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Types of Golf Balls and How to Choose The Best for Your Game - The Definitive Guide

Last updated: June 2, 2023
A pyramid of golf balls placed on top of a golf hitting mat with green textbox on the right that contains the text
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Key Takeaways

A golf ball's construction (one, two, three, four, or five-piece), spin (low, mid, high), feel, and compression are all determining factors of which type better suits your level and style.
That's why today, we have Tour performance balls for scratch golfers, tour Value for low to mid-handicappers, as well as straight and soft distance golf balls for beginners and high handicappers.
Choosing the right type of golf balls will be highly beneficial for your game.

With the numerous advancements that have taken place in golf ball technology in recent years, choosing the right types of golf balls can be advantageous for your game. With countless options available in the market, you may find the purchasing decision to be a complicated task.

The selection process becomes hazier when brands signify that ball types have different abilities and features.

In this post, we will learn about the various aspects of golf balls and how you can choose the right ones to enhance your game. We will also answer many frequent questions related to golf balls.

Keep reading for the details!

Types of Golf Balls Construction

Illustration of golf ball types such as two-piece, three-piece, four-piece, and five-piece golf balls on white background.

The golf ball's construction plays a significant role in how it reacts after it comes into contact with the clubface. You might be familiar with the one-piece, two-piece, three-piece, and four-piece designs. However, manufacturers have recently hit the market with the five-piece construction after constantly pushing through many boundaries. Each one of these is specially designed to suit a particular style. Let’s have a look at each one of these designs in detail.

One-Piece Golf Balls:

One-piece golf balls mainly consist of a solid piece of a solid material called "Surlyn" with dimples that are carefully molded to generate lower spin rates.

As these are the cheapest golf balls to produce, they are constructed to maximize durability and are usually found on mini golf courses and driving ranges.

It is also a popular option among novice golfers. This is because they tend to give a soft feel when hit and are durable and budget-friendly.

However, these are not commonly used in the game as they do not offer sufficient distance compared with the rest of the models due to their low compression rate.

The one-piece construction means these golf balls don't fly as far as the other types but are ideal for practicing in the driving range or with golf simulators.

Two-Piece Golf Balls:

Two-piece balls are the popular options that most golfers prefer to use. This is because it gives a better-shot distance, a firmer feel, and more excellent durability. High handicap players, seniors with slow swing speeds, and beginners use this model.

These models have a thin covering made of two layers and contain a larger core. The solid core contains high-energy resin or acrylate, which is further concealed using a cut-proof and tough blended cover. It gives this ball more distance by decreasing the slice and hook of the tee. Next, it has a covering made using either Surlyn or a similar material.

The two-piece construction model enhances the quantity of energy the club can transfer to the ball. In turn, it powers the shots and moves the ball forward to obtain a more considerable distance. However, note that they are not that easy to control when compared with the softer feel options and do not spin a lot. The top two-piece models are Titleist Velocity, Srixon Soft Feel, and The Bridgestone e5.

Three-Piece Golf Balls:

Three-piece balls consist of three layers, a liquid or solid rubber core followed by a liquid produced or enhanced rubber layering. It is then carefully molded using a cover that contains durable urethane, Surlyn, or balata-like material.

These models come with better spins and have a softer feel, which gives the player greater control over the ball flight and around the greens. When the manufacturer includes more layers to the ball, it creates better spin separation advantages. This results in a higher customized performance for the driver when compared with the wedges or iron. There are glow-in-the-dark three-piece golf balls on the market but the best three-piece balls are the Titleist Pro V1 and the Srixon Z-Star.

A Titleist golf ball on a golf course near a golf hole and flag

Four-Piece Golf Balls:

Each layer in this model has a specific purpose, and they work together to provide the softest feeling and most extended hitting. The innermost core contains a solid rubber center designed to provide great distance with the help of a driver—the next layer helps transform the energy from the strikes to the core. The following extra layer produces a mixed iron feel and spins around the green.

