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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Why Spin Rate Matters

Golf Digest posted their 2016 Golf Ball Hot List some time back and I believe I did a post about it, although I don't remember when. But they just did a post specifically about ball testing and what you should look for when you're after a new ball, and I thought the info was interesting.

The new article specifically draws a distinction between feel and performance, and I want to pull out a couple of facts that may help you avoid the seemingly endless tests involved in finding the right ball for your game.

The article notes that there is a measurable difference between the lower- and higher-priced balls. WHY? Because balls are generally designed to spin less and fly higher off the driver... but in the lower-priced balls, they do the same off all the clubs. Higher-priced balls actually behave differently off the irons than off the woods. To quote the article:
Generally, the expensive tour-type balls launched lower (29 degrees or less) and spun more (7,000 rpm or more), while the less expensive balls launched higher (30 degrees or more) and spun less (5,500 rpm or less).
The article says that, on a 50-yard shot, the difference between 5000rpm and 7000rpm can result in being ten feet farther from the hole than you intended -- assuming both shots were launched at the same angle, of course. That's a lot.

The graph below is from the end of the Golf Ball Hot List, but it deserves more attention in light of the info in this new article. If you click the link, then right-click on the graph and choose "View Image," you'll get a larger image that you can actually read.
Spin rate VS Launch angle chart
Now, you don't want to just take the numbers from this chart to choose your ball. But it may help you narrow down the number of balls you need to test, by telling you which balls tended to give the best results within the various price ranges.

The article also gives you a good way to sort through the balls you choose to test: a few holes with balls you like from different price categories, focusing on the shots from 100 yards and in. Whether you notice a difference and how much that difference matters to you should determine what kind of ball you should play. 
Hopefully this Golf Digest article -- and its related links -- will help you find a ball in your price range that gives you better performance around the greens. After all, one good way to improve your putting is to have shorter putts!

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