By Peter Harris
Special to the Valley News
Wednesday, June 10, 2015

What golf ball should I be playing?

This question is like when you’re staring at a menu and asking yourself, “Should I order a filet mignon or a flank steak?” You know you want the premium cut, but can you afford it? And is it really that much better?

It’s the same as asking if we should be playing the premium Titleist ProV1 or the value distance-oriented rock ball because I lose too many and it really doesn’t matter.

When selecting the best golf ball for your game, determine which shot is your most important shot on a par-4. Is it the drive, or is it your approach shot?

For simplicity sake, we’ll categorize golf balls into two categories, high-spin and low-spin. For folks who say the drive is their most important shot, a low-spin ball may be best. With a low-spin ball, your hooks won’t hook as much and your slices won’t slice as much.
You know the saying: A straight shot is a long shot no matter how far it flies. A lower-spin ball will fly straighter for those who hit it crooked.

Lower-handicap players typically use a golf ball that will produce the proper spin rate off the driver for maximum distance, but their ball will also have a softer cover for better feel and higher spin rate with wedges for greater control around the green. For those of us who lack big distance and hit very few par-4s in two shots, the third or fourth shot is your most important shot.

If you‘re faced with 30- to 70-yard shots on almost every hole then a higher-spinning ball is the best for you, not a distance-oriented ball. Just like the lower-handicap player, this player needs a golf ball that will spin more around the greens for green-side performance. A softer and higher-spinning ball will feel better and perform better for your scoring shots.

Now, shouldn’t everyone just play the ProV1? Probably, or something like it. If you don’t lose a bunch of golf balls, the premium balls will deliver the best of both worlds regardless of your ability — longer distance with the driver and better feel and higher spin performance as well get closer to the green. It’s a win-win.

If you lose a few balls a round, there are still plenty of good options. Just make sure they are touting spin more than distance.

So, filet mignon or flank steak? Perhaps give the high-priced ones a try and savor each bite.

Peter Harris is the director of golf at the Fore-U Golf Center in West Lebanon.