WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?

Each year we field test, or since golf is our game – course test – new balls with the idea of providing you information so when you step up to the counter of your local golf shop or before clicking the “BUY” button on your favorite Internet retailer’s site you are able to make an informed purchase.

The evaluation process we employ is much like the one you, our readers can use. It is straight forward and with no great pretensions of scientific procedure. We think it reflects how the game is played and even takes into account variables such as lie, slope and wind. First we begin with short shots, pitches and chips around the green gradually working back to full wedges from around 100-yards. The primary thing we look for is how the balls react when they hit the putting surface with different amounts of spin such as a pitch shot with a gap wedge versus an 8-iron. On the full swings the amount of spin shows up by how quickly the ball stops or spins back giving us an idea of the amount of roll out.

Moving further from the green we hit mid-irons, long irons, hybrids and fairways, not so much for how far they travel but more for the trajectory and accuracy. Finally it’s all the way back to the tee to hit drivers and here we do pay attention to distance often having someone in the fairway to mark the carry distance and the yards of roll.

It’s not difficult, anyone can do this and since we’re not trying to measure precise distances only relative performance, it works and sometimes we find unexpected results. A couple of years ago while comparing several “distance” category balls (generally 2-piece construction with relatively firm Surlyn covers) on a whim we included a sleeve of tour category balls (multi-layer urethane soft cover at more than twice the price).

Guess which ball was the best around the green? No contest. The tour ball was easiest to control and it also had a better trajectory off the longer irons as well. However we also found quite unexpectedly it was also longer than the distance balls off the tee evidentially because everything matched perfectly producing the trajectory and spin rate needed for the best distance. That has to be the great truth of selecting all golf equipment.

To achieve the best results and that’s not just looking at distance but also takes into account control; the ball, clubhead, shaft and grip must be matched to the player’s swing. Write that down and remember it every time you think you’re thinking about new clubs or balls.

Here are some of the balls we have tried and believe should be on your short list to purchase:

Bridgestone Golf

Bridgestone Golf BallTour B330 series
• For driver swing speeds over 105 mph
• 4-piece construction with urethane cover and dual dimple design
• S model designates softer cover
• $45 dozen

Tour B330-RX
• For driver swing speeds under 105 mph
• 3-piece construction with urethane cover and dual dimple design
• S model designates softer cover
• $45 dozen

e series $27 dozen
• e5 2-piece construction urethane cover
• e6 3-piece construction soft Surlyn cover
• e7 3-piece construction firmer Surlyn cover $45 dozen


Callaway Golf

Callaway Golf BallHEX Black Tour
• 5-piece construction urethane cover
• Dual mantle
• Hexagonal shaped dimples
• $40 dozen

HEX Chrome
• 3-piece construction urethane cover
• Hexagonal shaped dimples
• For lower swing speeds
• $30 dozen

HEX Chrome+
• 4-piece construction urethane cover
• Hexagonal shaped dimples
• For higher swing speeds
• $30 dozen


Nike Golf

Nike Golf Balls20XI
• 5-piece construction urethane cover
• Dual mantle
• Hexagonal shaped dimples
• $40 dozen

20XI-X

• 3-piece construction urethane cover
• Hexagonal shaped dimples
• For lower swing speeds
• $30 dozen

Nike One RZN

• 4-piece construction urethane cover
• Hexagonal shaped dimples
• For higher swing speeds
• $30 dozen

Nike One RZN-X

• Similar to One RZN but with firmer cover
• $29 dozen


Rife Golf

V MOTION
• 3-piece constrRife VMotion Ballsuction cast urethane cover
• Softer cover for higher spin rates
• Low drag 318-dimple pattern
• $33 dozen

E MOTION
• 3-piece construction Surlyn cover
• Distance ball with progressive core
• 392-dimples for distance
• $20 dozen


TaylorMade

TaylorMade BallsLethal
• 5-piece construction cast urethane cover
• Individual layers made to work with woods and irons
• TMaG says Lethal second most played ball on PGA Tour
• $46 dozen

RocketBallz Urethane
• 3-piece construction soft urethane cover
• Low drag dimple pattern with high speed core
• High spin off irons for approach shot control
• $30 dozen
Volvik

Vista iV
Volvik Balls
• 4-piece constructions with dual core
• Proprietary firm cover
• Played by 15 professionals on LPGA Tour
• Ilhee Lee won the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic
• $48 dozen

WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?