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The ball doesn't matter! (Formerly, the Ultimate Ball Test)


287 replies to this topic

#1 BrianL99

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 09:44 PM

I said I'd try this sometime this season and it's now in progress.

10 rounds with Srixon Z-Star balls (representing a high-line, tour level ball).

10 rounds with "found balls".

I'm saving any balls I find in the course of rounds and leaving them in my golf bag.  On the days I'm playing the "off balls", it will be entirely random.  I always have 2 balls ready for play and I'll play them randomly.  Whichever one comes out of my pocket on the Tee, will be the ball in play for that hole.  

I will alternate rounds.  Yesterday was "found balls", tomorrow will be the Z-Stars.

Yesterday I played with a Wilson Staff Duo, a Callaway "long & soft" and when I lost a ball in the woods, I added a TaylorMade Burner.

All the rounds will be tracked with Get Real Golf Stats, so a plethora of statistics will be available.

No specific results will be available until all 20 rounds are played.

I'm sure a bunch of "ball snobs" will dispute my results, with a plethora of reasons why the test wasn't fair or doesn't apply to "their game".

I'd bet the farm that there will be no consistent or discernible difference in scoring between the two.

For those who are familiar with GRGS, the rounds with Srixons will be marked "Club Competition" and the rounds with random balls will be marked as "Social".


(See the last post for results!)

Edited by BrianL99, 02 August 2015 - 01:08 PM.


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#2 michaelskivinis

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 09:50 PM

Sounds interesting but there will be a difference...i believe that golfers (especially at higher levels) should always play the same ball. Perhaps the balls that you find in the woods are there for a reason??!!!???
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#3 m-gavin56

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 04:53 AM

There will always be snobs this is golf...I'm pretty excited to see the results.

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#4 craz-e

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 05:09 AM

Always enjoy reading stuff like this.
Keep us posted!

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#5 boycer11

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 05:17 AM

Will all the rounds be on the same course?

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#6 BrianL99

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 05:24 AM

View Postboycer11, on 09 July 2015 - 05:17 AM, said:

Will all the rounds be on the same course?

Random, although most will likely be at my 4 "home courses".

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#7 trhode

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 05:28 AM

I can save you some time on this. Been tinkering with the Wilson Duo as well. I love the feeling of hitting a little marshmallow around the course. On longer irons and woods, I didn't see a big difference. The major difference was from 100yds and in. The Duo didn't have the spin I was used to from a premium ball. Carry yardages were the same, but the spin sucked. Sand shots were the same. No spin with the Duo. I played a couple of 9 hole rounds, hitting the same shot with a Wilson Duo and either a Pro V1x or Chrome Soft. No contest at all from 100yds and in. That's where a ball will perform the best anyway.  Just my $.02

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#8 rgk5

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 05:35 AM

Regardless of your final preferred choice, playing the same ball all the time is sound strategy.  Switching balls because they are on sale is a fool's game.

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#9 bluedot

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 05:52 AM

Many, many years ago a friend named Don Marsh, still one of the top senior amateurs in the country, told me that it didn't much matter what ball you played.  What matters, he said, is that you play the same ball ALL THE TIME.  He reason for saying this, since borne out by Pelz's testing/research is that different golf balls react very differently off wedges and especially off the putter.

It was good advice then, and I still think it's good advice.  It may be a little less important now that there aren't any wound balls anymore, but the difference between the way a Noodle reacts off a wedge vs. how a Chrome Soft reacts off a wedge is a big deal.

I'm not a "ball snob" beyond that, and I won't dispute your results.  I would point out that perhaps 20 rounds, or 10 played each way, isn't a very large data set, is it?  And besides, the number of variables in scoring means that you aren't exactly running a controlled experiment with only the ball being changed; that's kind of critical to verifying your hypothesis, I think.

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#10 nova6868

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 06:29 AM

Surely it depends on the consistency of your game. There has to be some point at which playing the same tour-level ball all the time doesn't even matter. When your swing, ball contact, and yardages are inconsistent then surely the difference a ball would make is totally insignificant.


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#11 HoosierMizuno

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 11:53 AM

the better the player the more playing the same ball matters.
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#12 Jamboy72

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 11:56 AM

 HoosierMizuno, on 10 July 2015 - 11:53 AM, said:

the better the player the more playing the same ball matters.

