The golf ball construction industry is a multi-million dollar industry – there are literally hundreds of different types of golf balls available for you to try out, with each one having a different set of base characteristics than the next one.  You may hear a fellow golfer speaking about using a “x-piece” golf ball, where the “x” is a number, usually either two and three.  In actual fact, all balls available for use are either a one, two, three, four or (less commonly) five-piece golf ball.

What Does The “Piece” Part Mean?

Golf balls are designed and constructed according to their final requirements.  For example, a ball which is specifically designed for distance will have a completely different type of construction than a golf ball designed for maximum spin generation.  When the manufacturers decide which key characteristics a ball should have, the construction of the ball must be considered.

When constructing a golf ball based on the requirements, the issue of how many layers the ball should have is paramount.  Outlined below are the different types of balls based on how many layers they have, with a description of what they (in general terms) have been designed for.

One Piece Golf Balls

Golf balls which are referred to as “one-piece” are simply constructed with the same type of  material, from the external layer right through to the core.  These golf balls are, in the main, of a general low quality, providing little feedback on short-iron shots and putts, while offering little or no increased yardage with the longer irons and the driver.  These one-piece balls are quite cheap to buy and are usually sold in bulk quantities.

You’ve probably guessed by now (or you already know) that one-piece golf balls are better known as ‘range’ or ‘practise’ balls.  These are the types of balls you may be used to hitting at your local driving range.

Two Piece Golf Balls

Two piece golf balls generally consist of a tough, solid inner core, surrounded by the thin layer of the cover of the ball (typically surlyn).  This type of ball is mostly designed and constructed with the purpose of providing extra distance.  These two-piece golf balls have a low spin rate, which means that you’ll have a little trouble stopping this type of ball dead on the greens.  On the plus side, any unintentional hooks or slices will be minimised due to the low spin generation.

These are great balls to use if you’re looking add both accuracy and additional distance with your driver and long irons.  The majority of two-piece golf balls also tend to be tougher / more durable than their multi-layered cousins, giving the ball a longer shelf life.  Examples of two-piece golf balls include the Precept Laddie X golf ball and the Wilson Staff DNA Distance golf ball.

Three / Four Piece Golf Balls

Three-piece and four-piece golf balls will generally consist of a softer outer cover, one or two  inner layers, and a solid or liquid core.  These balls have a higher spin rate (due to the extra layers) which will give you a greater level of control.  They also feel softer than the one or two-piece balls, but will ‘cut up’ more quickly too.  This type of ball is generally used by the lower handicapped / scratch golfers, who can control the ball’s flight path better than those with higher handicaps.

The increased control around the greens can also help to enhance the golfer’s short game.  Three / four-piece balls are generally more expensive to buy than two-piece balls, and need to be replaced more regularly due to the softer cover.  A good example of a three-piece golf ball is the Titleist Pro V1 golf ball.

Five Piece Golf Balls

Incredibly, golf ball technology has given us the first commercially available five-piece golf ball.  The Taylor Made Penta golf ball is due for general release in December 2010, and boasts five layers, pushing the boundaries of golf ball construction ever further.  This ball promises to provide additional distance and a low spin rate with the driver and long irons (due to the low compression inner core) whilst delivering a high spin rate and soft feel with the short irons (due to the soft cover and first inner layer).  The second and third inner layers are also optimised for general iron play.

With the Taylor Made Penta release just around the corner, it’s a certainty that other golf ball manufacturers will soon follow suit.  Manufacturers will continue to push the boundaries of golf ball construction, meaning it’s not outwith the realms of possibility that the number of layers a golf ball can have will continue to grow in future.  As the demand for better performing golf balls continues to increase, technology will move forward to continually meet those demands.  I’m willing to bet that, before too long, I’m updating this article to include a section for six-piece golf balls!

Here are all of the golf balls I’ve reviewed to date, forming an easy reference, golf ball comparison guide.  This post will give you a ‘birds eye view’ of the many types of golf balls available, and will hopefully help you to choose the best type of golf ball to enhance your game.

