Should you play some type of golf ball?


Welcome to Gear Questions You’re Afraid to Ask, a series produced in partnership with Cleveland/Srixon Golf. In this edition, we take a look at whether or not it makes sense to swap out a different golf ball model from time to time.

I use the same ball whenever and wherever I play. Is it a good idea? – Jeff C., Michigan

Let’s start with some good news. Most of us can use the golf balls we want, when we want. We are even allowed to change golf balls during a round as long as the one ball rule is not in effect. By the way, the one ball rule happens to be a “local rule”, which means that it is up to your local tournament committee to decide whether or not you can change your golf balls, or whether you must use the same balloon pattern throughout the round.

Having the freedom to choose a different golf ball whenever you want is definitely a good thing, but it’s not always the right thing. Let’s look at a few cases where it might make sense to change things up, as well as some reasons to stick with what you have.

Switch It Up: No two classes are the same

If you play in drastically different conditions from course to course, sometimes it makes sense to switch golf balls. Maybe you occasionally play a course with softer than normal greens and prefer less spin and more distance off the tee and from the fairway. Or, things could be reversed: the occasional links-style course you’re playing has nothing to do with your home course, and its harder fairways and even firmer greens put the emphasis on playing. have more spin. Remember that different golf balls will react differently depending on where you are playing.

Set it up: wind

When facing windy conditions, you generally want to keep the ball lower and play one that spins less in the air. You may find a ball with a similar spin on the green (relative to your player) that, at the same time, spins less off the tee. Srixon’s Z-STAR and Z-STAR XV are great examples of two golf balls that have spin speeds very close to short shots, but the XV produces a considerably flatter trajectory with the driver. Or maybe you want a little more trajectory in less than ideal conditions from the fairway? The Z-STAR DIAMOND could be the ticket. The thing is, the three models in the Z-STAR line have subtle differences in flight/spin characteristics, but feel comfortably similar from one to the other. This makes it easier to change without opting for a completely different ball with a vastly different feel and performance. Golf ball manufacturers know that we have these kinds of needs, which is why you will often find two or more models in the same range of balls.

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Srixon Z-Star Golf Balls


Srixon’s Z-STAR and Z-STAR XV are great examples of two golf balls that have very close spin rates, but the XV produces a considerably flatter trajectory with the driver.


Change it: you can’t see it

Ball manufacturers offer many of their golf balls not just in white, but in multiple colors, patterns, and sometimes with built-in alignment aids. Trying a different color can be refreshing on the eyes, but it also makes sense depending on the weather conditions. Yellow/orange golf balls are easier to see in cloudy or hazy conditions, and some golf balls have uniquely designed optics to improve your focus and improve your putt.

Change it: there is fuel left in the tank

Unless you have access to a launch monitor and can hit a variety of golf balls on the golf course, you probably won’t know what you don’t know about the performance of other golf balls. That’s why we’re such big proponents and fans of golf ball fittings. It’s a quick (and sometimes free) way to see how different golf balls react on the face with all your clubs. It won’t take long to see if you’re shorting your driver a few yards and/or generating too much/too little spin with your short shots.

The new Srixon Z-Star Diamond golf ball from Brooks Koepka.

FIRST LOOK: Srixon’s new Z-Star Diamond golf ball (used by Brooks Koepka)


Andrew Tursky

Switch It Up: It’s time to change

Using the same ball because you are too stubborn to try something new/better is not a good idea. This is especially true if you have upgraded other clubs in your bag. A new wedge, irons, woods, etc. warrants at least consideration for a new golf ball in order to get the most out of the new technology you have just acquired.

Tour players sometimes switch golf balls depending on their equipment and on rare occasions switch to a softer/firmer golf ball depending on where they play. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s not uncommon. For the rest of us, it’s generally good to have an open mind and try out different golf balls, if only to see how each one works for you, is definitely worth the effort.

Stick to it: you play better knowing what to expect

There’s something about familiarity that tends to make some of us play better. When it comes to golf balls, it’s easy to stick to one model, because in reality, you’re not going to use the exactly the same ball every time you play. You can start with a new iteration of the ball you apparently want as often as you want – this is not something we can do with our clubs which eventually wear out, get damaged or in some cases , becoming obsolete in the face of new technologies. With golf balls, it’s possible to stick with what you love because you know how the ball reacts, how far it flies and how much it spins. These factors alone have allowed many of us to play the same ball for years.

Stick to it: you lose a lot of balls

This is only true if you are already playing cheap golf balls. Why change and pay more for something else? If you’re not playing a cheap ball and losing a lot every time you play, stop what you’re doing and go for something easier on the wallet. As a rule of thumb, if you lose more than one inning per game, it’s probably not the golf ball that’s the problem, it’s you. Consider booking a lesson before shelling out hundreds of dollars for premium golf balls every year. Plus, as a bonus, sometimes opting for a golf ball that you’re not afraid to lose will end up helping you play with a little more confidence. And with more confidence, there are usually more good shots than bad, no matter what ball you use.

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