls that does a bit of everything. The E-series, Q-Star, and NXT are good examples. (BTW the NXT and NXT Tour are mid level balls.)
    Cobra F8+ 9.5 - Aldila NV 2KXV Blue 60S
    Cobra F8+14* - Aldila NV 2KXV Blue 60S
    TM RBZ Black19* & 22* hybrids
    TM P790 5-AW - TT DG105 S300
    Titleist SM7 wedges 54* 58*
    Ping Karsten Series Zing putter
  • Redstorm2011Redstorm2011 NYC/NJMembers Posts: 541 ✭✭
    Thanks for the in depth feedback. I picked up fundamentals fairly quickly and have been told I've got a good foundation of my swing. I felt pretty comfortable about my swing and I recently got fitted for the first time so my equipment is where it needs to be.



    I've got a decent short game but I play most of my shots where I plan for the ball to release towards the pin. And when I play my 3/4 to full wedges, it's based on distances and my goal is to get on the green, not taking into account slope or anything. If I get some spin on the ball, I wouldn't have the first clue on how I did it lol.



    From what you are suggesting, it looks like the mid level balls are where I should be focusing on but still can consider the cheaper ones? I guess you can't really go wrong with a mid-level ball given that it has attributes of the best of both worlds.



    Also, have I been doing myself a disservice by playing a ball that's not right for me? Before I started a round, did I already set myself up at a disadvantage by experimenting with a Pro V that I should have never used in the first place?



    Callaway Great Big Bertha | Srixon Z-Star | Ping G25 | Mizuno JPX-850 Forged | Titleist Vokey SM5 | Studio Select Newport
  • bigstingbigsting Members Posts: 92


    Thanks for the in depth feedback. I picked up fundamentals fairly quickly and have been told I've got a good foundation of my swing. I felt pretty comfortable about my swing and I recently got fitted for the first time so my equipment is where it needs to be.



    I've got a decent short game but I play most of my shots where I plan for the ball to release towards the pin. And when I play my 3/4 to full wedges, it's based on distances and my goal is to get on the green, not taking into account slope or anything. If I get some spin on the ball, I wouldn't have the first clue on how I did it lol.



    From what you are suggesting, it looks like the mid level balls are where I should be focusing on but still can consider the cheaper ones? I guess you can't really go wrong with a mid-level ball given that it has attributes of the best of both worlds.



    Also, have I been doing myself a disservice by playing a ball that's not right for me? Before I started a round, did I already set myself up at a disadvantage by experimenting with a Pro V that I should have never used in the first place?




    If money is no option then you can't go wrong with a pro V. The above post from RPJet is spot on. Figure out what is your most important need on the course, and then pick a ball that may enhance that aspect 1 or 2 %. Or if cash is key, then go for value until you can notice the difference as you improve. You did the right thing with your clubs, get comfortable with a swing and fit your clubs accordingly. Eventually do the same with a ball.
  • NessismNessism To measure is to know... Members Posts: 18,357 ✭✭
    I'm firmly in the camp that feels the total range in variance between different balls is meaningless for the average player. The only real significant technical difference is the type of cover: urethane spins more vs. surlyn/isomer. Urethane covers tend to mark up and scar easier too, but modern urethanes are quite durable in their own right.



    All the various balls are designed to maximize distance within the allowable rules. Cheap balls vs. Pro V1 are all equal in distance (more or less).



    The construction of the ball affects feel, but feel is unrelated to performance.



    Urethane balls will stop faster on the green, assuming your swing is capable of spinning the ball properly. Urethane balls do NOT spin more off the driver though, so there is no worry with excess side spin sending your drives in the trees.



    Bottom line, the ball doesn't matter that much unless you are a good ball striker and capable of spinning the ball a lot. If so, get some urethane balls with the feel you like. Hard or soft, both spin more or less the same and both fly the same distance. Don't believe people that tell you otherwise.
    Ping G400 driver w/Aldila Rogue 125 Silver 60S
    Cobra (Lexi blue) F7 5 wood w/Aldila Black 70S
    Cobra (Lexi blue) F7 Hybrid w/Aldila Kuro Kage 80S
    Ping G410 irons w/Recoil 95S (i200 backups)
    Ping Glide 50/55/60 wedges w/Recoil 110S
    Ping Anser/Arna putter - the "real deal!"
  • TMelectricTMelectric When in doubt, buy both Members Posts: 3,277 ✭✭
    RPJET wrote:


    You pose a very good question. There are some low single digit handicappers that say they can use any ball and it will make very little difference in their score. On the other side of that arguement, golfers will tell you that the ball is the only piece of equipment that is used on every swing and it is essential to find the right ball for your game.



