Golf Ball Compression Guide
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Golf Ball Compression Guide

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Golf Ball Compression Guide

Where can I see golf ball compression numbers in one place?

That’s probably the most common question to come out of our work in the MyGolfSpy Ball Lab

For golfers looking for that sort of thing, we’ve built a compression chart that includes every ball we’ve measured to date. In the interest of providing even more information, we’ve also included the layer count, number of dimples and cover material.

Below the chart, you’ll find a golf ball compression FAQ of sorts. The goal is to tackle your compression questions while hopefully clearing up what really is an abundance of golf ball compression misinformation found elsewhere.

As always, if you have more questions, drop them into the comment section.

Golf Ball Compression Chart

Golf Ball Compression FAQ

What is golf ball compression?

Golf ball compression is a measure of how much a golf ball deforms under load. The higher the compression, the harder the ball.
It should be noted that there isn’t a single industry-standard gauge and even gauges of the same type can produce slightly different measurements, so it’s not uncommon for one manufacturers 90 to be another’s 87 or for our gauge to differ a bit from a manufacturer’s stated compression value.
By always using the same gauge, we’re able to create a uniform standard across all manufacturers.
Also worth a mention – compression values are typically for the entire ball, though it’s not uncommon for manufacturers to cite core compression only for marketing purposes.

How does compression impact feel?

Typically, higher compression balls like the Titleist Pro V1x, Bridgestone Tour B X, and Callaway Chrome Soft X will feel firmer. Lower compression balls like the Callaway Super Soft, Wilson Duo, and Srixon Soft Feel tend to feel softer.
Keep in mind that feel is a relative construct. A ball like the Bridgestone Tour B XS or Srixon Z-Star that’s considered soft by Tour standards, is invariably firmer than urethane cover balls marketed to moderate swing speed golfers (Chrome Soft, TOUR B RXS, and even Titleist AVX). Those balls will be quite a bit firmer than 2-piece ionomer offerings like the Pinnacle Soft, Wilson DUO or Callaway Super Soft.
Generally speaking, at similar compression, a ball with a urethane cover will feel softer than an ionomer covered ball. As an example, on our gauges, the Titleist Velocity is only 2 compression points firmer than the AVX, however, I’d wager most golfers would describe the AVX as significantly softer.
A final note on feel – manufacturers aren’t always to be trusted in how they describe the feel properties of their golf balls. It’s not uncommon for 90+ compression balls to be marketed as offering “soft feel” (they don’t) and while Chrome Soft X and Chrome Soft X LS have “Soft” in their names, they’re among the firmest balls on the market right now.

How does compression affect ball speed?

As we discovered in our first robot ball test, soft is slow. That is to say that lower compression balls are slower off the driver. For higher swing speed golfers, the speed loss can translate to a significant drop in distance.
For slow to moderate swing speed players, soft balls are still slower, but those percentage differences translate to minimal distance loss. At swing speeds in the low 80s and below, it’s probably not worth worrying about.
As you move into mid and short iron shots, the outer layers of the golf ball (mantle) play a larger role in the speed equation. In many cases low compression balls are longer off the irons.

How does compression impact spin on full shots?

There isn’t an absolute correlation between compression and spin, but the nature of low compression golf balls limits how much spin can be designed into the ball.
The thing to understand is that spin in the result of stacking a soft layer over a hard layer. When low compression and soft feel are the goals, the layers need to be softer than they are in high compression golf balls.
That soft over soft relationship ultimately means that low compression (i.e. “soft” golf balls) are typically lower spinning than firmer ones. It is possible to make a lower spinning firm ball, but as a rule, the softest balls tend to be the lowest spinning.
That’s neither good nor bad, but it is a bit of a double-edged sword. Lower driver spin can mean straighter flight, while low iron spin can make it more difficult to hold greens.

How does compression impact ball flight?

A golf ball’s trajectory is driven almost entirely by its dimple pattern and it’s theoretically possible to put any dimple pattern on any ball.
In that respect, compression has no impact on flight.
That said, while there are exceptions (the AVX is a relatively low-flying low compression ball), most low compression golf balls are paired with high trajectory dimple patterns. The idea is to offset the loss of spin with a higher flight and softer landing angles.

Do soft/low compression balls spin more around the green?

The short answer is no. The softest golf balls on the market pair a firmer ionomer cover with a soft core. As noted above, spin is the product of a soft layer over a firm one.
Soft over firm spins. Firm over soft doesn’t. You might have been told differently, but the reality is that balls like Super Soft, Soft Feel, and DUO are invariably going to spin less around the green than a Pro V1, Tour B XS or Z-Star.
The urethane cover is going to be the softest layer of the ball, while the underlying mantle layer is typically the firmest, so if greenside spin is important, a multi-layer ball with a urethane cover is non-negotiable.
Keep in mind, not all urethane covers are equally soft and not all mantle layers are equally firm. The balls with the greatest separation between cover and mantle firmness should be the ones that spin the most around the green.

I swing x, what compression golf ball should I play?

