What Golf Ball Should I Use? Choosing the Right Golf Ball for You

golf balls in a mini shopping cart

With so many golf balls on the market, it’s hard to know what golf ball to use. At some stage, it’s no wonder most golfers ask this: What golf ball should I use?

The answer isn’t always a straightforward one. But don’t fret because we’re here to help you find that answer.

Let’s dive in and find out what golf ball you should use.

Soft vs. Hard Golf Balls

Whether you go with soft or hard golf balls, there will be a trade-off in certain aspects of the game. For instance, players with an average swing speed generally won’t get as much distance with a soft golf ball.

However, soft golf balls give you more control around the greens. That’s because they offer you much more spin than hard golf balls.

Soft golf balls, such as the Callaway Supersoft, can be a good choice if you don’t need to add distance to your game. You’ll get more control and spin with wedge shots and chips around the greens.

Also, soft golf balls make it easier to shape shots. Golfers who like to work the golf ball in different directions will benefit from a soft ball.

Hard golf balls, such as a Titleist Pro V1x, are usually geared towards distance. They’ll come off the clubface hot, and some can get a lot of roll on the fairways.

When you use a hard golf ball, you’ll sacrifice spin and control around the greens. Your ball might land on the green, but that doesn’t mean it’ll stay there if you use a hard golf ball.

A hard ball can help your accuracy because it won’t spin as much as a soft golf ball. That means hard balls have less side spin and a more accurate flight.

However, they’re not so good for players who want to hit draws and fades, for example. It’s difficult to shape your shots when using a hard golf ball.

Related: 8 Best Golf Balls for Beginners and High Handicappers in 2022

Swing Speed

You should consider your swing speed when identifying the golf ball you should use. In general, golfers with slow swings should use soft golf balls, and those with fast swings should use hard golf balls.

This directly relates to compression, which we’ll cover in the next section.

When it comes to swing speed and golf balls, we also like to think about ball flight. Your swing speed plays a big part in the ball flight you’ll get, and you should consider that when choosing a golf ball.

A fast swing gives you a higher ball flight in general. On the other hand, a slow swing gives you a lower one.

Of course, other factors like attack angle play a part in this. But if you have a fast swing and your ball flight is too high, you should consider a low-spin golf ball. It’ll help you lower your ball flight and get an optimal trajectory.

If you have a slow swing and your ball flight is too low, you should look at a high-spin golf ball. This will help you launch the ball higher.

For slower swing speeds, consider the TaylorMade Tour Response.

For faster swing speeds, consider Titleist Pro V1x.

Compression

The compression of a golf ball measures how much it compresses against the clubface on impact. Compression transfers energy from the club to the ball, with more compression leading to more energy transference and distance.

It’s harder to transfer energy to a golf ball with a high compression rating. Conversely, transferring energy to a ball with a low compression rating is easier.

Therefore, your swing speed and compression are linked when it comes to hitting the ball. The higher your swing speed, the easier it is for you to compress the ball.

So, slow swingers have more success with low-compression golf balls, such as Callaway Supersoft or Srixon Soft Feel golf balls.

Fast swingers do better with high-compression golf balls, such as Titleist Pro V1x or TaylorMade TP5x golf balls.

Compression mainly comes down to the core of the golf ball. A soft core will have a low compression rating.

Related: Low Compression Golf Balls (A Complete Guide)

That doesn’t necessarily mean the ball will feel soft – some low-compression golf balls have quite a firm feel. However, most have a soft feel and are considered soft golf balls.

High-compression balls tend to have a firmer feel, but that’s not always the case. It also depends on the overall construction of the golf ball.

The compression rating of golf balls typically ranges from around 40 to 110. Any ball with a compression rating of 80 or below is considered low, about 90 is considered mid-compression, and a high-compression ball is 100 or higher.

Therefore, slow swingers should go for a ball with a compression rating of 80 or lower. Medium swingers should aim for one of around 90. And fast swingers should consider a golf ball with a compression rating of 100 or higher.

