Golf ball technology has come a long way and different balls can now provide a lot of different aspects. One aspect that can confuse amateur golfers is compression, so here's what ball compression actually means and why it's important to understand it when buying new golf balls.
Compression in a golf ball relates to how tightly wound the core threads are. The 'hardest' balls are the ones with the highest compression number, meaning the threads have been wound tight. The 'softer' balls have a core made up of threads that are less tight. So how does a ball react depending on compression?
LOW COMPRESSION GOLF BALLS
A ball with a compression rating of 80 or below is considered to be 'low compression' and these balls travel further that high compression balls due to how soft they are.
This means that when the club face is making contact with the ball, the ball compresses and rebounds off of the face, like a spring. When you watch slow motion golf shots, you see the ball change shape slightly as the club is making contact. What you are seeing is the ball compressing, to then spring off of the club face and travel through the air.
Low compression golf balls are typically used by players struggling for distance. They are harder to control due to how much they compress, so the best golfers tend to stay away from this type of ball.
MEDIUM COMPRESSION GOLF BALLS
Medoum compression golf balls have a rating of around 90 and provide a combination of distance and control and are very popular with amateur and professional golfers.
HIGH COMPRESSION GOLF BALLS
High compression golf balls have a rating of 100 or above and are the hardest balls that are the easiest to control. These are built for players with very fast club speeds who want to maximise control off of the tee.
It's important to think about your own game when buying golf balls as it really can make a huge difference to your round. If you're a beginner or someone with a fairly slow swing speed, then typically you should be looking at low compression golf balls to get the most distance possible.
If you want a solid balance between distance and control, then medium compression golf balls are what you are looking for, but if you have a very fast swing speed and you're trying to bring out your inner Bryson DeChambeau, then take a look at high compression golf balls.