Golf balls

Like many recreational golfers I have generally been using the cheapest golf balls I can find. Cheapest I could find in Tesco today are 67p per ball. Last year I decided to see if there was any benefit to me in using a more expensive ball, so I bought a dozen of the upper-mid-priced Nike One Vapor[sic] and a dozen of the high-priced Nike One Tour D balls.

There is a noticeable difference between the three in terms of how much backspin you can get on the ball. The Tour D ones spin the most, meaning they stop more rapidly after landing and with wedges into flat greens will stop and reverse direction slightly on landing. The Vapor balls generally go forward after landing, but only by a couple of feet from a wedge shot. The cheap balls go forward several yards whatever club you use.

This means there are targets you cannot reach with the cheap balls that you can easily reach with a Tour ball: if there is a hazard behind and in front of the green you need it to land on the green and stay where it lands. Even if there is not a hazard, a shot that pitches on the green and stops where it lands is a more predictable shot than one which pitches on the fringe and runs the ball up onto the green. You can play both with a Tour D ball, but you can only play the second with a cheap ball.

I am getting a little low on good balls in my bag, so I thought I would see if anyone has done a cross-brand scientific test of which ball spins the most. Happily, Golf Digest have a nice chart of spin rate and launch angle from a standard robotic wedge shot across a range of currently-available balls. On that chart, ball 8 is the Tour D and ball 18 is the Vapor. I would like a bit more spin than the Tour D, so I think I shall go for the Callaway Tour i(s).

Of course there is a downside to having more spin: you cannot hit the ball as far from the tee because it will stop more rapidly. I think this price is well worth paying, as I drop more shots approaching the green than I would drop if I lost 10 yards off the tee.

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