2010 Buyer's Guide Balls

Golf balls are a lot like shoes. If one doesn’t fit your game, it can make for a very uncomfortable round.

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Wilson C:25
Key Feature: Unique, flat-bottom dimples that create a stable and high trajectory. A Fusion Mantle that combines distance for long shots and added spin for scoring shots.
What We Like: The dimple design looks great, and the new cover is more durable than before.
Who It’s For: Tour players and golfers who want a dependable trajectory with every club as well as a lot of spin around the greens.
Specs: Four-piece construction with Pan-Head dimples and a urethane cover.
wilsonstaff.com | $25/doz.
Wilson FG Tour
Key Feature: A three-piece urethane-covered golf ball with Traction Control Technology that helps the ball better grip the clubface for maximum spin.
What We Like: They feel soft, but not mushy. Also, the added spin is a big help considering the new groove rules.
Who It’s For:
Better players. However, we suspect all golfers will find a liking to a ball that deserves a lot more credit than it gets. It’s a solid performer.
Specs: Multilayer construction with a Traction Control Technology urethane cover material.
wilsonstaff.com | $35/doz.
Zero Friction ZF Distance
Key Feature: Made for sheer distance with a soft feel, the ZF Distance is a two-piece design that’s also made of 100 percent renewable resources.
What We Like: Zero Friction packs three Zero Friction tees in every sleeve. We also like how far they fly, not to mention the consumer-friendly price. They’re very durable, too.
Who It’s For: Value-minded golfers looking for a golf ball that flies high and far without the rock-like feel.
Specs: Two-piece construction with a Surlyn cover and a 312-dimple pattern.
zerofriction.com | $19/doz.

Choose Wisely

Golf balls are like most consumer products these days, with seemingly too many choices for a spot decision. Manufacturers produce many different models in an effort to compete for shelf space and exposure to various price points, which often leads to confusion. The best way to combat this trend is to take the guesswork out of the problem through diagnostic testing. If you haven’t been tested for the right ball, there’s no time like the present. Most golfers buy a ball brand out of reputation of the manufacturer, advertising, or through an ongoing process of trial and error.

But with the advent of launch-monitor testing, buying the right ball can be a far more exact science than ever before. A competent fitting professional can measure ball spins, launch angles and velocities with various balls to hone in on the perfect blend of ballistic properties. Then the decision becomes a matter of price, feel and personal preference.

As a generality, softer-feeling urethane covers produce higher spin rates than Surlyn, especially at lower ball speeds like those found with short-game shots. Some newer-generation balls are two-piece only with a firmer inner core and the softer urethane outer layer. This configuration produces low spins with the longer clubs and higher spins with wedges, but may have a slightly harder feel.
—Don Wood


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