Do Matte Finish Golf Balls Spin More? (We Find Out)

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In the game of golf, every element that affects golf ball trajectory and distance is crucial. The spin is one of these pivotal elements, and which type of golf balls spin better is an often asked question in golf circles. Whether matte finish golf balls spin more, for example, or we have to trust the classical glossy white balls, we will find out for you.

Some golfers believe that matte finish golf balls spin fast in dry conditions but decrease their spinning capacity in wet conditions.  However, the correct answer to whether matte golf balls spin more is that they do not.  

The argument in support of this definite answer has its roots in the physics of golf. According to the specialists, the core and the cover of the ball determine the spin, which along with the dimples, help achieve distance. According to the physicists, a well-designed core will retain about 80% of the energy launched by the club to ensure an optimal speed and spin of the ball during its flight.  (1)

If we take a look at the best golf balls at the time of writing, for example, we will notice both high-spin and low-spin characteristics among the white and matte finish balls, which once more proves that the color is not a factor.  

Matte finish golf balls have become more and more popular due to their great advantage in high-visibility. It refers to balls’ tracking during the play, but we will pay attention to the factors that affect their spinning, no matter the color.

Golf Ball Spin Introduction

To figure out whether the matte finish or the color affects the spinning motion of the golf ball, we should first research what factors exactly cause the spin. After analyzing the physics of ball spin, we can confirm or deny whether and how matte finish affects the spin. However, if we can not find proof, it would automatically mean that the ball spinning rate is not related to its matte finish.  

According to scientists, golf ball spin physics is based on the interaction between the compression and the cover matter. A high-spin ball acquires more backspin at launch caused by the tight grasp of the clubface slots at the point of contact with the ball surface. The backspin causes a lift that increases the carry distance of the stroke, and at the same time, naturally slows down the energy applied through the ball to achieve a more precise shot. High-spin cover materials are softer to create a better backspin effect, while harder covers prefer long-distance shots, such as driver shots.  (2)

The Structure Of The Ball And The Spin

Many factors affect the game, but we are particularly interested in those who affect the golf ball’s spin. Different golf balls are intended for different categories of golfers and different types of shots that the game of golf comprises.

The structure of every type of ball plays a significant role in its performance. Golf ball structure consists of three essential elements – Core, Cover, and Dimples.

The Core

The center of power for every golf ball is its core. It has an essential impact on the spin rate, initial speed, and compression of the ball.

Golfers with high swing speed prefer balls with compression ratings above 100 because they ensure they drive over 140 feet. Higher swing speed also increases the spin rate. Balls with a compression rate below 90 are appropriate for golfers with low swing speed. (3)

The Cover

The cover plays a significant role in the spin capabilities of the golf ball. Golf manufacturers utilize two basic types of cover for their balls – Surlyn and urethane.

The more rigid and more durable material is Surlyn, which is a type of ionomer pitch. Surlyn is preferred for long shots because it does not create so much backspin. This cover is also recommendable for beginners in golf who need more practice for their shots.

Urethane is the softer between the two covers. The softer material provides higher spin capabilities. This characteristic, on the other hand, ensures a facilitated control of the flight trajectory.  

Advanced golfers prefer urethane balls because it obeys their skills. However, urethane balls are less durable and need replacement quite often.

The Dimples

Dimples are the third essential element of the golf ball structure. Although they are more related to the decreasing drag than the spin, dimples affect the ball trajectory.

The most significant advantage that dimples provide compared with smooth-surface balls is their doubled distance of the flight. Dimples’ size, form, and depth vary according to the manufacturer. The average number of dimples on modern golf balls is between 300 and 400.  (3)

Types Of Golf Balls

There are several types of golf balls according to purpose and mechanics, but we will pay attention only to those who affect the spin. Such are the Tour Performance, Soft Feel, and Distance golf balls.

The Tour Performance is a multi-layer ball designed to improve the control and add extra spin during the stroke. Soft Feel on the opposite reduces the spin due to their low compression. A more rigid cover and a larger core, which also decreases their spin rate, characterize Distance balls.

High-Visibility Golf Balls

After analyzing the primary factors and characteristics that affect the golf ball spin, we can conclude that the matte finish is not among them. Even if we relate the matte finish with the cover, we already found out that the material matters. Then, what is the purpose of the matte finish?  

The matte finish golf balls belong to so-called High-Visibility balls. Lately, all categories of golfers highly prefer these balls but not due to their spin capacity.

High-Visibility golf balls have the same structure and mechanics as other golf balls, but they stand out on the green. Their main advantage is that they absorb the light and glare, do not shine like classical whites, and are easier for the eyes.

Matte finish balls are easy to track on the golf course or in the air, facilitating the localization of every shot. Many golfers mark such balls with their initials or other favorite scars. Below we provide a list of the best golf balls for 2021, where you can note the different characteristics of the balls no matter the finish. (4)


Golf Ball Spin FAQ

Do Soft Golf Balls Spin Less?

Specialists agree that soft golf balls spin less due to their low compression. On the other hand, it means that they will have less backspin and sidespin during the flight. With less spinning effect, they should fly straighter and further.

Should I Use Soft Or Hard Golf Balls?

If you are a beginner in golf, you should use soft golf balls because they are low-compressed and help achieve distance even with slower swing speed. If you are an advanced golfer, you should definitely choose hard golf balls. With higher swing speed, seasoned golfers achieve both carry distance and better control.

Who Makes Matte Finish Golf Balls?

The world leader in the production of matte finish golf balls is Volvik. They produce three and four piece multi-layer high-quality golf balls, appropriate for every category of players. Their product Vivid is the first matte finish golf ball in the world.


  1. 1. Jonathan Wall, et al. “The Ultimate 3-Step Plan to Choosing the Right Golf Ball for Your Game.” Golf, Assessed May 10, 2021
  2. 2. Wikipedia, “Golf Ball.” Wikimedia Foundation,  Assessed May 10, 2021
  3. 3. “How to Buy Golf Balls.” PRO TIPS by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Assessed May 11, 2021
  4. 4. Travers, Peter, and Luke Edwards. “Best Golf Balls 2021: Play Better Golf with the Best Golf Ball.” T3, Assessed May 11, 2021