The golf ball is vital to the game of golf because you cannot play without it. The object in golf is to hit the ball into a 4.25-inch hole in as few strokes as possible. If you pick the proper ball for your game, you have a better chance of succeeding out on the course.
What are golf balls used for?
Golf balls are one of the main pieces of equipment used in golf and are the object golfers hit with clubs throughout the course in an attempt to land them in the hole. The golf ball is round in shape with a minimum diameter of 1.68 inches and a maximum weight of 1.62 ounces. The cover of the golf ball has a dimpled pattern to improve aerodynamics. There are typically 300-400 dimples on a golf ball, with each dimple about .01 inches in depth.
There is a lot of research and development done in the manufacturing of golf balls so that companies can produce different options for all skill levels and price points. This has led to a variety of balls with different characteristics. These characteristics are feel, distance, height, roll, and spin. The golf ball market is very competitive with many different offerings, so there is a golf ball available for you, no matter your skill level.
Things To Consider
When looking for golf balls, you'll want to consider the following:
- What type of golf ball are you looking for?
- How many golf balls are you looking to purchase?
- How much are you looking to spend on a golf ball?
What are you looking for in golf balls?
Golf balls are manufactured in a number of ways in order to fit a wide range of golfers. The main types of golf balls are one-piece, two-piece, three-piece, four-piece, and five-piece.
One-piece golf balls are the cheapest and simplest balls available. It is a solid ball made from surlyn that one would usually find at a driving range or mini-golf course. You will rarely find a one-piece golf ball played on a golf course, besides by a novice golfer. One-piece golf balls are very hard, durable, and offer little spin.
- Good for driving ranges
- Little spin
- Harsh feeling at impact
- Difficult to control
- Not good for use on a golf course
Two-piece golf balls normally have a solid rubber core that is surrounded by a surlyn dimpled cover. These balls are made to offer distance through both carry and roll for novice golfers. Two-piece golf balls are very low spin and feel hard at impact. They are generally the cheapest balls recommended for use on courses, with a dozen quality balls costing as low as $15.
- Offer good distance
- Harsh feeling
- Little spin
- Difficult to maneuver
Three-piece golf balls are constructed of a soft solid or liquid core, a rubber mantle, and the outer surlyn dimpled shell. The mantle, which is placed between the core and cover, increases spin and provides a softer feel at impact. The three-piece ball is intended for better golfers, and many tour players use this type of ball as well. Depending on the manufacturer, these balls can be fairly expensive, running as high as $50 per dozen.
- Quality, consistent performance
- Better feel
- Can be expensive
- Won't fly as far as others
- Increased spin may affect accuracy
The four-piece golf ball is constructed the same as the three-piece ball with an additional middle cover lying between the mantle and the outer cover. This middle cover helps to provide optimal power and spin for players with high swing speeds. These balls can provide the distance of two-piece balls without sacrificing feel and spin. Quality four-piece balls are quite expensive and not nearly as durable as the harder, cheaper balls.
- Low durability
- Little forgiveness
The five-piece ball is the most recent engineering feat in the high-performance golf ball industry. These balls are designed with two cores and two mantles as well as an outer cover. Like four-piece golf balls, five-piece balls will provide optimal distance while providing the spin to land softly on the green. These balls are also very expensive and designed with expert players in mind.
- Poor durability
- Not forgiving
There are many companies that manufacture golf balls, but three of the top brands include Titleist, Callaway, and Taylormade.
Titleist is the industry leader in golf ball sales, as well as the leading ball on all professional tours for over 70 years. Titleist's top ball is offered in two different models, a three-piece and four-piece ball to suit the individual's specific needs. While Titleist is best known for their top-of-the-line balls, they are a company that spends a lot on research and development to provide a ball to suit every level of player. Titleist golf balls start at $23 per dozen, with the top balls costing $50 per dozen.
Callaway is a newer player in the golf ball industry, having entered the market in 2000. Today they have a presence on the PGA Tour of about 10%. Callaway offers advanced players both a four-piece and five-piece ball to fit their specific game. In addition to the top-of-the-line, advanced players' ball, Callaway offers a wide range of lower-priced balls to suit the needs of every level of golfer. Callaway golf balls range in price from $15 to $48 per dozen.
Taylormade entered the golf ball market in 1999 and had a very little market share. Today, many of the best PGA Tour players use their golf balls, and their market share is consistently growing. They were the first company to introduce a five-piece ball designed for elite and advanced golfers. While best known for their five-piece tour ball, Taylormade also offers cheaper alternatives for beginners. Their balls range in price from $20 to $50 per dozen.
How much do golf balls cost?
Golf balls vary greatly in relation to cost. Factors that play into the cost of golf balls are brand, composition, and personalization. Lower-level golf balls will cost a little over $1 per ball, while top-of-the-line balls can cost about $4.25 per ball. Most often, golf balls are sold by the dozen in sleeves of three. There are some companies that will offer custom personalization on each ball for an additional cost of about $4 per dozen.
What kind of balls do PGA Tour players use?
Not surprisingly, PGA Tour players use the most expensive, best-performing balls on the market. Most tour players use a multi-layer golf ball, either three, four, or five pieces, that suits their individual needs. Titleist is the most used ball on tour, with about 70% of tour players playing a Titleist three or four-piece model. Callaway and Taylormade golf balls are the next most used on the PGA Tour. Callaway offers both a three and four-piece ball for the professionals, and Taylormade's tour balls are composed of five layers.
How do you clean a golf ball?
Today's golf balls typically have a surlyn or urethane cover that is easily cleaned when picking up grass stains or dirt. A simple wipe with soap and a wet towel will most likely make your ball look as good as new. Some golf courses will also feature golf ball washers on-site, which allow players to quickly clean their balls without gathering supplies and cleaning them from home. These washers are typically complimentary to use, helping players save money on golf ball upkeep.