Golf ball fitting: Does it make a difference?

GolfMagic readers get custom fitted for Bridgestone golf balls - did it help?

Andy Roberts's picture
Wed, 3 Jun 2015

Golf ball fitting: Does it make a difference?

If you want to make progress with your game this season, you could do worse than opt for a golf-ball fitting. 

With myriad different balls out there to improve everything from short-game spin to distance off the tee, there has never been a better time to find a ball that matches your game. 

We rounded up five GolfMagic readers to put ball fitting to the test with Bridgestone.

Guide: Golf balls - six key things to know

Name: Mark Smith
GolfMagic forum name: Topbanana
Handicap: 5
Normal ball: Titleist Pro V1x
New ball: Bridgestone B330-S

Bridgestone's verdict: Mark hits the ball very straight and controls the club extremely well. The Pro V1 was performing well for him, however he was still generating a bit of side spin.

By going to the B330-S, he compressed the ball more, hit it even straighter and gained more ball speed. Mark’s fitting results show that his ball speed remained the same when he moved to the Bridgestone model, despite a slower clubhead speed, which had dropped on average by 2mph.

Mark's verdict: Looking at my driver data with the B330-S, I could not be more impressed. There is much more efficiency about it. It's got all the green ticks on it, that's for sure.

I feel like I don't have to swing the driver as hard, yet the ball still goes as far as my normal ball. I like a ball that offers low driver spin and feels soft, and the B330-S does exactly that. 

This was my first ball fitting and I would thoroughly recommend it to everyone who has never had one before. The more information club golfers get about equipment can only be good for the game.

Name: Rich Fitzpatrick
GM forum name: richfitz
Handicap: 21
Normal ball: Mizuno D201
New ball: Bridgestone e6

Bridgestone's verdict: Rich was using a Mizuno ball, but our fitting suggests it was too firm for him – the ball was glancing off the face and over spinning, causing him to lose distance.

By fitting him to the e6, he was able to compress the ball more on good strikes as well as on the off-centre ones. In turn, he lowered his driver backspin and side spin which straightened up his ball flight and added distance.

Rich's verdict: The boys from Bridgestone were really informative and the ball fitting itself made me think a lot more about my choice of ball and what I am looking to achieve from it.

I've never really been tied to one golf ball before, but I might be now following my fitting for the Bridgestone e6. I have certainly noticed I am already a lot straighter off the tee, and I am lot more confident in my choice of ball which is helping with my shots.

Around the greens I feel like I have a lot more control, and again, I think the confidence has been restored. I like putting with this ball, too. I like the dual dimple effect and it rolls out well.

As an aside, on our annual golf trip last week I won nine Pro V1 balls which I immediately swapped for e6 balls as they work for me better. 

Name: Tom Frogley
GM forum name: tom-333
Handicap: 15
Normal ball: Callaway HEX Chrome+
New ball: Bridgestone B330

Bridgestone's verdict: Tom strikes the ball nicely and has a very quick clubhead speed. He was getting some good results with his Callaway ball, however the B330 helped provide him with that firmer feel around the greens that he wanted.

And because the compression suits his speed, he is able to compress it better. Tom also gained some consistency off the tee, which will help him in his quest to lower his handicap. 

Tom's verdict: I was totally shocked by my swing speed numbers in the sense of how high my swing speed was and how low my ball speed was. I was not finding the centre of the face, though - hence no gains with the driver. 

The B330 was maintaining similar spin numbers to my Callaway, which is a problem area for me. The fitter explained the optimum launch conditions for me and what the issues were, and we were in agreement the B330 would optimise what I could do.

My new B330 ball seems to maintain the crisp feel that I like on all shots outside of 150 yards, but feels significantly softer on pitches, chips and putting.

But here's the kicker; having spent half an hour on the practice putting green with the B330, I clicked with the softer feel and some resemblance of control has returned to my putter. The ball certainly spins off short irons nicely.

Name: Carey Ashworth
GM forum name: Deceptively Short
Handicap: 5
Normal ball: Titleist Pro V1
New ball: Bridgestone B330-S

Bridgestone's verdict: Carey’s fitting was a little more complex. He hits his current ball (Pro V1) with a high launch and low spin, so although he had a relatively slow swing speed, he was actually suited to a firmer ball that would up his spin rate to gain more distance.

So, by putting the B330-S into action, he was able to get the spin rate up (because it is slightly firmer than our other balls) but also still maintain the same level of spin and control around the green as his Pro V1 because it has a similar Urethane cover.

Carey's verdict: I have regularly played the Pro V1 ball but this ball fitting may have shifted my allegiance following a six-yard gain off the tee with the B330-S. It was nice to increase the ball speed slightly, too. 

I found the day of great help and having discussed it with friends afterwards they all thought the concept of a ball fitting was a great one. 

I've used the new Bridgestone B330-S ball for more than two weeks now and it has been excellent, but as with all these things, a long time test over a variety of different conditions will be the real proof. So far, so good though - great distance and short-game control.

Name: Bill Gibbins
GM forum name: funky2
Handicap: 14
Normal ball: Nike Power Distance
New ball: Bridgestone e6

Bridgestone's verdict: Bill was using a Nike PD Long and the ball was performing well for him. However, by switching to the e6Bill was able to compress the ball more, therefore increasing the energy that goes into the centre of the ball. This in turn increases his ball speed and therefore distance.

Thanks to its softer construction, the e6 will also help Bill with more consistency with the driver and provide extra green side control.

Bill's verdict: I have been a big fan of Nike balls for a while now and they just seem to work for me, but getting fit for the Bridgestone e6 has been a real eye opener.

After playing with the e6 for three rounds, I've enjoyed good consistency with distance and dispersion off the tee.

My irons have been a bit of a mixed bag as I have played very different types of greens each round, so trying to gauge a difference in spin has been difficult to ascertain. Generally I am very happy with my e6 ball as it seems to be quite durable and doesn't scuff up easily. 

To find a Bridgestone Golf Ball Fitting Challenge near you, visit www.bridgestonegolf.co.uk

Ever had a golf ball fitting before? What did you make of it? Share your thoughts in the forum below, on Twitter or on our Facebook page