There used to be only a handful of companies making womens golf balls. Today at least a dozen manufacturers offer a huge variety of brands labeled “for women”.
Srixon, Callaway, Wilson, Nike, Bridgestone, Taylormade, Precept, Topflite – the list goes on. Names by themselves don’t help. Advertisements promise distance, accuracy and other advantages, but what would you expect.
The labeling on womens golf balls gives you information on how the ball is intended to perform.
What determines the best match between you and your golf ball is your swing speed. Softer, lower compression balls are designed to aid the golfer with a slower swing speed.
Golf balls marketed specifically to women usually have a compression of 76 to 80 pounds per square inch (psi) or less.
Womens golf balls are generally lower compression, two-piece balls with an extra hard or double cover designed to prevent cuts.
Being softer, these balls are supposed to spin less, roll more and be easier to get up in the air. Softer balls perform best when hit at a slower swing speed and are a good choice for all golfers on colder days.
How to choose the “right” ball, however, can be a challenge.
Interestingly enough, golf instructors go into great detail helping you find the ideal equipment for your game and spend hours studying and improving your stance and your playing technique.
They teach you about the rules and nuances of the game. Yet few take any time discussing balls other than to admonish, “Always keep your eye on the ball.”
Heed that advice, however, long before you step up to the tee. Shop for womens golf balls that match your swing speed and buy singles or sleeves of two or three.
Then try this simple test: Take two balls, hold them up to eye level with both at the same distance from the ground, then drop them onto any piece of concrete and watch them bounce.
The ball that springs higher is the one you want.
Notice that even though you drop two balls from the same package, they will not bounce to the identical height.
Now consider this: Translate the few inches difference in the bounce between those two balls and factor it over the 150 to 200 yards the average woman usually hits.
Now take a few of the better bouncing balls out to a course you’re familiar with. Experiment with the balls on different holes and under different conditions such as driving off the tee, fairway shots, chipping, sand shots and putting.
Take notes and try several different balls from the same and different brands. No matter which one you eventually choose, your golf balls should be free of cuts and scuffs, especially the ball you putt with.
Every change in the ball’s surface affects how it rolls, particularly on the green.
So yes, the ball you select does make a difference.
There are a range of differences between the rough, scuffed objects you might find at a garage sale for 50 cents and the most expensive womens golf balls your pro shop promotes.
Remember, though, a player’s skill level has absolutely no meaning to the ball itself.
An excellent article was written in the now defunct GOLF FOR WOMEN by Chuck Stogen in the November 1997 issue. He summarized information and advice when it comes to this complicated subject.
His article described the many different types of balls appropriate for the novice or the pro; for women or men; for juniors or seniors.
Each player must determine her priorities and be aware how different circumstances call for different balls.
What matters most to you? Do you want more bounce or click? Is it easier for you to see colored balls at certain times of the day? The distance the ball gives you? Its price? How it feels? Its name recognition and image? What your friends recommend?
Most experts agree that discriminating golfers tend to choose balls based on how they feel when they hit them.
While weight, texture, compression, flight ballistics, sound, color and other factors surely count, many – beginners, improvers, often even pros – can’t choose one golf ball from another in a blind test, even though there will be differences.
LPGA players, of course, detect differences more readily. On TV, just watch tour players and their caddies study ball as well as club selection!
BUYING Womens Golf Balls
The golf ball is fundamental to a round of golf. With so many different womens golf balls available, how can you know which is best for you?
Like so much else in golf, finding the perfect ball for your individual style of play may involve some trial and error.
But if you adhere to some basic guidelines, you can narrow your search.
These balls have a small liquid or solid core, surrounded by several hundred yards of tightly wound elastic. This is covered with a synthetic material such as soft, rubber-like balata. These balls have a very high spin rate, allowing experienced players to “work the ball.”
These balls are made of a polybutadiene core and a hard Surlyn cover. They produce less spin, which cuts down on hooking, slicing and air resistance.
These balls are fairly new, but already dominate the market. These balls are constructed with a thick core, and a softer, thinner cover. This results in a ball that combines the distance advantages of a two-piece ball, with enhanced spin, control and feel.
These balls are the newest addition to the game. They consist of an inner core surrounded by a second, thinner layer (or cover), topped with a synthetic cover. Each cover is of a different hardness, which provides a better combination of distance and spin.
Compression is simply the measurement of a ball’s hardness. Current compression ratings range from 70 – 110. Although some manufacturers are now releasing balls with a compression of 50 and below. Softer balls sit on the club face a moment longer, allowing for more control. Higher compression balls “explode” off the club face more quickly, maximizing distance.
Dimple patterns can make a big difference. Dimples, the indentations in a golf ball, give it its aerodynamic character. Most golf balls have between 400 and 450 dimples, although it is not uncommon to see a ball with 500 dimples.
Without delving into physics, dimple patterns (the geometric arrangement of the dimples over a golf ball’s surface) vary widely.
Some examples are octahedral, icosahedral and dodecahedral patterns. However impressive they sound, these patterns are not as important as the depth and diameter of the dimples.
Simply put, balls with shallow dimples tend to fly in a shallower arc as they ‘bore in’ toward their destination. Those with deeper dimples fly in a higher arc, creating lift.
Some other things to keep in mind when choosing a ball are its durability, spin rate, and feel.
The spin rate of a ball affects how a player can control the ball. Higher spin rates are preferred by better players, who can control how the ball “bites”, and ultimately where it will rest.
High-handicappers usually prefer balls with lower spin rates, which simplify long shots and are more forgiving.
Finally, the feel of a golf ball is important to many golfers. Softer-feeling balls may offer more control than hard ones.
Once you find a golf ball that performs consistently well, on both your long and short games, stick with it.