Agreed...and the bigger difference a stroke or two will make - Having a consistent feel and spin from 125 yards and in is huge for me - And for any player who plays competitively - whether it be local, am, pro, whatever - There are so many variables in this game, I have no idea why you'd introduce more, when it's not necessary...

Long story short - Many balls will work - Some will work better than others - Find the ball that works best for you and stick with it...

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#13 NoTalentLefty

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 02:01 PM

Snob ? No. Cynic? Yes.
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#14 pitchinwedge

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 03:51 PM

 BrianL99, on 08 July 2015 - 09:44 PM, said:

I said I'd try this sometime this season and it's now in progress.

10 rounds with Srixon Z-Star balls (representing a high-line, tour level ball).

10 rounds with "found balls".

I'm saving any balls I find in the course of rounds and leaving them in my golf bag.  On the days I'm playing the "off balls", it will be entirely random.  I always have 2 balls ready for play and I'll play them randomly.  Whichever one comes out of my pocket on the Tee, will be the ball in play for that hole.  

I will alternate rounds.  Yesterday was "found balls", tomorrow will be the Z-Stars.

How can you tell if the "found" balls are still any good?  How many rounds (or shots) does it take before a ball's compression/spin starts to change?  What about if it's come out of a lake?
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#15 barriec

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 04:14 PM

Original poster has solid hypothesis but is clearly biased thus results questionable. What is thought provoking is the number of solid replies that followed.


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#16 BrianL99

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 08:20 PM

 pitchinwedge, on 10 July 2015 - 03:51 PM, said:



How can you tell if the "found" balls are still any good?  How many rounds (or shots) does it take before a ball's compression/spin starts to change?  What about if it's come out of a lake?


I don't care if the balls are "still good", that's the whole point.  I doubt my average score will be more than 1 stroke difference, no matter what ball I play.

I agree that a Scratch or better player is likely to be more consistent with a ball he's used to, but I doubt it would effect his score more than 1 or 2 shots per round.

I think the average golfer ... double digit or higher handicap, can score just as well playing 8 year old Top Flite as he would with a $4/ball Titleist Pro V1.

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#17 trapp20

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 08:29 PM

My money is on the MOJO.

"What?" You say, "I didn't find a MOJO"

...you will.

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#18 rexroh

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 08:39 PM

For a competitive golfer the same ball does matter. However others it does not. I am an 8+ index. I use a variety of types of balls. Some found, some won and some purchased.  Yes I prefer a premium ball but paying NZ$7+ a ball I do not buy them.  I find that I can soon adjust to the ball I am using on the day and know that the ball will finish a yard or two long or short.

Putting and chipping is probably where using the same ball for consistency is more important.   Again I feel it would only be 1 or 2 shots a round, if that.

I am ver interested in the results here.  Keep up the good work.

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#19 HackerD

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 08:42 PM

Brian, it would be a better study if you were blinded to the balls you were playing.  Don't know if there's a way to cover all the markings on the balls that doesn't affect playability.  If there was you could then have a buddy label them A and B.  But I guess even then the dimples would be a give-away.
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#20 On The Screws

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 09:01 PM

My only problem with the test is the condition of the balls. Taking a brand new tour ball out and taking some road rashed, cart pathed, worn dimple, dingy yellow, can't find it in the rough POS isn't a fair test. They should be like new random balls, throwing out the chaff.


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#21 BrianL99

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 09:03 PM

 HackerD, on 10 July 2015 - 08:42 PM, said:

Brian, it would be a better study if you were blinded to the balls you were playing.  Don't know if there's a way to cover all the markings on the balls that doesn't affect playability.  If there was you could then have a buddy label them A and B.  But I guess even then the dimples would be a give-away.

There are a zillion ways to make the "test" more technically correct, but that's not my point, nor to I have the time nor inclination.

There have been a ton of threads on this subject through the years and in my opinion, 90% of what's been posted, is nonsense.  The ball simply doesn't make much difference ... even for a PGA Touring pro.  They'd would shoot within a stroke or 2, playing any ball you gave them.  Once you move farther down the food chain from a Touring Pro, I think the ball makes even less difference.  

