Can a recreational 10+ handicap golfer REALLY tell the difference between golf balls?

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  • agolf1agolf1 Members Posts: 1,512 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 7, 2019 1:14pm #32

    @LICC said:

    @spk7 said:
    It all depends on the two balls you’re trying to tell a difference between, if it’s pro v vs pinnacle then yes you should be able to easily tell a difference

    It would be interesting if someone did a blind test of 10-15 handicappers. Take all markings off the balls, have them hit various shots and see if they could identify which was which. And also measure the performance. I have my doubts those golfers would be able to tell very much.

    I think you can tell the difference on certain shots (primarily partial wedges, short game). Performance wise (total score), it may not matter much though.

    Titleist 915 D4 10.5*, Diamana S+ Blue 60 S-Flex
    Titleist 915F 16.5* & 21.0*, Diamana S+ Blue 70 S-Flex
    Ping G25 5-PW (25*-44*), UW (49*), SW (54*), CFS R-Flex
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  • SoloShot84SoloShot84 Members Posts: 408 ✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 7, 2019 1:00pm #33

    15 handicap here
    so I tested couple balls for myself from dirt cheap ball to premium balls: TopFlite XL, ProV1, TourB, TP5X, Ksig, KP3, Project a.

    As NEW right out of box, they feel almost all the same except TP5X. TP5X was very distinctively clicky off putter.
    however, after extended use, cheap ball started feel like empty rock. felt like the core of ball just vaporized inside. Premium balls sustained the almost same feeling.

    So I concluded, most important aspect of these balls is durability.
    Premium ball DOES maintain the feel (and maybe characteristic) for extended use.

  • 86020818602081 Members Posts: 1,941 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I'm a 10-12 Handicap
    Driver, fairway wood, hybrids... Can't tell the difference and don't care..
    Irons, Wedges - Definitely can tell.. Especially with short irons, when on the green.. Pro V1 checks, spins, easier to control...
    Putter - depends on compression.. I hate the feeling of soft balls on the green..

  • zebra2955zebra2955 Members Posts: 578 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 7, 2019 1:09pm #35

    I belive as many have stated it depends on the ball. A 3-4 piece urathane ball compared to a 2 piece surlyn will definetly show a difference.
    I did this the other day, Hit a TP5 and a 2 piece surlyn to a green with a GW. The TP5 backed up , while the 2 piece hit and bounced forward. I know the TP5 is a 5 piece
    Both were from the tee box off a tee. They landed close to each other ( I could tell by the pitch marks) but I probaly had a 8-10 yard difference in putts.
    I plan on trying this with a 3 piece surlyn when I get a chance. Got to figure out what 3 piece surlyn to get.

    Cobra F7

    Callaway Epic

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    Cobra F6 hybrids, 3-4 and 4-5

    Cobra F6 irons 6i -PW, GW

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    Odyssey "O" Works 2 ball, Super Stroke mid slim 2.0 grip

    What ever ball Costco has LOL
  • monkeyboymonkeyboy Lefty Boomers Posts: 742 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I started adhering to the concept "play the same ball all the time" - I think this plays a big part vs playing a $1 ball vs a $3 ball.

    Driver (9.0) - Cobra F9 Aldila Rogue Silver 70 S, 44.5"
    Wood (14.5) - Cobra F9 Aldila NV Green 75 S
    Driving Iron (20) - Srixon U65 Project X 5.5
    Irons (5-6) - Srixon Z565 Project X 5.5
    Irons (7-P) - Srixon Z765 Project X 5.5
    Wedges - Vokey SM-7 Jet Black / 50.08 F / 54.08 M / 58.08 M DG S300
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  • JoeFrigoJoeFrigo Members Posts: 99 ✭✭✭

    when it comes to premium urethane balls (prov1, tp5, z star, chrome soft etc..... ) I dont think any of us on course can tell too much of a difference. Relatively speaking all those balls are within 250 rpm off the driver so pretty same distance wise. on a monitor is the only way to really tell the big differences in tour balls when it comes to launch and spin with the short irons and wedges. I know first hand a tp5x spins less than a tp5. on course It might just be the tp5x stops on a dime with a wedge where the tp5 will spin back 5 feet or so.

    but a prov1 vs a velocity, yes there will be a huge difference there!! just depends exactly what your asking in noticing a difference between balls.

    but we all prefer a certain brand/ball over another and will swear it performs better

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  • agolf1agolf1 Members Posts: 1,512 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @zebra2955 said:
    I belive as many have stated it depends on the ball. A 3-4 piece urathane ball compared to a 2 piece surlyn will definetly show a difference.
    I did this the other day, Hit a TP5 and a 2 piece surlyn to a green with a GW. The TP5 backed up , while the 2 piece hit and bounced forward. I know the TP5 is a 5 piece
    Both were from the tee box off a tee. They landed close to each other ( I could tell by the pitch marks) but I probaly had a 8-10 yard difference in putts.
    I plan on trying this with a 3 piece surlyn when I get a chance. Got to figure out what 3 piece surlyn to get.

