2012 Ball Analysis

By • Category: Features, Golden Tee golf balls

As of the 2012 release, you may have as many as 16 different types of virtual golf balls in your bag.  Now is a good time to take a look at all of them to see what’s right for your game.

Golden Tee’s site gives you a nice little graph showing the expected performance of each ball in regards to 4 factors: distance, backspin, curve, and loft.  So, at a high level, you can glance at the charts and see roughly how they compare, but I wanted to find out the numbers behind those charts.

When measured closely, you’ll find that the performance ratings vary quite a bit more than meets the eye.  Click here to open this spreadsheet in a new window.  In terms of pixels, the raw numbers you see in column D represent the length of each bar.  In the top center is a grid displaying the raw ratings.  Now, if you assume that the stock ball has average performance in each category, as seems to be indicated by the graph, then the stock ball should have a rating of 5.0 on a scale of 0 to 10.  Using this as our base, we get a better performance rating grid, as seen in the upper right.

From there, you can break down each of the 4 categories, sorted by highest-performing at the top (or left of the chart).  Now you can see more accurately how each of these balls stack up against each other in each category.

So, what categories are the most important to consider when choosing your ball?  In my opinion, distance is king and must be considered first.  Extra distance on straight shots alone can make the biggest difference in your score.  Curve is probably next — you want your ball to be able to curve sharply on your A1 and C3-type shots to give you even more potential to reach locations not otherwise possible with a lesser-performing ball.  Backspin is also important, but you’re probably looking for something in the middle — too much backspin can be hard to control, and not enough makes it difficult to stick some greens.  Finally, loft doesn’t seem to be much of a factor when choosing a ball.  You will learn loft much more from club selection than you will by changing balls.

Moving back to the grid in the upper-right, you can also see why most players choose Hurtles as their ball of choice.  They are among the longest in distance, and they have decent backspin and curve ratings.  According to the chart, they don’t have much loft at all, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, or a significant factor, when playing them.

Of course, all this analysis is contingent on the data being accurate, and according to many pros, some of the data is off base.  The distance ratings are solid — you can see proof of that with your distance marker off the tee as you change between balls.  Curve ratings should be pretty close.  For backspin, many believe the Hurtles rating should be higher (at least in the middle), while the Straight Jackets spin more than the Streaks.  Finally, the loft ratings seem to be off, lending even more support to the argument that this factor shouldn’t much be considered.  The Air-Os seem to have lower loft, while the Streaks and Hurtles have plenty of loft, it seems.  And there’s the final point why most of you should be playing the Hurtles in 2012 — they are long and don’t seem to have any weaknesses.

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is a Golden Tee addict from Chicago, IL, thirsty for tips and tricks!
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6 Responses »

  1. thanks for the info, but have a question. Which clubs would best fit the Streak Ball, Hurtle, and the Straight Jacket.

  2. fuck the straight jackets those balls don`t even curve

  3. It seems to me that if you rank distance first and curve second, that the Frenzy would be the better ball. Backspin is slightly below stock. Thoughts?

  4. Nothing wrong with Frenzy balls, but you’re losing 6 yards off the tee to the Hurtles, and you don’t gain a whole lot of curve advantage. Every yard you can gain distance-wise is important, and that’s why most players don’t choose the Frenzys.

  5. I like different clubs on different courses. I tell u what the orbits with a 9.5 driver and some loft clubs plays nice on some courses

  6. Ever update this spreadsheet?

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