Balls Buyer's Guide 2007

We're not talking range balls, Wiffle balls or those limited-flight Cayman balls either. We're talking golf balls the kind that go too far and spin too much.

Balls Buyer's Guide 2007No, it’s not the surface of the moon (right), it’s a super-close-up shot of a golf ball. In golf’s modern era, the small, round dimpled orbs that fill the pockets of your golf bags are truly the sum of their parts. From the materials that make up their covers to how it’s filled inside, a golf ball’s composition greatly affects its behavior on the course. Among other things, it determines how high or low it launches off your clubface and spins around the green and how much it compresses when hit. In short, the modern golf ball is a technological masterpiece, with a number of different varieties built specifically for players of varying skill levels. They’ve truly come a long way since a bunch of feathers were sewn inside a piece of leather.

Of course, great technological advancements always meet some resistance. In Ohio, there’s a limited-flight ball that has been integrated into competitions, and worldwide numerous legends of the game have bemoaned the modern ball’s DNA for making old courses obsolete and eliminating shotmaking from the game. While the best in the world may take advantage of the newer ball technology, that still leaves the rest of us to duke it out with “Old Man Par.” And we’ll take all the help we can get.

Which Ball Is Right For You?

Late last year, the Golf Tips editors had the privilege to visit Hot Stix, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based golf lab. While there, we visited with some of the industry’s most knowledgeable clubfitters, scientists and technicians and asked them which steps golfers should take to improve their game. They suggested a lot of things, including shaft upgrades, loft, lie and grip adjustments, but they also brought the conversation around to those little white balls that go a mile. Choosing the right golf ball, they said, was vital for golfers of all skill levels. (They also said it was the cheapest and fastest way to see important results.) Translation: Even though your favorite player tees up a thin-covered, high-spinning ball every week, it might not be the right one for your game, especially if you’re an average golfer. Take particular care when perusing the offerings for ’07—they might change your life.

Understanding Our Charts
Features: The primary characteristics of the golf ball, including an overview of the cover, core and spin qualities.
Advantages: How this ball separates itself from the others; its dominant features.
Benefits: What type of golfer would most likely benefit from playing this ball.
What We Like: We have our preferences, too, and share what we like in the particular ball.
Lineup: Lists the balls available in the manufacturer’s line.
Construction: Two-piece, three-piece, multi-layer.
Cover: Urethane covers tend to be the dominant material in premium golf balls, yielding a soft and grippy feel around the greens. Surlyn and other polymer blends are more affordable, but slightly less responsive and have a firmer feel.
Core: Polybutadiene dominates most cores, but it’s worth noting those that don’t.
Midlayer: Ionomer midlayers aid in adding spin with iron shots and reducing spin with driver and fairway wood shots.
Dimple Pattern: Note the varying dimple patterns in several models. If supplied, dimple counts are in parentheses.
Trajectory: High, Mid or Low
Spin: High, Mid or Low
Feel: Firm or Soft


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