    Try the HEX Tour Soft from Costco!

    Just curious, how far did you hit your GW and did you see any difference in trajectory between the two balls? On similar shots (strike, wind, green condition, where on the green the ball lands, etc) like what you did, I haven't found the difference in run-out to be that large. For me, I don't think the difference is more than 5 yards for any full swing shot from a GW to a 5-iron. However, others here have said they see a big difference.

    Titleist 915 D4 10.5*, Diamana S+ Blue 60 S-Flex
    Titleist 915F 16.5* & 21.0*, Diamana S+ Blue 70 S-Flex
    Ping G25 5-PW (25*-44*), UW (49*), SW (54*), CFS R-Flex
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  • SoloShot84SoloShot84 Members Posts: 408 ✭✭✭✭

    @monkeyboy said:
    I started adhering to the concept "play the same ball all the time" - I think this plays a big part vs playing a $1 ball vs a $3 ball.

    I absolutely agree on this. play the same ball all the time. consistency is the most important aspect of golf performance.

  • Z1ggy16Z1ggy16 Members Posts: 7,696 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    12hc here. Heck yes I Can tell the diff between golf balls. I may have a hard time pointing out the exact different though between ProV and TP5 but I can 100% tell the difference between a Supersoft and a Srixon XV. Even if you put ear muffs on me, just the flight alone usually gives it away (Supersoft will launch to the moon and usually curve much less).

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  • LICCLICC Members Posts: 891 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @8602081 said:
    I'm a 10-12 Handicap
    Driver, fairway wood, hybrids... Can't tell the difference and don't care..
    Irons, Wedges - Definitely can tell.. Especially with short irons, when on the green.. Pro V1 checks, spins, easier to control...
    Putter - depends on compression.. I hate the feeling of soft balls on the green..

    Same here re handicap. I definitely can sense a different feel, but don't see any significant difference in performance. I put a few different balls off the practice green to chip and see if there was any difference. The swing and contact was the predominant indicator of how the ball reacted and landed. Similar strikes produced surprisingly similar results, within a few feet generally. There may be some type of shots that a different ball will check better than another but I'm not seeing it on your commonly played chip shot. That said, I wasn't using 2-piece Top-Flites. They were 3-piece urethane and surlyn balls from Titleist, Callaway, and Kirkland.

  • North ButteNorth Butte Members Posts: 10,963 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Our practice chipping green used to just have a bunch of driving-range balls for us to use. Nowadays it's nice urethane covered practice balls. I can obviously tell the difference in the range rocks and the tour balls but can't tell much difference between the Titleist other brand urethane practice balls.

    I guess a better player than me might sort through the practice-green balls and only use the Titleist ones or something...

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  • macedanmacedan Members Posts: 340 ✭✭✭✭

    Higher handicap here, I can tell a difference between surlyn and urethane balls, most notably from 110 in and on the putting green itself. Between different models of urethane balls, probably no way I could answer how many layers it would be, however I should be able to distinguish the difference in compression

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  • zebra2955zebra2955 Members Posts: 578 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @agolf1 said:

    @zebra2955 said:
    I belive as many have stated it depends on the ball. A 3-4 piece urathane ball compared to a 2 piece surlyn will definetly show a difference.
    I did this the other day, Hit a TP5 and a 2 piece surlyn to a green with a GW. The TP5 backed up , while the 2 piece hit and bounced forward. I know the TP5 is a 5 piece
    Both were from the tee box off a tee. They landed close to each other ( I could tell by the pitch marks) but I probaly had a 8-10 yard difference in putts.
    I plan on trying this with a 3 piece surlyn when I get a chance. Got to figure out what 3 piece surlyn to get.

    Try the HEX Tour Soft from Costco!

    Just curious, how far did you hit your GW and did you see any difference in trajectory between the two balls? On similar shots (strike, wind, green condition, where on the green the ball lands, etc) like what you did, I haven't found the difference in run-out to be that large. For me, I don't think the difference is more than 5 yards for any full swing shot from a GW to a 5-iron. However, others here have said they see a big difference.

