News From Terre Haute, Indiana

On & Off the Course

May 13, 2006

On and off the course: Pick ball that suits your experience, checkbook

TERRE HAUTE — Tiger Woods plays a Nike ball, Phil Mickelson and Annika Sorenstam play Calloway, Jim Furyk plays a Srixon, Fred Couples plays a Bridgestone, Ernie Els plays a Titleist ProVI and Retief Goosen and Vijay Singh play a ProVIx. How do you pick which ball you should play? It’s all very confusing, but due to improvements in technology, it’s getting easier to fit a ball to your game. It might take a lot of trial and error though, so I picked up the May issue of Consumer Reports, which included a rating of golf balls. I’ve often wondered how different brands of balls compared, and now I have Consumer Reports’ expert testing to tell me the ins and outs of golf balls.

There are two basic types of golf balls now, two-piece balls and multi-layer balls, which are 3 or 4-piece. Two-piece balls are best for beginners and intermediate players. They’re usually made for distance more than spin, and they cost a lot less than multi-layer balls. Some examples of 2-piece balls are Nike Power Distance Super Soft, Pinnacle Gold Distance, Titleist NXT, Titleist DT So-Lo, and the Lady Precept.

Three-piece balls are best for experienced players. They’re made to have low spin off the driver to go far, yet have higher spin off the iron shots to allow for back-spin on shots into greens. The core is similar or the same as a two-piece ball, but there is a middle layer that is very thin and made of ionomers. The cover is usually thinner than two-piece balls, allowing the ball to stick to the club face longer on shorter shots, which produces more spin. Examples of three-piece balls are Nike One Black, Calloway HX Tour 56, Titleist ProVI, Maxfli Black Max, Precept PWRDrive, and the Bridgestone Tour B330.

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