How to Choose Golf Balls, So Many Choices

Have you ever read the back of a box of golf balls and thought “What does all this jargon mean?” Yes, how to choose golf balls can seem confusing, simply because we have so many choices and marketing difference between golf balls.

Golf Ball Technology


If you are interested in the technological side of golf balls, let’s keep it as simple as possible. Bearing in mind that none of this information will help you get the ball in the hole, but will help you choose golf balls the next time you are looking for the best golf balls for your game.

First of all golf balls must be no smaller than 1680 inches or 42.67mm in diameter, and not exceed 1.62 ounces or 45.93 grams in weight. (Think about that one over your next 6-foot putt hey 🙂

Golf Balls are generally made up of a core, mantle and a cover. The exception is some practice golf balls used for the Driving Range, which are made up of a 1-piece construction surlyn material.

Golf balls will be made up of either two, three, four or five pieces featuring the following.

Core of the Golf Ball

The core of a golf ball is generally made up of a synthetic rubber material and will have the largest mass and volume of the golf ball. The core will play a role in ball compression, and studies have shown that certain types of cores can help reduce the spin generated by the driver, which is ideal for golf ball distance.

The core of a golf ball is a crucial component that plays a significant role in its performance characteristics. The core is typically located at the center of the ball and is responsible for generating energy transfer upon impact with the golf club.

The compression of the core refers to its density and firmness. Golf ball cores come in different compression levels, typically ranging from low to high.

Low-compression cores are softer and compress more upon impact, which is beneficial for players with slower swing speeds. High-compression cores are firmer and better suited for players with faster swing speeds who can generate more power.

Mantle of the Golf Ball

The mantle is the part or parts between the core and the cover. The mantle will help manufacturers optimise the amount of spin they want to create particularly with the irons and wedges. The mantle is generally made up of a surlyn material.

The mantle of a golf ball is an intermediate layer located between the core and the cover. It plays a crucial role in influencing the ball’s performance, especially in terms of spin, feel, and trajectory.

You will hear of some balls being three, four or five pieces, and it just means that they have between one to three mantles inserted in them between the core and the cover of the ball. The mantle of the golf ball is optimised depending on the golf ball striking of golfers at different ability levels.

Cover of the Golf Ball

The cover of a golf ball is the outermost layer that directly contacts the clubface. It plays a crucial role in determining the ball’s durability, spin control, feel, and overall performance.

There are basically two types of covers used in golf balls. The first is the surlyn cover. This is an ionomer resin which is very durable, and you will see this type of cover on the majority of distance balls because they don’t spin a lot.

The second is the very common urethane cover. This is basically a rubber cover that you will see on all of the top-rated golf balls. If you have ever seen a professional spin a golf ball on the green, they are always using a ball with a urethane cover and these are always the best spin golf balls on the market.

The cover material and design significantly influence the ball’s spin characteristics. Urethane covers offer greater spin control due to their ability to generate more friction with the clubface. This enhanced spin can be advantageous for skilled players who want to shape shots and have better control around the greens.

Ionomer covers tend to produce less spin but can still provide adequate performance for recreational players.

Golf Ball DimplesHow-to-choose-golf-balls

All golf balls will have between three and four hundred dimples on them, and some are slightly different patterns. The dimples create turbulence which reduces drag.

This means that the ball will fly a lot further as opposed to a ball without dimples. This was discovered in the early nineteen hundreds when a golfer discovered that a scuffed up ball travelled much farther than a new one.

Two-Piece Golf Ball

The two-piece golf ball has a core and a cover. These types of golf balls are generally achieve the best golf ball distance as they don’t spin much, and are fairly accurate off the tee because of the reduced spin. When looking for the longest golf ball on the market, they will generally be a two-piece construction. I ball that spins less will generally go the farthest distance during a longest golf ball test.

Three, Four and Five-Piece Golf Balls

These balls feature a core, up to three mantles, and a cover.

