Soft golf balls are different from hard golf balls differing in several characteristics, design, behavior, and usage. The definition is tricky and confusing, making most people ask what exactly is a soft golf ball. Here’s the answer.
Soft golf balls have a lower compression that helps achieve softness in them as compared to a hard golf ball. The lower compression causes a changed behavior upon hitting, requiring additional force to hit the ball.
This article has everything related to soft golf balls as a beginner. It covers advanced details, so please follow it until the end.
What’s A Soft Golf Ball?
A soft golf ball may further be soft or extra soft. The level of compression makes all the difference.
Soft golf balls have a more delicate touch and feel. Hitting or pressing the ball leads to higher deformation; that’s the primary reason for a different feel. The amount of deformation is governed by the compression level. The expected compression level of a soft golf ball is 70%.
The prices reduce with the increased softness of a golf ball. Below are the categories of a soft golf ball:
- PGA Tour Soft Golf Balls
- Non-tour Urethane Soft Golf Balls
- Premium Ionomer Soft Golf Balls
- Cheap Ionomer Soft Golf Balls
PGA Tour Soft Golf Balls
These balls are either played with during the PGA tour and or meet the PGA criteria. They are covered with Urethane that makes them expensive. Any urethane-covered ball feels softer than its actual compression.
Non-tour Urethane Soft Golf Balls
Balls falling in this category have a compression range of 70%- 80%. These balls are slightly softer than PGA tour soft golf balls, hence not preferred during PGA tours. As the name suggests, the outer covering is Urethane that adds to their firmness. These types of balls are still little expensive ones.
Premium Ionomer Soft Golf Balls
The absence of Urethane makes these balls softer and cheaper. They’re covered in an Ionomer cover that makes it extra soft. Golfers will experience a reduced spin in these balls.
Cheap Ionomer Soft Golf Balls
These are the softest balls a golfer can demand. In addition to softness, they’re highly inexpensive, making them suited for a beginner to begin. Casual practice games are best played with these balls due to low prices. The compression level is below 60%. Players will experience a change in velocity upon hitting.
Soft Balls: General Guide
Until the 1990s, golf balls were just hard balls with a compression level of 90% or 100%. With the starting of the 21st century, soft balls flooded the market.
How Are Soft Golf Balls Made?
A change in manufacturing process and materials have enabled manufacturers to produce soft balls. The new technique aims to keep the core soft while keeping the outer shell hard, helping retain the speed. Soft golf balls are a package of several layers sealed on top of another.
What is Golf Ball Compression?
Every golf ball is categorized by its compression level, where hard balls are those with a compression level of 80%- 100%. Going below makes a ball softer, where the most delicate golf balls have a compression level of 60%. Anything below makes the balls unfit for playing.
The compression of a ball is slightly tricky to understand. A ball’s compression is measured as a whole. What does that mean? For example, two balls, one with a soft core and hard cover and another with a very soft core and a hard shell, can have the same compression level. Interestingly, the behavior of both the balls will be completely different due to differences in their manufacturing techniques.
Compression defines the deformation of a ball. Hitting a soft ball with the club will deform it more than a hard ball, and that’s where the importance of compression comes into action. The compression defines how tightly all the layers are sealed together.
How To Decide If The Ball Is Soft?
Manufacturers give a compression rating to each ball, defining their compression. However, players and other people decide the compression differently. Most golfers would hit the ball with their club and determine if the ball is hard or soft. Doing so helps players decide whether or not they want to play with that ball.
A ball with a soft cover will feel softer when pressed with the fingers. Moreover, a ball with a soft core and hard cover will feel softer when driven with the club.
- No matter how perfectly you hit, they will always struggle to give a spin.
- A golfer needs to hit a soft ball longer and straightforward from the tee. They should have more sideward spin than backward spin.
- Since a soft ball has a feature of less spin, you’ll have reduced control over them in greens making it challenging to put in the hole.
- They feel softer in a putter face angle.
- A soft ball will experience a fall in speed if the swing speed is 95mph or more. The reason is that the soft ball deforms more than a hard ball, which adversely affects its aerodynamics and causes it to lose energy, leading to reduced speed.
- Some opinions suggest lacking spin can help retain the speed.