The outer concealing cover is where the entire feel of the ball is present. This covering contains around 300 to 400 simple and is the thinnest layer available. It's made using Urethane material, which is soft and durable. These options travel long distances, similar to the longest golf balls. The popular four-piece balls are:

Titleist Pro V1x, Callaway Chrome Soft, and Srixon Z-Star XV.

Five-Piece Golf Balls:

Did you feel that the four-piece balls had an overkilling style? Then you are sure to be in awe of these complicated five-piece models. The TaylorMade TP5 was the first ball with five layers to enter the market. Each layer was well-engineered to provide optimum performance irrespective of the club used.

The five layers consist of the core, innermost mantle, mid mantle, outermost mantle, and cover. The low compression, softcore promotes low spins and high launches. The innermost mantle has a soft feel and gives low spins using long irons to provide great distances and high flights.

The semi-firm mid mantle takes care of mid spins and mid launches using the middle irons. The outer mantle delivers optimum spins using short irons to get the ball to stop quickly. As for the urethane covering, it has a higher spin rate and soft feel.

Types of Golf Spin Balls

A golf ball on a golf course near a golf hole with a golfers hand about to push the golf ball into the golf hole with other golfers in the background.

Golf balls are specially created with 3 different types of spins. It includes low spins, mid spins, and high spins. This refers to the backspin that’s transmitted using the loft of the golf club. 

Are you wondering how the spinning speed affects the control, distance, and direction of your shot? This is mainly due to the spin rate of your ball. For increasing the distance traveled, the ball must spin adequately to produce the correct lift. If you do not have sufficient speed while swinging, you need to go for the low spin options. This is because the high spin balls are quite challenging to control, especially for starters.

Low Spin Golf Balls:

Low spin balls are much harder and roll a great deal on the fairway. By using slow swing speeds, the golfers can attain greater distances. These lower spinning models tend to reduce the side-spinning of the shots and permit the ball to fly straight into the air. However, you may not get the long distance in the air, but the low spin will cause more rolling as it lands. That is, they have minimal stop controls over the green when compared with the high spin models. This makes it an excellent option for those who struggle to gain more distance on the ground.

These balls are great options for novice golfers and are the best golf ball for slow swing speed. It’s also suitable for those who find it hard to keep the balls in the fairway as a result of the drastic hook or slice. For most average players, using this model gives them the most significant possible distance from the tee. Moreover, the ones with a hard covering have improved durability than the higher spin options.

Mid Spin Golf Balls:

The mid-spinning models lie in between the lower spins and the high spin options and bridge the gap between them. This makes it suitable for golfers who have average swing speed and control.

Are you a golfing enthusiast who needs more forgiveness but has a low tendency for slicing? Then these mid-spin options will work well for you. They’re capable of incorporating a solid feel along with the best distance and softened based on the brand you are using. This makes it suitable for most avid golfers, and you can use it in most conditions.

High Spin Golf Balls:

High spinning balls are mainly designed to enhance the ball's spin-off in the air. When you hit a golf ball, it’s released into the air with a sufficient degree of backspin. This ball can further increase this backspin, thereby creating a longer carrying distance. The extra spin can make the ball fly higher, easily spin out of control, and stop quickly. Are you a golfer that tends to hit the ball from the right to the left direction with a draw? If so, these high spinning models are suitable for you.

These are a favorite among players who have slightly more control. This is because they possess higher compression at the core, which allows the ball to have structural integrity after getting hit with a faster swing speed. Though most starters would prefer to get the ball high up in the air and stop smoothly, it's essential to have a model that stays within bounds. The most significant advantage of these balls is around the greens. It is due to the enhanced feel it offers on and around the greens, which provides the players with improved control.

Distance Balls

A golf ball cut in half placed on a tree branch.

Distance golf balls have a thin and firm covering and a larger core with a multi-layered design. This enables it to have maximum carry, thereby boosting the yardage, particularly from the tee box. Moreover, it minimizes the spin that exaggerates the hooks and slices.

Consider the core of the ball as its engine since it can make the ball travel further. With the combination of the thin covering and the large core, once you swing the ball, it moves quickly from the clubface and launches with the highest speed. When you hit the golf ball, the impact determines the velocity, spin rate, and launching angle of the ball.