    Next trip to Costco I just might grab a double dozen

    Cobra F7

    Callaway Epic

    Cobra F6 fairway woods

    Cobra F6 hybrids, 3-4 and 4-5

    Cobra F6 irons 6i -PW, GW

    Harry Taylor 54* and 58* wedges

    Odyssey "O" Works 2 ball, Super Stroke mid slim 2.0 grip

    What ever ball Costco has LOL
  • wkuo3wkuo3 RELEASE Members Posts: 4,196 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Can an ordinary consumer pass the test of telling the difference between a bottle of vintage from a bottle of modern blend ? Most will not .
    A sommelier, ( a wine steward ) probably could most of the time, but that has nothing to do with pricing. Since the element of branding , rarity comes into pricing.
    Same as golf balls. Under the conforming conditions, can one tell the difference between different golf balls ? I can, but some of my friends could not tell the difference between a ProV or a K Sig, Or a distance ball. All they could see, is the difference in distance.
    If you can't make different golf shots, spin the gold ball, take some spin off the shot...... there be no difference which kind of golf ball you put in play. Just use the most economical ones that you could find.

  • broomstickerbroomsticker Members Posts: 45 ✭✭

    I am a 3hc with 112mph driver swing speed. Sure I can tell a difference between urethane and two piece balls, but if I am being totally honest, I can't tell a difference between any of the premium offerings. So I play the MTB X, because, well... beer money.

    F9 8.5* Fujikura Pro 60 S
    13* F7
    19* and 22* Callaway XR Hybrids
    5-GW Wilson V6 S300 AMT
    55* Mizuno S5
    60* Mizuno S5
    STX Sync 3 45"

  • chippa13chippa13 Members Posts: 2,347 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @LICC said:

    @spk7 said:
    It all depends on the two balls you’re trying to tell a difference between, if it’s pro v vs pinnacle then yes you should be able to easily tell a difference

    It would be interesting if someone did a blind test of 10-15 handicappers. Take all markings off the balls, have them hit various shots and see if they could identify which was which. And also measure the performance. I have my doubts those golfers would be able to tell very much.

    I think a better test would be to have them hit a bunch of unmarked balls where there are several of each of the brands/models and see if they can tell which balls are the same make and model.

  • Tanner25Tanner25 Members Posts: 6,338 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 7, 2019 9:49pm #48

    This topic gets debated every few years. I don't think there is an answer. One just has to buy single balls or sleeves and try a few different kind of balls out. I will say having played 20 yrs with a Surlyn type of ball, it's fun to see the urethane ball spin. It feels like it is cheating.

  • jjfcpajjfcpa Driver - Tour Edge EXS 10.5 Omaha, NEMembers Posts: 479 ✭✭✭✭

    My handicap is 10-15 depending on how hard I'm trying. I can definitely tell the difference. I feel like it is more difficult to tell the difference with the driver, but when you get down to the mid irons, wedges, and particularly the putter, I can really feel how the ball is responding to my swing. I used to focus on softer feeling golf balls because I would define myself as a "feel" player. I just sort of feel and visualize every shot including putts before taking them. For example, my green reading consists of just looking at the green in a macular way and then determine how the ball is going to roll to the hole. I seldom require more than 2 putts even on putts up to 50 feet from the hole. Had one of those today. I do use a range finder and that's probably the most technical part of my game, and because I rely on feel so much, the feel of the golf ball is extremely important to me. I recently switched to a much firmer ball and I think my sensitivity to the feel of the ball has improved tremendously.

  • NessismNessism To measure is to know... Members Posts: 18,737 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    The only thing definitive that I've noticed is that urethane balls spin more than surlyn and that there are differences in feel between soft and firm balls. Personally, I interchange between a handful of different urethane balls and performance wise, all are interchangeable at my ability (80 shooter). No disrespect to anybody, but I can't imagine how a mid capper can truly notice a difference in performance between today's urethane balls.

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    Cobra (Lexi blue) F7 5 wood w/Aldila Rogue Black 70S
    Cobra (Lexi blue) F7 Hybrid w/Aldila Kuro Kage 80S
    Ping G410 irons w/Recoil 95S
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  • agolf1agolf1 Members Posts: 1,512 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    To me, the "performance" is all in score. I believe certain balls (even within the same urethane or surlyn class) behave differently just like people post about how various irons "feel different" or the ball flies different off of certain clubs. I'd say even a 100 shooter can tell how the ball is behaving differently between a ProV1 and a surlyn ball on a 50-yard partial wedge (provided they make decent contact). What I don't believe is anyone's game (shooting 80-100) is impacted much or nearly to the extent people rant and rave about using any of these balls. Does anyone seriously think using AP1s or G410s is going to change your score 5 shots?

