The Pros and Cons of Low Compression Golf Balls

the pros and cons of low compression golf balls

Many beginner golfers will be unaware of the choices available when buying golf balls.  However, much like buying a new driver or putter, the range of golf balls on offer is huge and the ball purchased can have a massive impact on your game.

One type of golf ball available is a low compression golf ball.  As with any golf ball on the market, low compression golf balls have both pros and cons for players.

The pros of using low compression golf balls are the longer distance which is achievable and the increased rate of spin.  Some soft compression golf balls also offer more feel and that means more control when playing short shots around the green.

However, there are some cons when using low compression golf balls.  These include too much spin, being too soft around the greens and a ‘squishy’ feel when contacting the face of the club.

Before we take a look at the pros and cons of low compression golf balls in more detail, we first need to take a look at exactly what a low compression golf ball is and how it differs from other golf balls.

To do that, we need a simple understanding of what we mean by ‘golf ball compression’.

What is Golf Ball Compression?

Golf ball compression is basically the density in the golf ball and this density has an impact on the flight and loft of the ball.  The density is measured by the tightness of the threads inside the golf ball and the more loosely the threads are wound, the lower the compression of the golf ball.

A golf ball is compressed when hit by the club.  This softer the golf ball, the lower the compression and you will often hear low compression balls being discussed as ‘soft golf balls’.

Golf balls come with a rating and anything rated 80 or below is considered a low compression golf ball but what types of low compression golf balls are available to purchase?

Types of Low Compression Golf Balls

Many of the low compression golf balls you will find for sale in stores or online will come with a two-piece construction.

Two-Piece Low Compression Golf Ball

Two-piece golf balls are designed to maximize distance and reduce spin and you can see the first of these benefits falls in-line with low compression golf balls.  If you are a novice golfer and want to gain as much distance off the tee as possible but reduce side spin to prevent a slice shot, you would opt for a two-piece golf ball.

Two-piece low compression golf balls tend to last longer than other low compression balls and cost less.  Therefore, a two-piece low compression golf ball is the perfect place to start for new golfers.

Three-Piece Low Compression Golf Ball

A three-piece golf ball does not offer the same amount of distance off the tee as a two-piece ball but does offer more control around the green.  These are aimed at the improving golfer, who wants more spin on iron shots but is happy with their distance with the driver.

If you have a slow swing speed but consider yourself to be a good golfer, you should opt for a three-piece low compression golf ball.  The soft rubber core is good for distance but the urethane cover can provide more spin and control around the green.

Urethane Low Compression Golf Ball

If you want more control over your shots but have a slow swing speed, a low compression golf ball with a urethane cover is a good choice.  However, keep in mind these are more expensive than the basic two-piece low compression golf ball and have a shorter shelf life.

The Benefits of Low Compression Golf Balls

There are three main benefits of using low compression golf balls and you will find each of them listed below.  While reading through them, consider your own game and think about how a low compression golf ball could be suitable for you.

1) Distance off the tee is a major factor when playing golf. Many of the modern golf courses are very long and while they will have a choice of tee boxes, some players, especially beginners or those with a slow swing speed, will struggle to hit the ball a competitive distance.  Regardless of whether you are playing in a tournament, against a friend or on your own, you are going to struggle to make a par or better on par-4 and par-5 holes if you cannot reach the minimum distance required to find the green in regulation. Low compression golf balls are easier to compress at impact with the driver and that means there is a greater energy released on the ball.  This in turn sees the ball travel farther than golf balls with a higher compression. Other factors, such as hitting the ball in the sweet spot of the driver come into play but if you are struggling for distance on the course, a low compression golf ball should help.

2) In addition to the increased distance, you will often find a low compression golf ball has a higher spin rate. Having more spin on the ball can help you to hit it higher, so if you have been struggling to get the ball into the air, using a low compression golf ball could be helpful. A higher spin rate also means you can stop the golf ball quicker when it lands on the green.  For many novice and amateur golf balls, seeing the ball land on the green only to bounce and roll off the putting surface is very frustrating.  Using a low compression golf ball can help to control the ball when it lands on the putting surface.  However, there a couple of things to be aware of when it comes to the increased spin of a low compression golf ball and we will come to those shortly.

3) The third and final major benefit of using a low compression golf ball is the soft feel some of them can provide. It pays to keep in mind that not all low compression golf balls will have a soft feel but many do.Why would you want your golf ball to have a soft feel?  When playing shots close to the green, your touch and feel when hitting the shot is key to how well you play the shot.  Having a golf ball with a soft feel means you can control the ball easier and this opens an array of shots which may not be available with a firmer ball.The best advice here, is to try a few different low compression golf balls and see which one offers the best balance of distance, spin and feel for your style of play.

