As your eyes scan over the different brands of golf balls sitting on the counter, you start to scratch your head and whisper to yourself, “what does this gibberish all mean?!” – “..low compression..”, “..high compression..”, “soft/hard”, and all you really want to know is which one works and what will it cost me?
Not to worry, I’m here to help! Today we will look at the golf ball compression chart from a basic level to the advanced, while addressing your burning questions:
- “What is golf ball compression?”
- “Does golf ball compression matter?”
- “How can golf ball compression effect my game?”
- And finally… “what’s the best compression for me?”
Skip the Back 9
No time to waste? Gotcha! Here’s the summary of our findings:
Best Soft Compression Ball
Callaway Super Soft Golf Balls Prior Generation
Best Medium Compression Ball
Wilson Smart Core Golf Balls
Best High Compression/Distance Balls
Vice Pro Plus Golf Balls
Best Ladies Golf Ball
Wilson Staff Fifty Elite Golf Balls
But first, I find it best to see something while trying to understand it, here is what it looks like when an actual golf ball compresses on impact as it hits a steel plate at 150 mph (taken at 40,000 frames / second):
What is Golf Ball Compression?
Simple Physics 101
It’s when the impact of a golf ball into an object forces the ball to transform in shape. This transformation in shape is when the energy transfers from the energy transfers from the impacting object to the ball. Furthermore, the compression ensures this transformation of this energy is a smooth transition from object to ball, so that the ball does not explode on impact.
This technology dates back to the turn of the 19th century when inventors like William Taylor added the now iconic dimple pattern to a Haskell ball in 1905. This addition maximized the ball’s lift while minimizing the drag. 1906 saw T. Saunders launch a pneumatic ball which contained a compressed air core. But unbeknownst at the time, the ball would not handle the hot day’s sun very well and expanded to the point of explosion in heat.
While inventors dabbled with other metal cores it was finally in 1972 that Spalding launched its two piece ball which improved on the Haskell design and brought in the age of compression and the golf ball compression chart.
Does Golf Ball Compression Matter?
Well, to put it simply, it’s all about distance and control. On one end of the scale, you have the low compression ball which will create distance and on the golf ball compression chart are rated between 70-80. On the other end, you have the high compression balls which require striking the ball harder to achieve the same distance, however, they offer the golfer more control over their shot. These balls are normally rated 90+ on that same golf ball compression chart.
How Can Golf Ball Compression Effect My Game?
Quality of Golfer
This really depends on where you place your current game. For beginner to intermediate golfers, a lower compression ball can give you more yardage and thereby shorten the length of the course. Whereas your higher quality golfer is more about precision hitting and will lean towards a hardball to achieve that.
When golfers become serious about their swing, they look to the golf ball compression chart to match their swing speed to the correct compression. A faster swing speed requires a higher compression which will mean the ball will not compress as much and giving the golfer more control over the ball. A slower swing speed golfer should lean towards a lower compression to maximize distance and take advantage of the spring like effect off the club.
Conditions on the Day
Ever accidentally hit a rock with your club? And that numb feeling you get on a cold day when you do? Ouch! Well, hitting a higher compression ball on a super cold day may come close to that. It is advisable to lean towards a lower compression ball if it looks likely to be a chilly day out on the course. Our friend Richard poised this to AskGolfGuru and here’s what he had to say about it:
What’s the Best Compression for me on the Golf Ball Compression Chart?
As always, it depends on who you talk to or who you buy your golf balls from in regards to what the manufacturers’ state about the impact of ball compression on performance. Brands like Wilson or Bridgestone manufacture balls that are custom tailored to a golfer’s skill level and swing speed.
In fact most manufacturers follow suite… except Titleist. As the world’s leading ball maker, they hold some sway in the industry and their party line is that in regards to compression, we just shouldn’t believe the hype, for either pro or amateur. What matters, according to Titleist, is the greenside responsiveness, trajectory, backspin, and accuracy, although many argue these are more marketing terms then alternative theories. Why don’t we take a look for ourselves?
The Softies Breakdown
Callaway Super Soft Golf Balls Prior Generation — CATEGORY WINNER
Introducing to you Callaway’s softest ball!
When it was first introduced back in 2014, Super Soft quickly became Callaway’s bestseller.
