Golf Ball Compression Explained

Titleist Golf Ball
Contents

If you’re like so many golfers, you’ve likely asked yourself, “What compression golf ball should I use?”

It’s a great question to ask because your golf ball plays a pivotal role in helping you reach your potential in this complicated game. So many players just grab any ball off the shelf (or that they find on the course) and wonder why their shots vary so often. 

Once you learn about golf ball compression and how it affects distance and spin, it becomes a lot more clear. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about compression so you can start using the ball that is suited for your swing. It should lead to lower scores, more distance, and better feel from tee to green. 

Golf Ball Compression 101 – What You Need to Know

Golfers have a tendency to make things overly complicated (I’m guilty myself). Probably because the swing itself is complex and it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole when making changes in your game. Not to mention when you’re buying new clubs, balls, and training aids in hopes to improve.

But let’s keep things simple to show your golf ball can affect performance… First off, what is golf ball compression?

Compression is the measurement of how the face of the golf club presses on the ball at impact. 

This measurement is known as a rating and varies greatly between golf balls. For example, some might have a rating of 40, while others might be 75 and some are more than 100. 

As you know, golf is all about power and compressing the club against the ball. Some players on the PGA Tour compress the ball tremendously and create shots that the everyday golfer can’t even imagine. While more recreational players have slower swing speeds and don’t compress the ball as much at impact position.

Essentially, the compression rating gives you a better understanding of if the ball is “firm” or “soft.” 

The lower the rating, the softer it is and usually better for beginners. Firmer golf balls require faster swing speeds to compress the ball and are usually ideal for more advanced golfers. 

Understanding Compression Rating

The range of compression in balls ranges; some of the softest balls on the market are as low as 30, while some harder balls have more than 100 rating. Remember, you need the proper swing speed to make sure you can compress the ball properly at impact. Playing the wrong ball is a death sentence to optimal ball striking. 

For example, if an advanced golfer hits a soft ball, it will create too much compression and rebound. This will actually limit distance and decrease accuracy too. 

Similarly, if a beginner player used a firmer golf ball, they don’t have the swing speed to compress it enough and lose out on tons of distance. This is why it’s so important to play a ball that matches your swing speed.

In general, there are three main types of golf balls; low, medium, and high compression. 

A low compression golf ball has a rating between 30-65. The goal with these types of balls is a soft core that makes it easy to compress, even with a slower swing speed. These balls are ideal for junior golfers, seniors, and beginners who haven’t developed speed yet.

A moderate compression golf ball has a rating of about 66-89. The goal with these types of balls have a firmer core and work great for everyday golfers.

Most golfers in this range need to make a decision on what type of results they want. Meaning, do you want more distance or more control?

If you want more distance, get a ball with slightly less compression. A lower rating makes it easier to compress it at impact, the ball will pop more off the face, and your distance should increase. 

If you want more accuracy in your game, opt for a ball with more compression. Since it has a firmer design, it won’t rebound as much off the face and should help you hit it straighter. 

Finally, a high compression rating is any ball that is over 90. These golf balls are extremely firm and need a lot of speed to compress the ball at impact. These balls are used by experienced golfers, elite amateurs, and professional players who naturally generate more speed and distance.

Related: Want more help increasing your swing speed? Make sure to read our full guide here on the best ways to add swing speed easily. 

Picking Your Golf Ball

Now that you know more about compression, let’s get into buying the right ball. 

The first thing you need to do is measure your swing speed. The easiest way to do this is by using a launch monitor, if you already own one. If not, go to your local golf store and test your swing speed with a driver at the facility. 

Once you have your swing speed, determine which category you fall into. 

  • Low compression: Less than 80 mph
  • Medium compression: Between 80-95 mph
  • High compression: More than 95 mph 

The second thing to consider is the golf ball design. This is something that most players don’t do a ton of research on but also has a big impact on overall performance. The design of each ball ranges from 2-5 pieces. 

  • 2-piece golf balls are a simple design that is ideal for beginners who haven’t developed speed yet. They’re also a lot more affordable which is good for less experienced players who tend to lose more golf balls.
  • 3-piece golf balls have extra performance and control. These are moderately priced and great for most amateur golfers. 
  • 4-piece and 5-piece golf balls are best for more advanced players. These balls tend to cater to the most consistent ball strikers and help from tee to green performance. These are the most expensive balls and are not effective unless a player has plenty of speed to get the most of the ball. 

Once you measure your swing speed and confirm your design, make sure to check out our golf ball compression chart below. We’ll make it as easy as possible to find the right ball for your unique swing and skill level. 

Golf Ball Compression Chart

Golf manufacturers make just about every type of compression to help make the sport easier for any type of golfer. This golf ball compression table will help you better understand some of the most common balls and which type of player would benefit most from using them. 