    My thoughts are, if you have a reasonably repeatable swing, choosing the correct ball will definitely help you score better because you are aware of how the ball will react and you can play accordingly. If your swing is not fairly consistent, no matter which ball you choose, the ball will react differently on every swing, so the ball you choose really doesn't matter as much.



    Without knowing more about your game it is very hard to advise you on which type of ball you should use. If you have a decent short game and you are able to control the ball around the greens and spin the ball into greens with your wedges, than I would advise the tour level balls. If you are not there yet with your short game and you play most shots to roll out to the pin, then maybe the mid level balls will work best for you. If distance is what you are after it's possible that the cheaper balls fit you best right now.



    Until you can figure out which ball will enhance your game the best, I would suggest one of the mid level balls that does a bit of everything. The E-series, Q-Star, and NXT are good examples. (BTW the NXT and NXT Tour are mid level balls.)




    I went through the same thing when I started playing golf. Always trying different balls to see if I can score better and get the extra 5 yards. The NXT's are a great ball for the price. My advice is to base your decision off your irons. Not your driver. Then stick with it. Get 100 and then 150 yards out and hit several different balls. The one that you hit better and stays by its divot, play it.
    Mizuno JPX 900 driver
    Mizuno JPX 900 3 wood
    Mizuno JPX 900 5 wood
    Mizuno MP 66 irons with Modus 105 shafts
    Scratch 50,55,60 wedges with Steelfibers I95's
    Mizuno MP A303 putter
  • Redstorm2011Redstorm2011 NYC/NJMembers Posts: 541 ✭✭
    Would you guys all agree that the difference between a cheaper and mid level ball is much slimmer than the gap between a mid level and a tour? From your advice, I think it helps me to eliminate tour balls until further down the road.



    Should I eliminate cheaper level balls and stick with only mid-level? Or are these two levels pretty interchangeable to experiment with.
    Callaway Great Big Bertha | Srixon Z-Star | Ping G25 | Mizuno JPX-850 Forged | Titleist Vokey SM5 | Studio Select Newport
  • NJpatbeeNJpatbee Members Posts: 1,498 ✭✭
    If you are looking for a mid-level ball but with a durable urethene cover I would suggest the Maxfli U/3 - see how you like some spin around the greens, but not as much as a ProV. Another ball that is inexpensive but performs well is the Gamer Tour which is also Urethene. There are some intriguing new balls coming out in 2015 such as the Duo Spin and Chrome Soft that are worth considering. I am in the minority on this forum in believing that the golf ball for mid-high handicappers can make a noticeable difference. I am not a physicist but I do know that when I make a slight mishit driving a Prov1 I tend to get into more trouble than a similar swing with a Supersoft or U/3. Playing the wrong ball for your swing can be a disadvantage whether you are an 18 HCP or a Tour Player. In know that I get into more trouble and come up short on approaches due to the spin amount with a true tour ball. Likewise, I believe Tiger, Rory, or Phil would not play as well at Augusta with a TF XL.



    Of course nothing beats a great swing, but most golfers do not make all great swings. Many of us work on our game when we can and some golfers have more talent than others. When you tee it up to play a round you should know your capabilities and tendancies and play a ball that is compatible with them. Experiment and have fun - try a sleeve of Prov's is you want. But do not feel like you have to be a low single digit HCP for the ball to make a difference.
  • MahamiltoMahamilto NYCMembers Posts: 1,920 ✭✭
    The thing to remember is that the ball is the only piece of equipment used on every shot.



    Figure out what matters most to you, as well as what fits you, and then find a ball to match.



    Categories of interest are:



    Distance (Woods and Irons), Spin (Woods and Irons and Wedges), Trajectory, Workability, Color (if you care), and Feel (all clubs, especially scoring and putter).



    For me, I play off a 12cap and hit a high ball. I look for a ball that is long, spinny off wedges and irons but less so off woods, mid trajectory, and "not a rock". Once you know what you want in a ball, prioritize the categories, for example...



    Priorities in a ball

    1) Long, low spin off driver

    2) Mid trajectory

    3) Greenside spin and approach spin

    4) Reasonably soft feel

    5) Available in yellow

    6) Workability



    Then find the ball that fits. All balls really have tradeoffs, you won't find something that is perfect. My battle has been between Nike RZN Black and the new Chrome soft.



    I find the RZN black to beat or match the Chrome in every category except feel, but on my list, feel is 4th. On yours it could be #1.



