The Best Golf Ball
Well, maybe not the best for everybody and
maybe it doesn't really make any difference for a mid-handicapper like me
but for some reason I got the idea that the ball I use might make a stroke
or two difference in my game. Let me back up; my swing is so inconsistent
from shot to shot it probably doesn't make much difference what ball I use.
Plus I don't "shape" my shots, I try and hit it straight and when my swing
of the day is veering left or right I'll try to adjust for it and wham, I
get the dreaded straight ball.
But what if a ball existed that was more
forgiving? True I should probably fix my swing but at my age that's probably
not going to happen and frankly I prefer playing to banging balls on the
range day in and day out.
So I searched the web looking for prior
research and there was a ton of it. Sadly it was all over the place; one
study gave ball X high marks and another put it on the bottom. Some used
mechanical equipment, some used human testing and some used a bit of both.
Well, I don't have an "Iron Mike" ball hitting
device and my human testing is comprised of a single person (me) but I found
three balls that fell within my two criteria:
1) Soft feel. I can't stand to hit a hard ball
that's like hitting a rock. I don't like the club feedback with a hard ball
and generally I get too much release and run on approach shots (I cannot put
enough backspin on a ball to "back it up").
2) Less than $20 a dozen. One I don't like the
way expensive balls feel and two I cringe when it comes to a water hazard
and I'm looking down at a $3 ball.
The three likely suspects:
1) Nike Power Distance Soft
2) Precept Laddie Extreme
3) MaxFli RedMax
I picked up a dozen of each at my local
sporting goods store for $15.99, $18.83 and $19.37 respectively.
How I tested. I hit one ball exclusively for 9
holes over three rounds of golf. Everything is purely subjective.
Driver: I didn't noticed any one of the balls
being consistently longer than any of the others. Oh, on some drives one
might be longer than another but then on another hole it would be shorter.
Again my inconsistent swing came into play more than the ball. All of the
balls were fairly straight unlike some high spin balls that tend to fade for
me. By far the Nike felt the best coming off the driver with a pleasing
thunk and the feel of hitting a chunk of soft butter.
Irons: By far the MaxFli was the straightest
ball almost to the point of being scary straight. I consistently put
anything from a nine iron to a wedge within 6 feet of the hole. Oh, there
were a few misses, but most were well inside the 6 foot circle. No question it
was not my swing but the forgiving nature of the MaxFli. All three balls
gave me the same distance.
Putting: I couldn't detect any difference in
the feel of any of the balls. They all seemed to putt about the same both in
results as well as feel.
So based on the results of my iron play I'm
going with the RedMax. I wish it had been the Nike since it's a bit
cheaper but it's just not as forgiving as the MaxFli.
Is the MaxFli RedMax the ball for you? Maybe,
maybe not, but if you're a mid-handicapper I think any of these three would
be worth checking out. If you can't find them locally Golfsmith carries all
three on their
web site. Prices are a bit different than what I paid but in the
ballpark. If you have a regular group you may want to buy a box of each
between you and test that way but even if you don't you'll won't be paying
much more for all three dozen than you would for a box of super premium
I'm sure there's some other ball I could have
included, if you're a mid-handicapper like me and prefer a softer ball and
want to suggest it drop me a line here; I'm always willing to try something else.
Hit 'em long but hit 'em straight! -- Don Watkins