If you want to shoot lower scores without changing your swing, you might just need a new ball.
Luckily, a golf ball fitting is included during a club fitting session and there are free online tools to match your swing for optimal ball performance. We’ll take you through this process today and provide some recommendations to test them out on the course too.
Golf Ball Fitting
If you want more driver distance, better trajectory with irons, and more spin around the greens, you need to play the right ball. A fitting is the easiest way to find the correct ball for your game and hopefully, make it easier to hit your golf goals.
- Most people think about custom club fitting but the type of ball you play is vital to optimal performance.
- A ball fitting – whether done online or in-person during a fitting session – can help find the right fit for your swing and performance goals.
- The right golf ball can help improve distance, maximize spin, and make it easier to shoot lower scores.
- It’s always best to test out different golf balls on the course to see how they perform vs. each other.
Keep reading to learn more about golf ball fittings alongside the most common questions most golfers ask.
Why You Need a Ball Fitting
Being fit for the right golf ball is much more essential to your game than you might think.
As Titliest said, “Being fit for the right golf ball is an important part of that for every golfer.
Why? Because there is no more essential piece of equipment than the golf ball. It is the only piece of equipment used on every shot, and there are game-changing performance differences between golf ball models.”
The right golf ball will help with three main components:
To maximize distance on tee shots you need a ball that matches your swing speed. Otherwise you might lose out on distance off the tee from a golf ball that spins too much. This will lead to longer approach shots which statistically make it harder to score.
While distance is important, some golfers forget to factor in that a golf ball needs to perform well from short range too. If your ball is great off the tee but you can’t get enough spin in your short game, it’ll make it hard to get shots up/down when you miss the green. Your golf ball needs to help with distance and spin to maximize performance from tee to green.
Finally, the right golf ball can help your wallet too. Playing the right ball for your swing might lead to saving money so you can use it on other golf gear or tee times instead. It’s not uncommon for higher handicaps to play an expensive ball thinking it will help performance when in reality it’s hurting distance, spin, and their bank account.
Plus, the right golf ball can impact ball flight, trajectory, and more. There are two main ways to get fit for the right golf ball; an in-person fitting or an online ball selector tool.
Let’s review the pros and cons of each method.
During a Club Fitting Session
The first way to get fit for the right golf ball is during a club fitting session. If you have never done this before here’s how it works:
- You book a club fitting session with a golf pro or club fitter at your local golf store.
- Show up with your current equipment (to provide baseline numbers of distance, spin, etc.).
- Warm up, hit your clubs, then get into testing other new golf clubs using a professional launch monitor. You can get fit for one club, a new set of irons, or, your entire bag (if you do the entire bag we recommend spacing it out over a few days as it’s a lot of golf balls to hit in one session).
- Once the fitter has data about your clubs, they’ll then test out new clubs and shafts to find the best fit.
Getting fit for clubs can range from $50-$100 for one club (like a putter or driver) to $400 or more for the entire bag. But if you’re a committed golfer, it’s a great investment in your game.
Once your fitting is complete they can do a ball fitting by testing out the performance of different balls with the launch monitor. For example, if you’re a lower handicap golfer you can test out different Pro V1’s or try them vs. a top competitor like the TaylorMade TP5.
By hitting both golf balls with a launch monitor it’s easy to get objective feedback on performance. Since the monitor shows spin, distance, and more, it’s much easier to find the right ball for your unique swing. This is the most ideal way to get fit as you’ll have the most data possible to make a sound decision.
If you want to skip a fitting, most golf stores offer a low-cost (roughly $20) or free ball fittings too.
Online Ball Fitting Tool
The other way to get fit for a golf ball is a free method using an online selector tool. Every brand makes it easy to find which ball is right for you based on a series of questions and answers.
You will start by answering questions about your current golf ball and swing. For example, “What golf ball do you play?”, “How many rounds of golf do you play per year?” are a few common ones.
There are typically 5-7 questions depending on the online tool you’re using. However, the only problem is that all tools mentioned above only allow you to compare different balls in their lineup. For example, the Titleist online ball fitter tool doesn’t allow you to compare vs. a Bridgestone or Callaway golf ball.
Here’s how the assessment works:
Understanding the Player
The first questions will center around you and your average performance. It’s common for these tools to ask you about frequency of play, what ball you currently use, color of choice, and average score.
Plus, they’ll ask about typical ball flight and ideal “firmness” you like in your ball. This will help them identify which price point and typical performance you might need in a ball.
Full Shot Preferences (Ideal Ball Flight)
The second set of questions will center around your full shot preference.
One of the most important questions is “What is your preferred trajectory?”
