Should you always use the same golf ball?April 24, 2018 Golf Equipment
We are all guilty of using different golf balls from round to round or even hole to hole. But does this have a negative impact on our scores? Equipment editor James Savage investigates
What golf ball do you use?
Even with serious golfers the answer is often ‘whichever one I pull out of my bag next’.
Being honest, how many of you use the same model of golf ball every time you play?
I have the best intentions of sticking to the same ball but on occasions I’ll lose one and not have any more of that model in my bag.
It’s annoying but it happens. Sometimes I’ll just stick a sleeve of my ball of choice in my bag and then I’ll lose more than I think I’m going to.
There are lots of different golf balls out there, each with different performance benefits.
And we wouldn’t dream of telling you which one to use.
But does is matter which one you use? We think it does because it’s the only piece of equipment you use for every shot so why wouldn’t you have the one best suited to your game?
We wouldn’t use a driver or a set of irons that was totally unsuitable would we?
But does changing balls from round to round or even hole to hole have a negative impact on your golf?
We spoke to Titleist golf ball specialist Ant Williams to get some of the important questions answered.
How big are the differences in performance characteristics between different balls?
“There are many game-changing performance and quality differences between golf ball brands and their various models.
“At Titleist we design all our golf balls to be long off the tee, but where the golf balls will separate themselves from one another are shots getting hit into and around the green.
“From here we can provide different trajectories, spin rates and feels.
“There are also varying flight characteristics between models, such as the difference between the high flight you get from a Pro V1x or Velocity compared to the more penetrating flight from Pro V1, Tour Soft or DT TruSoft.
“We regularly see golfers of a higher handicap benefiting more from a premium ball than a more skilful golfer because there is better stopping power therefore a bigger target to aim at.”
How does a golfer know if they are using the right or wrong ball for their game?
“Hit some putts and chip shots around the green. Does it feel good? Are the chip shots performing how you want them to?
“Hit full shots with a short (PW) and mid iron (7 iron) and ask yourself, ‘Does the golf ball stop quickly enough when it hits the green?”
“If a well struck iron or chip shot hits the green and rolls off then the ball more than likely isn’t giving you the optimum amount of control into the green.
“Hit shots with hybrids, fairways and driver – Are they going far enough? Does the ball have the correct trajectory? Would you like to see the ball fly higher or lower?”
What sort of negative impact could using the wrong ball be having?
“We regularly see golfers base their ball selection on a clubhead speed (usually driver).
“By focusing on one of the least used clubs in the bag (usually 14 shots per round), golfers tend to forget / ignore the performance benefits of using a ball to help you when hitting into and around the green.
“By selecting a ball based solely on distance you will get less performance on your scoring shots, making your margin for error and your landing zone smaller.”
What are the benefits of using the same ball each round?
“Consistency. By playing the same ball every time you tee it up, you will start to eliminate performance differences from various ball models which will build confidence and consistency which will aid you in shooting lower scores.”
Why and how could switching balls round to round be hampering a golfers game?
“Switching balls will hamper a golfers game by changing the feel, which will affect distance control for putting and chipping.
“It will also change the stopping power of the ball. A par-3 played last time saw the ball hit the green and stay on for an easy two putt. Changing the ball may hamper stopping power so now the ball runs through and you’re faced with a difficult chip shot.
“It can change the distances. Different balls will produce different yardages which affects club selection.
“It can affect trajectory. Some balls fly high whilst some fly lower by design.
“Changing the ball will affect the trajectory which can affect stopping power and even affect how you play certain shots like over trees or in windy conditions.”
Titleist’s ‘Loyalty Rewarded’ scheme runs until April 30. Purchase three dozen Pro V1 or Pro V1x and receive a dozen free. More information can be found on the Titleist website.