The Potential Drawbacks of Using Low Compression Golf Balls

As with every piece of golfing equipment or anything you purchase, whether it be a new computer or car, there are always going to be pros and cons.  The same applies to low compression golf balls and below we have detailed some of the potential drawbacks you must be aware of when using these balls.

1) The amount of spin which can build on a low compression golf ball during a shot can be too much for some players. If the ball is generating too much spin, it will travel up in the air and while that is great for some additional loft when required, too much spin will lead to a loss of distance.If you choose to play with a low compression golf ball, the overriding factor is likely to be the added distance so to lose this would make using the ball pointless.  You must also take the weather conditions into account and a ball which is spinning a lot is not going to be of any use on a windy day.  We will talk more about the impact of the weather on a low compression golf ball later.

2) Low compression golf balls can sometimes feel spongy on the face of the club and some players dislike that feeling. Liking the way your golf ball feels when contacting the golf club is hugely important and very much a personal thing.  The only way you know if you like the feel of a low compression ball is to try using one. Some players find it difficult to control because they cannot feel the impact of a soft compression ball on the club face like they can a firmer golf ball and this results in a lack of confidence in the direction of the shot.  However, as highlighted above, this is not a criticism of low compression golf balls and is more a personal taste than anything else.

3) Much like the spin rate of the ball discussed above, the soft feel of a low compression ball may be too much for some players around the green. Having control of shots around the green is very important but for some golfers, having a ball which feels too soft is going to become a hindrance and this can lead to loss of control on both chip shots and putts. Again, this is more of personal preference thing and the only way players know for sure is to try playing shots on and around the green using a low compression ball and recording the results.

Why Use Low Compression Golf Balls?

Having highlighted the types of low compression golf balls available, what compression means for golf balls and the pros and cons of low compression golf balls, it is time to look at the reasons why you would use low compression golf balls.

Arguably the main reason to use a low compression golf ball is due to a lack of swing speed.  Basically, when playing golf, the faster the swing speed, the easier it is to hit the ball farther.  A player with a slow swing speed will find it more difficult to hit the ball a long way and that’s where the low compression golf ball comes into play.

Regardless of your playing ability and golf handicap, if you have a slow swing speed you need a different way of generating distance on your shots.  The transfer of energy from the clubhead to the ball is more efficient in a low compression golf ball than any other style of ball available.

In addition, players who like using a softer ball could also choose to play with a low compression golf ball.  As a low compression ball squeezes more at impact than other styles of golf ball, it gives a softer feel and this is perfect for more control when playing chip shots and putting.

With that in mind, which players should be using low compression golf balls?

Who Should Play with Low Compression Golf Balls?

Low compression golf balls are suitable for different types of players, continue below to see various players who are suited to using a low compression golf ball.

Creative Short Game Players

If you are a player who enjoys being creative with your shots around the green, using a low compression golf ball could be a good idea.  The soft feel of low compression golf balls will allow you to stop the ball more quickly on the green and this is a must if you are trying various styles of shot.

The same applies when putting.  Some players prefer a heightened sense of feel during their putting stroke and a low compression golf ball will provide more feel on the face of the putter than other forms of golf ball.

Beginner Golfers

For beginner golfers, using a low compression golf ball can be a great place to start.  It will help you achieve more distance off the tee than most other types of golf ball and this helps to avoid new players becoming disheartened at the length they are finding with the driver.  While the soft feel may not be ideal for beginner players around the green, there is always going to be a compromise somewhere and for those new to golf who lack distance off the tee, a low compression golf ball is a great option.

Players with Slow Swing Speeds

Players who have a slow swing speed, which is sometimes the case with beginners working on their technique, should also consider using low compression golf balls.  The extra energy produced by the compression of the golf ball will make up for some of the speed lost on the swing and produce more distance on the shot.

Senior Golfers

As golfers get older, their bodies change and this can lead to less strength and power.  Unfortunately, this is just a fact of life but it should not stop older players from enjoying a round of golf and low compression golf balls are very useful for senior players.  Much like the category above, senior players will see a reduction in swing speed and low compression golf balls help to hit the ball further than other types of golf ball.

However, using low compression golf balls rather than rock hard golf balls will also provide plenty of control around the green, which makes them a top pick for senior golfers.

Does the Weather Affect Low Compression Golf Balls?