As Titleist said, “Most golfers like to see their golf ball fly through a specific “window”. Every golf ball in the Titleist golf ball line is designed with its own unique aerodynamic package offering a variety of low, mid, and high trajectories, so knowing a golfer’s preferred trajectory helps determine which golf ball may be best for that golfer.”
Short Game Preferences (Spin Around the Greens)
They’ll finish the questions with a short game to make sure your ball is right for full shots alongside short shots. Don’t forget, the short game is the scoring zone and one of the fastest ways to drop shots fast. If you don’t have enough spin, it’s nearly impossible to scramble well when you miss the green.
Titleist describes this perfectly “The key to golfers shooting lower scores is improving performance on what we call the “scoring shots” – approach shots and short game shots. These critical shots account for the majority of shots played by every golfer in a round. On the scoring shots, golfers need the appropriate amount of spin to provide the desired stopping power and control.”
If you want to learn more about spin, click here.
Test Out Golf Balls on the Course
Once you answer all questions it will provide a top recommendation and a second choice based on your answers. Or, if you do an in-person fitting, the expert will provide you with the best golf ball for your game.
Both of these methods are great and better than guessing but don’t go buy a dozen (or several dozen) just yet. Instead, you’ll want to compare the new recommendation vs. your current ball on the golf course. This is even more important if you do an online fitting vs. an in-person fitting as it’s not as great of a method.
Here’s how to quickly see if it’s the right fit for your game:
- Head to the course during a slow time (usually weekday afternoons) to play 9 holes with both balls. Hit both off the tee and take note of total driving distance throughout the round.
- Hit the same approach shots with different balls and notate if one has a better trajectory and/or backspin. Try to track how each performs in the wind, workability, and if it will stop quickly on the greens.
- Hit both balls around the green from various lies to see which one has the best spin for your short game.
- Putt with both balls to see if one is easier to line up (for example, Callaway has “Triple Track” which makes it easier to line up putts). Also notate the feel of the ball as firmness can impact your putting.
- Finally, if you didn’t lose either golf ball notate if one is in better shape than the other after the round.
Hopefully after nine holes you’ll be able to tell which golf ball is right for you. Don’t forget the fitting methods above are great but don’t discount subjective data on the course too.
FAQs About Golf Ball Fittings
Do you have more questions about ball fittings? If so, keep reading through our most common questions now.
Can I do a ball fitting but not get fit for clubs?
How do I choose the right golf ball for me?
The best way to choose the right ball is with some sort of fitting.
This can happen in-person during a club fitting session or using an online ball selector tool (which is free) on different golf company websites.
Once you find the right golf ball for your game it’s a good idea to test it out on the golf course and short game area too. This way you can see first hand how each ball performs off the tee, on approach shots, and around the greens.
What is a ball fitting in golf?
It’s a simple and easy way to find the ball for your game. This is a much faster and cheaper process than a getting fit for a full set and will hopefully make the game easier.
How do you choose a golf ball based on swing speed?
Swing speed plays a key role in your driver and other long clubs in the bag.
If you play a ball that doesn’t match your speed, it can hurt your overall performance. It’s best to use one of the online tools mentioned above or work with a fitter to test out different compression golf ball performance.
How do I know my swing speed?
First it’s important to differentiate between ball speed and clubhead speed. Ball speed is how fast the ball is moving immediately after impact. While clubhead speed is how fast the club is moving at impact.
The easiest way to measure both ball speed and clubhead speed is with a personal launch monitor. These are great golf accessories to monitor your speeds, especially if you’re speed training with a hope to gain distance. Plus, they can help provide more data about your smash factor, spin rates, and more.
Check out our favorite launch monitors here.
Playing the right golf ball is just as important as playing the right set of clubs.
If you’re playing the wrong ball it can hurt your distance, which makes it harder to score due to further approach shots.
The wrong golf ball can also make it more difficult to get enough spin (or provide too much spin) around the greens. This can negatively affect your ability to save shots around the green.
Not to mention the wrong golf ball can hurt your wallet too. Some golfers try to play a ball beyond their swing (like a 30 handicap with a Pro V1) which is one of the most expensive options.
Ultimately, a ball fitting will ensure you’re not wasting money or sacrificing performance with your ball. Don’t spend all your time and money and clubs but forget to use the right ball.
Playing the right golf ball for my game has made a tremendous difference and definitely helped become a scratch golfer.
As you can tell, the right golf balls can make a big impact on your scores. Don’t settle for one that isn’t right for your swing and on-course preferences.
Most golfers focus on their clubs but neglect their ball of choice. This can kill driver distance, hurt iron play, and not provide enough spin around the greens. Use one of these tools mentioned to find what will make golf a little bit easier.