Ball Compression Ideal swing Speed Golf Ball Design
High 90
Moderate-fast
3-piece
High 100
Fast
4-piece
Medium 80
Moderate
3-piece
Medium 75
Moderate
3-piece
Low 40
Slow
2-piece
Medium 80
Moderate-fast
5-piece
High 100
Fast
5-piece
Medium 70
Moderate
3-piece
High (no specific rating)
Fast
4-piece
Low (no specific rating)
Slow
3-piece
Low
Slow
2-piece
Medium 85
Moderate
3-piece
Medium 75
Moderate
3-piece
Low 65
Slow
3-piece
High (no specific rating)
Fast
4-piece
Low 60
Slow-moderate
3-piece
Low (no specific rating)
Slow
2-piece
High 100
Fast
4-piece
Medium 70
Moderate
3-piece
Medium 75
Moderate
2-piece
High 90
Fast
3-piece
High 90
Fast
3-piece

Do any of these numbers surprise you? Or, are you playing the right golf ball already?

If not, we suggest buying a sleeve of 2-3 options above that match your swing and start testing them out on the golf course. It’s a good idea to test them before buying dozens and declaring them as your new ball of choice.

On the course, make sure to test them for distance, iron spin on approach shots, and short game spin. Plus, other things you might want to consider include:

  • Durability.
  • Golf ball color.
  • Built-in alignment arrows for putting.

Hopefully, you’ll now have the perfect ball to help your game and get the most out of each shot. But please remember if you are actively improving and doing speed training, you might need to upgrade golf balls to not miss out on performance. Trust me, it’s worth the investment! 

Top Questions Regarding Compression in Golf Balls 

Do you have a few extra questions about compression? If so, we’ll do our best to answer them in our top questions section.

Do lower compression golf balls go further?

Lower compression golf balls can go further, but it depends on the player. As outlined above, there are three main classes of compression; low, medium, and high

Casual golfers have a moderate swing speed and fall into the medium compression category. Players in this category can choose a softer ball for more distance or a harder ball for more control. 

This is 100% personal preference. 

Some players know that every yard will make the game easier. While others know they need help avoiding rough, tress, and other hazards on the course and will benefit from a higher compression rating. 

Identify your main golf goal, distance or control, then make your buying decision. 

Does golf ball compression make a difference?

Yes, they do make a difference as ranges vary so much. 

An experienced, high-swinging golfer hitting a firm Pro V1 vs. a soft golf ball will make a difference in distance and control. That’s why it is so important to do your research, test out a variety of balls on the golf course, and play one that matches your swing speed. 

What is the compression of a Pro V1? 

This is a great question to ask because Titleist is one of the most popular ball makers in the golf world. They even claim to be “The number one ball in golf” and the Pro V1 is their top end golf ball. It’s been used for more than a decade by professional and amateur players alike.

There are two types of ball in the Pro V1 lineup; the Pro V1 and the Pro V1X. Let’s break down the two balls to see which one might work better for your swing and ideal shot shape.

Titleist Pro V1 Titleist Pro V1X
Trajectory
Mid-launch
High launch
Long Game Spin
Long Game Spin
High-spin
Overall Feel
Soft
Firm
Short Game Spin
High
High
Short Game Spin
High 90
High 100

What is the compression of Callaway Chrome soft golf balls?

Another top ball in the golf world is the Callaway Chrome soft. It’s quite comparable to the Pro V1 from Titleist and a favorite among skilled amateurs and professional golfers. 

The compression varies based on the model; the Chrome Soft X is a 4-piece design with a high 90 rating. While the Chrome Soft is a 3-piece design with a 75 compression rating. 

Additionally, you might have asked what compression is Callaway Supersoft? This ball is more affordable and made for the everyday golfer. Its compression rating is 40. While the Callaway Superhot is 50. 

Both are affordable and geared toward slower swing speeds. 

What type of ball should female golfers use?

In general, lady golfers do not have as much speed in their swing and should opt for a ball with lower compression rating. This will make it easier to compress the ball, increase distance, and have shorter approach shots into the green. 

Wrapping Up 

Now you should have a much better idea about compression and the role it plays in golf ball performance. Remember, do not just use any old golf ball and “hope” for the best. 

Beginners and golfers who don’t have as much swing speed will benefit from a lower compression ball. They’re usually a 2-piece design so they’re also cheaper and easier to hit longer.

Everyday golfers should use a 3-piece ball that matches their swing speed. While advanced players should use a higher compression ball that matches a faster swing speed. 

To play your best golf on the course, you need a ball that will match your swing speed, desired trajectory, and feel around the greens. Playing a ball with the right compression will make the game of golf a little easier and should lead to lower scores. 

What’s your favorite golf ball? Have you been playing it for quite a while?

Let us know in the comments below! 

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