Personal Golf Ball Testing Process

At some point, you should be pretty confident about the segment of the ball market that suits your game. With that, let’s talk about how you can find the right ball for your needs on the course. This is going to involve testing, as you might imagine, since you can only learn so much from reading about the performance characteristics that each ball is supposed to offer. But how do you test golf balls, and what should you be looking for in a winner? Let’s take a look at some of the keys in this process.

  • Buy sleeves. First, to avoid letting this get too expensive, you should look at buying sleeves of three balls rather than entire dozens. You might need to try a few different ball models before you find a winner, so you don’t want to keep buying 12 balls at a time along the way. Three balls should be enough to conduct a useful test, and of course, you can always buy more if that should become necessary. Also, if you have a lot of friends who play golf, ask if they would be interested in trading a few balls so you can try some different models while giving them the opportunity to do the same.
  • Don’t test found golf balls. It will be tempting to test out a ball that you have found in the woods, rather than buying that same ball from the pro shop. Sure, this seems like a good way to save money, but it is also going to lead to a rather meaningless test. You don’t know how long that ball has been sitting in the woods, and you don’t know how much it has been played prior to being lost. Even if the cover of the ball is in good condition, the ball itself may have suffered too much abuse to really be a viable test subject. For best results, restrict your testing process to only new golf balls.
  • Spend time with your short game. You should start your testing by focusing mostly on the short game. This means setting up on the putting green at your local golf course and rolling a bunch of putts with a variety of different balls. Which one feels the best coming off the putter face? Are there any that you want to eliminate from consideration right away? If you are testing a number of different models, consider writing down your thoughts to keep everything straight. Once you have hit plenty of putts, spend some time chipping to develop your opinions in that part of the short game as well.
  • Watch the flight of the ball carefully. Once you do get out onto the course to hit some shots with these various golf balls, watch how the ball flies through the air carefully. Is it flying higher than your current model? Lower? Does it seem like it wants to curve from side to side, or is it holding relatively straight? Obviously, you can’t make too much out of a single swing, so you’ll need to test each ball for at least a few holes – and maybe a few rounds – before any firm conclusions can be drawn.
  • See how the ball reacts when it lands on the green. One other key to watch for as you play is how the ball reacts when it lands on the green after you hit a solid iron shot. Do you like the amount of backspin that you receive? Some players like to spin the ball a lot, while others would prefer that the ball spins very little. There is no right or wrong here, but you’ll want to find a ball that matches up with your personal preference. On other thing to mention – keep in mind the conditions you usually face when deciding how much you want your ball to spin. Players in dry climates will usually want a ball that spins at a relatively high rate, while those in wet climates will not need to worry as much about backspin, since the turf will generally be soft and receptive.

You don’t want to rush to conclusions when testing golf ball models. You may play a great two or three holes when you first try a new ball, but that doesn’t mean the ball is automatically the perfect fit for your game. Give it some time, and let the process work itself out naturally. After you have cycled through all of your options, and given each of them a chance to shine, it is likely that you’ll have a good idea of which one you like best.