A four or five-piece ball will have one or two extra mantles which are designed to optimise ball flight. It may seem like marketing, but companies that make the best rated golf balls have spent the money on the research, so they definitely have some performance benefits.

All these golf balls will feature a soft urethane rubber cover, which is ideal to create spin around the greens and fantastic for feel.

Now all golf ball manufacturers will use their own marketing spin to differentiate their products from others, but essentially these are the main technical features in golf balls to help a golfer choose the right golf ball for their game.

What type of Ball Should I Use?How-to-choose-golf-balls

We will now narrow this down to different ability levels, and all you are really looking for is value for money and performance. 

Hopefully some of this information will be a guide on how to buy golf balls and how to choose the right golf ball for your game.

Golf Balls for Beginners

When choosing a golf ball as a beginner, you probably don’t really care which ball you use and are probably more interested in simply getting the ball in the air and enjoying the game. As a beginner however it can be confusing to see the number of golf balls on the market and finding the best golf ball for beginners.

It would be suggested to just use a two-piece golf ball because these will help generate distance, and they don’t spin as much. A ball that does not spin is ideal for a beginner because they need distance, and putting spin on a driver shot is bad news when it slices into the bush. These are some of the cheapest golf balls online so losing one in the bush or putting one in the lake is really not so bad. The prices usually range from $20 to $30 a dozen with many different brand options offering golf ball discounts that essentially provide similar benefits.

These tend to be the best soft golf balls and longest golf balls, but they will help you hit the golf ball straight. Callaway Golf Balls are a good option to start with.

For information on a recommended option, click on the following link Callaway Supersoft Golf Ball.

Intermediate Mid-Handicap Players

You are improving with your golf, and beginning to understand some of the benefits of some of the golf balls. It would be suggested looking at some of the three-piece golf balls, which will give you enhanced feel around the greens. You don’t need to go top-rated just yet as there are some three-piece golf balls out there that will give you feel around the greens without sacrificing distance. These types of balls generally range from $20 to as much as $40 a dozen and make up some of the best golf ball deals.

For information on a recommended option, click on the following link Srixon Q Star Golf Ball.

Elite Amateur or Professionals

You play a lot of golf and regularly shoot in the 70s. As you know, using a golf ball designed for your ability level is essential to shooting lower scorers.

These types of balls range from three to five pieces and all have the soft urethane cover on them which is designed for spin and feel around the greens. A lot of these balls do perform similar, yet there are lots of these golf balls online. These types of golf balls are costly and range anywhere from $40 to $80 a dozen, but be sure to always look out for some of the better golf ball discounts when choosing a golf ball.

Srixon Golf Balls are a good option in this area and the Srixon Z Star Golf Ball is one of the best.

For information on a recommended option, click on the following link Srixon Z Star Golf Ball.

I hope this article helps you decide which golf ball you should be using and if you have any questions feel free to ask them below.

Also check out our post on the best golf balls for seniors.

If you’re stuck with choosing golf clubs, have a look at the three previous posts on choosing golf clubs, irons and the golf driver.


16 thoughts on “How to Choose Golf Balls, So Many Choices”

  1. My favourite gold balls are ProV1s, they give you the most spin out all the others in the market, without sacrficing too much distance. But considering how expensive they are, I only tend to use them for special occassions, like monthly medals.

    But whenever I’m going through a period of just chopping the ball around, I opt for the Wilson Staff’s haha.

    What about you Chris

    • Hi Lyle

      I appreciate your comments.

      Yes the ProV1 golf ball is the number one golf ball used on the tour by the professionals. It does provide great feel around the greens and performs well. Like you said they are expensive and it does get frustrating when you lose one. A good alternative has always been the Srixon Z Star ball. It actually has a larger core and a thinner cover than most the alternate balls in that range. Very good for spin, and I have always found the distance you get off the tee is decent



  2. I never knew there was so much to picking a golf ball. Obviously, I am not a golfer! I learned a lot by reading this page. I especially found it interesting that there are multi-piece golf balls. I thought they were all one piece. Even for a beginner like me, the information on golf balls is easy to understand and if I decide to try golfing for the first time I will definitely use the 2 piece golf ball like you recommended for beginners!