Some balls are specially created to maximize the distance with the help of shorter clubs, whereas some increase the distance using the driver. Choosing the best golf balls for distance is entirely based on your expertise level and how it comes off from your clubface.

Check Also: The 10 Best Golf Balls for Distance – Test-Based Reviews & Buyer Guide

Combo Balls

Combo balls include a combination of different types of golf balls in a golf ball set. This includes numerous options like ones having high compression cores, made using urethane coverings, ones with mantles, and so on. However, all of them are suitable for swinging in their respective categories. Different colored golf balls for ladies are available, which makes them easier to identify.

You can find combo packs of soft and hard balls. The soft golf balls are suitable if you have a slower swing speed, whereas the harder ones work well for players with a higher swing pace. You may also come across combinations with different distances.

Soft Feel Golf Balls

Soft feel models are mostly preferred by expert players and every Tour Professionals. They come with a soft urethane cover with a rubber core, standard among the five, four, or three-piece balls. Though they’re not as durable as the firm feel models, they offer better spin and control across the greens. Low compression balls and some high compression models which have multiple layers provide the players a soft feel. The softer feeling allows the players to work the ball into the air and spin them into the pins. Even though it does not offer greater distance as a firm feel option, it’s best suited for golfers who require more control.

As you hit the balls using your club, it deforms slightly as a result of the impact. This temporary shape change gets the balls to spring forward as you hit. You will find that low compression models encounter more deformation, which enables the players with slow swing speeds to make a spring life effect. It generates lesser spins and straighter shots with more distance. This is the reason why all low compression balls feel quite soft.

Firm Feel Golf Balls

Feel is quite essential when picking the right golf balls. Firm feel models have a hard feel on the clubface. These firms feel options are mostly present among the two-piece construction models or the low spin balls. It helps produce maximum distance from the irons and driver by sacrificing some degree of control around and on the greens. Moreover, it contains a solid rubber core, which gives it its hardness and better distance. These firms feel balls are much more durable when compared with the soft feel models.


Compression is the measurement of the golf ball's deflection when it’s struck. It is usually measured between 0 to 200, where 0 is the level where the ball deflects up to 5 mm or above, and at 200, the ball doesn’t compress. On average, most golf balls' compression rating lies between 50 and 100.

Compression occurs when your golf ball squishes after it comes into contact with the clubface as you swing. In this manner, the club helps in propelling the ball forward by compressing the ball during the impact, thereby interacting with the core. You will find that two factors come into action during compression. These are the core of the ball and the swing speed. The higher swing speeds cause a more significant impact when you hit the ball, thereby causing higher compression. As a result, the ball's core acts as the engine drives it to a longer distance.

Lower compression balls have greater deformation upon impact and come in contact with a bigger surface area on the clubface. They are softer and suitable for novice players or those having slow swing speeds. In contrast, the high compression models need higher swing speeds to obtain maximum control and activate the ball's innermost layers. It does not deform that easily and requires a harder and much faster impact to make changes to its shape. These are mostly used by highly skilled golfers who possess high swing speeds.    

As beginners, you may not be sure which compression model will work well for you. So keep in mind that if you have a high swing pace and require a soft feel ball, you can opt for the low compression balls. However, if you’re someone with a slower swing speed, don’t even think about wasting your time with a high compression model.

Here's a video (7 minutes 40 seconds) from Mike Bury that can further guide you when choosing a golf ball that can best benefit and improve your golf game.

Types of Golf Balls

Though you are aware of the construction and anatomy of the balls, you might still be wondering which are the best types of golf balls (regular or practice). You can find the right one that suits your style by understanding the different categories to choose from. Golf balls are available in 2 types. This includes spin control and tour performance balls.

1. Spin Control:

Some amateur players wish to get rid of the big slice or hook. For them, spin control models work great. These are specially designed to hit the balls straight to cut down on excessive side spins that cause spices and hooks. This makes it similar to straight golf balls. The popular spin control balls are Bridgestone e6 Soft and Bridgestone e6 Speed.