If you have ever played golf in both warm and cold conditions, you will have noticed the ball does not travel as far in cold conditions.  As cold air is denser than warm air, this results in drag on the ball and essentially the golf ball has to work harder to get through the air.  In addition, the compression of the ball can increase slightly and this will make the ball a little firmer.

So, what does all that mean for low compression golf balls?

Some golfers will opt to use a lower compression golf ball than usual when the weather is cold.  As the ball will become a little firmer in the cold conditions, it will closely resemble the golf ball used in warmer conditions.  Due to the nature of a low compression golf ball, as discussed above, a lower compression golf ball will see the ball travel farther in cold weather.

Even professional golfers will sometimes opt to use a low compression golf ball in cold temperatures.  It can travel farther than other types of golf ball yet still offer control on and around the green.

Phil Mickelson is an example of a professional golfer who has used a low compression golf ball to combat cold playing conditions.

Who Makes Low Compression Golf Balls?

We have discussed the pros and cons low compression golf balls and highlighted the different types of players suitable for using low compression golf balls. If you have decided to give low compression golf balls a try, which brands are available for purchase?

Thankfully, all the major golf ball manufacturers make low compression golf balls and you will find a vast array available online and in stores.

When buying low compression golf balls, you are looking for balls which are numbered 70 or 80. Anything 90 or above is not low compression so always keep to the lower range of numbers.

Bridgestone low compression golf balls are arguably some of the best on the market. They regularly receive high praise for the quality of their low compression golf balls and you will find a nice selection including the BRIDGESTONE e6 SOFT and Bridgestone Tour B RX. They are also available in different colors, such as yellow.

Callaway are another major golf brand who have developed a nice range of low compression golf balls. The Callaway Golf Supersoft and Callaway Golf HEX Diablo are two good examples of Callaway low compression golf balls. Again, these are available in a range of colors including yellow, red and pink.

Other top golfing brands who have produced low compression golf balls include Srixon, Wilson, TaylorMade, Volvik and Titleist. These are all leading names in the world of golf and there is a great selection of low compression golf balls on the market.

The Best Low Compression Golf Balls

As with most golfing equipment, choosing the best low compression golf balls is not easy. Some players will prefer using one low compression golf ball over another purely on personal taste and how the ball feels on the club face.

However, there are some leading contenders that are worth considering when looking for the top rated low compression golf balls.

Srixon Soft Feel – Click Here to See Current Prices is a very low compression golf ball and great for average to slow swing speed golfers. The ionomer cover is softer than ever before but the ball remains resilient and can be used over and over again.

Ultra-Soft Cover: The outer layer of the Srixon Soft Feel ball is incredibly soft, promoting a responsive feel and great control. When you make contact with your clubs, it provides a satisfying sensation that lets you know you’ve hit it just right.

Energetic Gradient Growth Core: This might sound complex, but it’s all about maximizing distance and minimizing spin. The core is designed to be soft at the center and gradually firmer towards the outer edges. This helps your shots go far while maintaining control and reducing those unwanted hooks and slices.

338 Speed Dimple Pattern: The dimples on a golf ball play a big role in how it flies through the air. The 338 dimple pattern on the Soft Feel is designed to reduce drag and create a more penetrating trajectory. This means your shots cut through the air smoothly and consistently.

Low Compression Construction: When a ball has low compression, it means it’s easier to compress at impact. This is great news for golfers with slower swing speeds, as it helps generate more distance without sacrificing that nice soft feel around the greens.

Alignment Aid: Some versions of the Srixon Soft Feel come with a helpful alignment aid, like a visual marking or line, to assist you in lining up your putts accurately. This can make a real difference on the green when every stroke counts.

Optimized Spin Control: The Soft Feel strikes a balance between low driver spin (which helps with distance) and enough greenside spin (for control around the green). This means you can confidently attack the pin without worrying about the ball rolling too far past.

Consistent Ball Flight: With its well-engineered design, the Soft Feel offers a consistent ball flight trajectory. This predictability allows you to adjust your shots with confidence, whether you’re trying to navigate a dogleg or avoid hazards.

Responsive Feel on Approach Shots: As you approach the green, you’ll notice that the Soft Feel ball responds well to your wedges and short irons. It offers the touch you need to land those delicate shots close to the hole.

In a nutshell, the Srixon Soft Feel golf ball combines an ultra-soft cover, smart core design, efficient dimple pattern, and low compression to deliver a ball that’s kind to your touch while still giving you the performance you need throughout your round. It’s a ball that plays well for golfers aiming to fine-tune their shots, especially if you prioritize a soft feel in your game.

