What is the Difference in Golf Balls? (Fully Explained)

In each sport, competition is increasing gradually, and golf is no exception. Now there are more than 80 million golfers’ population in the world. Impressive? Maybe, but not for golfers. It’s because growing competition hinders their talent and skills.

That’s why most golfers want to improve their game. For that purpose, they do regular practice, exercise and hard work. However, they often overlook the most crucial aspect, and that’s the golf ball. Wondering how a ball can manipulate the game results? Many people don’t know that a simple, white round piece of a golfer’s bag has a big contribution to their victory or loss. But what are the different types of golf balls?

In this article, we will explore what is the difference in golf balls and some information related to their durability and performance.

What is the Difference in Golf Balls?

The golf ball you use makes a world of difference in your game. It’s because each ball contains distinct features that suit individuals’ skill sets. For instance, if you are an aggressive pro, a soft-distance ball would make a great match with your golfing skills. Here’s the difference in golf balls:


In terms of construction, golf balls are categorized into five types. These types mean how many layers or prices are used to craft a golf ball. Here’s a detailed explanation of each one.

One-Layer Golf Ball:

As the name suggests, this ball contains one layer. It is an affordable option in comparison to more-layer balls. Therefore, it provides basic performance.

The one-layer golf ball is best in terms of durability. That’s why you will mostly find it at your local golf equipment store. It gives you a thick feel and provides basic features to support straight drives.

If you don’t want extreme turnovers or spin on the course, one layer ball can be a good and affordable choice. However, if you need a ball for something else, don’t let this type be your companion.

Two-Layer Golf Ball:

The two-layer golf ball is a mixture of a one-layer ball and an additional soft cover. This unique blend offers durability and optimal performance. The ball contains a soft rubber center and outer layer shell usually crafted from Surlyn or Urethane.

A two-layer golf ball promotes durability and spin. It makes the ball ideal for novice golfers who aren’t mastered handling a golf ball.

Three-Layer Golf Ball:

A three-layer golf ball isn’t as durable as a two-layer or one-layer ball, but it doesn’t sacrifice performance. Even on the PGA tour, many golfers choose it to play with. Titleist Pro V1 is one famous example.

The additional layer over two layers is to promote spin and a soft feel. Before a decade, these golf balls made a great reduction in distance. However, advanced technology and R&D of great manufacturers have overcome this downside.

Four-Layer Golf Ball:

As we have seen before, an increased layer has improved performance. But regarding four Layer balls, it isn’t the case. Experienced golfers may notice that an addition of a 4th layer provides great control, accuracy and spin. However, the fact remains unnoticed by most golfers.

Five-layer balls:

The science behind the creation of a five-layer ball is the same as that of four Layer ball. They both differ in only one aspect and that’s spin. A five-layer ball usually has a low compression rating. Therefore, it provides less spin but greater control and precision.

A five-layer ball contains a super soft urethane cover which ensures great distance and speed. The thick core maintains the roughness of the ball while providing a high launch angle.


Golf balls have a big difference in terms of compression. Compression rating is a term that defines how dense a ball is. It also measures the softness or hardness of the ball. If a ball has a low compression rating, the more soft feel it would have and vice versa.

The compression of a ball is closely related to its performance. It’s because it impacts the energy transfer from club to ball. Apart from energy transfer, it also affects the ball’s distance, loft and flight.

There are two main types of golf balls in terms of compression. One is a high-compression ball, and the other is a low-compression ball. A low-compression ball is usually soft and offers more distance. It also has high spin and loft rates. In general, it is ideal for novice golfers, women or senior players.

A high-compression ball typically has a firm feel and does not compress much when it comes in contact with the club. It isn’t better for long distances, but it provides much assistance in terms of control and precision. Thus, they are more suited to aggressive golfers, low handicappers and fast-swing golfers.


One of the most critical aspects of golf balls that make a big difference is the dimple pattern. You may have noticed that different golf gear brands have their own dimple pattern to craft a ball. The main purpose for their presence on a golf ball is that they reduce drag as the ball goes through the air.