2. Tour Performance: 

Seasoned and mid to low-handicapped golfers opt for these multi-layered golf balls. This is because it provides the players with a complete package. The multiple layers function well with one another to provide optimum spin, feel, and distance. Each layer gets activated depending on your swing speed and the club you are using. 

Also, the different mantle and core layers enhance the feel and control, enabling the players to sculpt shots. This, in turn, creates an extra spin on the green and gives the distance you need. The thin material covering offers additional spin control, which gives serious golfers the crisp feel they require. They are mainly used by the best-experienced players across the globe. The standard tour performance balls are Titleist’s AVX, Pro V1, and Pro V1x, TaylorMade’s TP5 and TP5 X, and the Callaway Chrome Soft.

Golf Balls Prices

Purchasing a golf ball pack can be a costly affair for novice players. This is because beginners usually lose most of the balls in the water, woods, or other places. Hence they tend to scoop up the balls whenever they find them, be it in the course pond or lake. However, remember that the balls that have been in the water for a long time will not travel long distances. Expert and avid golfers avoid this option as they can't bear to lose out on distances.

The best golf balls are available in various pricing ranges in the market; however, they’re put into different categories. You will find the two-piece distance balls in one spectrum, whereas the five-piece tour models in the other. Here are a few golf ball prices listed: Generally, the two-piece distance ball is available for between $20 - $30 for each dozen. As for the one dozen five-piece tour model, it can go higher than $50.

You will find that the lower spin balls are quite cheap due to their simple designs and affordable materials utilized. Moreover, it has better control, and you can keep it close to the fairway. Hence you can avoid losing it and spending money on getting new ones.

Which Golf Balls Are Suitable for Women?

A female golfer getting ready to swing her golf club on a golf course with two other golfers in the background.

The best golf balls for women mostly sport the two-piece construction. This is because it offers extra control, distance, and durability and has slower swing speeds. Surlyn ball covers are well known for better control. As women generally have a slower swing speed of around 60 to 70 mph, it’s better to look for golf balls that give more leverage. Also, choose balls that are soft and have a compression rating that lies between 45 to 70.

This is because they are easier to hit and enable you to proceed to the next level. As to whether you need soft or hard feel gear, it’s entirely based on your personal preference. Avoid going for cheap golf balls as it can ruin your performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Most golf enthusiasts are brand loyal when it comes to selecting golf balls. You’ll find a lot of specifications are available, hence you have to conduct detailed research before you choose the perfect one. Are you looking for more information? Peruse on to find out more insights and gain clarity in selecting the right golf ball.

What Are Golf Balls Made Of?

You may come across the common query: what's inside a golf ball? The modern golf ball consists of mainly 2 types of cover materials. This includes the surlyn cover and the urethane composition.
- Surlyn: It's a commonly used cover and is an ionomer resin made by DuPont. It has a slightly harder feel and is scratch-resistant and durable. It’s an excellent choice for novice golfers but not suitable for low handicap players as it does not give much backspin. The primary effect of this cover is that it’s capable of delivering sufficient energy transfer to maximize the distance.
- Urethane: It’s much softer when compared with Surlyn to provide more feedback and feel. Although it’s not durable, you can find it among the high-end multi-layered golf balls. This is because it can create more control and spin during the short games. It’s much preferred by skilled and seasoned players as it has the potential to shape the shots to give a better performance.  

How Much Does a Golf Ball Weigh?

The golfing ball's weight is specifically regulated to make sure that they’re utilized within an official capacity and are not too heavy. As per the golfing rules, the golf ball must not have a mass of more than 45.93 grams or 1.62 ounces. A diameter not below 42.67 mm or 1.68 inches is capable of performing within a specific distance, symmetry limits, and velocity.

Similar to golf clubs, these golf balls must have approvals and undergo testing by the United States Golf Association and R&A. As for the R&A, it earlier belonged to the prestigious Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. The balls that do not meet the standards and regulations will not be suitable for use in competitions.  

What Do the Numbers on Golf Balls Mean?

Wondering what the numbers on golf balls mean? The numbers on the golf ball have various meanings, and it depends upon the number of digits present.

