Do golf balls make a difference in play? I have read in both magazines and books that the ball you use doesn’t matter for beginners or high handicappers. I say they are WRONG! Consistent ball flight, spin, distance and roll are crucial to both developing a reliable swing and lowering your handicap. I’ll use my personal experience to prove the point.
When I recently began to pickup the game of golf again, I started with cheap balls ($12-19). I used the TopFlite XLs (RockFlites as they are often referred to) . Being away from the game a while and not having a swing I could rely on, I quite honestly didn’t notice how ridiculously hard these balls really are. Moreover, I didn’t actually believe that there was any real difference in the overwhelming choices in balls in your typical sporting goods store, nor did I believe that you could select a ball that might help improve your game in some way. I only picked the TopFlites because I could reliable buy them in yellow (a good color to play on the frost covered fairways during the winter months in Virginia). Despite my reason for purchasing them, I am convinced that because I was able rely on the distance and roll that using the same ball make provides, I was able to improve my game more quickly than had I jumped around using whatever ball that I could find. I would actually argue that individuals who consistency use the same ball make can adjust to a new unknown ball much more quickly that the bargin bin crowd. After a few holes, the experienced player can adjust to the ball that he is playing. The key here is CONSISTENCY. Golf is a game where consistency is one of the keys to success.
Having said that, the TopFlite XLs are horrible balls. I recently found one on the course while I was playing a practice round and decided to pit it against the new TopFlite D2 Feel. Wow! What a difference in almost every way. Audibly, the XL was loud and made a distinct clank when hit with my Callaway Fusion Irons. Even my wedges seemed to labor to get the ball to the spot I was trying to hit. If a ball can feel “heavier” than another ball, this one is it. The vibration up the shaft actually made me wince off the tee.
On the other hand, the TopFlite D2 Feel with it’s “dimple-in-dimple” (hence D2) technology and significantly softer cover was a very playable ball. I lost an average of 10-15 yards off the tee when compared to my “go to” ball the Callaway HX Hot. But the Hot is not a ball made for feel (though it works just fine around the greens and is still my ball of choice) and the larger amount of compression on s softer cover is going to sap some of the energy generated from the ball strike.
If there were a ball that I wish I could afford playing with all the time, it would be the Callaway HX Tour 56. This is a softer version of their HX Tour ball and is very nice around the greens. However, at an average cost of $40 per dozen, I’ll just have to dream about a making it my “go to” ball.