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Do Golf Balls Make A Difference?

Incorporating the right golf clubs and techniques into your game is important. However, if you don’t pair those clubs and strategies with the right golf ball, you may miss out on the many benefits. Not every golf ball is the same; to play your best, the golf ball you choose should match your game. Golfers spend a lot of time working on accuracy, distance, and ball flight, and much of that can be optimized by having the right golf ball in place.

Golf Ball Construction

Golf balls perform differently because the construction from one ball to another is different. Golf balls are made up of several pieces featuring various types of technology and materials.

golf ball construction

The inner core of a golf ball is covered with an outer layer that can withstand the impact of a strike and provide better aerodynamics to optimize ball flight and trajectory.

Golf Ball Core

The original feather or dried sap filled golf balls are a thing of the past. Modern golf ball cores are made up of either solid rubber cores, dual cores, or even multi-layer cores. The golf ball core material and size vary from one manufacturer to another.

The core will impact the golf ball compression rate. The compression rate refers to how much the golf ball compresses upon impact. The lower the compression rate, the easier to compress.

Golf Ball Cover

The two primary materials found in golf ball covers are Surlyn and urethane.

Surlyn covers are durable and cut-resistant, typically made from an ionomer resin. Surlyn covers are often found on 2 piece golf balls. They offer low spin rates to produce extra distance.

Urethane covers are softer than Surlyn, offering a better feel and more control. Many professional golfers prefer golf balls with urethane covers for the higher spin rates as well as the slightly softer feel. You’ll find urethane covers on many multi-layer, premium golf balls.

2 Piece Golf Balls vs. Multi-Layer Golf Balls

The more pieces a golf ball has, the more technology can be incorporated into the golf ball. For instance, beginner golfers may benefit from using 2 piece golf balls designed for pure distance off the tee.

The 2 piece ball may not offer as much from a spin or launch perspective compared to the multi-layer golf ball.

Multi-layer golf balls are often preferred by low handicap players looking for specific flight characteristics off the tee. Multi-layer golf balls offer high launch on iron shots and extra spin around the greens for skilled golfers looking for an extra level of control.

golf ball core

Most three and four piece golf balls are priced higher than 2 piece golf balls. Typically the more pieces a golf ball has, the higher the compression. Higher compression golf balls are designed for players with faster swing speeds.

Characteristics of the Different Types of Golf Balls

When it comes to finding the right golf ball for your game, it’s important to understand the different types of golf balls and their unique characteristics.


The feel of a golf ball always matters. However, it has an even greater impact as you become a better player. When you want to hit finesse shots around the green, the feel of the golf ball needs to fit the specifics of your golf game.

For most golfers, feel is a way to describe the compression and the cover material of the ball.

Surlyn covers have a durable and sometimes slightly harder feel coming off the club face, while urethane covers are smoother and feel softer upon impact.


Low spin golf balls may also be referred to as distance golf balls. You’ll hit a long drive off the tee box, and it will continue to roll for additional yards thanks to the low spin rates.

When you get closer to the green, low spin golf balls may not stop as quickly.

A tour level golf ball will enable professionals and low handicap golfers to control the ball more effectively around the greens as well as other standard shots on the course.

Tour Level Golf Balls

Tour level golf balls combine feel and distance technology into one. Golfers can take the unique characteristics of their golf game including: high/low ball flight, high/low spin, firm/soft feel and find a tour level golf ball that suits their needs.

You’ll find options with low spin off the tee, but high spin around the greens. These characteristics can only be found in multi-layer construction golf balls designed to offer elite levels of control.

Golf Ball
2 Piece
Golf Ball
Multilayer for performance from tee to green 2 piece limited performance 
Cover Material
Urethane for softer feel Surlyn/ionomer for durability
Greenside Spin
High, for better control Lower, for straightforward play
Softer Firmer
Higher, for premium construction Lower, for affordability
Target Player
Advanced and professionals, golfers with higher swing speeds Beginners and casual golfers


What to Consider When Buying Golf Balls

Skill Level

The better you get at golf, the more particular you will be about the golf ball you play with. For instance, if you find that you are leaving some aspect of performance on the table, such as control, workability, or greenside spin, it might be worth testing out a golf ball that better suits your golf game.

Visual Appeal

Golf balls come in several different colours. Many players find that an orange or bright yellow golf ball is easier to find.

colored golf balls

Another visual aspect of golf ball technology is the alignment aid. An alignment aid can be used from the tee and on and around the green to ensure your golf ball is directed toward the hole.

golf ball alignment aid

Finally, it’s also possible to personalize golf balls with text or logos to help you identify your ball in the fairway and add a custom feature to your golf equipment.


The price for a dozen new golf balls ranges from around £20 to £60. The higher priced golf balls are the three and four piece models with premium urethane covers. Low compression, 2 piece golf balls are the best for golfers on a tight budget.

Overrun golf balls are also a viable option to try premium golf balls for a lower price.

How To Choose the Right Golf Ball

Playing the right golf ball is just as important as playing the right golf clubs. The combination of correct ball and equipment will help you shoot lower scores.

As a rule of thumb, you should always test a golf ball by starting from the green and working your way back to the tee. Hit putts to check for sound and feel. Next, experiment with chip shots and approach shots to gauge spin and control. Finally, determine if the ball is a match for you off of the tee. A few extra yards from the tee box is not nearly as important as the feel or spin you need to perfect your short game.

Now that you’ve learned about what goes into buying golf balls and the decisions you have to consider, it’s time to pick the best option for you. Callaway offers a wide selection of golf balls for golfers of all skill levels. For more help, check out our online golf ball selector tool for expert recommendations to improve your game.