If you are in business, you have probably have heard someone say that if you want to move up the ladder, you need to learn to play golf. As unfair as it might seem, most of the big deals are finalized on the green. Just like your type of clubs, your ball can be just as important choice you made before you invite that business associate out to play a round of golf with you. Whether you choose a Titleist, Callaway, or Bridgestone, you should learn about what makes each ball unique and how it can be your ally.
Are all golf balls made in the same factory? The short answer, no not all golf balls are made in the same factory. Six of the seven major golf ball brands are made in the United States. Some brands, like Nike, will outsource their ball production to another manufacturer like Bridgestone.
Does the golf ball matter? If you’re a casual golfer, the golf ball might not make that big of a difference. Callaway or Bridgestone is not going to fix your swing or slice, that needs to be fixed at the driving range. The right ball for you might not be the same as your golfing buddy. You can, however, do more with the right ball for you.
How different are golf ball brands?
The major brands each offer three or four different ball types. They are all designed by the golf associations agreed specifications for uniformity. The golf ball has a mass that is no more than 1.620 ounces and has a diameter no less than 1.680 inches. There are at least seven major golf ball brands:
- Callaway (Made in Chicopee, Massachusetts)
- TaylorMade (Made in Carlsbad, California)
- MaxFLI (Made in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
- Bridgestone (Made in Covington, Georgia)
- Titleist (Made in New Bedford, Massachusetts)
- Top Flite (Owned by Callaway, Made in Chicopee, Massachusetts)
- Srixon (Made in Japan)
The major brands break their balls down by anatomy, construction, and type. Within the anatomy, construction, and type, each golf brand breaks down their balls by criteria within those categories. The main difference between golf balls on the lower or higher end of pricing has to do with the materials around the ball’s surface.
Pricing Spectrum and Compression
Golf balls on the lower end of pricing have a surlyn ionomer covering. These balls last longer and are less prone to scuff marks on them. Balls at the higher end of pricing have a urethane cover and are softer than balls made of surlyn ionomer. The urethane grips the grooves of your club and generates more spin. Urethane balls are expensive and will need replacing a lot more than the surlyn ionomer balls.
Golf ball compression has three amounts, 80, 90, and 100. Eighty is the lowest compression that has a softcore allowing it to go further. It is designed for women, seniors, and beginners. The 90 is considered average and is used by recreational golfers. The 100 has a tighter, harder core than needs a higher swing and is used by advanced to professional golfers.
The different brands of balls approach anatomy, construction, and type differently. The dimples, core, cover, are made two-piece, multi-layered, or high performance, will vary from brand to brand. There is also the type that the balls will typically fall into:
- Visual technology – Bold colors, patterns, and matte finishes for easy ball retrieval.
- Tour-level – Multi-layered balls, Pro-caliber feel, and control on the fairway.
- Distance – Maximum forgiveness with your driver.
- Feel – Total command with low compression.
- Women’s – Soft feel and added distance designed for women.
- Personalization – Branded just for you with your name or short message.
If you are a beginner and are still unsure what kind of balls to purchase, you can always go to your local pro shop. The experts at the pro shop can go over some information and suggest different balls for you to experiment with at the range. Some shops may also have a simulator where you can swing different balls and clubs to get the feel of what is right for you. Expect to pay $10 to $15 per dozen upwards to $50+ per dozen, depending on the brand you decide to purchase.
A driving range is where golfers of all skill levels go to practice their golf swing. There are outdoor as well as indoor driving ranges. Indoor driving ranges can be simulations as well as catching the ball in a net. These driving ranges can be useful to practice to see what kind of club you like, but also the type of ball you prefer.
For outdoor driving range, golfers will pay for a bucket of balls to hit, ranging from 30 to 150 balls. The range balls are different from the balls that are played with on the golf course and do not necessarily conform to the standard rules of a golf ball. The range balls are designed to have a harder covering to make them more durable. Also, to further distinguish them, they may be colored differently and have the word range stamped on them.
The downside to either outdoor or indoor driving ranges is that they are expensive. Your wallet can take a major hit if you use the range regularly. The fees plus the cost of the ball bucket add up quickly if you frequent the driving range. An alternative that some golf players swear by when they want to practice but don’t want to shell out all the money on a range is practice golf balls.
If you live somewhere where the winter months make it impossible to play golf, indoor ranges and practice balls make it possible to practice regardless of the weather outside. The balls can be hit inside of your garage, empty room, or wherever you choose inside.
- Practice balls were designed for players with limited time and space. Practice balls can be hit in the backyard or garage.
- Practice balls weigh less than regulation golf balls, which causes them to travel less distance when hit. Some are safe to be hit inside the house because of how lightweight they are.
- A good quality practice ball can mimic the shape of your shot.
They’re four popular types of practice balls.
- Almost golf point ball – Made to replicate the feel of a real ball.
- Foam practice ball – Lightweight and perfect for indoors, can hit the side of your house without fear of breaking anything.
- The birdie ball – It feels and reacts like a real ball.
- The floppy indoor practice ball – Designed to react, spin, and roll like a real golf ball.
Are golf balls worth anything?
Golf enthusiasts and collectors will shell out big bucks for vintage golf balls as well as rare promotional golf balls. Some companies will pay for golf balls recovered from courses around the country. If you do not find large quantities of balls to sell wholesale, selling on the side on a platform like eBay may be the best option. It’s no surprise that, according to Golf.com, a golf ball diver can make six figures a year.
Being a golf ball diver will get you the most money, but it can be dangerous if you are diving on a course in Florida where the water isn’t the only hazard. Being a golf diver requires more preparation since you need to be a certified scuba diver, with equipment to get into the water. Golf diver Forest Rothchild makes between $650 and $900 in a single day recovering over 9000 balls.
If that seems like too much, you can be a golf fisherman. You drop a golf rake to collect the balls and pull on a rope to bring the surface. For about $50, you keep your feet dry and can cash in on the collected balls.