After playing 3 holes, a Scratch player will adjust to any ball.   Anyone higher than 2 or 3, isn't consistent enough to depend on a balls spin characteristics to positively impact their school.

So I know my quick little test won't prove anything, but it will at least be a legitimate attempt at some confirmation (or repudiation) of my opinion.

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#22 BrianL99

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 09:05 PM

 On The Screws, on 10 July 2015 - 09:01 PM, said:

My only problem with the test is the condition of the balls. Taking a brand new tour ball out and taking some road rashed, cart pathed, worn dimple, dingy yellow, can't find it in the rough POS isn't a fair test. They should be like new random balls, throwing out the chaff.

At the club I belong to, given the economic position of most members, the balls I find are usually as good or better than any ball I'd ever buy :)

I have to toss out 3 Pro V1's for every Mojo I find.   I won't use Pro V1's in the "lucky found ball" category, unless it's a little beat up.

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#23 Zephyr

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 10:35 PM

 BrianL99, on 08 July 2015 - 09:44 PM, said:

I said I'd try this sometime this season and it's now in progress.

10 rounds with Srixon Z-Star balls (representing a high-line, tour level ball).

10 rounds with "found balls".

I'm saving any balls I find in the course of rounds and leaving them in my golf bag.  On the days I'm playing the "off balls", it will be entirely random.  I always have 2 balls ready for play and I'll play them randomly.  Whichever one comes out of my pocket on the Tee, will be the ball in play for that hole.  

I will alternate rounds.  Yesterday was "found balls", tomorrow will be the Z-Stars.

Yesterday I played with a Wilson Staff Duo, a Callaway "long & soft" and when I lost a ball in the woods, I added a TaylorMade Burner.

All the rounds will be tracked with Get Real Golf Stats, so a plethora of statistics will be available.

No specific results will be available until all 20 rounds are played.

I'm sure a bunch of "ball snobs" will dispute my results, with a plethora of reasons why the test wasn't fair or doesn't apply to "their game".

I'd bet the farm that there will be no consistent or discernible difference in scoring between the two.

For those who are familiar with GRGS, the rounds with Srixons will be marked "Tour Event" and the rounds with random balls will be marked as "Social".

That sounds like a lot of work.....

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#24 Zephyr

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 10:44 PM

 trhode, on 09 July 2015 - 05:28 AM, said:

I can save you some time on this. Been tinkering with the Wilson Duo as well. I love the feeling of hitting a little marshmallow around the course. On longer irons and woods, I didn't see a big difference. The major difference was from 100yds and in. The Duo didn't have the spin I was used to from a premium ball. Carry yardages were the same, but the spin sucked. Sand shots were the same. No spin with the Duo. I played a couple of 9 hole rounds, hitting the same shot with a Wilson Duo and either a Pro V1x or Chrome Soft. No contest at all from 100yds and in. That's where a ball will perform the best anyway.  Just my $.02

Yes. Hitting a pitch shot or bump and run knowing that if you hit it correctly, you can get a couple of bounces with a good amount of check is huge. It changes how I play approach shots and around the green. Also, I like the feel of  a Pro V or topline Taylormade when it comes of my putter face. I know this is only a preference but its also a comfort level that I'm really not willing to let go. Besides, you can get mint condition or Excellent condition top level balls on Ebay for $3/per ball if not less.

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#25 On The Screws

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 10:50 PM

 BrianL99, on 10 July 2015 - 09:05 PM, said:

 On The Screws, on 10 July 2015 - 09:01 PM, said:

My only problem with the test is the condition of the balls. Taking a brand new tour ball out and taking some road rashed, cart pathed, worn dimple, dingy yellow, can't find it in the rough POS isn't a fair test. They should be like new random balls, throwing out the chaff.

At the club I belong to, given the economic position of most members, the balls I find are usually as good or better than any ball I'd ever buy :)

I have to toss out 3 Pro V1's for every Mojo I find.   I won't use Pro V1's in the "lucky found ball" category, unless it's a little beat up.

Nearly half the balls I find on the local muni are seemingly once hit ProV1s or ProV1xs. God Bless America.

I'm looking forward to your test results.