    • Hi Trisha

      Thanks for your comments.

      Yes there are golf balls that are multiple pieces as described. These perform really well, and will provide enhanced performance for some of the more experienced players.

      Good luck when you finally get out and have a game.



  3. Wow, who knew.

    I am not a golfer. but I respect golfing in general it does take a great amount of attention, patience, and calculation to be good at it. Never in a million years would I think that what type of Golf ball being used would make a difference.

    Great article, even for someone that doesn’t know a thing about golfing I enjoyed reading it. Will be recommending this to my golfer friends.

    • Hi Bassam

      Thanks for dropping by.

      Yes the golf ball can definitely make a difference. The more experienced players will benefit from a decent premium golf ball as they enhance feel around the greens.

      I appreciate your comments



  4. This definitely expanded my appreciation for the game of golf. I have played a few rounds of golf with friends and co-workers but did not know that the type of ball had a pervasive effect on the game and the shot. I will keep your tips in mind for my next game.

  5. Hey there. Great page here.

    I used to play golf a lot when I was younger, and one day my curiosity got the better of me.

    I was hitting a golf ball around my local open fields one day, and the ball was old. One time I hit the ball, and the outer shell cracked.

    Of course being young, I started to tear it open to see what was inside.

    I seem to remember it all being full of tiny elastic (like elastic bands) and after fighting with this I found another hard sold ball in the middle.

    It was quite amazing to see how much work actually goes into the design and the construction of a Golf Ball.

    I always knew there were different types and qualities, but to be honest i relied on the nice guy in the shop to tell me which ones to buy!

    I have learned something here.

    Thanks so much!


    • Hi

      Thanks for dropping by.

      Yes golf balls have come a long way in terms of technology in recent years. Lots to choose from but it should not be confusing.

      I appreciate your comments.



  6. I enjoyed reading your article on golf balls. I’m a golfer but I didn’t really know about all the different types of balls.

    I’ve golfed for many years and I have had to re-work my swing because of many injuries and just not being as flexable as when I was younger.

    Is there a particular golf ball that you’d recommend for a senior golfer to use?

  7. Thank you for this information. I had no idea that there are so many differences in golf balls. Now I understand some of the writing on the packages. I will be getting a few different types of golf balls to see what one will work the best for me and will look into the recommendations that you have provided.

    • Hi Ray

      I appreciate your comments.

      There are lots of golf balls to choose from, but if you follow my simple guide you will realise that the differences between most of the golf balls are usually subtle.

      Thanks for stopping by.



  8. What a great educational site. Those things I never knew.
    I don’t play as much golf as I would like, just enough to keep me interested and a really high handicap. Sometimes that’s not a bad thing.
    I did not know how golf balls were made. I remember when I was a child, many years ago, someone told me never to cut into a golf ball. The belief was that it would blow up. Said it was made from a lot of really tightly wrapped rubber bands.
    I am not good enough to put much of a spin on a ball, I just get whatever comes off the club weather I like it or not.
    Do the more expensive balls have more than one piece?
    As far as the ball goes, I am still in the “beginner” stage and probably would not even notice the difference between a cheaper and more expensive ball.
    Keep up the great work on your site and I will stop by again to see your latest educational post.

    • Hi Bobby

      Thanks for stopping by.

      All tour level golf balls are either 2,3 or 5 pieces. The main reason these types of golf balls are expensive is because of the Urethane Rubber Cover, which helps golfers spin the golf ball. 

      A two piece ball is ideal for higher handicap golfers because they don’t spin as much. Side spin in a driver is what most golfers should be trying to avoid. We all hate that damn slice shot haha.

      Happy Golfing.



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