Knowing Your Golf Ball

Titleist, TaylorMade, Nike, and Callaway. Top-Flite, Ping, Pinnacle, and Bridgestone. Any of these names ring a bell? I hope so. They are the top golf brands in the world. They compete for the allegiance of golfers everywhere, claiming to have the best gear in the game. The best part is, all of them might be right.

It is clear that there are inherent, visible differences between the golf games of Tiger Woods — constructed by coach Sean Foley — and the one put on display in Door County every summer — constructed by Sean Zak.

With this as the case, there should also be differences in the golf products that Tiger and I use while on the course. This is absolutely true, but not everyone knows it.

The success of a golfer has a lot to do with their golf ball. Yes, it’s pretty obvious that if that golf ball finds its way into the nearest forest or water hazard, success is not on its way. The metrics of the golf ball are what I am referring to.

With so many different golf balls manufactured by the varying names mentioned earlier, there is no hyperbole in saying that there is a golf ball for every golfer. They just need to find out which one suits them best.

Certain golf balls are made of greater compression than others. When struck, they squish into a non-cylindrical shape that launches the ball off the clubface. The ability for a ball to compress allows the grooves in irons and wedges to grab as much or as little of the ball as possible for certain types of spin.

The amount of compression in the chosen golf ball needs to correlate with the golfer’s swing speed. Tiger swings a lot faster than I do, and I swing a lot faster than my father. Therefore, our compressions differ greatly.

The Titleist ProV1 might work great for Rory McIlroy because it presents some of the best spin available in the industry, but do I need all that spin? If I hit a poor approach, all of that industry-leading spin might dribble me into a bunker, or even worse, a water hazard.

If you find yourself and your carefully selected golf ball in some trouble — water, trees, fescue, etc. — a special design can help you not only save time but also save face.

Ever find yourself racking memory of your round, trying to figure out if you were smacking around a Titleist or a TaylorMade? Chances are you were in the woods and stumbled over a pair of golf balls, both of which may be yours. If you don’t hit only Titleist, you should consider creating a design that marks each one of your golf balls as yours.

For me, it’s a simple “S” at the end of the name brand. For you it could be a smiley face, a flower design, or a childhood nickname — anything. This should keep you in the game and in the trust of your playing partners.

Before you tee it up again, spend a little time thinking about that little ball you are hitting. It just might help you out a little more than you think.