With this article, we want to make sure you know your facts about compression.
With so many options to choose from, it’s easy to choose based on eeny miney mo. But after reading this, you will know exactly what you’re looking for.
Information and knowledge are so much more important in golf than other sports. Educating yourself will be the best way to lower your scores.
What Is Compression?
The first thing to do before choosing the proper compression is to understand exactly what compression means. This word gets thrown around a lot, but most golfers don’t understand its purpose.
Compression refers to how much the ball flexes or “smushes” against the club face at impact. When you see a slow-motion shot of a driver hitting a golf ball, it actually bends the ball. When it expands again, it’s launched off the club face.
The measurement of compression is how much the ball flexes. High compression means it does not flex as much, and low compression means it flexes a lot.
How Does It Affect Your Game?
Compression affects your game mainly off the tee. It can either help or hurt your distance. You won’t have to worry about compression on your wedges and high lofted irons as much. At those swing speeds, you’re not producing enough force to flex the ball.
Low compression balls will flex more, thus giving you more distance. High compression balls won’t flex as much but tend to provide you with more control.
How To Choose Compression?
To choose the correct compression, you must evaluate your game honestly first. Knowing how you swing the club and your strengths and weaknesses will determine the best compression for you.
We are all at different stages of our golfing careers. Beginners will require a much different compression than those who are more experienced.
A more skilled player will not require as much flex. They already produce the speed necessary to gain adequate distance. They are looking for more control or a softer feel around the greens.
New golfers will benefit from low compression balls to try and gain every bit of yardage they can. Control is not as big of an issue at this point in their career.
Your swing speed is a significant factor when choosing compression. This will directly influence how you compress the ball and how you can take advantage of it.
No matter your skill level, if you swing at a lower speed, then a low compression ball will benefit you the most. You will be able to get the ball to flex more and thus get more distance.
At a higher swing speed, you will flex the ball no matter what compression it is. At this swing speed, it’s best to get a high compression ball that won’t flex as much. You can keep control of the ball flight more with this option.
Weather plays a huge role in how your ball reacts. Not just for compression but for other factors as well that could be a whole other article on its own. Weather affects your compression choice on a broader scale. It all depends on where you play the most.
If you play in colder weather, getting a low compression ball will help the most. At colder temperatures, the ball firms up and makes it hard. The harder it is, the more difficult a time you have trying to get it to flex.
This stands true for all levels of golfers. Even the skilled players may consider switching to a lower compression ball for a round in the cold weather. They don’t have to go to the other end of the spectrum but reducing the compression a little bit could make a huge difference on days like that.
Which Companies Focus On Compression?
Just like golf clubs, some companies place more importance on compression than others. Everyone researches differently and sees the game from a different view. This is the beauty (and the frustrating) part of the game.
Companies That Focus On Compression
Bridgestone and Wilson are the two ball makers that put the most work into getting each golfer the proper compression. Their research shows that matching your skill and swing speed to the correct compression will help you the most.
Bridgestone is at the forefront of golf ball fitting. They have developed a system to get each golfer a custom ball as close to perfect as possible. They have a vast selection of balls ranging in all types of characteristics, not just compression.
Companies That Do NOT Focus On Compression
The most notable company that does not spend time on researching the effects of compression is Titleist.
As the most popular ball in golf for over a decade, you may want to side with them and give up on this article and compression talks altogether. Before you do, it’s essential to know that they still do have different compression balls. Just because they don’t market compression the same as other companies do, doesn’t mean they neglect it entirely.
The ProV1 is a lower compression ball than their ProV1x model. Titleist chooses to focus more on feel around the greens, control with your irons, and level of spin produced.
So Which Compression Is Best For You?
Just like choosing clubs, the best way to find the right ball for you will be to test a few of them out. Use a high compression ball for a whole round, then use a low compression ball for the next. Taking a ball on the course is an accurate measure to see if it suits you or not.
If you’re lucky enough to have a Bridgestone fitting center at your local driving range, then that’s even better. You can save a lot of time and speak with a professional about your specific needs.
In general, a lower swing speed will benefit most from a low compression ball. Control is less of an issue at those speeds, and you will want to get as much distance as possible. Higher swing speed will be able to compress any ball with the speed they generate. They will be looking for more accuracy and control around the greens.
Here is a handy chart to help you determine where you fall on the compression scale.
Swing Speed Under 85 mph — At this speed, control should not be as big of a concern as distance. These golfers will benefit most from a low-mid compression ball to squeeze every last yard possible out of your drives.
85 mph – 94mph — Here is where you can start experimenting with either low or mid compression. Monitor your ball flight and how the ball spins. Different brands come with different characteristics. Match your swing and natural tendencies as best you can by experimenting.
95 mph – 104 mph — If you fall into this category, then the low compression golf balls will start hindering your ball flight more than helping it. A mid-compression ball will probably suit you best but test some high compression balls as well.