On average, a golf ball has a number of dimples ranging from 300 to 500. It depends on how the manufacturer designs the ball, but most balls pros use on PGA and European tours contain 300 to 350 dimples.


By feel, we mean the texture of a ball. It can be of two types, soft or hard. Soft golf balls have a soft cover, while hard golf balls have a firm cover.

The hardball tends to have a firmer rubber core and contains a two-piece layer. It’s a perfect combination of durability and spin. And it beats every other texture in terms of distance.

A hard ball contains a soft rubber core and a soft Urethane cover. It is usually a three, four or five-layer ball. It’s superior in terms of accuracy and control around the green but does not perform well when it comes to distance.


The golf ball’s spin defines how the ball rotates and turns in a direction in the air or after its first touchdown. Let’s break down this aspect into three categories so you can understand more easily.

Low Spin

As the name implies, a low spin ball usually doesn’t rotate much. Even it doesn’t provide high rates of topspin or backspin. One of the apparent reasons for this is a golfer may be less accurate on your shots is the amount of spin. A low spin ball can increase your accuracy as there are fewer chances of the ball turning here and there.


A mid-spin ball is a gap or bridge between low and high-spin golf balls. It usually offers a glimpse from both worlds, which are distance and accuracy. A mid-spin golf ball will provide optimal spin and accuracy. Therefore, it is more suitable for average golfers.

High Spin

You may have guessed a high spin ball produces maximum spin rates. It also promotes longer carry, and that’s an advantage on greens. However, it just lacks accuracy. Therefore, only a pro and experienced golfer can handle it properly.

What Are the Different Types of Golf Balls?

Not all balls are crafted equally. Some are affordable yet offer basic handling features, and that’s perfect for a novice golfer. Others are expensive and offer more technical features that may be difficult to handle for a beginner but not for a pro.

Here are the different types of golf balls available in the market:

Tour Performance

This type of ball is the most expensive option available in the market. They are usually made for low handicap and average golfers. These balls contain 3 to 5 layers and offer optimal distance, speed and spin. However, there are some downsides to this ball. One potential issue is that a slow swing player may struggle to handle it. One particular demonstration includes Titleist Pro V1 and Callaway Chrome Soft.

Tour Value

These balls are usually made from 3 layers and don’t differ much from Tour Performance balls. This type offers value for money, optimal spin and a soft feel. As a result, golfers who don’t want to spend a single penny on their golf balls mostly prefer it. However, its low cost doesn’t drop its value. These balls are often taken by pro golfers on the PGA tour. For instance, Titleist Tour Speed and Taylormade Tour Response.

Straight Distance

This type of ball contains two to three layers. They are typically crafted from a thick core and thin cover. This creative yet performable blend provides a straight distance and high flight. Although it is a cheaper option than tour balls, golfers can not use it in a short game because of its inability to offer wedge spin. For example, Bridgestone E-12 Contact.

Soft Distance

These two to three-layer balls are often a gear in the bag of slow-swing golfers. They usually have low compression ratings and offer more distance and less spin. It will help newbies, average and slow swing golfers to handle the ball without much effort. One such example is the Callaway Super Soft Golf Ball.

How Long Does a Golf Ball last?

In general, a golf ball should last around seven rounds. After that, you will see some damage on the balls, such as scratches and tears. However, if you don’t see any damage on the ball, you can continue to use it until the damage occurs. Still confused?

Don’t worry; for your ease, we have devised a figure that’s more accurate. According to our studies, a golf ball should not last more than 250 hits. And the tear and wear scenario would be the same for it.

A number of golf players like to play with the same ball for as long as possible. It’s because they don’t want to spend a fortune on their golf equipment. However, there are golfers who give priority to their play and change their balls after some time.

Surprisingly, golf balls are prone to wear and tear. If they are used for a long time, you will notice some damage to them. The case is similar if ball storage has not been done properly. Leaving the ball on the shelf or cupboard isn’t a good idea.

