Golf Equipment 101: Your golf ball’s numbers and why they count

Your choice of golf ball is more important than you may thinkSome may think that it doesn’t matter much, but the choice of ball is critically important to the quality of your game. Before you can make an educated decision on this vital piece of golf equipment, though, you’ll need to know some more about what sets these balls apart.

Ball Compression

The word refers to a golf ball’s particular consistency, and most manufacturers identify this factor with a number that increases by tens from 70 to 110. This element comes into play the instant you hit the ball.

Although you can’t see it with the naked eye, the force of the club causes the ball to flatten temporarily. The degree to which this happens depends on two factors: the ball’s compression and the force with which you hit it. The greater the impact, the more it will flatten.

Why does this matter? If the ball fails to compress, it will feel extremely hard at the moment of contact. The resulting vibration that travels up the shaft will be small potatoes compared to the disappointment you’ll feel when the ball fails to rise in the air.

Swing Speed

When an average woman hits the ball, she will do so with a swing speed of between 65 and 85 miles per hour. That figure ranges from 85 to 100 mph for the average man. Anyone who hits at the higher end of either range will do best with a ball of medium or high compression, while those with a weaker swing will want to go for the lower-compression ball.

As a general guideline, the ball’s compression number should match the player’s swing speed. If the ball should fail to lift correctly, switch to a lower compression.


No, they’re not just for decoration. The golf ball’s dimples play a vital role in determining its travel distance while enhancing not only its ability to spin but also its aptitude for holding onto the green. Without the dimples, it would have a hard time doing either, and its travel distance would badly deteriorate.

Spin Ratio

To put the proper spin on the ball while keeping it on course demands a great degree of skill. That’s why high-handicap players with a tendency to hook and slice will always do better using a ball with a lower spin ratio. Although such a ball might not stop on a dime, it will fly straighter, even when improperly hit.

Making a Decision

You can’t always judge a ball by its cover. The choice of this critical piece of golf equipment will come down to a cross between your handicap and your swing speed. If you’re not sure of either, just swing by one of our Ohio stores and ask one of the experts at Golf HQ. You can also contact us online.