Related: 6 Best Golf Balls For Distance in 2022

Golf Ball Construction

When looking at golf ball construction, we can identify three main pieces: the core, the mantle, and the cover.

Core

Everything else in a golf ball revolves around the core. It’s the epicenter of the ball, the engine that kicks it into gear.

Without the core, your golf ball would travel a few yards before falling out of the sky like a lame duck. This critical part of the ball takes up the most space beneath the cover.

The core is all about transferring energy, which is why the compression directly relates to the core. Softer cores make it easier for golfers to transfer energy, while harder cores make it harder.

When asking yourself what golf ball you should use, know your swing speed, and match it to the core – or compression.

Mantle

The mantle nestles between the core and the cover. It helps to fine-tune distance and spin characteristics.

The mantle is firm and helps to protect the core. Wrapping around the core, the mantle seals the engine of the golf ball and stops water from damaging it.

Some golf balls have more than one mantle layer. Adding these layers allows manufacturers to adjust the performance of the golf ball. For instance, changing the thickness of the mantle influences spin characteristics.

You can check things like spin performance when deciding what golf ball you should use.

three golf balls teed up

Cover

The cover of a golf ball encloses the other layers and impacts aerodynamics and spin. It’s important for delivering the optimal flight trajectory on every shot and giving you control around the greens.

The dimple pattern on the cover directly affects its aerodynamic characteristics. This is designed to disrupt air flow and keep the ball airborne for longer. If you struggle to maximize your carry distance, you might want to consider a ball’s aerodynamics.

The firmness of the cover plays a part in how it’ll spin. With a soft cover, it’s easier for the grooves of your irons to grip the ball.

This grip keeps the ball on the clubface longer and generates more spin. For golfers chasing spin, a soft cover is the best way to go.

Golfer’s Ability

The golfer’s ability factors into the equation when answering what golf ball I should use. Players of different levels will benefit from different types of balls.

Under 5 Handicap

These golfers will benefit most from tour-level golf balls, like a Pro V1 or Pro V1x. They want the best of both worlds, distance off the tee and spin around the greens.

Golfers with this ability have dialed in their games. They now need a golf ball that’ll give them an advantage, no matter how small.

5 to 15 Handicap

This group of players can generally do with some extra distance, although that won’t be the case for all of them. Also, they’ll still want decent spin characteristics in a golf ball.

The higher end of this range can usually benefit from a higher launch. Therefore, these golfers should look at balls that help them get a higher trajectory.

Over 15 Handicap

Golfers of this ability need a ball that offers more distance and a straighter flight, like a Callaway Supersoft. They’ll usually benefit from a firmer golf ball.

These players can also struggle to get spin around the greens. So, a ball that offers distance with some level of spin is generally a good choice.

Related: 5 Best Golf Balls for Slicers in 2022

Why is Using the Right Golf Ball Important?

Using the right golf ball is important because it can help your overall performance on the golf course. That becomes truer as the ability of the player gets better.

For example, pros must find a golf ball that’s perfect for their games. Even the slightest improvement could be the difference that gets them in the win column.

However, the right golf ball helps us mere mortals as well. Maybe you need a few extra yards distance to hit that long par four in two, or you need some extra spin to stop the ball on the greens for more birdie chances.

Whatever it is, the right golf ball can help you out. Golf is a game of fine margins at times, and let’s face it; we need all the help we can get to overcome those margins.

Using the right golf ball can give you that little extra ingredient to boost your game.

Conclusion

It’s often overlooked, but knowing what golf ball you should use is critical. Choosing the right one allows you to fine-tune your game.

You should identify what you need to improve in your game, whether it’s more distance or more spin. Then, you can find the best golf ball that caters to those performance characteristics.

Consider everything we’ve covered in this article. You’ll then be able to answer what golf ball I should use.

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Joe Morelli

Joe Morelli is the founder of TopRankGolf, a passionate golfer with 25 years of experience playing and coaching golfers around the world. He's dedicated to helping golfers learn and enjoy the game of golf.