We did some testing here at Eagle Club Indoor Golf. The above data is from a session with a pitching wedge using two balls, a low-end practice ball and a high-end.
Our conclusion is that the ball you use while practicing absolutely does matter.
Keep in mind, we did delete outliers from the data when we mishit or shanked it (we may have had to delete a lot…). Also, the effects one ball produces are going to be different person to person. For example, a ProV1 doesn’t create as much spin for a lower swing speed like it does for a faster swing speed.
We’ll compare 3 columns: back spin, carry, and total distance.
Back Spin: Comparing the two columns, we can see that the high end ball had, on average, more than 3x the back spin than that of a practice ball. What does this mean for your game and your practice session? See carry and total distance.
Carry: Notice that the carry distance on the highend golf ball is 9 yards shorter, almost a full club less. A lower launch angle and the backspin are the primary causes of this. Depending on the ball, you might be giving up distance for control, which is why it’s important to use the ball fit for your game preferances.
Total Distance: This number is a very important one for your game. Well, it is depending on your preferences. Notice the difference between total distance and carry on the practice ball and the high end ball. The pratice ball rolled on average 10 yards while the high end ball rolled just 3 yards. Keep in mind that many of those that rolled further for the high end ball missed the green so it will release differently on the fairway than the green. When people talk about control around the greens, this is it where it counts: the stopping power of your shot. Will it stop where you land it or will it release and roll?
Why is it important to practice with the ball you play with on a real course?
If you’re just working on your swing, it’s not that important. But if you’re into really improving and knowing your game, it will be important. Because of the launch monitors out there, you now have the ability gather accurate data about your true ball flight not available on other ranges. While it’s not necessary to work every practice session with the ball you use on a course, we think it’s important to work with it often enough so that you know your numbers before heading out onto a real course.
Golf Digest just did their hot list for golf balls so if you need help selecting a ball for your game, it’s in the June 2013 issue on page 84.