Golf ball fitting is taking on a new dimension, especially after Golf Digest released their 2019 Golf Ball Hot List. Now, adding fuel to the fire is MyGolfSpy with their 2019 Golf Ball Buying Guide. What is very intriguing is that fitting golf balls to our players has been in our wheel house since 2006, believe it or not. Make sure you read the MyGolfSpy article…you may have your own opinions but most of their results are valid, IMO.
AGS Ball Fitting Circa 2006
In 2006 we found a company, Advanced Golf Solutions, that did extensive ball testing. They used an air cannon to fire the balls at 100 mph and then recorded everything from spin to distance to side dispersion. The takeaway from these tests is the same thing that MyGolfSpy noted. There can be as much as a 25 yard difference in distance from one ball to the next and side shot dispersion can increase up to 10 yards as well. It’s all about the design of the ball and consistency of the manufacture. Unfortunately AGS is no longer in business but what they taught us was very valuable. Your choice in a golf ball DOES make a difference in distance, accuracy and consistency.
What Ball Do YOU Play?
Part of our fitting interview is to ask what ball our golfer plays. One of the more popular responses, believe it or not is “Whatever I Find!?”. My response to this is that whatever you do, play the SAME ball! Do not play a Pro v1x and then switch to a Chrome Soft during the same round! The results can be dramatically different!
What Ball SHOULD You Play?
In our ball fitting, we want to test you with a few different balls but use your driver, 7 iron and Pitching Wedge. Then we will have you putt with these different balls. The bottom line is that fitting a ball off a driver for spin and launch is very easy. What is more difficult is fitting the short game. Higher ball speeds mean harder golf balls with multiple layers for spin control and feel. Slower ball speeds can get away with softer golf balls (Think Callaway SuperSoft and Titleist Velocity, for example) without losing any distance and maybe even gaining a little distance with higher launch and spin.
What Ball We use in Your Fitting Matters
The beauty of fitting indoors with TrackMan is that we can use the ball you normally play or fit you to a new one during the fitting process. Fitting outdoors with range balls is just a waste of time. Readings are inconsistent and certainly different than what you may see with your regular golf ball. Trust me on this one. We had a fitting trailer on the road for 10 years and we spent more time sorting through range balls to find good ones for testing during our fittings. So fitting with the ball you normally play is very important in the fitting process.
A Case Study
Sherry Andonian, has been a super player and instructor. Sherry just qualified for the U.S. Women’s 2019 Senior Open at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern Pines, NC. She came in to try to make a decision between the TaylorMade TP5 and TP5X. Again, testing needs to be done with short irons and driver. Sherry had the feeling that the TP5X had a little less spin on her short irons and tended to run out a little too much. After testing, the TP5 and TP5X were within a yard of distance and dispersion so no decision there. However, the TP5X carried 1.5 yards farther and rolled out 4 yards longer than the TP5 on her 9 iron shots. With fast greens at Pine Needles, the decision is pretty simple, go with the TP5.
Does Brand Name Matter?
Not as much as you may think. There are some very good golf balls that are either direct-to-consumer (Snell, Vice) or sold through Costco (Kirkland) that are very good in our testing. And, the price points can save you some money. Both MyGolfSpy and Golf Digest would agree that the larger the manufacturer (Titleist, Callaway) the more consistent their golf balls will be. Bottom line is to pick a model and stick with it!
Checking for Consistency from Ball to Ball
Wilson made a big deal about this some 10 years ago or more. Out of a dozen golf balls, as many as 5 could be seriously out of round. Enough so that your side shot dispersion could be dramatic. Originally, the line you put on your golf ball was not for alignment for your putting stroke it was to tell you that you had the center of gravity lined up towards your target. Remember this guy? Check-Go? Still available at Rock Bottom Golf and others…and I think it works.
So, pick a ball and stick with it. And if you want to see the differences for YOUR swing, schedule a ball fitting and we can help you decide!