Golf ball compression – does it matter anymore?

Golf is a game of numbers with many highs and lows, both emotional and figuratively. From counting strokes and measuring swing speed to countless practice periods, with a lot of data to process. However, there is always one number in mind which shouldn’t be pressing on a golfer’s mind. It is the golf balls compression ratings.

Gone were those days of liquid and wound core golf balls when compression rating was vital.  The rule of thumb states that better golf players use high compression rating golf balls to enjoy better control and skill display without necessarily having to panic during a game. Then, compression rating would vary from one ball to another even within the same pack. Golf balls didn’t have the consistency noticed today.

Technological evolution in the design and construction of golf balls has thrown out the usual consideration of a ball’s compression rating when picking a golf ball from the shelf.

 Manufacturers, including the popular brands in golf balls, are successfully rolling out low compression golf balls and making them available to be in use at all levels of golfers.  

Don’t you think it is time to discuss golf ball compression and why its rating number doesn’t matter anymore in golfing?

What is golf ball compression?

Compression describes the process that a golf balls undergoes when being struck with a club during which the ball compresses on impact, interacting with the core, and rebounds off at high speed. A low compression golf ball usually comes less tight to its core and is considered softer than a high compression golf ball that is wound tighter and referred to as being harder. 

The nature of the Golf ball core and the corresponding swing speed isis known to be the factors that come into play with compression. The quicker your swing speed is, the harder you are bound to hit the ball on impact and the more the golf ball compresses. The core represents the nucleus of the ball, which determines its drive after impact. The resulting interaction between the force exerted and the golf ball core may speak volumes about the corresponding distance achieved.

Why, in my opinion, compression rating doesn’t matter anymore

The compression rating of a golf ball is an outdated concept in modern-day golfing due to technological evolution. There is an advanced method used in the ways manufacturers process their materials. Hence, the information that compression rating offers a golfer may not be enough. Explained below are the reasons why I think compression rating doesn’t matter anymore.

  • Advanced Manufacturing Processes Using Modern Materials: Manufacturers rarely disclose golf ball compression ratings in recent years because of the technological evolution that has greeted the golfing world. With new and improved materials, they make golf balls that feel entirely different from what exists before.

Wound ball that golfers used some decades ago feels different in specs, design, and construction to the modern golf balls. Some golf ball exists that shows an 80 on the compression test but feels like 65 or 70, which implies that the rating number doesn’t matter as it used to be. 

  • Compression test: Another reason why I feel that rating number doesn’t matter is the fact that there isn’t a standard compression test. Its different manufacturers with their method of compression test on golf balls. The compression test procedure involves measuring how a golf ball deforms after applying a static load to it. The static load applied is not standard as it is peculiar to each manufacturer. The way they also assign values to compression points during deformation also differs. Such compression test varies with each manufacturer as they cannot be the same across the board.
  • When finding the right ball that helps a golfer get the most out of a game, the golf ball’s firmness, compression, and softness matter; only the rating number has lost its value in recent times. Researching the difference in a golf ball’s rating number doesn’t make a difference to the everyday golfer. They instead prefer to do their picks in the categories of low, medium, and high compression golf balls. Each of these categories has its features and benefits to your game.
  • Low Compression: They are soft golf balls designed with soft cores which compress readily on impact without requiring a hard swing to activate it. They help golfers to maximize distance for slower swing speeds.
  • Medium Compression: These are standard golf balls with an average core in between the nucleus. They are not soft feel balls but not also complex, and this feature offers them a soft spot in the hearts of a large group of golfers. Medium compression golf balls maximize distance for an average swing speed.
  • High Compression: They are firmer golf balls with more intricate cores, reluctant in compression as it takes a more complex swing impact to activate the centers. High swing speeds are required to get a high compression golf ball to a similar distance. 

There reaches a point, which almost everything will either explode, break, or crumble. The matter depends on the amount of force exerted on the object. On the other hand, just before the limit and breaking point, the thing would have received its maximum energy. The top-designed energy is the key to achieving maximum distance from a golf ball. If players apply appropriate and adequate power that matches their swing speed to that golf ball, you are sure to get your desired distance. These secrets are at the fingertips of professional golfers, just that the amateurs and handicappers don’t have the time or money to spend on figuring this out.

In conclusion, it is vital to know and choose a golf ball that possesses that desired feel to respond well to your expected swings. However, getting golf balls in these categories doesn’t have to be challenging than necessary. Just be sure not to get deceived by the compression rating numbers. It is essential to find that ball that matches your swing speed and feels excellent without sweating on reaching your desired shots.

June 29, 2021 — Ben Breckenridge