The rankings for each golf ball I’ve reviewed (based on power, feel, spin and price) form the basis of the golf ball comparison.  For further information, and my opinions on each of the golf balls, click on the link for each golf ball to take you to the review.

Bridgestone e6Bridgestone e6 Golf Balls

POWER

SPIN

FEEL

PRICE

Callaway HX Hot Plus Golf BallsCallaway HX Hot Plus Golf Balls

POWER

SPIN

FEEL

PRICE

Callaway Warbird PlusCallaway Warbird Plus Golf Balls

POWER

SPIN

FEEL

PRICE

Nike Power Distance LongNike Power Distance Long Golf Balls

POWER

SPIN

FEEL

PRICE

Nike Power Distance SoftNike Power Distance Soft Golf Balls

POWER

SPIN

FEEL

PRICE

Pinnacle DimensionPinnacle Dimension Golf Balls

POWER

SPIN

FEEL

PRICE

Precept Laddie X Golf BallsPrecept Laddie X Golf Balls

POWER

SPIN

FEEL

PRICE

Srixon AD333Srixon AD333 Golf Balls

POWER

SPIN

FEEL

PRICE

Srixon DistanceSrixon Distance Golf Balls

POWER

SPIN

FEEL

PRICE

Titleist NXTTitleist NXT Golf Balls

POWER

SPIN

FEEL

PRICE

Titleist Pro V1Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls

POWER

SPIN

FEEL

PRICE

Top Flite XL DistanceTop Flite XL Distance Golf Balls

POWER

SPIN

FEEL

PRICE

Wilson DistanceWilson Staff DNA Distance Golf Balls

POWER

SPIN

FEEL

PRICE

Wilson Ultra Ultimate DistanceWilson Ultra Ultimate Distance Golf Balls

POWER

SPIN

FEEL

PRICE

 

I can say with some degree of certainty that my next golf ball review will focus on the Titleist NXT Tour golf ball – this opportunity has come along completely by chance.

My workplace is currently sponsoring a well-known diabetes foundation, and a knock-on effect of this is that there have been a lot of fund-raising exercises carried out within the building.

I received an e-mail this morning informing me that one of the guys in the office had been collecting golf balls from a local course over the past couple of weeks, and was selling them on, in order to raise funds for a good cause.

So me and a friend went along to see if we could pick up any bargains!  One of my colleagues managed to buy 8 or 9 Titleist Pro V1s for a great price, and I got my hands on three brand new sleeves of Titleist’s NXT Tour golf balls for a decent price.

I’m pretty sure that the guy selling the golf balls didn’t find the sleeved, brand new NXT Tour golf balls lying about on the golf course, but I’m not one to argue over semantics, so I bought the 9 golf balls and went on my way!

I have already reviewed the NXT Tour’s ‘cousin’, the Titleist NXT golf ball, so I am looking forward to test-driving the Tour version and finding out if there are any major differences between the two.  I plan to play on Thursday evening after work, so expect the review of the Titleist NXT Tour golf balls to be on the site by the weekend.

Srixon AD333

The Srixon AD333 golf ball is one of the more subtle brands of golf ball which promises the best of both worlds – excellent yardage coupled with a soft feel for those greenside shots.  Features of the 2-piece AD333 include the following:

  • A Srixon-unique Rabalon blended elastomer cover for greater resiliency
  • 333-dimple aerodynamic pattern, delivering further carry
  • Energetic Gradient Growth core for a soft feel

In my opinion, these golf balls feel similar to a Titleist Pro V1 off the face of the driver – it offers good feedback on a well-struck drive, and the ball flight does seem a little higher than others.  I didn’t experience any adverse effects on my driving distance though – catch one of these flush and you should expect it to max out around the top-end of your driving yardage.