The idea that there is a right compression for your swing speed is likely the most pervasive myth in the ball fitting world and it has almost no basis in fact.
At swing speeds as low as 60 MPH you’re compressing the core of the golf ball. The performance risk isn’t from slower swingers under compressing the core of a firmer ball, it’s from faster swingers over compressing the core of a softer one.
And even then, there aren’t any absolutes. While most faster swingers should probably avoid lower compression balls, for some higher swing speed players, the speed loss can be offset by the lower spin properties.
It’s the reason why that, when it comes to ball fitting, your focus should be on trajectory and spin.
It may surprise you to learn that Titleist fits more amateur golfers into Pro V1x than any other ball in its lineup. It’s a reality that defies much of what’s been published elsewhere but the fact is that many golfers – especially lower to moderate swing speed golfers – benefit from the higher flight and spin characteristics of the ball.
Likewise, while Chrome Soft is the most popular ball in Callaway’s urethane lineup, I’d wager a significant number of average golfers would benefit from the higher spin properties of the Chrome Soft X.

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Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony is the Editor of MyGolfSpy where his job is to bring fresh and innovative content to the site. In addition to his editorial responsibilities, he was instrumental in developing MyGolfSpy's data-driven testing methodologies and continues to sift through our data to find the insights that can help improve your game. Tony believes that golfers deserve to know what's real and what's not, and that means MyGolfSpy's equipment coverage must extend beyond the so-called facts as dictated by the same companies that created them. Most of all Tony believes in performance over hype and #PowerToThePlayer.

Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony Covey





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      James

      2 months ago

      Hi. Did you guys ever do a Ball Labs review on any of Snell’s current offerings (MTB Prime or Prime X)? I loved their previous versions, especially the MTB Black but I heard the quality just wasn’t there when they finally released the current versions (‘m guessing due to the fact that they had to find new manufacturing partners). I also heard they are going to release 2024 versions soon, which I’m really hoping you guys will review?

      Reply

      Jon

      7 months ago

      This was the best explanation of golf ball differences and compression I’ve ever read. I’ve tested golf balls both indoors and out with launch monitors and with an 81-82 MPH SS I’ve struggled to find the right ball. I really wanted to like the Pro V1, Chrome soft, BRX etc but the distance, launch and dispersion wasn’t there. For the little I gained around the green it wasn’t worth it. I’ve tried many two and three piece balls and liked the Q Star Tour but distance and launch lacking. I’ve settled for now on the Treosoft. It fits well with what you said about compression for slow swing speed. 60 compression on this ball. For me it flys high, long and straight off all clubs and is decent on wedge shots. Thanks for clearing some things up.

      Reply

      Smogmonster

      1 year ago

      Seems counter intuitive to me to score harder balls as higher in compression. To my simple mind higher compression = a softer ball that deforms more under impact.

      A lower compression to me = less compression therefore less deformity.

      I can follow the ratings above but it just doesn’t seem logical in the whole English language comprehension thingy…

      Really appreciate the ratings too. I’m a moderate swing speed player up in The Great White North and have found that the TaylorMade Tour Response is for me! Great feel, nice consistency and a three piece urethane cover. Perfect.

      Cheers

      Reply

      Bob Pritz

      1 year ago

      My game has improved SIGNIFICANTLY since using balls matched for my swing speed! It’s sooooooo much more fun when I hit ’em straight! Thanks very much!

      Reply

      Jamie McCann

      2 years ago

      I am a 19 index golfer….and my swing speed is 92+/- . Currently, I’m playing and loving the Bridgestone e6. However, I know Bridgestone is discontinuing it…should I “stock up” and buy lots of them now, or is there another comparable ball on the market in the same price range that I should convert to? Or, does Bridgestone have another ball that will be replacing the e6? Thank you.

      Reply

      GaryF

      2 years ago

      I have a SS in the 88-91 range and in the past have played the e6, but a couple years ago moved to the e12. Has a nice feel, is a 3-piece ball (not urethane) . Then for awhile was alternating between the e12 and Stixon Q-Star Tour. The both have a very similar feel and distance but I think the Q-Star gives me better green side behavior.

      Reply

      Tony P

      2 years ago

      It would be great if you could publish a “spin” guide based on low, medium, high swing speeds. Thanks for all the great work!!!

      Reply

      Frank

      2 years ago

      What does the Compression number represent?
      Mm? Kg?
      How far a ball will compress under a constant pressure (like measuring spring force)?
      % of deflection when compressed to a certain height?

      Reply

      Dan

      2 years ago

      For the 2021 ball test, every ball in the test had a compression value, but some (Bridgestone Tour RXS is one example), are not included in the chart above. Were the compression values in the ball test done differently? They for the most part seem close for the balls listed but often different by one or two.

      thanks.

      Reply

      Eric Gibbs

      2 years ago

      Any chance to get the long drive balls tested? I.e volvik, topflite bombs,

      Reply

      Eric Gibbs

      2 years ago

      Nitros. Would be nice to know when doing cheaper local competitions and to train with.

