Friday, August 15, 2008

Picking a Golf Ball - What is Important ?

Picking a golf ball today is pretty confusing. I've seen all of the Titleist commercials, and the PGA leaderboard that shows how many players use Titleist balls....but what is REALLY right for the Average Joe/Jane golfer ? Here are the factors that I think are important:

(1) Spin - Do you prefer a ball that spins a lot or one that spins less ? Do you even know how to tell ? One good way is from your tee shots - if you tend to favor the right side of the course (for righties) - I hate to say "slice", chances are that you hit shots that spin a lot - and thus would be best served by a low spin ball. However, the best way to determine this is to vists a golf shop and hit a few on the launch monitor and see what it tells you.
(2) SwingSpeed / BallSpeed - This is a topic that will require some professional intervention, but can really help in selecting the right ball for you. The same trip to the golf shop mentioned above can offer you insight into your swing speed and ball speed.
(3) Affordability - Let's face it - a lot of us just cannot stomach $45 smokes for a 12 kit of Pro V1s...what's a duffer to do ? Well, you have two options - select less expensive balls (there are lots to choose from) OR buy used high end balls from folks on eBay (this is a great option, BTW).
(4) Brand Loyalty / Perception: Let's face it, golf is a VERY mental game, and some of us just feel better playing a brand that we recognize or like.

At the end of the day, the best option is to make a visit to the golf shop of your choice (Edwin Watts, GolfSmith, etc) and let the pros there help you out. Explain to them that you need help selecting a ball, and want to get on the launch monitor to help identify the right one. Do not be afraid to tell them that you need to stay in a price range - remember that they are there to help you. BTW - you may have seen Bridgstone commercials lately where they are doing comparison with average Joe/Jane golfers hitting various balls to help them select the one that is best for them....clearly an indication that the industry is "getting it" as it comes to golfers selecting a ball that is right for them.

Here are some to consider:

High End Balls:
  • Titleist Pro V1 (high spin, soft) and Pro V1x (less spin, a bit firmer)
  • Taylor Made TP Black (high spin, soft) and TP Red (less spin, firmer)
  • Bridgestone B330 and 330 s
  • Nike One Black , Nike One Platinum (high spin, soft)
Middle Tier Balls
  • Titleist NxT and NxT Tour
  • Taylor Made Burner Red and Black
  • Bridgestone e5
  • Callaway Hot X

What do you play ?

ed note: Da Judge plays ProV1x, and chokes every time he has to pay full retail for them....

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