On a couple of occasions (okay, maybe more than a couple…) I managed to slice the ball off the tee, but I think this was more to do with the fact that I was ‘test-driving’ the ball, and was keen to give it a 100% swing to see how it performed.  This isn’t a negative reflection of the ball, but an indication of my driving technique!  Overall, very happy with the distance the Srixon AD333 provides off the tee.

With an iron in my hand, the AD333 held up well, giving me a solid and sustained flight path on well-struck shots.  This ball feels very soft with a sweetly struck iron, which is what I look for in a golf ball, so I was very happy from 150 yards and in.  The ball sits down on the green quite happily – I found that with a 6 or 7 iron, upon landing it took a couple of bounces and trickled onwards, whereas with my shorter irons (kill zone!!) I was able to generate enough spin to make the ball sit down quickly.

On the green, the Srixon AD333 golf ball, for me at least, was a little bit of a disappointment, but this is purely because I prefer a little more feedback from a putt.  I just felt like it was a little too soft for my liking, but again, this boils down to personal preference.  If you prefer a soft feel with your putter, then you’ll enjoy putting with this ball.

On to durability then, and I am happy enough that Srixon have delivered where they said they would.  The ball holds up well after a round, with no obvious signs of damage over and above the usual scuffs that may appear.  So expect to use one of these balls for two or three rounds before you consign it to the practice bag.

Finally, the price – well, I enjoyed playing with these balls, much more so because they fall into the mid-price range.  You’d expect to pay around $25 for a dozen of these, which isn’t exactly breaking the bank for a ball which gives you solid distance and decent feel greenside.  I’m happy keeping a few of the Srixon AD333 golf balls in the bag for future use.

Overall Rating

POWER

SPIN

FEEL

PRICE

Do you play with Srixon AD333 golf balls?  Feel free to leave your own comments below!

My ‘taste’ in different golf balls changes all the time, but right now my favorite golf ball is the Nike Power Distance golf ball (or ‘Nike PD Soft‘ for short).  I’ve been playing golf frequently over the past few months, and so I’ve had a chance to trial many different types of power golf balls.  For the past couple of weeks though, I’ve stuck exclusively with the PD Soft, and it’s a golf ball I’ve really grown to love!

Nike Power Distance Soft

After running out of Titleist Pro V1’s, and having little time to buy another batch online (because they’re a LOT cheaper online) before my next round of golf, I went to a local golf store which sells, amongst other things, lake balls.

Now I know there are arguments for and against using lake balls, but the store is currently selling a dozen PD Soft lake balls for £8.00, or around $12.  I thought, what the hell, I’ll give them a bash, and if I find that they’re no good, then at least I’ve not spent a small fortune to find this out.

The results?  Well, I’ve been using these balls for the last three rounds, I’m delighted to tell you that I cannot find any difference between the PD Soft lake balls and the brand-new-in-box variety.  They travel for miles off the tee, hold their line, feel really nice, and putt well – 4 excellent reasons for me to stick with them for a while longer.

So right now, I’m playing with the Nike PD Soft golf balls – and I plan on going back to the store for more supplies before they either put the prices up, or run out of stock!

How many golf balls, on average, do you lose during a round of golf?  Be honest with yourself here – if you like to play golf with a specific brand of golf ball, how many of those babies do you go through in, say, a month?

If you are the type of golfer who regularly loses 3, 4 or more(!!) golf balls during a round of golf, is it harder to justify splashing out the cash on those high-end, expensive golf balls?

Titleist Pro V1

My opinion on this somewhat sensitive subject is that, at the end of the day, people can do what they please.  Hey, it’s not my hard-earned cash being spent.   But, by definition, if you are losing balls hand over fist at a generous rate, then you are not a great golfer.  A harsh statement, but the truth nonetheless.

So if you are generally struggling with your game, and can’t seem to score below, say, 100, then it’s fair to say that you’re probably spending a lot of your time on the course mis-hitting your shots, i.e. you’re not putting the golf ball where you are intending to put it.

Don’t get me wrong, not one golfer on the planet can hit a golf ball and know exactly where it is going to stop to the exact square yard – but most decent players are fairly consistent, in that the difference between the “ideal” outcome and the “actual” outcome is not that extreme.