These balls feature an ultra-low compression core, which guarantees faster ball speeds and lower spins, resulting in longer and straighter shots.
Callaway’s Super Soft is a two piece ball. Keep in mind that it delivers a high level of accuracy, but players who have higher swing speeds tend to lose some distance with it. So it’s a better choice for golfers who have a low to average swing speed.
If you’re a player in that speed range, you will love Super Soft’s high launch and hang time, as well as low backspin.
Other than that, Super Soft Golf Ball really lives up to its name and feels super soft.
This one is also a very durable golf ball that will last longer than one or two rounds.
You can choose from white, yellow, orange and pink colors.
Bridgestone Golf 2015 e6 Soft Golf Balls Prior Generation
No secret that Bridgestone has been a major player in the golf ball market for a long time. Tiger Woods seems to think so too, as he also uses Bridgestone golf balls on tour.
E6 is designed mostly for amateur golfers with low to average swing speeds.
It’s a three-piece golf ball that is a really great option for those who want to focus on hitting straighter shots, as e6 tends to fly as straight as possible, reducing the prevalence of big slices and hooks.
Basically, it’s an ideal option for golfers who want to avoid sidespin on their tee-shots, but at the same time want to scramble with a really soft golf ball around the green.
However, e6 will be a better fit for higher HCP players. Lower HCP golfers with higher swing speeds that like to shape their shots, as well as add some backspin on the greens, will not benefit from this golf ball.
Srixon Soft Feel Men’s Golf Balls
The 6th version of Srixon’s Soft Feel golf ball offers soft feel combined with control and distance.
It’s a two-piece low compression golf ball: Srixon combined the lower compression with the softer cover and Energetic Growth Core, which is famous for being firm on the outside and soft in the middle.
Just like other golf balls in this category, Srixon’s Soft Feel offers low spin for off the tee shots and reduced spin on low to mid irons. It’s great for players that want to focus on distance as well.
Golfers with slower swings will experience better performance from this ball, and those that fit into the 70-80 mph are more likely to enjoy its full benefits — improved distance, higher launch, and minimal sidespin.
Srixon’s Soft Feel golf ball is designed for mid-to-high HCP players and is a great option for those who want a combination of quality and good price.
Available in white and yellow colors.
Callaway’s Super Soft, Bridgestone’s e6 and Srixon’s Soft Feel — all 3 options come with a low compression rating. All 3 are great for mid-to-high HCP players and all 3 deliver straighter, longer shots.
However, if durability is an important factor for you, note that Callaway’s Super Soft maintains its responsiveness a bit longer than Srixon’s Soft Feel or Bridgestone’s e6.
Also, if you’re looking for a wallet-friendly option, Srixon’s Soft Feel is a winner in this category.
The All Rounders (Medium Compression Balls)
Volvik VIVID Golf Balls
Perhaps the most eye-catching golf ball you can find, Volvik’s VIVID might look familiar to you, as Bubba Watson had it in his golf bag for quite some time.
Volvik is a South Korean based manufacturer that claims to have released the world’s first matte finish ball. And it comes in 7 different colors.
It’s a four-piece golf ball that offers soft feel and distance. It also feels nice around greens and provides enough spin when chipping or putting.
VIVID’s spin levels are somewhat similar to Titleist’s ProV1, but it provides the softer overall feeling.
VIVID is designed for the average golf player that has a slightly faster swing — think 90-100 mph. It’s an ideal choice for mid HCP players that want to add some distance to their game and still feel in control around greens.
Wilson Smart Core Golf Balls — CATEGORY WINNER
Wilson presents its Smart Core golf ball as “the only intelligent distance ball“, and it really sounds like magic, as this one is packed with a smart-core technology, which adapts to your swing speed and delivers great feel and distance.
What it means is that this technology gives more spin on short shots for better control, and produces less spin on long shots for straighter, more accurate shots and distance.
Company added one more innovative feature to it, which helps to minimize the lag and drag of the golf ball.
Smart Core is a two-layer golf ball with mid compression of 85 that is suited for both amateur and professional players.
This golf ball is great for everyday use, as it is designed to last more than a few rounds, and delivers great performance for tee shots, fairways and around the greens.
Comes in a box of 2 dozen.