One, two, three piece golf balls
28 March 2011
So let’s first look at a few design principles of golf balls and there are three main types; solid one-piece, two-piece and three or more piece.
Two, three and four peiece golf balls
One-piece golf balls
The first category, solid or one-piece, can be dispensed with fairly quickly. Hitting them is like thumping a stone, they give virtually no ‘feel’ or feedback through your hands and they’re only likely to be found at cheap driving ranges. Don’t bother putting them in your bag, no matter what type of golfer you are.
Two-piece golf balls
Two-piece golf balls are a different proposition altogether and at the simplest level can be regarded as the balls that will give you the most distance – they’re certainly the ones that even big-hitting pros will use when they take part in long-driving competitions. They are constructed, as the name suggests, in two parts – a core and a cover – but here comes the really good news; not only are they better suited to the great majority of golfers but, because of the comparative simplicity of their design, they are cheaper.
Every part of golf ball design is a trade-off. To get more distance you need a two-piece ball with a fairly hard cover because this reduces spin, which will in turn reduce your propensity to slice and hook. But when you get to those approach shots around the green and want to be able to manouevre the ball and control it using backspin, for example, it is less easy to do. This is why Tour pros don’t use two-piece balls – they hit the ball far enough to be able to sacrifice a bit of distance from the tee and fairway, and want the feel of a softer-coated ball for greater control around and on the green.
Three-piece or more golf balls
Three or more piece balls sit at the top-end of the market and there are almost limitless subtleties of design. The premier balls, of the sort used by Tour pros, can have a core that is soft or firm, a responsive middle, or mantle, layer and a soft cover, usually made of urethane that gives the pro the control he needs. They are typically for golfers with higher swing speeds, which themselves generate more spin. Adding extra mantle layers allows manufacturers to help the best golfers get optimum performance across a wider range of clubs. The sophistication of their design, and the materials used in their construction means that these balls are very expensive but hey, Tour pros don’t pay for their balls so why should they worry?
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