As an example, if a pro hits a mid-iron into a green 160 yards away, his ideal outcome may be to have the golf ball come to rest, say, a foot from the hole.  But they know for a fact that, around 9 times out of 10, this isn’t going to happen.  What they DO know, though, is that the vast majority of the time, the actual outcome is that the ball will either end up on the green, or in the vicinity of the green.  What I am trying to get across here, is that they are in control of where the golf ball is going to end up.

If you find that you are not controlling where you want to put the golf ball (to, say, a diameter of around 50 yards between the ideal and actual outcomes), then inevitably you are going to lose a few golf balls during a round.  Which leads me to the question which has spurred me to write this article:

If you are a high-handicap  golfer, should you be spending your money on expensive golf balls?

When I say expensive golf balls, I am referring to the higher-end balls on the market, where you might expect to pay in excess of, say, $30 – $35 for a dozen.  In general terms, higher priced golf balls will probably give you better spin and feel, i.e. a level of control.  But if you are simply not good enough to take advantage of this, what’s the point of buying them?  After all, there are tons of low priced golf balls out there which will provide a decent overall level of playability.

They may not give you great spin generation, or feel fantastic off the face of the putter, but if you’re not good enough to take advantage of the additional features, then you’re not missing out on anything anyway, right?  And by using cheaper golf balls, then you’re saving money into the bargain – it’s a win-win situation, isn’t it?

Like I said earlier in the article, I don’t really care whether someone wishes to spend money on expensive golf balls – that’s entirely their prerogative.  I am asking the question, and essentially “opening the floor” for your opinions on the subject.

So please feel free to leave your comments below on the subject:

Do you think that there should be a direct correlation between the level of golfer ability and the type of golf ball he / she plays with?

Should below-average golfers play with less expensive golf balls?

Power

Based on my reviews of the many power golf balls available to you, here are, in my opinion, the best power golf balls for power / distance. If you are after the type of golf ball which will guarantee you massive distance both off the tee and on the fairways, then you may want to consider picking up any of the following power golf balls.

Best in Class: Power

Nike Power Distance Long Golf Balls

Nike Power Distance LongThere are a few candidates for the title of longest power golf ball, but for me the Nike Power Distance ball just shades it.  Hit one of these flush and watch it go!

Best of the Rest: Power

Titleist NXT Golf Balls

This durable golf ball also gives you exceptional yardage with decent feel and spin into the bargain.

Srixon Distance Golf Balls

An excellent power golf ball at a very affordable price.

Callaway Warbird Plus Golf Balls

Another excellent power golf ball which ensures that you’ll maximize your driving and iron distance.

Spin

If you are after a power golf ball which also delivers excellent spin, then you’d do well to consider purchasing one of the following types of golf ball. These balls will give you great distance, as well as the ability to control the ball on and around the business end of the hole.

Best in Class: Spin

Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls

Titleist Pro V1The daddy of the power golf balls when it comes to spin generation – I don’t think there is another ball out there which matches the Pro V1 golf ball.

Best of the Rest

Pinnacle Dimension Golf Balls

The Dimension ball delivers excellent spin on and around the greens – this ball will sit down with ease.

Nike Power Distance Soft Golf Balls

This ball will travel further, spin faster, and stop where you want it to.

Titleist NXT Golf Balls

The NXT provides a good level of control with the short irons and wedges.

Titleist Pro V1

It was always inevitable that eventually I would get around to reviewing the Titleist Pro V1 golf ball. The Pro V1 is probably the most recognisable brand currently on the market, and based on the conversations I’ve had with various golfers (both on and offline) it seems that everyone is playing with them.

I would suggest there is an element of truth in this, as a high percentage of golf balls I find in the trees (a frequent occurence, I’m not good enough to call myself a regular “greens in regulation” golfer….) are Titleist Pro V1s. This may suggest that there are too many hackers playing with these top-of-the-range balls, but that’s a topic I’m saving for a future article – on with the review….

