Welcome to another edition of the Fully Equipped mailbag, sponsored by Cleveland/Srixon Golf, an interactive GOLF.com series in which we field your hard-hitting gear questions.
How do I know when it’s the right time to try a new golf ball? – Ryan W., Iowa
When it comes to golf balls, the world is your oyster, my friend. Today’s golf ball market is vast, presenting players of every skill the opportunity to try something new. So in that sense, the answer to your question is simple: the best time to try and experiment with a new golf ball is when your current gamer isn’t delivering the results you want.
Here at Fully Equipped, we know that even if the answer seems simple, getting good results isn’t always as easy. Below are a few pointers to help you determine if now’s the time to try a new pill.
It’s time to choose a new ball when…
Your golf ball is flying too low or high.
The advent of multi-layer technology in golf balls has enabled us to be more discerning than ever before when it comes to ball flight trajectories. Take, for example, Srixon’s Z-Star and Z-Star XV golf balls. Both balls are multi-layer, urethane-covered golf balls that promote lower spin off the tee. Only with the XV, the ball launches a little higher for added carry and more distance. If you feel all your shots are flying too low, try a ball that’s advertised as a mid or high-launch golf ball. If you tend to hit your shots too high, try a low-flight model.
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Srixon Z-STAR XV
You’re not hitting it as far as you could.
If you feel like you’re leaving some yardage in the bag and not getting enough oomph in your shots, it could be your golf ball. For this variable, it boils down to speed. If you have a swing above 100 MPH with a driver, you’ll want to find a ball with a firmer core and softer mid/outer layer for maximum distance. If you swing slower than 100 mph, you’ll want a ball with firmer mid/outer layers and softer cores for maximum distance.
The ball is spinning too little or too much.
Spin ought to be looked at in two ways. The first is off the tee, and the second is within 100 yards or so. Due again to advances in multi-layer tech, it’s possible to play a ball that is both low-spinning off the tee with a driver and high-spinning with a wedge. You can have it both ways these days, and we contend most amateur players will get more spin from every golf ball that promises more RPMs around the green. How much is up to your skill and technique, but urethane-covered balls generally spin more for everyone.
Citing Srixon again as a prime example for golfers getting what they want — the Z-Star Diamond is a golf ball designed for Brooks Koepka, who wanted a golf ball that was low-spinning off the tee with a driver, high-spinning with short shots, and also higher-than-normal-spinning with mid and long irons. The point being, if you want more or less spin off the tee or with a wedge, there’s a ball out there for you somewhere.
It feels too firm or too soft.
Feel may not seem like a very important feature when it comes to golf balls, but if you’re playing a ball that feels either too soft or too firm, you’ll likely have a harder time getting comfortable over the golf ball. And, nowhere is this more true than with chips and putts. Some players like a soft-feeling ball at impact while others prefer a firmer snap at impact. And no, skill has nothing to do with it (anymore at least.) Golfers used to have to choose a softer-feeling ball to get more spin and a firmer one for more distance—nowadays anything goes and there are soft/firm balls in virtually every category.
It’s hard to see.
It’s not just the core, mid-layer and cover materials that have gotten better. The paint jobs that come with several of today’s top models are making it easier to see the ball in the air, on the ground, and when lining up your putts. For example, the Q-Star Tour Divide comes in three dual-color models designed to help golfers improve their putting and to see how well they’re spinning the ball on short shots.
You’re bored with your gamer.
Sometimes it pays off to step out of your comfort zone and try something new and experimenting with different golf balls is a lot easier than it is with new clubs. And of course, picking up a dozen golf balls is way less expensive than the hundreds or even thousands you’ll spend on clubs. A new ball could be a boon for your confidence too, helping you level up from your previous golf game and step into a new era.
Ready for an equipment overhaul? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.