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#26 playa

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Posted 11 July 2015 - 04:23 AM

 Jamboy72, on 10 July 2015 - 11:56 AM, said:

 HoosierMizuno, on 10 July 2015 - 11:53 AM, said:

the better the player the more playing the same ball matters.

Agreed...and the bigger difference a stroke or two will make - Having a consistent feel and spin from 125 yards and in is huge for me - And for any player who plays competitively - whether it be local, am, pro, whatever - There are so many variables in this game, I have no idea why you'd introduce more, when it's not necessary...

Long story short - Many balls will work - Some will work better than others - Find the ball that works best for you and stick with it...
I don't totally buy the consistent spin from 125 thing as greens change from course to course and round to round at the same course so results will never be consistent from round to round and even green to green at poorly maintained courses. Agree that feel for the short game is important and especially off the putter, but long game and driving is more important for most ams imo. Finding a ball that is longer and straighter will result in better results for an inconsistent swinging am than great spin around the green.

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#27 maskedman

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Posted 11 July 2015 - 05:57 AM

 bluedot, on 09 July 2015 - 05:52 AM, said:

Many, many years ago a friend named Don Marsh, still one of the top senior amateurs in the country, told me that it didn't much matter what ball you played.  What matters, he said, is that you play the same ball ALL THE TIME.  He reason for saying this, since borne out by Pelz's testing/research is that different golf balls react very differently off wedges and especially off the putter..........
Great post, and reflects with my own ball selection experience over many years of play.

Edited by maskedman, 11 July 2015 - 06:07 AM.

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#28 BrianL99

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Posted 11 July 2015 - 06:59 AM

 playa, on 11 July 2015 - 04:23 AM, said:


I don't totally buy the consistent spin from 125 thing as greens change from course to course and round to round at the same course so results will never be consistent from round to round and even green to green at poorly maintained courses. Agree that feel for the short game is important and especially off the putter, but long game and driving is more important for most ams imo. Finding a ball that is longer and straighter will result in better results for an inconsistent swinging am than great spin around the green.


Phil Mickleson and Luke Donald, certainly know how to control the spin on their golf ball and it's relevant to their game.

The average golfer doesn't have a clue ...

Many Scratch golfers claim to be able to control spin, but I think it's more wishful thinking than actual control.

I played yesterday (using found balls) at my home course.  Slope 139/Rating 72.3.   2 players were Scratch.  I shot 81, another player shot 83 and the scratch players were 75 & 76.  I can assure you, no one in our foursome had any consistent control over spin.

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#29 morgan1819

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Posted 11 July 2015 - 07:56 AM

OP -

I like that you are up front about your mission to prove the ball doesn't matter for most non-pro golfers.  However, since you already strongly feel that the ball does not make a difference, your testing is not really 'testing'.  You already have the 'results' in your head.  No need to post your findings, because they will be 100% meaningless for everyone.

I am not a ball snob.  But:

1.)  I find more fairways off the tee with balls that produce less sidespin.  This is factual for me, and proven over a long period of time.

2.)  I find that I roll in fewer putts with certain balls.  Not sure exactly why, but I remember trying a (Dicks) Maxfli U/4 and loving it, until I got to the green, and it took several holes to get a feel for how this ball came off of the putter.  Maybe it was just me.  Maybe not.


I think most of the people on this forum are good enough to adjust to a particular golf ball, once they've had it in play it for a while. That is probably the best advice I have read on this page ... once you get a style of ball that works for you, stick with it.

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#30 just plain bill

just plain bill

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Posted 11 July 2015 - 09:51 AM

op...just do it...i will be interested in the results, as scientific/unscientific as they may be...
when an experiment is conducted, it is usually to prove a hypothesis...what's important is to not let bias enter the equation...hard to do, so results get published and others try to get similar results, which proves/disproves the original hypothesis...
we're all human, full of everything humans can be full of...go and have fun!

drivers: Ping K15 10.5,  Nike Sasquatch 16*
hyb: Ping G20: 31*, 27*, 17*
irons:    Ping Karsten  8, 9, pw (ks 401 shafts sr flex)
wedges:   Ping G20 58* lob, 54* sw, 50* gap.  wilson 68*, cle 64*
putter:   Odyssey Versa Jailbird
ball:   Pinn Soft
bag:   Ping cart
chess:   it's your turn  -  just plain bill

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