The Pro V1 ball delivers (at least for me) the types of distance off the driver which I would expect from a power golf ball – I usually hit my driver around 260 yards, but I find with this golf ball I can regularly add an extra 15 or so yards to this, sometimes more. The feel of compression off the face of the driver is great, and really gives me a sense of “crushing” the ball off the tee.

Take heed, however, that the Pro V1 golf ball will respond to misaligned swing paths (a pretty way of saying hooks and slices!) with venom – I can generally keep the golf ball straight with my woods, but on the occasions when I generate side-spin, I have ended up in the trees / water / out of bounds.

I find that it’s a similar story with my irons – I’m adding an extra 10 or 15 yards on a cleanly-struck mid-iron. I’m not ashamed to say that the Pro V1 golf ball feels magnificent on the fairways, it’s amazingly soft and gives the average golfer an opportunity to attempt their shot-shaping. This golf ball is one of, if not the best, at accepting the flight path which you are trying to give it, and it will hold it’s line with an eagerness which other golf balls may struggle to match. It will also hold up very nicely post-carry with cleanly struck shots – an obvious advantage when playing on fast or dry surfaces.

Down to the nitty-gritty then – my wedge play is one area where I sometimes struggle. But hitting the Pro V1 ball with a wedge from 100 yards and less provided exceptional spin generation. On the whole, I am not generally known as someone who can stop a ball dead on the greens – but on more than one occasion with this ball I have stuck a full-blooded pitching / sand wedge onto the green, and, miracle of miracles, the ball has bounced, checked, and spun back 5 or 6 feet! A rare sight indeed, and one which instantly made me very, very proud!

With chips around the green, the ball also checks nicely after landing, adding a further level of control which enhanced my short game further.

On the dancefloor, the Titleist Pro V1 golf ball performs in all the right areas – it feels fantastic when putting, holds it’s line really well and provides excellent feedback up the shaft. It also has the Alignment Integrated Marking sidestamp, allowing you to line up your putts. Little wonder this is one of the best golf balls I’ve putted with.

In terms of durability, this ball may struggle to keep up with other types of power golf ball. After playing one ball for 18 holes (not often that happens…) there were one or two minor scuffs across the face of the ball. I’ve heard other golfers complain that these balls just can’t withstand more than a couple of rounds before becoming unplayable – I can’t agree with this, but I understand where they are coming from – if you’re playing these balls all the time, expect to buy new sleeves / boxes fairly regularly.

Which brings me on to the price of the Titleist Pro V1 golf balls – unfortunately these are amongst the most expensive golf balls on the market, not just within the distance / power golf ball subset. You’ll have to splash out around $30 for twelve brand new balls – a hefty price to pay for a golf ball, but if you love these balls for the reasons I have outlined above, then this may be an ongoing cost you’re willing to accept.

Overall Rating

POWER

SPIN

FEEL

PRICE

buy

Do you play with Titleist Pro V1 golf balls?  Feel free to leave your own comments below!

Bridgestone e6

The Bridgestone e6 golf ball is the type of power golf ball which golfers with an inconsistent swing will love – it promises to minimize those wayward shots off the tee, by reducing the effects of hooks and slices, whilst delivering great distance.  The Bridgestone e6 is comprised of the following features:

  • A large, soft, gradational compression core
  • A thin, anti-side spin inner layer
  • A soft, surlyn-based cover
  • A 330 seamless dimple design

This golf ball feels soft off the face of the driver – the compression core and the anti-spin inner layer do seem to help with getting the ball further and straighter down the fairway.  I consider myself to be semi-decent with my driver, but I always seem to have one or two lapses in concentration at some point during a round which results in wayward drives.  The Bridgestone e6 definitely helps to keep the ball in play during these times, so it will help with your driver consistency.  Even with slightly fat / thin strikes, the ball holds its course relatively well, albeit with a loss of distance.