    Figure out what you really want and forget the handicap recommendations. I've played some great rounds of golf with cheap ball and some great rounds with tour balls (and some bad rounds with both).



    Know what you want, and know what you are willing to potentially sacrifice to get it, then find a few close matches and try them ON COURSE next to each other during a round. This is so huge and you can really start to see how they compare in real conditions.



    Good luck!
    Titleist TS3 - 9.75* - HZRDUS Smoke Black 60g 6.5 (D1 Setting, STD Fade)
    Titleist 917F2 - 15*, Diamana S+ LTD 80TX (B1 Setting, 16g Fade)
    Titleist 818 H1 - 19*, Tensei Pro White 90TX (B1 Setting, 12g Fade)
    Titleist 716 T-MB 4-iron - KBS C-Taper 130x
    Titleist 716 T-MB 5-9-iron - DG AMT x100
    Titleist 718 AP2 PW, 50* - DG AMT x100
    Titleist SM7 55* S-Grind - DG AMT x100
    Titleist SM2 59.12* - DG Tour Issue x100
    Evnroll ER6-B
    Bridgestone Tour BX
    Titleist Staff Stand Bag
  • PhocusOnePhocusOne n00b Members Posts: 185


    I've played a lot of different golf balls and still can't tell the differences and sometimes I think its all in my head. I started playing a year and a half ago but I'm pretty happy with my progress so maybe it's because I haven't been playing that long. I know there are significant differences but I'm thinking of this in general terms.



    I've noticed there are about 3 general categories/levels with each manufacturer having their own model(s) for each.
    • Cheaper: Nike PD Soft, Titleist DT Solo, Srixon Soft Feel, etc.
    • Mid-Level: Bridgestone E-Series, Srixon Q-Star, Titleist Velocity, etc.
    • Tour Level: ProV, B330, Z-Star, NXT Tour, etc.


    I've bought balls in all three categories but I'm starting to think that I may have been wasting my time and money trying out a ball in a category that I shouldn't even be in. Should I just stick with trying out balls in the category that fits my game? I believe I am probably in that mid-level. I'm just trying to narrow down my choices instead of looking at all the shelves lol.



    Appreciate your feedback.




    A lot of good feedback so far. One thing I think is over looked is how many balls a player looses in a round. If a player looses 5-10 balls a round, the type of ball isn't going to help them loose less (there are exceptions to be made of course), so it affects your wallet more than anything. So it becomes how comfortable are you with cost per ball when it is lost.



    My buddy plays with ProV1 and looses half dozen each round and complains about how he lost ~$25 in balls. He thinks if he switches from the ProV1 to a mid/cheaper ball it will hurt his game, so he is stuck in loop (due to his own stubbornness keep in mind). He thinks he has to play a premium ball to get the most out of a ball but is always concerned with loosing 2-3$ per lost ball. Concerned he didn't get all the distance her could out of the drive, spin and feel around the green or cost if he pipes it OB or in the water. Too much to be concerned about and affects his game.



    There are so many balls out there to choose from, a lot of it is trial and error till you find ones you like the feel and performance of vs cost. Something to try is recycled balls. You can get variety packs that will give you a whole range of balls to try for cheaper.
    Callaway GBB Sub Zero 8* - ALDILA GREEN ATX 95
    TaylorMade M2 15* - ALDILA GREEN ATX 95
    KZG H370 Tour 17* - ALDILA GREEN ATX 105
    KZG Tour Evolution III - DG X100
    KZG XRS 50*/54*/58* - DG X100
    Taylormade Spider - Black
  • Golf64Golf64 Go Habs Go! Ontario, CanadaMembers Posts: 7,721 ✭✭
    Chrome Soft or Super Soft. Best balls out there, IMO. Love the soft feel of both.
    All Mizuno bag for this year.
    ST-190 Driver, 3/5 wood
    919F 4-pw Nippon 105R
    S18 50, 54, 60
    Spider X putter
    TP5(2018)


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    Fly Eagles Fly
  • Tex1986Tex1986 Members Posts: 1,771 ✭✭
    I love the ProV1x but can't really stomach buying them. I've found that the TF gamer plays fairly similar for me. They aren't as soft feeling but they are a cheaper ball that even I can still work side to side with my fat G20s and 14 handicap swing. Dicks/GG has them at 2 dozen for $30.



