We know you have questions. In our Ask MyGolfSpy series, we answer questions from our readers. This week we’re tackling golf balls. For your next opportunity to Ask MyGolfSpy, be sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Ask MyGolfSpy – Golf Balls

What’s the best golf balls for various handicaps?

I don’t think there’s a performance attribute that directly correlates with your handicap. Across all ranges, you’ll find golfers who need to hit it higher or lower and with more or less spin. In that sense, the correlation with handicap is probably price-driven. If you’re losing a lot of balls, premium options can be cost-prohibitive, but that’s where value brands and even quality used options can help bridge the gap.

MyGolfSpy Ball Lab Compression Gauge

Is compression still a factor? What is the compression of some common brands?

First, that’s not one question it’s two. Feels like cheating. Anyway…
Yes, compression is still a factor. Compression is strongly correlated with both speed and feel. Higher compression balls are faster off the tee, while lower compression balls offer softer feel and will often be longer off the irons.
The nature of low compression design means they also tend to be among the lowest spinning.
Most brands offer a range of compression offerings, though it’s worth mentioning that the softer options exist to satisfy a feel preference and won’t offer the complete performance of mid to high compression balls.
From a fitting perspective, slower swing speed players will often fit into a firmer golf ball, however, higher swing speed players will often over-compress a softer ball and lose speed and distance because of it.
There’s a reason why every ball played on the PGA Tour is above 80-compression and most are closer to 90 and above.

Does the ball matter to anyone over a 10 handicap?

The ball matters to anyone who is trying to shoot lower scores. While most of us don’t have the consistency of a Tour pro, we’re all capable of hitting good (even great) shots. I’m in agreement with Titleist that your best shots should be rewarded. Playing a high-performance, high-quality ball can help ensure they are.

How can a ball be low spin off long clubs and high spin in the short game?

Spin is the result of hardness differences between a golf ball’s layers paired with how deep into the ball energy is transferred during the strike.
At higher speeds like you get with a driver and longer clubs, you’re getting all the way to the core, so spin properties are primarily driven by the relationship between the inner and outer core, or the core and the inner mantle layer. That’s typically a hard over soft relationship, which is the recipe for low(er) spin.
On shorter shots, particularly as you get closer to the green with higher lofted clubs, the interaction is almost entirely between the soft cover and a firmer mantle layer that acts as a backstop for the cover to pinch against. Soft over hard is the recipe for increased spin, and the greater the hardness difference, the more spin you’ll get.

Is there really a need for a 4- or 5-layer balls?

The answer relates back to the previous question. With more layers comes more opportunity to tune spin throughout the bag. As you add combinations of hard and soft that layers are interacted with at different speeds you can tease out a more nuanced spin profile. While there’s likely a point of diminishing returns, those extra layers can be of benefit to some golfers.
It’s worth pointing out that there are other ways to achieve a similar result. Bridgestone with its TOUR B Series and Titleist with its 3-piece premium balls (Pro V1 and AVX) use a graduated core design where the core gets gradually firmer as you move from the inside out. It’s a bit like a chocolate lava cake.
As my last word on the subject (for now), I’ll also mention that with additional layers comes additional complexity. Every layer is an opportunity for something to go wrong in the manufacturing process.

What’s the main factor for a player to consider when picking the right ball?

I don’t know that there’s a single most important attribute. That said, for most of us, the majority of our shots will come from within 100 yards of the green, so it makes sense to start greenside and work your way out to approach clubs, longer irons, and then the driver.
Golfers have different trajectory and spin needs and there may not be a single ball that’s for you with every club in the bag, so it is important to prioritize those areas where the ball can provide the most benefit.
A good rule of thumb is to fit your ball to your irons and then leverage adjustability to fit your driver to the ball.

How much does a scuff mark affect performance?

It’s hard to quantify in terms of absolutes, so It depends is the sensible answer, and in this case, what it depends on is the surface area and depth of the damage.
Minor, surface-level abrasions are usually no big deal, but as we saw in testing, there is a point (and it probably takes less than you think) where a scuff or scrape can cause enough of an aerodynamic disruption to alter the flight of the golf ball.
Filed under things that are good to know, the ball will curve to the side opposite the damage (For example: a ball with damage on the right side relative to the target line, will curve left)

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