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  • playaplaya Members Posts: 8,747 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I'm double digit and I can definitely tell differences in feel/spin etc between premium and cheaper balls. Can't really notice between brands of premium.
    Having said that, feeling a difference and seeing a difference in scores is not the same thing.

  • kthomaskthomas Members Posts: 59 ✭✭

    @agolf1 said:

    @LICC said:

    @spk7 said:
    It all depends on the two balls you’re trying to tell a difference between, if it’s pro v vs pinnacle then yes you should be able to easily tell a difference

    It would be interesting if someone did a blind test of 10-15 handicappers. Take all markings off the balls, have them hit various shots and see if they could identify which was which. And also measure the performance. I have my doubts those golfers would be able to tell very much.

    I think you can tell the difference on certain shots (primarily partial wedges, short game). Performance wise (total score), it may not matter much though.

    I'm a ~15-18 handicap, and have been testing the different Snell golf balls over the past year (MTB Red, MTB Black, MTB-X) and I can definitely tell a difference between the three balls on certain shots.
    Now, does my score change depending on what ball of those I put into play? Most definitely not.

  • LICCLICC Members Posts: 891 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @kthomas said:

    @agolf1 said:

    @LICC said:

    @spk7 said:
    It all depends on the two balls you’re trying to tell a difference between, if it’s pro v vs pinnacle then yes you should be able to easily tell a difference

    It would be interesting if someone did a blind test of 10-15 handicappers. Take all markings off the balls, have them hit various shots and see if they could identify which was which. And also measure the performance. I have my doubts those golfers would be able to tell very much.

    I think you can tell the difference on certain shots (primarily partial wedges, short game). Performance wise (total score), it may not matter much though.

    I'm a ~15-18 handicap, and have been testing the different Snell golf balls over the past year (MTB Red, MTB Black, MTB-X) and I can definitely tell a difference between the three balls on certain shots.
    Now, does my score change depending on what ball of those I put into play? Most definitely not.

    I think people can sense a different feel with some balls compared to others, but can they tell any difference in performance? For most golfers I think not, or they just think they are seeing different performance but they really aren’t.

  • ezpzezpz Members Posts: 476 ✭✭✭✭

    They might be able to feel the difference but it sure as heck won't change their scores.

  • kthomaskthomas Members Posts: 59 ✭✭

    @LICC said:

    @kthomas said:

    @agolf1 said:

    @LICC said:

    @spk7 said:
    It all depends on the two balls you’re trying to tell a difference between, if it’s pro v vs pinnacle then yes you should be able to easily tell a difference

    It would be interesting if someone did a blind test of 10-15 handicappers. Take all markings off the balls, have them hit various shots and see if they could identify which was which. And also measure the performance. I have my doubts those golfers would be able to tell very much.

    I think you can tell the difference on certain shots (primarily partial wedges, short game). Performance wise (total score), it may not matter much though.

    I'm a ~15-18 handicap, and have been testing the different Snell golf balls over the past year (MTB Red, MTB Black, MTB-X) and I can definitely tell a difference between the three balls on certain shots.
    Now, does my score change depending on what ball of those I put into play? Most definitely not.

    I think people can sense a different feel with some balls compared to others, but can they tell any difference in performance? For most golfers I think not, or they just think they are seeing different performance but they really aren’t.

    Most notably I see differences with spin between the three, especially off of the driver. Black seems to be the least spinny and straight, the MTB-X slightly more so spinny with a slight fade, the red being really spinny and a hard fade/slight slice.

    However my scorecard certainly doesn't see a difference.

  • North ButteNorth Butte Members Posts: 10,963 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 8, 2019 11:07am #57

    @Nessism said:
    The only thing definitive that I've noticed is that urethane balls spin more than surlyn and that there are differences in feel between soft and firm balls. Personally, I interchange between a handful of different urethane balls and performance wise, all are interchangeable at my ability (80 shooter). No disrespect to anybody, but I can't imagine how a mid capper can truly notice a difference in performance between today's urethane balls.

    Lots of urethane balls seem about the same to me, except for the ones that don't.

    I could list probably a dozen balls that I couldn't say for sure are different at all. For example Titleist Pro V1, TM TP5, Snell MTB, Mizuno RB Tour, Bridgestone B330, original K-Sig, Maxfli Tour X, several others I've tried over the years.

    But there are also a handful of balls that, high handicap or not, I am dead certain had something different about them when I tried them. AVX spins less. Pro V1x flies higher off the driver. KIRKLAND 3pc spins way too much. Snell MTB Red is much shorter.