    I might try the Gamer soft after I play through my Xmas gift ProV1x's.
  • Toddo64Toddo64 Members Posts: 456 ✭✭
    Try the 3up 3F12 ball, it's really a good ball and reasonably priced.
    LEFT HANDED
    TaylorMade 2016 M2 9.5-adjusted to 10.5
    TaylorMade V Steel 3 wood 15 degree
    Taylor Made 2016 M1 19 hybrid
    TaylorMade Rocketbladez 5-PW, AW
    TaylorMade TP EF Chrome 54 degree
    Putter:Nike 2010A
    Ball:Bridgestone B RX and e12 Soft
  • KrizarKrizar Members Posts: 78 ✭✭
    A lot of reasonably priced options already stated. I'll add in the TM Project (a) (fantastic ball for the price) and any of the previous years premium balls to experiment with. TM lethals/srixon Z stars tend to be going for cheap too.
  • Gauchograd99Gauchograd99 Members Posts: 1,870 ✭✭
    I am playing to a 2-3 'cap and my thought process is probably a bit different from many, especially the Pro V crowd (and Titleist in general). I have found that for probably 80-90% of courses most people play there is no reason to play an upper tier ball (i.e. SR1/2/3, Pro V, Z-Star ,etc.) as the greens are receptive enough to get plenty of action from a mid grade ball like a Hex Chrome+/Volvik PROBismuth/etc. It is only in hard/fast conditions that I upgrade to a higher spin ball, and that is only after playing a mid range ball first. In most cases there just isn't enough difference between the two balls to be much of a factor.



    If you look at the ball charts that are on here for 2013 and 2014 ( http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/topic/1073109-2014-golf-balls-comparaison-interactive-chart/ ) you can see that some of the "mid range" balls spin just as well as the top balls. I would suggest sticking with mid range unless you are playing a course after a tournament, and even then you might not need it. I played Southern Dunes in Maricopa, Az in June after a PGA qualifier and was fine with the Hex Chrome+.



    FYI: My opinions are based on my ball flight and spin characteristics. My 6 iron is 21-22 degree launch at 6000 (+400/-200) rpm and about 170 yds so my angle of descent is probably steeper than most. I spin the ball pretty well around the green also.
    Razr-FIT Ext. 8.5deg, Black Tie (S)
    XHotPro 13.5deg, stock stiff
    TM Stage2Pro 18.5deg (set low), stiff. (Currently NOT in bag)
    Cleveland TA1 1 iron (Currently NOT in bag)
    Callaway Apex MB Steelfiber i110cw 3-PW
    Mizuno MP-T4 (50/6)
    Callaway Mack Daddy Forged 54/10
    Callaway Mack Daddy Forged 58/8
    Odyssey MXM #6 "Versa," 35in.
    http://www.gamegolf....er/gauchograd99

    Member of the OGA (Outlaw Golf Association) # 6.022*10^23
  • VegamanVegaman Members Posts: 1,082


    I've played a lot of different golf balls and still can't tell the differences and sometimes I think its all in my head. I started playing a year and a half ago but I'm pretty happy with my progress so maybe it's because I haven't been playing that long. I know there are significant differences but I'm thinking of this in general terms.



    I've noticed there are about 3 general categories/levels with each manufacturer having their own model(s) for each.
    • Cheaper: Nike PD Soft, Titleist DT Solo, Srixon Soft Feel, etc.
    • Mid-Level: Bridgestone E-Series, Srixon Q-Star, Titleist Velocity, etc.
    • Tour Level: ProV, B330, Z-Star, NXT Tour, etc.


    I've bought balls in all three categories but I'm starting to think that I may have been wasting my time and money trying out a ball in a category that I shouldn't even be in. Should I just stick with trying out balls in the category that fits my game? I believe I am probably in that mid-level. I'm just trying to narrow down my choices instead of looking at all the shelves lol.



    Appreciate your feedback.




    NXT Tour?
  • Ping PantherPing Panther Members Posts: 244 ✭✭
    Honestly, I think the biggest factor is in your head. If you think you have the perfect ball, and you have confidence in your ball, then it's going to perform better for you than the perfect ball that you're unsure about and think it might not be right for you.
    Driver: Ping G400 Max w/ X-torsion shaft
    Fairway: Ping G400 3W & 5W
    Irons: Ping i500 4-UW w/DG 105 S300

    Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (black) 54° & 58°
    Putter: Bettinardi Studio Stock 28 Center Shaft
    Ball: Titleist ProV 1
  • MrJonesMrJones Waiting for the weekend... Members Posts: 2,724 ✭✭
    I would suggest you find a ball that feels good to you around the greens (off the wedges and putter).