For those looking for a top level golf ball but have slow swing speeds, the Bridgestone B RXS comes highly recommended. This low compression golf ball has all the properties of a tour level ball but for those players with slower swing speeds. The extra distance comes without the loss of feel for controlled short game play.

Reactiv Urethane Cover: The outer layer of the Bridgestone BRSX ball boasts a “Reactiv” urethane cover. This fancy term translates to a cover that responds dynamically to different shots. It’s soft to the touch, providing that nice feel you want on approach shots and putts.

Gradational Compression Core: The core of the BRSX ball is designed to gradually transition in firmness from the center to the outer part. This core engineering helps achieve an optimal balance between distance and control. You’ll get that satisfying pop off the tee while still being able to shape your shots.

Seamless Cover Technology: Bridgestone uses advanced manufacturing to ensure a seamless cover on the BRSX ball. This smooth surface contributes to consistent flight and roll, preventing any unwanted deviations caused by irregularities.

Dual Dimple Design: The dimples on the BRSX ball aren’t just for aesthetics. They’re designed in a dual pattern to enhance aerodynamics. Some dimples promote lift, while others minimize drag. This results in a higher, longer carry and a more penetrating descent on your shots.

Optimized Wind Performance: Those dimples and the overall ball design work together to reduce the influence of crosswinds. This means you can trust that your shots will hold their intended trajectory even when the wind starts to pick up.

Consistent Spin Control: The BRSX ball offers a controlled amount of spin, particularly on approach shots and around the green. This means you can confidently play those shots that demand finesse and precision.

Alignment Aid: Some versions of the Bridgestone BRSX come with an alignment aid, which can be a visual guide or a line on the ball. This helps you line up your putts accurately, making those critical short-game moments a bit more manageable.

Targeted Flight and Control: This ball is engineered to help you control your shots better. Whether you’re trying to hit a draw, fade, or just a straight shot, the BRSX is designed to assist you in achieving the intended flight path.

In summary, the Bridgestone BRSX golf ball stands out with its reactive cover, clever core, dimple design, and alignment features. It’s the kind of ball that suits golfers seeking a balanced blend of distance, control, and a soft touch around the greens. If you want a ball that responds well to your swing while offering consistent performance, the BRSX is worth considering for your rounds.

Finally, to another big name in the world of golf, TaylorMade. The TaylorMade Project (S) golf ball has been rated one of the best balls for beginner players. This low compression golf ball combines a reasonable feel with great distance off the tee. The aerodynamic ionomer cover and high-lift 342LDP dimple pattern helps to decrease drag on the ball and improve distance.

Dual-Distance Core: The heart of the TaylorMade Project (s) ball is its dual-core design. This means it has a larger, softer inner core and a smaller, firmer outer core. The result? You get explosive distance off the tee while maintaining great control on your shorter shots.

Soft-Touch Cover: The ball’s outer layer is designed to be super soft. This feature gives you a responsive feel on your irons and wedges, helping you get that desired touch and control around the greens.

Aerodynamic Dimple Pattern: The dimples on the Project (s) ball are strategically arranged to minimize drag and maximize lift. This leads to a more efficient and consistent flight, ensuring your shots go where you want them to with reduced effort.

Low Driver Spin: If you tend to hit high-spinning drives that veer off course, you’ll appreciate the low driver spin characteristic of this ball. It helps keep your drives straighter and longer, finding more fairways with confidence.

Greenside Spin: On the flip side, the ball offers enough spin around the greens to help you stop the ball quickly on the putting surface. This is crucial for approach shots and delicate chips, giving you better control over your short game.

Alignment Stamp: Some versions of the TaylorMade Project (s) feature an alignment stamp. This is a visual aid that helps you line up your putts more accurately. It’s a small detail that can make a big difference when you’re on the green.

Responsive Feel: When you hit the ball, you’ll notice a responsive sensation due to the combination of the soft cover and the multi-layer core. This feel gives you immediate feedback on your shots, helping you fine-tune your swing and shots over time.

Balanced Flight: The ball is designed for a balanced flight trajectory. This means you can expect consistent and predictable ball flight, making it easier to plan and execute your shots with accuracy.

To sum it up, the TaylorMade Project (s) golf ball is all about giving you dual benefits: explosive distance off the tee and a soft touch around the greens. With a focus on control, alignment, and a balanced flight, this ball is a great option for golfers who want a versatile ball that performs well across the entire course.

The three balls highlighted above are a very small sample of the low compression golf balls available today. If you decide to use a low compression golf ball, you have plenty of choice and can look forward to testing out some of the balls to find the best low compression golf ball for your game.