The Bridgestone e6 golf ball also travels well with iron shots – in my case, I was adding around half a club length to each of my shots.  As with the driver, the ball feels quite soft off of the face of the irons, and I believe that this ball will keep you straighter with your approach shots then usual.  The trade-off here though, is that it is quite hard to produce any decent level of spin on your approach shots, apart from those full-blooded short irons.  As a result of this, a slight change in tactics are required for a lot of shots into the green – aim for the front of the green and allow the golf ball to run into the putting surface, as opposed to attempting to stop the ball dead by the hole – it’s just not going to happen with this ball.

It’s very much the same story with your wedge(s) and chipping greenside – allow yourself a little room to maneuver when approaching the flag, as you’ll have to factor in the roll of the ball after landing.  This is a common feature of many power golf balls out there though, so is not something which I am prepared to mark the ball down on.  It still feels nice and soft, but maybe doesn’t perform as you think a lot of soft golf balls might do around the greens in terms of spin generation.

Because of the soft feel, this ball (for me anyhow) feels great when putting – it does seem to hold it’s line very well, probably due to the dimple design.  The ball also has a pretty cool-looking alignment aid which gives assistance to the putting alignment – overall, this ball is superb on the greens.

The Bridgestone e6 golf balls are not cheap – you’ll pay somewhere in the region of $25 for a pack of twelve.  But these balls are quite hardy, and withstand playing a couple of rounds before any scuffs or cuts become apparent.  Couple this with the overall playability and standard of the ball, and the result is that I believe these balls are definitely worth the price.

Overall Rating

POWER

SPIN

FEEL

PRICE

buy

Do you play with Bridgestone e6 golf balls?  Feel free to leave your own comments below!

Pinnacle Dimension

The Pinnacle Dimension golf ball is one of the Pinnacle family’s newest additions, and promises excellent distance coupled with an exceptional feel.  Key features of this power golf ball include:

  • A 2-piece construction with a large soft core
  • A durable “3D” ionomer cover
  • A 332 icosahedral dimple design

Pinnacle have named the cover a “3D” ionomer cover – the 3D standing for distance, durability, and dispersion.  It seems that there are a lot of golf ball manufacturers out there who delight in creating fancy new names for essentially the same set of characteristics, but hey, if it sounds good, then all the better.

The Pinnacle Dimension golf ball also comes with an alignment side-stamp aid – again, an increasingly common feature which will undoubtedly assist us to line up those tricky putts (and the straight ones…).  The durable ionomer cover also gives the ball a toughness which ensures a longer shelf life.

So how does it perform?  Well, this golf ball does travel further than your average ball – for such a soft golf ball, it is almost surprising that it holds it’s line really well too.  It’s not going to save you or me from a slice or a hook (what ball will?) but with slightly off-centre or misaligned swing paths, the golf ball will try admirably to keep you in the game.  It also seems to have a higher trajectory than most balls I’ve played with, which is a good thing if you’re the type of golfer who sometimes struggles to get the ball cloud-bound.

So how about spin generation?  I’m delighted to tell you that this ball will give you a level of control with your irons which other power golf balls on the market just cannot match.  Granted, it won’t sit down like a Z-Balata, but I think this ball gives you a great chance of producing those “TV shots” – hit one of these up in the air with a short iron or a wedge, and watch it land and stop with minimal roll.  A major plus.

The Pinnacle Dimension golf ball also feels like butter off the face on the greens – you’ll get really nice soft, solid action while doing the business with your putter.  Couple this with the aforementioned alignment aid, and you’ve got a recipe for a ball which really performs on the greens.

Finally, the question to ask is “Okay, these balls sound great, how much will I pay for them?” – I’m pleased to report that these balls fall on or around the mid-priced bracket – you’ll fork out around $14 for a pack of a dozen – to me, this is a superb price for a golf ball which performs with gusto in all areas.

Overall Rating

POWER

SPIN

FEEL

PRICE

buy

Do you play with Pinnacle Dimension golf balls?  Feel free to leave your own comments below!