    I have less experience with Surlyn balls but it's the same thing. Most of them are pretty interchangeable and I can't find major differences other than appearance and maybe the sound they make off the driver. But a few no-spin "straight distances" balls like the Titleist Velocity and the original Bridgestone e6 simply will not hold a green at all. And a couple of them I tried years ago were a full club or more shorter than normal (but those were super cheap bargain balls, not name-brand ones).

    P.S. The majority of balls I've ever tried, regardless of whether they seem the same or different than others, I could play and do perfectly fine with. The exceptions among the ones I mentioned were the no-spin rocks like Velocity and e6 and that original MTB Red which for me was just ridiculously short on fairway wood and mid-iron shots and a bit short off the driver as well. What an awful ball that was. The others I mentioned I've all played good rounds and bad rounds with, much like any other ball.

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  • cmagnussoncmagnusson Members Posts: 518 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Can a 10 handicap tell the difference between a TP5 and a Top flight? Yes, a friggen 40-cap can tell the difference there.

    Can a 10-cap tell the difference between a TP5 and a ProV1? Heck no, give me 100 scratch golfers and probably only 3 of them could do so with 90% accuracy though on a blinded test.

    The important question here: Does a 2 piece vs 4 piece ball make a performance difference measured in strokes gained for a mid-cap player?

    That is entirely dependent on their game. Keep in mind a player in the 10-15 cap range is almost always a very good, but very inconsistent golfer that will shoot low-mid eighties with 8 pars and 4 doubles per round. Where does that inconsistency lie dominant, and is there a ball-characteristic that can heal the problem? If I'm a 14 cap mainly due to a horrible short game and inability to always hold greens, so moving from a Pinnacle to a Chrome Soft is absolutely gonna make a 3 shot difference on my round. If I was a 14-cap due to snap-hook related fairway finding problems off the tee and having 3 3-putts a round, a ball isn't gonna make much of a difference for that guy.

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  • agolf1agolf1 Members Posts: 1,512 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @cmagnusson said:
    Can a 10 handicap tell the difference between a TP5 and a Top flight? Yes, a friggen 40-cap can tell the difference there.

    Can a 10-cap tell the difference between a TP5 and a ProV1? Heck no, give me 100 scratch golfers and probably only 3 of them could do so with 90% accuracy though on a blinded test.

    The important question here: Does a 2 piece vs 4 piece ball make a performance difference measured in strokes gained for a mid-cap player?

    That is entirely dependent on their game. Keep in mind a player in the 10-15 cap range is almost always a very good, but very inconsistent golfer that will shoot low-mid eighties with 8 pars and 4 doubles per round. Where does that inconsistency lie dominant, and is there a ball-characteristic that can heal the problem? If I'm a 14 cap mainly due to a horrible short game and inability to always hold greens, so moving from a Pinnacle to a Chrome Soft is absolutely gonna make a 3 shot difference on my round. If I was a 14-cap due to snap-hook related fairway finding problems off the tee and having 3 3-putts a round, a ball isn't gonna make much of a difference for that guy.

    I'd say you are slightly over-estimating how good a 10-15 is. When you factor in slope and that the handicap index is roughly a golfer's 75th percentile score, I'd bet that a 10 averages about 85-86 and a 15 more like ~90 (I'd also say that 8 pars is probably 1-2 too high, 4 doubles is about right). The interesting thing about this class of golfers is that they are good enough to hit perfect shots from difficult shots frequently enough (i.e. more than once a season). But they also screw up a lot of basic things more than most people like to admit.

    I do see your point on how the ball differences may or may not impact score. Personally, I still think 3 shots is quite high, as I just don't thin the conversion rate is going up that much just due to a ball change. A horrible short game is a horrible short game. There are always exceptions but I also think the number of people that have a certain aspect of their game that is more than a few shots away from their overall ability is pretty rare.

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    Ping Zing 2 L/S (57*)
    Ping Cadence TR Ketsch Putter
    Backup Lob Wedges:  Ping Eye 2+ (58*) or Ping Eye 2 XG (60*)
  • third-times-a-charmthird-times-a-charm Members Posts: 1,757 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Yes. I am a 10+ cap and we regularly have ball fittings from Tm and titleist at the outdoor range. What the reps do it basically make you hit 3 of each ball - titleist for instance - prov/x/AVX and they ask you about the balls and how you like them.

    You can tell which is soft/hard/goes farther/etc and then you go into numbers from the trackman with them.

  • BreezyBrett20BreezyBrett20 Members Posts: 84 ✭✭✭

    Like others have said, I can tell the difference between a low level ball and premium, but not so much between two premiums.

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