Compression session

Joe Seeds brings up a good point about golf ball compression.

I’m sure this is a topic heavy on your mind: How much a golf ball compresses, and which one is right for you. Well, pack your bags, cause we’re going on a truth trip, my friends.

The days of 80, 90 and 100 compression rates are over. You see, it used to be easy to pick out the right ball for you. Now, not so much. No longer can you pick a compression based on your swing speed (such as 80 for slower swings, 90 for average clubhead speeds, or 100 for faster speeds).

Also, the cover and core of the ball has changed dramatically in the last decade. Urethane covers can be found on better balls (Titleist Pro V, TaylorMade Penta, Srixon Z-Star series) and Surlyn on others.  Urethane will spin more (this includes sidespin) and Surlyn are usually found in two-piece or “distance” balls. Balls have gotten more durable and go farther. Some balls are still honed to slower or faster swing speeds, while others may spin more or less. And I can’t get much more vague, can I?

I had Titleist (Acushnet) training last night and they claim that their ball is basically the longest premium ball in golf. And that they’ve got one for every player. Since they are truly the No.1 ball in golf, let’s use their balls as an example – er … – you know what I mean.

* Pro V1s: $50 a dozen. Regular Pro V1 is a three-piece ball, spins a ton and is softer. It’s the best choice if you want the ball to check on chip shots, and if you have problems getting the ball airborne. If you already hit the ball high …

*Pro V1x: Again, plopping down $50. Two piece. It will add distance. Particularly in the case of the 2007 Pro V1x, which experts say, that if you line this up with the seam facing down your target line, you’ll get an extra 20 yards. A lot of tour players (at least older tour players – I’m looking at you Stricker and Kenny Perry) still play this ball I believe.

*NXT Tour: $33. It’s the common man’s Pro V1. Essentially has all of the same characteristics (three piece), and now with a more durable cover. Won’t spin quite as much, and the Surlyn cover doesn’t feel as soft as the PV1.

*NXT Extreme: $33. EXTREME!!!!!!!!! distance. For the most part. Pretty good feel for a two-piece.

*DT Solo: Titleist got rid of off of it’s crazy value balls and replaced them with this – a two-piece, Pinnacle-esque, distance ball. Though not bad for $22. It says Titleist and will give you extra distance. BUUUUUUUUUUUTTT this also has a lower compression rate – which gets us back to the original point of this article. Titleist dudes said that women could/should play this ball. Meaning those golfers with (by and large) slower swing speeds should probably go Solo, and would get the most distance/game improvement/budget improvement out of this ball.

While the days of gutta percha and balata are behind us, millions of dollars continue to be spent annually to provide incremental improvements to the golf ball. Titleist said they do more r&d than every major ball manufacturer COMBINED. Yowsa. And they’re now on their fifth Iron Byron, which I guess is impressive.

Anyway, hope that helps. Compress away.


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