Is there an advantage for someone with a slower swing speed to use a lower compression golf ball?
Again, I am not a golf ball expert, but the lower compression, the more the ball deforms at impact and the more energy that is lost. I did some more research and the only thing I really have no data on is how much hitting a lower compression ball affects spin at the varying clubhead speeds. Still, I do not believe that part of the equation over comes the energy loss of the increased compression at impact. The whole concept of “spring face” (which is a bad term to describe what happens) is that if you make a driver face that compresses or deforms more at impact, the ball compresses less (loosing less energy) and THAT is why driver faces are designed to give a little at impact. They do not “spring” the ball forward, as the term suggests. Less energy loss from the ball produces more distance. In every case of our testing when we did it for the ball software I mentioned, the “distance” ball with the hardest cover and highest compression was the longest ball. A lot of technology has changed in golf balls since we did those tests, so I guess it’s possible to devise a low compression ball that flies farther than a hard compression ball, but I have not seen any independent testing data of any kind that would show it.
In the old days, it was believed that the lower compression golf balls were better for slower swing speeds. I think there was an 80 compression ball that was suppose to be for women, and the men’s golf balls were 90 to 110 compression. With technology today and the chemistry that is used in producing quality golf balls, there is a much wider variety of compression used and most for the time you will notice they do not publish what the compression is. I think many have been lead to believe that lower compression is better for slower speeds. It really depends on how low your talking about. I have seen information that a 70 mph speed should use a 70 compression, and 80 mph should use 80 compression, etc. Actually, if distance is what someone wants, a harder (higher compression) golf ball will go farther for all swing speeds. Cochran and Stobbs proved this way back and published the finding in “Search for the Perfect Swing” first publish in 1968.
There was acutally a golf ball software developed about 10-25 years ago that we were involved in that, in short, showed that the Pro V1 (with around 90 compression) performed the best for overall performance in distance and accuracy for ALL swing speeds tested (60 mph to 120 mph). It wasn’t the longest for all, but the best overall when combining distance and accuracy. Unfortunately the individual that developed it and tested all the golf balls past away and the data collection stopped a that point. It was great because it was totally independent. I can vouch for the testing because I went to Florida and watched and participated in the testing. It also showed that if distance was the priority, the harder (higher compression balls) definitely went further, for all players. The results were not dissimilar to what Cochran and Stobbs discovered over 50 years ago. The difference was the variety of golf balls tested was much greater than the 1968 test.
My personal thoughts are that a golf ball should be fit from the green back to the tee. How does it feel putting, chipping, etc. Then, how does it react with the wedges, short irons. Then how does it react with the longer clubs and does it provide the trajectory and distance that provides the player the best flight and distance for their game. I know some players don’t care about all that and just want the longest ball. In that case, the data and history tells us to go higher compression.
Wow! Completely contrary to what I was told. Thanks Britt. Good to know.