Buying golf balls is a lot like buying a new car. First you have to decide on How Much you are willing to pay, and second you have to decide on What Type of car you need. Same for buying golf balls. Let’s start this guide with a discussion on the different types of golf balls, and go from there. Every golf ball company makes half a dozen or more models of golf balls. At the high end you have the TOUR Quality 3 or 4 piece golf balls. These balls are designed for the Tour players and lower handicap amateur golfers. They usually come with a Urethane Cover and allow the golfer to get a lot of SPIN on the ball. Spin is good IF you want to WORK the ball left or right off the tee and it allows the batter player to STOP the ball quickly on the green with their approach shots. At the lower end is the 2 piece ball with a harder cover. This 2 piece ball will not spin as much as the Tour Quality ball, but it is a lot cheaper to buy.
Cost for a dozen can vary from a low of less than $10 a box all the way up to around $48 a box. The higher the performance level of the balls, the higher the price. Mostly what you get with the higher performance ball is more spin on wedge and short iron shots.
First thing I recommend any golfer to do is figure out HOW MUCH SPIN they want from a golf ball. If you are a good golfer that hits a lot of greens in regulation, you might want to consider buying a higher spin ball to help you hold the greens better. The DOWN SIDE to any high spin ball is if you fight a slice or hook. If that’s your normal ball flight, you would be better off buying a LOW SPIN ball which would minimize your slice or hook. This is where YOU need to be really honest with yourself. If you hit a straight ball flight, you might want to spend the extra money for a good 3 piece ball with more spin. If you are fighting a slice or hook, this type of ball is the last thing you should be buying.
Price is another factor you should consider. If you are new to the game and tend to LOSE A LOT of golf balls every round, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to be buying $45 a dozen golf balls. If this is YOU, you might want to look at buying the cheaper 2 piece ball that spins less. One reason is you will save money on each ball, and second is the fact that LESS SPIN will most likely help you to not lose so many golf balls every round. You also have to consider that the high spin balls are good on approach shots into the green, BUT only IF you are hitting the greens most of the time. If you are missing the greens, the extra spin you are paying for isn’t going to do you any good. HIGH spin or LOW spin balls doesn’t matter very much if your ball lands in the rough or bunkers around the green.
Here’s what I would recommend you look at to determine how much spin you want or need from a ball. If you fight a slice or hook, buy LOW spin 2 piece golf balls.
If you miss more greens than you hit, consider buying LOW spin golf balls. You’re not going to get your money’s worth from the high spin/higher price balls.
If you LOSE a lot of balls playing 18 holes, again buy the cheaper 2 piece LOW spin balls.
If you hit most of the greens in regulation, and want more holding power on approach shots, buy the HIGHER spin balls to increase your chances of holding the greens, especially if you play courses with FIRM greens that don’t hold well.
If you can play one ball for 9 or more holes before you lose it, and you have a straight ball flight and find most of the fairways, consider buying the more expensive higher spin balls. You will be able to take advantage of what the higher spin ball will give you. Especially around the greens, where the extra spin will help your short game.
If your game is improving and you are thinking you might benefit from a higher spin ball, then you should look at the golf balls in the $20 to $25 range. These balls are not as good as the Tour Quality balls, but a good bit better than the low end $10 balls. If this is something you are thinking of trying. Best advice would be to buy a sleeve of one or two models and TRY THEM OUT on the course. Maybe practice your short game and putting with a sleeve of balls and see IF THEY FIT your game.
You now have a guide to help you pick the right amount of spin you should be looking for in your golf balls. How much you are willing to pay for those balls is really a matter ONLY YOU can decide. I see a lot of LOST golf balls in the rough that are high dollar tour balls, mostly Titleist ProV1 balls. I can’t help but wonder why so many golfers that lose a lot of golf balls are wasting their money on the most expensive ball on the market. Must be something in the make EGO that forces these guys to buy top dollar high spin balls even when they would be better off playing a cheaper LOW spin 2 piece ball. Only thing I can figure is their EGO is bigger than their brain. My advice is to be HONEST with yourself and buy the BEST ball for your skill level.
One last thing about golf balls. ALL golf balls will FEEL somewhat different when you hit them. One brand or model of ball might FEEL BETTER to YOU than another. This is TOTALLY a matter of Personal opinion, and is NOT something I can help you with. If for some reason you happened to like ONE brand of golf ball over another due to FEEL, that’s up to you. I can’t tell you what brand ball to buy if you are buying due to feel. What I will tell you is that most all TOUR QUALITY golf balls will PERFORM pretty much the same. Some will allow you to get more spin than the next, but most every ball company will make two Tour Quality balls from which you can choose from, so you should be able to find just the right amount of spin to suit you with any golf brand. IF the most important thing to you is the feel of the ball when you chip or putt, then you might want to spend the extra money for a softer Tour quality ball, or one of the in between balls in the $20 to $25 price range. If you like the feel of a harder ball, then you pretty much have to buy the cheaper 2 piece balls.
Remember. TOO MUCH SPIN is only going to make the game that much harder if you slice or hook the ball more often than not. And TOO LITTLE spin is going to make it harder for you to hold the greens and have the ball STOP close to where it lands on the greens. If you are HONEST with yourself, you should be able to pick the right amount of spin for you. Then let the price of the balls decide which ball you buy.
Last thing I will tell you is to be smart about WHEN you buy your golf balls. Like anything else, golf balls go on sale at the end of the golf season, and when NEW golf balls are coming out on the market. If you buy smart, you can find high dollar golf balls for half price or less. Especially when new balls are coming out in the fall or spring, and the stores want to sell off last year’s models to make room on the shelf for the newer balls. Case in point; I just purchased some 2007 model year TOUR QUALITY balls for $9.97 a dozen. The same ball sold for $40 a box when they first came out. By buying SMART, I was able to buy top quality balls for one quarter of what they sold for a few years ago. And to be honest, I really doubt anyone would be able to tell the difference in performance between this 2007 model ball and the latest release on the market. No matter what type ball you decide to play, you should be able to find them on sale near the end or start of the golf season in your area. And remember that ALL major brands of balls will play pretty much the same. Top of the line TOUR balls from Callaway, Nike, TaylorMade, Srixon, Titleist, or any other brand will ALL play pretty much the same in terms of distance, spin and overall performance. My advice is to have an OPEN MIND when buying the more expensive tour balls, and be willing to TRY a different brand if you find them on sale at a big discount. I really doubt you will be disappointed in your purchase. My experience is that ALL the tour quality balls are pretty much equal on the course. I have played just about ALL of them over the years, and while I do have my favorite. I’m quite happy to play anyone of them if I find them on sale for the right price. Bottom line is that while I play Tour Quality balls almost exclusively, I’ve never paid more than $20 a dozen for ANY of them.