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How To Select The Right Golf Ball For Maximum Distance

Whether you're a serious golfer or you just play for fun, the choice of which golf ball to use is important. In particular, if you're looking to add distance to your shots – and who isn't? – selecting the right ball may be your answer. If your ball can help you gain extra distance off the tee, for example, then you can use a more lofted club for your second shots on par-4 and par-5 holes. Those higher-lofted clubs are more accurate and easier to hit, so your chances for success increase.

Dimples for Distance and Spin

The dimples on a golf ball's surface are the key to a longer ball flight. All else being equal, a dimpled ball would travel about twice the distance of a ball with a smooth surface. The dimples create aerodynamic lift, similar to that of an airplane wing. All of today's golf balls have dimples, but the size, shape and pattern of those dimples can be different, and those variations will make the ball react differently when it's in flight. Balls are typically labeled as low, medium or high spin.

If you have no trouble getting the ball in the air, and you don't tend to hit hooks or slices, select a high-spin ball to achieve the maximum distance. If you do tend to hook or slice, a high-spin ball will still carry farther in the air when you hit it, but it will also exaggerate hooks and slices. In this case, a low-spin ball, which rolls farther after landing, will put you closer to the green, because it'll travel a straighter path.

Basic Construction

Golf balls look pretty much the same on the surface, but they're very different on the inside. If you go to a driving range, for example, you'll probably be hitting balls constructed entirely of Surlyn, known as one-piece balls. Go to a golf shop, however, and you'll find two-piece balls, with a solid, rubbery core beneath the cover, as well as balls with as many as four layers below its skin. For pure distance, however, select a two-piece ball. It's harder to hit intentional fades and draws with the two-piece ball, but the ball will travel farther than its more complicated counterparts.


If you could see a photo of a golf ball at the moment of impact by a club, you'd see the surface pressed in toward the ball's center at the point where it's struck. This is known as the ball's compression. Some balls are harder to compress than others, and are labeled as "high-compression" balls. Most golfers interested in gaining the maximum distance, however, should use a low-compression ball. Only the very best players, with fast swing speeds, will benefit from a high-compression ball.