      Reply

      Tom Newsted

      2 years ago

      These are the type of impartial tests that players can really use. At one point in time the compression of the ball was part of its name. I use to play the Maxfli HT 90 or the Titleist Tour Balata 90. This was a long time ago back in high school and before Al Gore invented the internet. These days I think players should use this data to help their game. Some would argue that you should play the same ball regardless of weather temp but I would suggest that people might have a cold weather ball and a warm weather ball. Maybe have the ProV1X as your warm weather game ball and maybe the AVX when its not going to get above 60 degrees. In any case this is more proof that MGS does a fantastic service for the golfer. They cut through the multi million dollar marketing hype and show us the real data.

      Reply

      Alex

      2 years ago

      Great job! Now I’m much more confused then before where I was very confused. I’m 2 hcp with 106 speed. Actually I’m playing Bridgestone BX which I like more then Titleist. Now reading articles and talking with buddies I’d give a try to Bridgestone BRXS which is not even in your list! :-(

      Reply

      John

      2 years ago

      2020 version of Bridgeston BRXS is listed at a compression rating of 68.

      Reply

      Erik

      2 years ago

      Thanks for doing this! I have been hoping for this for a while.

      Reply

      Tony P

      2 years ago

      I am a 5 handicap with a swing speed of around 95-100mph. I had a titleist golf ball fitting a few weeks ago – an hour long fitting.. It was excellent. I learned that my angle of attack, trajectory, and spin rate needed adjusting. I switched from a ProV1 to the ProV1x model which helped with spin & trajectory, but we also worked on my angle of attack. Great session. Happy with the change. I now hit the ball higher & carry it much farther (like 25 yards more)….

      Reply

      Lou

      2 years ago

      My ball, the Titleist Tour Speed, is ranked in one of Tony’s charts as inferior to the Pinnacle Range ball. Yes, that’s right! The Pinnacle Range Ball is ranked higher than Titleist’s $40 a dozen, Urethane cover Tour Speed. In fact, the Tour Speed is the lowest ranked Titleist in the whole lineup. It is worse than 90% of the balls Tony ranked. That tells me something is amiss and not to pay much attention to these charts. I don’t believe Titleist would damage their reputation by selling a near top of the line ball that was such garbage it was ranked inferior to a Pinnacle Range ball.

      Reply

      Steve (the real one, pithy and insufferable)

      2 years ago

      These were visual/mechanical tests of the golf balls; not hitting them. Over at Golf.com they did robot testing of light and medium worn range balls. As expected, there were losses of distance with drivers and mid irons. The wedge actually went farther due to lack of spin and lower trajectory. The BIG takeaway was the dispersion.- multiple times larger. Also, the repeatability/consistency was poor. MGS evaluated new range balls, simple two piece isomer cover. Simpler construction along with a thick cover made the new practice balls consistent with each other.

      Reply

      Bill Harris

      2 years ago

      Good additional information and summary on your ball evaluation. It is much appreciated.

      I have played recently with a few yellow Titleist balls. Is there different coating or finish on their yellow balls that keep them looking shinny longer? It appears to be the case after playing with them the past couple of weeks.

      Thanks.

      Reply

      John Sahhar

      2 years ago

      I generally play the Pro V1. I’ve never hit the Pro V1X. My driver swing speed is roughly 93-96 mph. Recently, I’ve been playing the Chrome Soft X LS and I feel it is farther off the tee than the Pro V1 (without feeling “firmer” at impact) and it spins just fine for me. Based on what the info you provided, I am going to try the Pro V1X and see what happens. Thank you for the article.

      Reply

      Timbo

      2 years ago

      This tool is great! When will you guys get some data on Volvik balls?

      Reply

      Matt D

      2 years ago

      I’d like info on Volvik as well. A few years ago, MGS had put out info on Volvik. I’d be interested to see info on the S-3 and S-4 models, even the Vivid wouldn’t be bad to see.

      Reply

      Earl Dougovito

      2 years ago

      ‘Golf Ball Compression Guide’, simply put… SINGULAR!…Well Done. e

      Reply

      MarkM

      2 years ago

      This is great information Tony, thanks!

      Reply

      Matt D

      2 years ago

      I see you “gave up” on Volvik. Hmmmmmmm…that’s too bad.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      2 years ago

      Bubba gave up on Volvik. We just haven’t measured them yet.

      Reply

      David P

      2 years ago

      I see that the Snell MTB-X is listed at 97 compression but in the ball lab (Sep 2020) it was listed at 96. Just wondering why the difference. Thanks

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      2 years ago

      We added a small calculation to the tail end of the compression measurements to account for balls that aren’t round (inconsistent diameter across the ball) or with average diameters that vary significantly from 1.68. For the majority of balls in the database the change has minimal to no impact, but for some of the really not round stuff, compression values (and consistency values) may have shifted a bit.

      Reply

      blandingblvd

      2 years ago

      Thank you for this. To me, it’s the most definitive statement on golf balls I’ve ever read. You explained the reasons to judge, analyze and use a golf ball. I just appreciate the topic, write-up, and analysis. Well done!

      Reply

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