    Once you find that ball the best advice I can give you is to stick with it. Play all your rounds with the same ball. You'll learn what it does and when. It will become just like another piece of equipment in your bag that you depend on with repeatable performance.
    Cobra Bio Cell Pro
    Cobra Bio Cell+ 3 wood
    TM RAC MB 3-PW
    Mizuno MP-R 54*, 60*
    Odyssey White Ice 1
  • richard trichard t Members Posts: 4,219
    I'm not doing a Titleist commercial but they do have one good point. At the least, it worked for me. Start backwards. find a ball you can putt well with and like the feel. Work back to pitches and chips. Then 100 yds, 150 yds and finally, just really don't sweat the driver. As OPs have said one ball is not going to go 20, 30, 40 yards further off the tee. 3 to 5 or 6 yds is negligible. I don't care what advertisements claim. In the end since you do use the ball on every shot so pick one and stick with it. One less thing to worry over whether it's TF or Titleist or another.
  • 2ball2ball LEFTY Members Posts: 598 ✭✭


    I've played a lot of different golf balls and still can't tell the differences and sometimes I think its all in my head. I started playing a year and a half ago but I'm pretty happy with my progress so maybe it's because I haven't been playing that long. I know there are significant differences but I'm thinking of this in general terms.



    I've noticed there are about 3 general categories/levels with each manufacturer having their own model(s) for each.
    • Cheaper: Nike PD Soft, Titleist DT Solo, Srixon Soft Feel, etc.
    • Mid-Level: Bridgestone E-Series, Srixon Q-Star, Titleist Velocity, etc.
    • Tour Level: ProV, B330, Z-Star, NXT Tour, etc.


    I've bought balls in all three categories but I'm starting to think that I may have been wasting my time and money trying out a ball in a category that I shouldn't even be in. Should I just stick with trying out balls in the category that fits my game? I believe I am probably in that mid-level. I'm just trying to narrow down my choices instead of looking at all the shelves lol.



    Appreciate your feedback.






    Restorm2011 I'm going to let you in on a little secret so, come closer, closer..... Until you are a 7 handicap and driving the ball 280 yards the DT SoLo is the ball.



    Most of it is marketing (I worked for a golf club manufacturer for 6 years). The low compression SoLo and e6 or 50/50 or Zip golf balls are made better and perform better than the balata balls of the 90's.
  • 2ball2ball LEFTY Members Posts: 598 ✭✭
    Golf64 wrote:


    Chrome Soft or Super Soft. Best balls out there, IMO. Love the soft feel of both.




    You love the soft feel of the best balls out there? Really?!?!?!
  • Matt JMatt J Members Posts: 8,720 ✭✭
    I find it interesting that Titleist doesn't make a urethane covered ball in a lower compression than the ProV1.



    I also find it interesting that their new marketing seems to be in order to cover this hole in their product line up. Bubba claiming he has 5 swing speeds for his drive doesn't mean that any of them are 95 mph like mine.



    Anybody else playing a lower compression ball in the cold? Just ordered up a dozen B330 Rx - curious to see how they feel.
  • RPJETRPJET Members Posts: 317 ✭✭
    Matt J wrote:


    I find it interesting that Titleist doesn't make a urethane covered ball in a lower compression than the ProV1.



    I also find it interesting that their new marketing seems to be in order to cover this hole in their product line up. Bubba claiming he has 5 swing speeds for his drive doesn't mean that any of them are 95 mph like mine.



    Anybody else playing a lower compression ball in the cold? Just ordered up a dozen B330 Rx - curious to see how they feel.
    I play the B330-RX a lot. I also mix in the RXS and the Z-star (a little firmer). I like the soft feel so I play them all year round, not just in the winter. My swing speed is in your range 95 -100.
    Cobra F8+ 9.5 - Aldila NV 2KXV Blue 60S
    Cobra F8+14* - Aldila NV 2KXV Blue 60S
    TM RBZ Black19* & 22* hybrids
    TM P790 5-AW - TT DG105 S300
    Titleist SM7 wedges 54* 58*
    Ping Karsten Series Zing putter
  • SplashShotSplashShot Members Posts: 369
    I cannot stand playing a non-urethane ball. I'm gravitating towards the lower spinning Urethane balls though, like the RZN Black, E5, B330-RX, and even the Rocketballz Urethane.



    I buy all my balls used in AAAA condition unless there's a smoking sale on new ones. Being around a 12 cap myself, I'm not expecting a ball to last forever and I don't want to care if it goes errant.
    Callaway Razr Fit Xtreme
    Callaway X2Hot 3 deep
    Adams Super S 3H
    Ping ISI-S 4-PW, S1, S3
    Cleveland Classic, Superstroke SSR2
    Snell MTB
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