Right now, you’re probably in three categories when it comes to your golf game:
- You’re just getting used to the game. You’re getting out there and trying to break 100 on a consistent basis. Yes, you get frustrated because you see other players on the course hit amazing shots, but you love the game so much that you stick with it.
- You’re an intermediate golfer. You shoot consistently in the 80s and you feel like there’s tons of potential in your game.
- Your golf game is really sharp. Your handicap is in the single digits and you can perform any shot on the green with no problem.
Now you might be a little confused about when to use premium balls during your round of golf. You see those golf balls that are over $40 per dozen and you think to yourself, “Is this what I need to uplevel my golf game?”
Here’s the truth about golf balls.
If you’re just getting started playing golf, buy the best ball you can afford. You see all the claims on television that talk about “extra distance” and all kinds of claims. Studies have shown that the “greater distance” claims many ball manufacturers espouse only adds an extra 5-6 yards to your drive.
This is nothing that’s going to really change the game when it comes to a round of golf. If the ball goes 210 vs. 215 during an average drive doesn’t really matter too much.
So if you’re just getting started, get the best ball you can afford. This is true if you’re just getting started and you lose a lot of balls during a given round. Not only is it smart, but it’s also much more economical.
But what if you can get through a round without going through a couple of sleeves of balls during a round? And what if you start improving and your handicap starts to plummet?
The rule of thumb is to consider switching to a premium ball when you and your skill level stop noticing a difference in performance. For example, if you’re out there practicing, playing rounds, and improving your skills, and not really noticing much of a difference in your golf game, then it might be time to switch.
But it’s not just about your handicap. If you find yourself missing a lot of greens during your approach shots, or your shots tend to roll off the green, then you may need a premium ball to lower your scores and get up and down more often.
Right now, the premium multilayer urethane balls are the balls to buy if you want to use a superior ball. These are balls that have a great feel and provide a lot of spin for more control on those tricky shots around the green. Sure, the cheaper balls that are called “distance balls” will give you more distance, but you’ll lose a little control and spin around the greens.
Why? Because urethane is a special material that allows the grooves of the golf club to create more friction with the golf ball when struck. This friction creates a greater spin of the golf ball, allowing you to create more control around the greens. Yes, they don’t travel as long as other balls, but we’re only talking 5-6 yards off the tee.
That’s the big difference between “regular” balls and Tour balls: they have urethane covers that allow these players to hit amazing shots. These tend to be quite pricey, however.
So if you have a decent short game and can get up and down fast, then consider switching to these premium balls in order to improve your game. But if you’re just getting started, then don’t worry about getting the expensive balls just yet. Use the best ball you can afford and use the money you save to pay your bets when you play with your buddies.
There are some golfers who pick up a few balls from the driving range and use them for playing a regular round of golf. Don’t do this! There is a huge difference between driving range balls and retail balls. All balls are not created equal!
“But I want to play the same golf balls the Tour players play with!”
First of all, most of the players you see on Tour are playing balls that are not available on the market. That’s because they are using balls that are slightly tweaked for their specific game. These are balls you simply cannot go into a golf shop and purchase and expect to play amazing golf right off the bat.
So don’t get too excited when you purchase the same golf ball or brand your favorite golfer uses. And don’t fall for the advertising ploys most golf ball marketers use to make you think their ball is what’s going to help you lower your handicap and hit laser-targeted drives down the fairway that’ll make your buddies jaws drop.
The bottom line is the best way to improve your golf game is to improve your skills, not upgrade your golf ball. If your swing speed is average and you shoot in the 100’s and the 90s, then the choice of golf balls is not really that important. You’re just trying to finish a game without losing two sleeves of golf balls.
But if you’ve started to plateau in your game and you feel like you’re improving your skills, then that’s when it’s time to switch to a different ball. That means you’re missing a lot of greens during your approach shots, or you have a decent short game that could benefit from a high spin ball a premium ball can provide.
Remember, you’ll sacrifice a little distance when you switch to a premium ball, but the control you’ll get around the greens will more than make up for the slightly shorter distance.
How to see if using a premium ball is going to make a difference in your game.
The only way you can determine if a premium ball is going to up-level your game is to hit different types of shots with different balls. Go to your range with regular and premium balls and see what gives you the best control in your short game.
You can also visit a golf pro and they’ll help you determine if switching to a premium ball will help with your golf game. They’ll measure your swing speed and match the best golf ball for your game and your budget.
In conclusion, don’t worry too much about using “Tour” balls if you’re just getting started. You don’t need to use the balls they play in the Big Leagues. Only switch to a premium ball when you’ve reached a plateau in your game, you’re missing green during your approach shots, or you have a very good short game that could benefit from a high-spin ball.