Choosing The Right Ball
Despite several issues with a soft ball, it’s best suited for players with low swing speeds as the ball will cover more distance. Moreover, based on how you want the ball to react in the greens, you may or may not choose a soft ball.
Soft Ball Vs. Hard Ball: Differences
This section covers some differences between soft and hard golf balls.
Touch and Feel
Soft golf balls feel softer when hit with the club. Hard golf balls feel like hitting a pebble.
Spin Vs. Speed
Soft balls are designed to cover more distance when in the air. Once it touches the ground, it’ll lose all its speed immediately. On the other hand, hard balls will surely cover more distance in the air but will not lose much momentum even after hitting the ground and will continue to roll further. Overall, a hard ball will cover more distance.
Soft balls are much cheaper than hard balls. However, they’re not used in PGA tours.
Soft balls are more forgiving than hard balls. What does that mean? Most people fail to hit the center face of the ball. If hit on the sides, a soft ball helps reduce the speed lost due to inefficient hitting. As a result, the ball will still travel farther away. It’s relatively easier to hit a soft golf ball higher than a hard ball. Height is much needed in golf.
Hard ball, on the other hand, if miss-hit, will lose speed. Therefore, it becomes challenging to hit the ball far away when playing with a hard ball.
Research says that most amateur golfers are far from perfect launch conditions. Soft balls help diminish the difference and help achieve a better launch. Even for a pro golfer, it’s challenging to achieve an ideal launch. Moreover, soft balls eliminate excess spin on every shot (if miss-hit).
Hard balls make it harder even for experienced golfers to launch the ball properly from the tee.
Soft balls offer consistency, soft touch and feel, and distance. They help golfers enjoy more than with a hard ball.
Do Soft Balls Go Further?
Usually, the control of a ball is governed by the number of dimples on it. Though there’s no difference in the number of dimples in hard and soft balls, soft golf balls will still achieve higher hang time (air time) but will lose the velocity once it hits the ground. The expected length covered when rolling on the ground is very low. Upon hitting the ball with your club, the kinetic energy moves from your arms to the club, reaching the ball’s core. The soft core eases the flow of kinetic energy in the ball, leading to improved speed.
Consider buying golf balls (hard and soft balls) of the top brands below:
Considering Handicap in Soft Balls
Based on your handicap, the ball selection will differ. A person with a handicap of 12 should avoid playing with a hard ball. Opt for a soft ball instead. That’s because soft balls are more forgiving, much needed by a handicapped player. If the handicap is two or near to two, playing with a hard ball is suggested.
Best Soft Golf Balls In The Market
This section talks about some top-notch soft golf balls along with their features in brief.
- Callaway Supersoft Ball
These balls are primarily designed for fast swingers who seek soft touch and feel. It houses a hybrid cover meant to increase the distance covered by the ball while providing high durability. The durability doesn’t sacrifice the soft touch. The ball features HEX aerodynamics to handle drag, resulting in an improved lift to launch the ball conveniently.
- Srixon Soft Feel
The design features a thin cover aiming to enhance the greenside feel and spin. Hitting very hard with the club may give an extra soft feeling to pro golfers. The ball is capable of retaining the coverable distance at average swing speeds. The deformation reverses quickly. There are 338 dimples on these balls that aid aerodynamics, allowing the ball to cut through the wind hassle-free.
- Titleist Tour Soft Golf Ball
Impressive features include amazing hang time during windy conditions. The appearance is a brighter finish, making it more appealing over other balls. The cover is non-urethane, making it unfit for a short-game spin. This ball uses an ultra-thin 4CE grafted cover with a large core to deliver increased distance and better short-game spin.
- Taylormade Soft Response
You can expect fantastic flights even in windy conditions. There are shallow U-shaped dimples that aid drag while increasing the lift for longer air time. The spin control is quite limited, though. People looking for a cheaper soft golf ball should consider this because of the soft touch. Consider this ball to be an all-rounder, meaning you can play with it in almost any weather condition.
- Wilson Duo Soft+
It has an ultra-low compression of 36 that makes the ball perfect for modest swing speeds. The core is designed so that it aids distance coverage, allowing the ball to travel far away. There’s a Surlyn cover on the ball that can feel slightly harder when playing in the greens. It’s assumed to be the softest two-piece ball that money can buy (according to Wilson). For straighter shots, the low-spin feature will soften the golfer’s hook and slice shot.
