Golf Ball Fitting It’s Not All Science


If you’ve never been through a golf ball fitting session before, you are likely to be impressed if you decide to take that step as part of your search for the perfect golf ball. However, as impressive as the technology is, and as helpful as it can be, you don’t want to let your game be ruled by science alone. There is still plenty of room in golf for things like feel, technique, and personal preference, so make sure your interjecting your own opinions into this process as well.

The best time to think about your own personal preferences with regard to a golf ball is after you have gone through the fitting process (if you decide to take that step, of course). If you’ve been given a list of golf ball options based on your fitting measurements, you can use that list to pick up a few samples at the pro shop. Try buying sleeves of three instead of full dozens to save yourself some money while testing out a variety of models. When you do get out onto the course to test a few different balls, keep the following points in mind.

  • Feel around the greens is critical. You want to pick a golf ball that feels great coming off of your wedges when chipping. This is one of the areas of the game where you will rely on feel the most, so you don’t want a golf ball that you don’t enjoy chipping. This is a very subjective point, so try to trust your natural reaction without thinking too hard about the reasoning behind your opinion. If a ball feels good when you chip it up toward the hole, it gets high marks here. If you don’t like the way it feels, move it toward the bottom of the list.
  • Watch your ball flight carefully. If you did go through with a fitting, you should be picking from balls which are already well-suited to your swing. With that said, there is no guarantee that each of them is going to work nicely out in the ‘real world’. Watch the ball fly and take note of any patterns that you don’t like. For instance, does the ball fly too high, or too low? Or does it seem to want to curve to the left or right more dramatically than some of the other options? You can never know how a specific ball is going to respond to your swing until you get out there and try it for yourself.
  • Putting matters. Many golfers completely overlook the fact that a ball needs to perform nicely on the greens, just as it needs to perform on the rest of the course. Sure, spin characteristics aren’t going to come into play here, but the feel of the ball certainly will. A ball with a hard cover may be difficult to control when putting, so most players gravitate toward golf balls with a softer exterior. This is the easiest part of the ball selection process to test, as you can just head out to the practice green with a few different models and get to work.

It would be a mistake to leave the process of picking a golf ball completely up to a computer. Yes, the computer can be a great ally in this process, but it isn’t going to do the job alone. You need to interject your own personal preferences and opinions, as it is you who will be playing the ball out on the course. In the end, the blend of your opinions and the logic of the computer should leave you with a clear winner with regard to which ball you’re going to use moving forward.

Golf Ball Fitting It’s Not All Science

Important Points Selecting the Right Golf Ball

As you can see from the tone of our discussion so far, the topic of compression is not one which resonates strongly in the modern game. You aren’t likely to hear much talk about compression when you hang out around a course, and it is not a point which is high on most golfers’ shopping lists. There is probably still some room for the concept of compression as it relates to golf balls, but future generations are likely to ignore this matter when selecting a ball of their own.

To wrap up this conversation on golf balls, we wanted to touch on a few more points.

  • Change balls based on conditions. If you do think about compression when shopping for a golf ball, consider altering the compression you choose based on the weather you face. In cold weather, you may want to go down to a lower compression to compensate for the fact that you probably won’t be swinging quite as hard. Going the other direction, it may work out to use a higher compression ball when the weather is warm and the distance is coming easy.
  • Consider price. Lost in this discussion is the fact that golf balls come with price tags, and you need to stay within your budget when picking out a model. Right at the start, take a look at the overall market and decide how much you are willing to pay for a dozen golf balls. Then, eliminate all of the options which come in over that price, and continue on from there.
  • Stick with it. If at all possible, do your best to stay with a given golf ball model once you have decided that you like what it provides your game. Switching golf balls regularly is likely switching putters – you will never build up trust, and your confidence will always be lacking as a result. If you can play the same model of ball for years, you will be amazed at how much you trust that ball to do exactly what you expect.
  • Trade with friends. While you are still in the mode of looking for the right ball, ask if you can trade a ball or two with friends to test out the models they are using. This is a great way to try new products without having to spend too much money in the process. Also, your friends may enjoy trying out the golf balls you are using currently, as they just might happen to like what it does for their game.

In the end, you probably don’t need to worry much about the compression rating of golf balls in the modern game. With so much technology available, and so many other factors coming into play, few golfers deem compression relevant enough to track consistently. As long as you take the time to pick out a ball that performs well in your game, and as long as you stick with that ball for the long run, you should have no trouble with this part of your equipment setup. Good luck!