Until now, we discussed how long does a ball last when taken into continuous play. But what about the durability of the ball when staying in storage? If a ball is stored at room temperature, it will remain as it is for a long time, even after ten years. But if you put the ball in a freezer or someplace with extremely high or low temperatures, it will lose its performance over time.

Factors That Impact the Durability of Golf Ball

A golf ball has two main components: cover and core. The material from which these balls are crafted has a big contribution to the ball’s durability. Here’s how:

Cover Material

The cover is the outer layer of the golf ball and is responsible for its feel and texture. It is typically made from ionomer or urethane. The ionomer cover is tough, while the urethane one is soft.

The ionomer cover balls are hard, making them ideal for practice on rough terrain. It provides a long distance and flight. One such particular demonstration is the Callaway WarBird.

Urethane balls are easily available in the market. Its latter is thin comparatively, which increases the chances of the dimple being scratched out. Mostly, they contain three, four or five layers.

Premium golf brands such as Callaway and Titleist use Urethane covers to craft new balls. It’s because the shell is durable and robust. And if you buy such a ball in new and fresh condition, it would even last for a few years

Core Material

The core is the inner part of the golf ball. Its main purpose is to handle the ball’s performance, such as spin, flight or loft. Most modern balls contain a polymer core, a material that provides extreme performance. These balls are durable in comparison to the balls made in the past.

A polymer core ball is suitable for all swing-speed players. Their versatility and durability make them a hot favorite among golf pros. However, there are some downsides to this type of ball. One potential issue is that the ball will get permanently damaged if it remains in the water for 12 or more hours. It’s because the water passes through the cover and comes in contact with the core. As a result, the ball starts losing its distance.

Remember, whichever ball you choose, change it after every seven rounds. If you don’t want to spend much on balls, you can keep them longer, but make sure that there is no damage or cut.

When to Change Your Ball?

You should replace your golf ball after every 7 18 hole rounds. It is because the ball will get old and lose its distance. However, you can continue to use it if it doesn’t lose its performance. But how can you do that?

To know whether your ball is still in the condition to be played or not, touch the golf ball. If it’s rough and harder than its original feel, replace it with a new and fresh ball.

Surprisingly, Frederick Waddell, the senior manager of Titleist (ball manufacturing brand), answered that you should not replace a golf ball until you lose it. So should you replace your ball frequently or not?

Frederick may have said this about the particular Titleist-crafted balls. But in general, every golfer should replace a ball after some tear and wear. Even our experts recommend it.

Do Golf Balls Make a Difference for Beginners?

It depends. For instance, if you are using a ball from a professional brand, it is more expensive and superior (in terms of performance). A ball can affect your game negatively if you aren’t familiar with its turnovers.

For a novice golfer, a cheap golf ball should be ideal. It should not have much spin, dimples and speed, which a pro would need. However, the pro also knows how to handle it properly.

How Long Do Golf Balls Last in Water?

When it comes to ball durability, the most overlooked factor is water. The water can pass the cover (if it isn’t waterproof) and damages the core. As a result, the golf ball’s performance will gradually decrease.

After going in the water, the velocity of the ball gets lost in just 48 hours. However, it will lose distance after two to three weeks. If a ball comes in contact with a wet clubface, it wouldn’t have as much effect on its performance.

How Long Are Golf Balls Good For Pros?

It varies from golfer to golfer. Some golfers are so concerned about the play quality that they follow experts’ advice and change their golf balls every seven rounds. Others don’t want to spend much on golf balls, that’s why they use them as long as they can.

In this whole matter, the pros are the same. There is not an accurate figure because different pros have different preferences. Read out the durability factors to understand more.

Frequently Asked Questions – (FAQs)

Wrapping Up

What is the Difference in Golf Balls? We have given a clear insight into this question. A golf ball differs in various aspects, such as construction, feel, spin, the number of dimples, and durability. Knowing each factor can help you to pick one ball that suits your game and budget.

The wrong golf ball can affect your play on the course. That’s why it is important to have the right ball that supports individuals’ skillset. However, it is essential to consider the durability of your picked ball to ensure that your money doesn’t get wasted.

Jake Paul