- Srixon Ultisoft
That’ll give you a great feel off the face and while playing on the greens. Its design is preferable for low and average swing speeds. Although, the results will be astonishing at faster speeds as well. This ball has an outer cover made of Urethane that will make it roll more on the green. This version by Srixon is their lowest compression ball range resulting in ultra-soft touch and feel.
- Honma TW-S
These balls are specifically designed for swing speeds of 85mph. The ball can retain its performance even in windy conditions. The problem with these balls is that some golfers will find it challenging to launch the ball higher. These balls are capable of giving a higher spin when launched lower.
- Inesis Soft 500
The compression is very low, easing slow swinger golfers to transfer the energy to the ball. You’ll find these balls at the most competitive prices. It’s best for beginners who don’t want to spend much money on golf balls for practice. These balls have a moderate to low grip in the greens. The slow swingers will find it easier to cover more distance per shot. You’ll get these balls in various vivid pink, orange, white, yellow, matte, and standard finishes.
- Volvik Power
These balls give outstanding performance when launched mid-high with a driver. The vibrant color makes it easier for golfers to spot the ball from far away. Some golfers may find the cover too hard when playing on the greens. These balls are very cheap, hence becoming a preferred choice for newbies. There’s an oversized power core in this ball that aids high speed. Due to the very soft ionomer cover, you’ll be able to control the ball in the greens.
- Pinnacle Soft Golf Ball
Golfers are going to achieve distance while playing with drivers or irons. The new generation Pinnacle soft golf balls are very soft as compared to their predecessors. No matter what club you use, you’ll be able to generate lots of energy, thanks to the high-energy core.
Most Forgiving Golf Balls (Best Balls For Handicappers)
As stated previously, handicappers may find it uncomfortable when playing with hard balls. Therefore, it’s better to choose the most forgiving balls that are best-suited for handicappers. But before proceeding, let’s find out what exactly is meant by most forgiving golf balls. Here’s the answer.
A forgiving golf ball has the following characteristics-
i) ability to fly more straightforward and longer than a standard ball
ii) ability to complement the game, and;
iii) help the golfer par holes or consume the least extra strokes.
Any ball’s performance is governed by factors including how the ball comes in contact with the club, choice of club, ball’s design, and swing speed. Below are some of the most forgiving balls in the golf world.
- Taylormade Project (a)
The ball was designed for amateur golfers. It’s capable of covering a more significant distance and giving a good performance in a short game. These balls cost US$20- US$30 per dozen and are made of 3 pieces. Many golfers have accepted that this is the best ball they’ve played with amongst golf balls. They can hit longer and more straightforward, and the touch and feel are better than most balls.
- Bridgestone e6
The performance will be consistent, and you can buy these balls for US$20- US$23 per dozen. They’ll increase your average coverable distance and will forgive your miss-hit on left and right. You’ll get white and yellow colored variants and are made of 2 pieces. Some golfers believe these balls are worth every penny, their feel is incredible, and the ball flies straighter.
- Callaway Supersoft Ball
The price per dozen is US$18- US$23, and these balls are made of 2 pieces. More details are already covered above.
- Srixon Soft Feel
Made of 2 pieces, these balls are priced at US$20- US$23 per dozen. Find more details above.
- Titleist Tour Soft
One dozen balls cost US$35 that’s made of 2 pieces. We’ve covered the details above.
- Bridgestone e6 Lady Golf Balls (For Women)
You can get a 12 golf balls pack for US$ 21.95 that’s made of 2 pieces. These balls are pink colored and designed to achieve better consistency and aerodynamics, hence preferred for the ladies. You’ll be forgiven for off-center hits while getting a softer feel. Women who have a weaker swing can compete against competitors with stronger swings when playing with these balls. Many women golfers have agreed that these balls do make a difference and they the balls have helped improve their performance on the course.
Which One To Choose?
The choice varies on in demands. IF you’re looking for a budget-friendly ball, go for Srixon Soft Feel, which is priced at US$19 per dozen. Choosing cheaper balls for a newcomer is recommended since they’ll be losing several balls in every game. Titleist Tour Soft golf ball is another more inexpensive option.
