Over time, golf balls have had different incarnations. During the earlier stages in the development of the game, the wooden ball and the featherie were the types used. After those came the gutta-percha ball and the rubber Haskell golf ball. After these came the variants made of synthetic resin and mixed urethane, which is how we know golf balls today.
Aside from these historical types, balls can also be classified into three basic types:
the two-piece golf ball, the three-piece golf ball, and the four-piece golf ball. While classification and comparison through brands might be popular, it is necessary to study these basic types first. Note also that these are standard classifications even across different brands.
The two-piece golf ball is also called the traditional ball.
This is made of one inner core and an outer shell for covering. This is the hardest type in terms of the material used, and it produces less spin. Because of the lessened spin, it is consequently less sensitive to miscues when hitting the ball.
The traditional golf ball also works well even with slower swing speeds. Because of all these factors, it is ideal for use by beginners and players with high handicaps. It gives you decent distance for your swing, reduced spin, and fewer hooks and slices in-game. The two-piece golf ball is also the cheapest, making it highly attractive for beginners who tend to lose a lot of balls as they develop their game.
The next basic type is the three-piece golf ball.
This is made of a solid inner core, an outer core made of plastic-like material, and a shell made from soft balata, which is sap from a tree. Also called the professional golf ball, it has a softer feel than the previous type, especially when hit. It also produces more spin, making it attractive for serious amateurs and players who have consistent swings. These characteristics translate into better control over distance in direction, but a trade-off has to be made in terms of spin. The high spin rate makes three-piece golf balls highly sensitive to mishits. This is also more expensive than the traditional two-piece type.
The last type is the four-piece golf ball.
These golf balls are the newest in the industry. Also called the tour ball, it is made of multiple layers of different materials. You can choose balls which use different materials for the different layers. This means you can pick one which uses material that is fully tailored to make the ball play up to your strengths and offset your weaknesses. It provides longer distances, more spin when attempting approach shots, and better gameplay on the green. However, this is the most expensive type. It also requires a high swing speed that you often only see done by pro players. Because of this, the four-piece type is usually used only by professional golfers and serious amateurs who have lots of cash.
If you don’t want to settle for the two-piece type, you can always buy used three-piece or four-piece types in bulk. The only problem is finding these balls and verifying that they are actually multilayer types. In fact, buying used golf balls in bulk is the logical choice for any beginner.
The idea behind any sport is that the longer you play, the better you become. Slowly shift from the two-piece types and then as your game develops, make changes in ball choice accordingly. If you are convinced you need three-piece or four-piece balls for your game, try hitting several of these on the tee to see if they really suit you. As you choose, remember that the two-piece golf ball is made for distance, while the multi-layered types generally focus more on spin.
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