It used to be an easier task to pick a golf ball. That’s not the case now. Manufacturers have developed all kinds of technological advances and today you have more than a 1,000 choices. So picking the right golf ball for you can be a difficult challenge.
Since you are limited to using the same model in playing a hole, you sometimes have to make compromises between a ball that might be longer or straighter off the tee, but does not spin as well around the green.
Bridgestone and Titleist have taken the lead in helping golfers with their fitting methods. Bridgestone checks ball flight characteristics like launch angle, spin rate and distance with drivers while Titleist focuses more on the scoring shots and doing fitting on the course instead of the driving range.
In the final analysis, it’s probably best for golfers to do some testing on their own on the golf course to find the ball that helps them the most where they most need it. Then using the same model ball all the time will eliminate some of the variations.
Let’s look at the 2012 models, starting with Titleist, easily the m most used ball by players of all levels.
The Titleist Pro Vi offers a softer feel while the Pro V1x offers lower spin on tee shots. The two favorites of the pros offer different dimple patterns for different trajectories. The Pro V1 pattern encourages a higher and later peak trajectory while the Pro V1x pattern offers a lower more pentrating flight. The NXT Tour is longer off the tee while the NXT Tour features a softer feel. If added distance is a concern, the Velocity could be the answer as it reportedly “kisses” the velocity rule. It comes with orange numbers (00, 11,22 33). Golfers with slower swing speeds might opt for the DT Solo, which gets the ball up quicker. It’s available in optic yellow as is the NXT Tour S.
Bridgestone offers four choices for those who don’t worry about price—B330, B330-S, B330-RX and B330 RXS—that feature dual-dimple covers. The first two are recommended for players with 105+ mph swing speed while the other two are for those with slower swing speeds. The S models feel softer and spin more on scoring shots around the green. The E5, designed for golfers with moderate swing speeds, is the only two-piece ball with urethane cover for better spin around the greens while the three-piece e6 offers less side spin. Both feature the dual-simple pattern. The xFIXx is for value conscious golfers who want less side spin.
Callaway offers hexagonal dimple patterns on its 2012 models that reduce drag and create a more stable flight pattern. The Callaway HEX Black Tour features a five-piece construction with the softest inner cover and firmest outer core in company history to provide the biggest defense between spin off the driver and spin with the wedge. The three-piece HEX Chrome has an ever softer cover for those with less club head speed. The HX Diablo Tour offers a higher launch with less spin from the tee while the HX Diablo provides higher velocity on tee shots. The Wardbird Plus is for the value conscious golfer needing distance.
The Nike 201I-S and 20X1-X feature an injection-molded polymer resin instead of rubber for the core to deliver lower spin off the driver and more spin with the wedge, just what its tour staff wants. The S model offers more spin. The Vapor Black features a firmer reformulated core to produce faster initial ball speed and longer carry. The Crush is for those with swing speeds of 85 and slower. In the two-piece distance ball category on the lower end of the price structure, the Power Distance Long is for higher swing speeds and the Power Distance Soft for slower swing speeds.
Srixon expanded its top of them line models to include the lower compression Z-Star SL for lower swing speeds. The Z-Star still provides the most spin around the green while the z-Star HV is for those with swing speeds of 100+. The Q-Star, designed for those with handicaps higher than 10, features a 324-dimple design for a more penetrating flight while the Soft Feel is for those with 85 and lower swing speeds.
TaylorMade claims its Penta TP5, featuring five layers, needs no fitting as it performs well regardless of swing speed. It has less spin off the driver and higher launch angle. The Penta TP3 provides more spin on full swings with the short irons. The Rocketballz launches the ball higher with less spin than the other two models. The Burner is a soft two-piece ball designed for more spin with wedges; The Noodle Long & Soft is built for distance.
The Wilson Staff FG Tour and the Wilson Staff FG Tour X have similar spin rates off drivers, but the latter spins more with short irons and might be better for the short game. The Staff Duo features the lowest compression on the market with its larger rubber core.
Don’t overlook the Innovex V-motion Tour with 318 dimples and E-motion Tour with 392 dimples with parallel dividers for more distance and stability.