- Single Digit: The single-digit number present below the brand is for identification purposes. For instance, if 3 to 4 individuals are playing golf using the same golf ball, then it's advisable to use balls with different numbers. This will help you to distinguish one ball from the other after each round. The numbers most likely lie between 1 and 4. However, numbers between 0 and 9 are also acceptable.

- Two-Digit: The golf balls with double-digit numbers indicate the compression rating of the ball. The compression rating represents the feel of the gear. Balls that have a lower compression rating of about 70 to 80 are suitable for women. The ones above 100 mean you have to swing hard to get the ball working properly, making it apt for men. The presence of compression rating digits on golf balls was familiar during the 1990s and hardly standard these days.

Three-Digit: Golf balls with three-digit numbers ranging from 300 to 400 represents the number of dimples present.  

Why Do Golf Balls Have Dimples?

Golf balls come with small indentations that are present on their surface called dimples. These are specially designed to decrease drag and control the trajectory of the ball. Although they appear to be simple, you should never disregard their significance. This is because the smooth-surfaced balls will travel only half the distance when compared to the ones with dimples. Dimples create a thin and turbulent layer of air around the ball which clings to its surface and goes ahead around the back of the ball. This reduces the wake, thereby causing drag.

Dimple patterns differ based on the ball type and the brand you are using. The number of dimples, size, depth, and shape will impact how your ball will perform during the flight. 

How Many Dimples on a Golf Ball?

There does not exist a specific answer to this question. You will find around 300 - 500 dimples on the ball. The most common amount of dimples ranges between 336 and 392 with a depth of approximately 0.010 inches. Lots of depression will allow your ball to fly higher. However, note that too many can cause more enormous air pressure on the front area than the back resulting in a slowdown of flight. The typical didn't have a measurement of around 7/1000th of an inch depth. Dimples are available in various shapes, which include hexagons, ovals, teardrops, and circles.

What Is the Best Golf Ball for Me?

For some golf enthusiasts, selecting the perfect ball is of greater importance than choosing the right club. You will find that various designs come up with different benefits. Some options empower you to attain enhanced control on the green, whereas the others offer greater distance than you ever imagined.

Are you wondering what golf ball I should use? Based on your budget and expertise, you can opt for golf balls that will optimize your feel and performance. Numerous manufacturers of golf balls have come up with fitting sessions at their golf clubs or centers. Here you will be able to get the necessary advice or get measured up with the help of a golf professional to choose the right golf ball.


Each of the elements that constitute a golf ball will have a considerable impact on your golfing game. Hence it’s necessary to select the Types Of Golf Balls that enhance your expertise level and the game style you play. Be it shape-shifting skills or straight and long-distance shots; we have the ball for you.

Are you in need of a golf ball that will stand out on the golf course? You can also opt for our customized or high-visibility options. With the help of detailed research and golf ball reviews from customers, we were able to gather all the necessary information to help you choose the right golf ball. Do share your feedback with us about how well your new golf ball impacted your performance.

Jacob Jensen
Jacob Jensen
My name is Jacob, a self-diagnosed equipment and golf enthusiast. I've been golfing since I was 15. Golf has always been my passion. I'm a bit of a golf equipment nerd and I've been that way since the moment I picked up a club for the first time. As someone who's been on both sides of the game, I know what it takes to be a good golfer. Of course, you need good equipment, but you also need to know how to use it. I hope sharing my experience with you will help you improve your game.

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2 comments on “Types of Golf Balls and How to Choose The Best for Your Game - The Definitive Guide”

  1. Subject article was very good. The following comment is for your information only. The third paragraph of the article is titled, “Types of Golf Balls Construction.” It describes the types of ball construction. The fourth paragraph of the article is titled, “One-Piece Golf Balls.” In this fourth paragraph, there is not a word describing what a one piece ball is. The fourth paragraph repeats the wording of the “Types of Golf Balls Construction” paragraph, word for word. Seems like an error. Might want to correct it?

    1. Hi Robert,
      Thanks so much for your comment,
      Yes, it was an error, I've gone ahead and corrected it.
      We are so fortunate to have users like you!
      Thanks again for taking the time to warn us about the error, much appreciated!

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