Over 105 mph — High compression will most likely be your best option. At this speed, you will compress any ball sufficient enough to get the distance. A loss of control will offset the little distance you gain from a low compression ball. Stick to a high compression ball to get the best of both worlds.
|Golf Ball||Compression Rating||Swing Speed|
|Bridgestone Tour B X||Mid||<105 mph|
|Bridgestone Tour B XS||Mid||<105 mph|
|Bridgestone Tour B RX||Low||85 – 104 mph|
|Bridgestone Tour B RXS||Low||85 – 104 mph|
|Bridgestone e12 Soft||Low||85 – 104 mph|
|Bridgestone e12 Speed||Mid||<105 mph|
|Bridgestone e6||Low||85 – 104 mph|
|Bridgestone e6 Lady||Low||85 – 104 mph|
|Bridgestone Laddie Extreme||Low||85> mph|
|Callaway Chrome Soft||Mid||85 – 104 mph|
|Callaway Chrome Soft X||High||<105 mph|
|Callaway ERC Soft||Low||85 – 104 mph|
|Callaway Supersoft||Low||85> mph|
|Callaway Supersoft Magna||Low||85> mph|
|Callaway Superhot||Low||85 – 104 mph|
|Callaway Warbird||High||85 – 104 mph|
|Callaway Strata Eagle||Mid||85 – 104 mph|
|Cut DC||High||<105 mph|
|Cut Blue||High||<105 mph|
|Cut Grey||Mid||85 – 104 mph|
|Cut Red||Low||85> mph|
|Cut Matte||Low||85 – 104 mph|
|Mizuno RB Tour||High||<105 mph|
|Mizuno RB Tour X||High||<105 mph|
|Mizuno RB 566||Low||85 – 104 mph|
|Mizuno RB 566 V||Low||85 – 104 mph|
|Snell MTB-X||High||85 – 104 mph|
|Snell MTB-Black||Mid||85 – 104 mph|
|Snell Get Sum||Low||85> mph|
|Srixon Z-Star||High||85 – 104 mph|
|Srixon Z-Star XV||High||<105 mph|
|Srixon Q-Star||Mid||85 – 104 mph|
|Srixon Q-Star Tour||Mid||85 – 104 mph|
|Srixon Soft Feel||Low||85> mph|
|Srixon Soft Feel Lady||Low||85 – 104 mph|
|Taylormade TP5||Mid||85 – 104 mph|
|Taylormade TP5X||High||<105 mph|
|Taylormade TP5 Pix||Mid||85 – 104 mph|
|Taylormade TP5X Pix||High||<105 mph|
|Taylormade Tour Response||Mid||85 – 104 mph|
|Taylormade Project (a)||Mid||85 – 104 mph|
|Taylormade Soft Response||Low||85 – 104 mph|
|Taylormade Noodle Long And Soft||Low||85> mph|
|Titleist ProV1||High||85 – 104 mph|
|Titleist ProV1X||High||<105 mph|
|Titleist AVX||Mid||85 – 104 mph|
|Titleist Tour Speed||Mid||85 – 104 mph|
|Titleist Tour Soft||Mid||85 – 104 mph|
|Titleist Velocity||Mid||85 – 104 mph|
|Titleist TruFeel||Low||85> mph|
|Vice Pro||Low||85 – 104 mph|
|Vice Pro Soft||Low||85> mph|
|Vice Pro Plus||High||<105 mph|
|Vice Tour||Low||85 – 104 mph|
|Vice Drive||Low||85> mph|
|Volvik Vivid||Mid||85> mph|
|Volvik Vivid Lite||Mid||85> mph|
|Volvik S3||Mid||85 – 104 mph|
|Volvik S4||High||<105 mph|
|Volvik Crystal||High||85> mph|
|Volvik Solice||Mid||85 – 104 mph|
|Volvik Power Soft||Mid||85 – 104 mph|
|Volvik ViMax Soft||Mid||85> mph|
|Volvik XT Soft||Mid||85> mph|
|Volvik XT AMT||High||85 – 104 mph|
|Wilson Staff Model||High||<105 mph|
|Wilson Duo Professional||Low||85 – 104 mph|
|Wilson Duo Soft+||Low||85> mph|
|Wilson Duo Optix||Low||85> mph|
|Wilson Fifty Elite||Low||85> mph|
|Wilson Zip||Low||85 – 104 mph|
|Wilson Tour Velocity Distance||Mid||85 – 104 mph|
|Wilson Tour Velocity Feel||Mid||85 – 104 mph|
Other Factors To Consider When Choosing a Ball
Compression is not the only thing to consider when choosing a ball. There is a lot of science that goes into making a ball so that you can find one that compliments your playing style over your entire game.
This part of the ball is highly regulated, and there are specific rules about dimple dynamics that all manufactures must adhere to.
Dimples are the main factor contributing to speed. A basic explanation is that a smooth golf ball will not travel as far because it creates more drag. A low compression ball will have its dimples closer together to try and max out the amount of distance you can get.
Dimples further away will reduce distance slightly but offer more control and less spin. This design is usually found in higher compression balls.
There are two main types of golf ball covers;
Surlyn — This is the firmer of the two and will be found on range balls and other low compression balls. It has been used since the mid-1960s and offers low spin and lots of durability.
Urethane — More commonly seen in higher-end balls, urethan is softer. It offers much more control around the greens as it has a softer feel to it. For playing fast and hard greens, this will be the best option.
The core drives compression, which refers to the overall density and firmness of the ball. Higher compression balls are generally for more experienced golfers with faster swing speeds.
Golf balls briefly transform shape at impact, and the core needs to support this energy transfer. Golfers with slower swing speeds looking to gain distance tend to lean toward lower compression golf balls. They will maximize the spring-like effect created through impact.
Some companies choose not to acknowledge compression, but we think it should at least be considered, especially if you are a more skilled player looking to get your ball flight as optimized as possible.
Even if you are a beginner, we hope you now understand compression and how it can help you.
Ultimately nothing can replace practice. Having more experience will also work to your advantage. Hopefully, when the topic of compression is brought up at the 19th hole, you will be able to join the conversation.