Once upon a time golf balls were all the same, so it didn’t matter which one you played. Long have gone those times, and now the golf ball compression makes a difference in your game. Why is that the case, you ask? Shortly, it affects the feel, distance, and spin rate to name the main things. But what is golf ball compression? I am going to answer that and expand a bit more on the topic.

What Is Golf Ball Compression?

Then we come to compression ratings which show us in a number how much a golf ball compresses. The compression rating usually measures from 0 to 100 (or just over 100 in some cases). Balls with lower compression ratings compress more easily than balls with higher compression ratings.

The compression rating is related to swing speed. Lower compressed balls are typically recommended to players with slower swing speeds. When they hit the ball they compress it easier and can reach longer distances. If a player with a faster swing speed hits a low-compressed ball, it will compress too much and he will not get all out of it. This way a faster swing speed golfer can lose distance (the case of professional golfers).

What Does Golf Ball Compression Affect?

Besides the direct link between compression and swing speed, there are a few other things that are affected.

  • Feel: This is the thing you can notice when you hit the ball. Lower-compression golf balls feel softer. The ones with the lowest compression rating (around 40) feel almost like hitting a marshmallow. On the other hand, balls with higher compression ratings (90 and over) feel harder on impact. Therefore, you may consider this when choosing which golf ball to play with.
  • Distance Control: The golf ball core is the reason some balls are softer and others harder. Balls with softer cores have lower compression ratings. Because of their softer cores and harder covers, they offer less spin with irons and wedges. In other words, less spin means less distance control. Hence, if you are looking for more distance control, you should look into golf balls with medium to high compression ratings and softer covers (premium golf balls).
Different new golf balls by golfballsworld.com
New Golf Balls by golfballsworld.com

Match Compression to Your Game

When it comes to golf balls there is no one ball fits all. Every golfer has a unique style of play and should choose the golf ball accordingly. Until not so long ago I agreed with the whole direct correlation between swing speed and what kind of golf ball you should use. This theory says slower swing speed golfers should play lower compression golf balls, medium swing speed golfers should play mid compression golf balls, and faster swing speed golfers should play higher compression golf balls.

But guess what, while there is some scientific proof it can affect your performance, it is not a must. The only part of the whole thing I agree with is that fast swing speed golfers should stay away from lower compression golf balls. They will simply leave some distance on the table in case they do play them. That being said, you should look for other things when choosing a golf ball, not just the compression rating.

You should match the compression rating and what you are looking for in a ball to your game. If you want distance, look for distance balls, if you want softer feel, look for those, and if you want distance control and spin, you got the idea.

Adjust Down the Road

As we evolve as golfers our skill level improves and our game style changes. Because of that, there is a good chance the same golf ball we were playing when we started golfing is not going to suit our game later on. Therefore, you may switch from a low compression golf ball to a medium or high compression one. The important thing is that you recognize that when the time comes.

Also, prepare for some tweaked golf balls in the near future, at least when it comes to premium ones. With the USGA and the R&A plan for the golf ball rollback, we will see some new ball models. I am not sure how much the compression ratings are going to change, but something is going to be different. Nonetheless, that is a conversation for the future when the rollback does happen. Until then, enjoy the current golf balls and use the ones you prefer.

What compression golf ball do you prefer? Which is the golf ball of your choice? Share below!

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