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How to choose the right golf ball

How to choose the right golf ball

And why your own ball is so important

With the possible exception of your shoes and glove, your golf ball is the only piece of equipment that you will use on every single shot of every single round. And, unless you are a PGA Tour pro and have a sweet endorsement deal, you’re going to have to slap down your hard-earned cash to purchase some sort of ball. So, why not take a little bit of time to figure out which ball best suits your game rather than just grabbing a couple of boxes of what’s on special at the pro shop? While it’s no secret that playing the right ball can help you add some yards, keep your miss-hits a bit straighter and give you better feel and spin around the green, many still don’t consider the ball they play very seriously. There are a lot of things to consider when selecting a golf ball, but knowing what you’re looking for is paramount, said T.J. Dennis, marketing manager for Golf Ball Fitting at Bridgestone Golf. A proper golf ball fitting is the first step. Golfers are increasingly becoming more open to the idea of using the golf ball as yet another means to alter ball flight and improve their game. Bridgestone is just one of many golf ball manufacturers that now offer golf ball fittings. Those include Titleist, Callaway, Wilson, TaylorMade,  Nike, Srixon, Top Flite and Maxfli. Frankly, most brands offer a variety of golf ball fitting processes, from in-person and online tools to chat rooms and one-on-one  Skyping with company technicians.

“If it’s distance you seek, we can accomplish that through the golf ball,” Dennis said. “Maybe you’d like to be able to get away with your errant shots a little more. Perhaps a soft feel is your thing. Those are all objectives we can address with a proper golf ball fitment.”

TJ Dennis Bridgestone

Dennis said there are several common misconceptions people have about a ball fitting, one being the viewpoint that the compression of a golf ball doesn’t matter.  After conducting more than a quarter of a million live golf ball fittings, the folks at Bridgestone Golf came to the conclusion that a softer compression golf ball will create less spin off of longer clubs such as the driver, Dennis asserted. Since the majority of golfers suffer from excessive spin, this means more optimal trajectory and less side-spin, he said. Another misconception, Dennis said, is that the ball fitting process is only about the driver. “The reason we use the driver is that out of all of the clubs in the bag, it will show your tendencies the greatest,” Dennis said. “A wedge with 10,000 rpm of backspin will mask the accuracy-killing effects of side spin much more than a 3,000 (rpm) driver.” Also, he said, the significant clubhead speed of the driver activates the entire golf ball all the way into the core. However, a short iron or wedge only really pinches the cover against the core or mantle layers due to its steep angle of attack and lower clubhead speed. “We are able to address all of the golfer’s needs by having skilled technicians that ask the right questions about a golfer’s game and preferences, therefore we are able to come up with a holistic process that ends up with the best golf ball recommendation as a result,” Dennis said. “At our live fittings, consumers are given sample products to try on the course, and this is the ultimate way to validate our recommendation. “Other individuals haven’t thought much about golf ball fitting because they feel it doesn’t matter. We challenge them to give it a try and then judge if it makes a difference or not. I’d be willing to say that they will be surprised at the results.” And for those of you wanting to play a certain ball solely because your favorite PGA Tour star plays it, Dennis said, there’s nothing wrong with that – to a certain extent. “We aren’t all touring pros,” he said. “I know that I don’t have a dime size wear mark on my clubs from having robot-like consistency and I can rarely hit two shots back to back the same way. The models that the touring pros are using are all great products, but they were designed from the ground up to perform the best for them, not us amateurs.” In the end, the reality is that amateurs will benefit most from a golf ball that is more forgiving, matches up with their particular clubhead speed and gives them the most ideal ball flight possible.

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