Any 2-piece ball will give you a very soft touch and feel. Srixon Soft Feel, Bridgestone e6, and Titleist Tour Soft are some impressive 2-piece golf balls.
You might consider going for 3-piece balls are they’re more durable than 2-piece balls. Good options include Taylormade Project and Bridgestone e7.
Soft Golf Balls: Advanced Guide
Let’s proceed to the advanced guide to soft golf balls.
Types Of Low Compression Balls
The purpose of these balls is to cover more distance with the same energy. These balls experience reduced spin, helping avoid slice shots. Novice players find these balls suited due to the possibility of sending the ball far away from the tee in every shot.
Although these balls can’t cover much distance as two-piece balls, the golfers will find it easier to control in the greens. Players looking for increased spin and are willing to compromise on the length usually prefer three-piece balls. You may play with these balls if your swing is slow.
Urethane Low Compression
People seeking increased control over the shots with a slow swing speed prefer these balls. Unfortunately, balls with a urethane cover are costly, becoming unsuited for beginners and players with a higher handicap.
Disadvantages of Low Compression Golf Balls
Soft balls can accompany more shots that you’ll find impossible to play with a hard ball. Significant benefits are the distance coverage and tempting soft touch, which we’ve already talked about above. Let’s focus on some drawbacks of soft balls.
Most pro golfers find it uncomfortable when hitting a soft ball with the club, especially men. Moreover, people who’ve mostly played with a hard ball will find it difficult to adjust to a soft ball’s different touch and feel. Soft balls can build up more spin, which becomes unappealing for some players. Excessive spin results in speed loss. Some balls don’t perform so well in different weather conditions.
Difficulty in Controlling
The softer touch makes players challenging to feel the impact, resulting in inefficient handling. This issue is common to players who’ve primarily played with a hard ball. The difficulty in controlling the ball becomes a mess when playing in the green.
Who Should Opt For Soft Balls?
What types of people should play golf with a soft ball?
Soft golf balls are preferred for players with low swing speeds, senior golfers, women, players with a high handicap value, beginners, and creative short game players.
Let’s see why these people should use a soft ball.
Short Game Players
People playing short games and creative golfers should use soft balls because it’ll help them perform various shots and strokes. Moreover, the short game demands increased control over the ball. Short game players will find it very easy to stop the ball quickly, which is much needed in a short game.
Soft balls are forgiving, hence recommended for every beginner. However, they will struggle to control the ball on the greens.
Players With Slow Swing Speeds
These players will manage to send the ball far away despite their slow speed. The soft core will give a bouncer, allowing energy to flow efficiently throughout the ball.
The old body of senior players doesn’t allow them to transfer higher energy loads into the balls. Moreover, older people lack accuracy, and a soft ball will be forgiving for them. These players also have a slow swing speed, all thanks to their aging bodies.
Soft Balls Vs. Weather
The weather highly affects the performance of a soft ball. In winters or cold weather conditions, the soft ball won’t travel far. That’s because the cold weather makes the soft core compress, making it hard. Moreover, the cold air is much denser than warm air, making it harder for the ball to cut through the compressed air (higher density causes the air molecules to compress). The solution to this problem is using a softer ball than you’d use on a warmer day.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Should I Go For A Low Compression Ball?
Despite so many disadvantages, there’s still a green light for soft balls.
Are soft golf balls suitable for beginners?
Yes, they have slow swing speed, making it easier for them to play with a soft ball. They can also prefer used soft balls, provided that they’re in good condition.
Should high handicappers use soft balls?
Handicappers have more chances of miss-hits. Hence a soft ball will make it easier for them to aim. Performing a straight shot is possible for handicappers when playing with a soft ball.
What’s the best golf ball for a swing speed of 85?
Taylormade tour response is considered the best for a swing speed of 85. It’s a level 70 compression ball that helps achieve distance while giving a tempting feel. This ball is affordable, provides lots of spin in the greens, and comprises three pieces. The only drawback with these balls is that there are only two color variants available.
By the end of this article, we covered a general and advanced guide to soft golf balls. We also discussed some best soft golf balls their brands, features, advantages, and disadvantages. Please remember that choosing the right golf ball is highly recommended if you want to enjoy the game.
Responsive balls are otherwise called soft balls. Golf balls have 338- 500 dimples. The ball’s design will vary from one manufacturer to another.