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Golf is an expensive sport, even for the weekend or occasional golfer, not only because of green fees, but because of all that expensive equipment you need to have in your bag, including your golf balls. Are you paying more for balls than your game says you should? That could be the case if you have been buying only the top-rated balls that the pros use. The fact is that there are a host of good golf balls on the market, and many are on the low-price side, just waiting for occasional golfers to take advantage of. One site on the internet, Golf Balls 101, has made it its business to rate all balls, including balls for the non-pros or hackers. Nine balls are on its recommended list for hackers. Four of them are highly rated for distance, loft, spin, durability, and price. This includes the MaxFli A3 at $24.95 a dozen, the MaxFli Revolution EXT, $20.95 a dozen, the Dunlop 65U, $17.95 a dozen, and the Srixon Hi-Spin, $14.95 a dozen.
Ever wonder why your golf ball has all those “dimples” on it? The answer is simple enough and in one word: aerodynamics. If your golf ball was perfectly smooth, it would fly when you hit it, sure enough, but it wouldn't fly very far. It's the dimples that give your golf balls the thrust needed for distance. On most golf balls up to 80 percent of the surface is composed of dimples, and on some the coverage is as high as 100 percent, with configurations in hexagons and pentagons, tiny six- and five-sided figures. There are no flat spots to cause drag, giving these balls the ability to carry further and roll farther once they hit the ground. This makes them ideal for driving on long holes. You can make the needed adjustments when hitting to short holes or when hitting an iron from the fairway onto the green. Good dimple coverage also gives golf balls more wind-resistance, enhancing stability.
It may seem bewildering to someone new to the game of golf to see so many brands of golf balls available. His first inclination might be to find out what the pros are using and buy some of those. If he does, he could be spending a lot more for his balls than he needs to, because he probably will not get the benefits the pros do. The balls the pros use are expensive because of the features they offer to low-handicap golfers, which includes higher spin rates for greater feel and control, in particular when the ball lands on the green. This type of ball is often referred to as a “soft” ball and usually costs $40 a dozen or more. According to golf authorities, the average golfer's game isn't good enough to realize the benefits of these balls.
Some pros like the Titleist ProV1 golf ball for many reasons, the most important being that it was designed specifically with the pro in mind. It is the golf ball of choice for such pros as Mike Weir, Fred Funk, and David Toms.
This ball is described by the manufacturer as a soft ball with a l.550” diameter core formulation. Other features include a speed-enhancing, spin controlling ionomer casing, with an 0.30” urethane cover, plus 392-count dimple coverage in an icosahedral or 20-faced design. The pros on the PGA circuit put tremendous energy into their explosive shots on tee and fairway for days at a time and need a ball like this to meet their standards.
Golf balls designed for the pros, such as the Titleist Pro V1, which has a soft, thin cover and costs about $60 for a dozen balls. Contrast that price with what you would be paying for a lesser ball, but one that could certainly be a good ball for your game, such as the Srixon Hi-Spin, priced about $15 a dozen, or the MaxFli A3, at about $25 a dozen.
If you'd like to know what the pros look for in a golf ball, keep in mind that the characteristics of all golf balls are strictly governed by the rules laid down by the U.S. Golf Association. It is these rules that determine maximum initial velocity, total distance, and all the other features advertised by manufacturers.
There are two types of balls you may want to consider: the two-piece ball and the multi-layer ball. The configuration in the two-piece ball, which has a high-restitution core wrapped in a cover, is designed to transfer energy efficiently to the ball in flight and make excellent distance possible. Some two-piece balls also have a soft feel to give the user greater control over his shots. In the three-piece or multi-layered ball, the core is wrapped in several covers to combine materials, degrees of hardness, and specific gravity. This type of ball can enhance performance and compensate for slightly-missed hits.
If you're not a pro, you don't have to use the golf balls the pros use. Golf is a tough sport to learn to play well. Like most goals, it takes years and hard work to accomplish. With this in mind, many manufacturers have produced golf balls not only engineered for control and spin, but engineered for the weekend golfer.
There are balls with specs that produce maximum spin control to make it easier for you to control your wedge shots, such as the Wilson Jack Spin Ball, with a price in the $14 range for a 15-pack. These are balls that will stop easily, a comforting thought when making chip shots.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|