I have been told many times by my students that they are not good enough golfers to play a premium golf ball. Believe or not, playing the correct golf ball can take strokes off your game instantly, even for the higher handicapper. Many of the companies do a great job marketing there lower priced golf balls. However, these marketing techniques lead to myths about how the golf ball performs and what leads to lower scores.
The one marketing technique that comes to mind is a golf ball company that markets a golf ball that supposedly fits a lower swing speed. Notice how they never explain why; the reason they do not explain is because there is no explanation. Research has shown that there is a four-yard difference between golf balls’ average driver carry distance within a golf ball company’s complete collection. Another myth is compression of the golf ball. The golf ball of today has a compression, but it factors little in how the golf ball reacts to different swing speeds.
The best marketing is a ladies golf balls. All ladies have various golf games and swing speeds. One size does not fit all. The golf ball companies put the name lady on the ball and sales go through the roof. Does anyone know the difference between a ladies’ ball and men’s golf ball? The name lady is on the cover of the golf ball…..that’s it.
The golf ball companies have categories of golf ball based on price points. If the company told consumers the best golf ball for everyone was the premium, high-dollar golf ball, it would hurt sales of the lower priced golf ball and put their business in jeopardy. The truth is that the premium golf balls travel the same distance off the tee as other priced golf balls, and are 100 percent better when hitting approach shots to the green. The premium golf ball will stop on the green with longer shots and have more control when hitting chip and pitch shots around the green. Most golfers have long iron or hybrid approach shots into the green. It is hard to hit a green with a hybrid. This creates an emphases on a golfers hitting a chip or pitch shot that stops on the green.
When I am conducting a golf ball fitting for a student, we work from the green backwards. I will have the student hit small chip shots, then longer chip shots, then pitch shots, and then halfwedge shots. Finally, I will watch the student hit some long irons or hybrids into the green. I will rarely have a student hit a driver during a golf ball fitting, and 95 percent of my students will be fit into a premium golf ball that has more spin. An example is Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls from the Titleist premium golf ball collection. The Pro V1 has more spin and is softer. The Pro V1 is the best golf ball for someone who flights the ball low and cannot create a lot of spin with their wedge shots. The Pro V1x will fly lower with less spin. A player who can stop long irons on the green and can hit different shots with their wedges around the green will usually be fit into the Pro V1x. High club head speed players will fit into a Pro V1x more often than not because with more club head speed a golfer has the harder it is to reduce spin and height of the ball flight.
There is nothing wrong with the rest of the Titleist collection of golf balls. However, if a student ask which ball is the best for their game, I am going to use these two premium golf balls to do the fitting. If a student comes to me and says I do not want to spend $5 per golf ball, then I will conduct the fitting with a mid-range price point golf ball collection. Getting a premium used golf ball is not a bad idea. The golf balls today are very durable, and a premium used golf ball will be sufficient. Not ideal, but sufficient.
Do you wonder how the PGA Tour Professionals on TV hit short wedge shots, the ball takes two bounces and then stops on a dime? The first variable to that equation is if the PGA Tour player is playing a premium golf ball. Do not get your golf education from a golf club company’s 30-second advertisement. Go see a local PGA professional who can find the correct golf ball for your game and price range.
Todd Elliott is the PGA Head Golf Professional for Hideaway Beach. Todd is TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) Certified as a golf professional. This gives him the ability to give golf specific physical screening to detect any physical limitation that might affect the golf swing. Todd is an active Student Mentor at FGCU; a volunteer with the First Tee program and was presented the 2010 and 2011 PGA’s President Council Awards on “Growing the Game.”