What Are Distance Golf Balls And Why Use Them?

What Are Distance Golf Balls Golfers' needs for equipment depends greatly upon their skill, experience and personal preference. While expert players have the ability to get premium performance from just about any golf ball or club they use, the average or beginner needs a little bit more help to optimize their game. Such players who have high or mid-level handicaps will need to use golf balls which will help to better the weaker aspects of their game. In most cases, that means finding a ball to increase the distance the player achieves off of their drivers and long irons.

These balls which have been aptly categorized as "distance golf balls" have been deisgned and developed to do just that - maximize the distance the ball travels from any one shot - and many golfers who have switched to this type of ball have found that they can improve their game by a few strokes as a direct consequence of the change in golf ball.

While individual products differ in some aspects, most distance balls share a variety of characteristics in their construction and performance which unite around the aim of minimizing spin and maximizing length travelled:

Distance Ball Construction

Most distance balls have a two piece construction although there are several well respcted three piece distance balls now on the market. This simpler construction (as compared to the four piece tour level balls) keeps the price down.

The core is often a responsive material which ideally should reduce the amount of side spin off the driver and deliver the greatest amount of speed and distance. Rubber and Polybutadiene is used by Callaway and Titleist whereas some distance ball manufacturers like Maxfli and Wilson have begun using Titanium composites in their core construction.

Distance Ball Compression Rating

When a ball is hit by a club, the ball changes shape by being slightly flattened on one side. This puts potential energy into the ball, similar to a compressed spring. When the ball is then flying through the air, it returns to its proper shape, just like a spring popping back to full size. When this happens, the potential energy stored in the ball is converted into kinetic energy. This gives the ball a boost and helps it to rocket through the air. A compression rating for a golf ball is how easily the ball will be flattened after being hit. Softer balls require less force to change their shape and are better for those with slower, less forceful swings.

Those who have the slowest swing speeds - around 70 miles per hour and below, should seek out the softest golf balls with a compression rating of 70 or below. Good examples of these include: Srixon Trispeed, Wilson Fifty, and the Nike Power Distance Super Soft. Medium driver speeds between 70 and 90 miles per hour will want a slightly firmer ball with a compression rating around 80 such as the Maxfli Noodle Long and Soft or the Wilson Ultra Ultimate Distance. Those with the fastest swings, and usually lower handicaps will be able to achieve good distance with a firmer ball with a compression rating of 90 or above. For these players, options include the Nike Ignite, the Titleist NXT.

Distance Ball Cover

Because distance balls are most often used by recreational golfers a stong and durable cover is important so that the irons and wedges in particular do not damage the balls. Scuffs and cuts in a golf ball severely affect the flight and direction of the ball after impact which leads to high replacement costs if the ball can't last more than a few rounds - something most recreational golfers simply can't allow for basic economic reasons. Ionomer, Surlyn and Urethane are the most popular materials used in the cover of a distance ball and all three have undergone rigorous testing to confirm that they match up to the toughest durability standards.

So they sound great - maximum distance, cost effective, durable and a compression rating which is perfect for the swing of the high to mid level handicap golfer.

What's the catch?

Well - as with every piece of golf equipment if you develop it in one direction you lose a little in another direction. For example, game improvement irons add consistency but reduce feel, whereas tour level irons add feel but lack forgiveness.

In the same way, distance golf balls maximize distance but do so by reducing spin and hence feel, control and shotmaking abilities. In contrast tour golf balls focus on feel but will produce less distance unless you have a faster swing, something most beginner and progressing golfers do not have.

Research is thus critical and the best place to start is with either our distance ball reviews or tour ball reviews which will walk you through the different balls currently available on the market.

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Distance Golf Ball Comparison