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


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#61 hdr_ric

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 12:42 PM

View PostBrianL99, on 31 July 2015 - 04:51 PM, said:

I would suggest that anyone who's interested in this thread, re-read my original post again.

One "Set" is played with new Srixon Z-Star balls.  (I buy 20 dozen new balls every Spring, I'm not worried about losing them).


20 dozen new balls every spring!!!!  What the ___ are you doing with that many golf balls?  Or was that a typo ... 2 dozen??


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#62 bazinky

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 01:25 PM

I don't think the ball you play has too much effect until you start getting close to tournament conditions. My club has pretty fast and firm greens but I could probably manage with a non-premium ball on most days.

When they roll and cut our greens to tournament speed, holding greens would be even more of a chore than it already is ...
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#63 jmj8355

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 01:25 PM

Call me crazy but in my simple brain there are two types of balls.  Urethane cover and non.  IE balls that spin and balls that dont.  I feel confident that if i had a bag full of urethane covered balls mix and match that i would be fine.  Could expect reasonable grab in the short game.  Alternately if i new i had a bag full of non urathane balls my short game strategy would change for sure.

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#64 pierso2

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 01:50 PM

View Postjmj8355, on 03 August 2015 - 01:25 PM, said:

Call me crazy but in my simple brain there are two types of balls.  Urethane cover and non.  IE balls that spin and balls that dont.  I feel confident that if i had a bag full of urethane covered balls mix and match that i would be fine.  Could expect reasonable grab in the short game.  Alternately if i new i had a bag full of non urathane balls my short game strategy would change for sure.

Even amongst Urethane cover balls you'd see a trajectory and distance change. I played B330S and B330 golf balls side by side over the weekend and the B330 was 8 yards longer with irons. Srixon is a great ball but about 10 yards shorter than the B330.
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#65 dlygrisse

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 02:03 PM

View PostBrianL99, on 03 August 2015 - 05:52 AM, said:

View PostBrianL99, on 08 July 2015 - 09:44 PM, said:

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 don't think anyone is saying this test doesn't show something about your game, but it's awful snobbish of you to assume it applies to everyones games.

I often work on my short game around the practice green.  I will use urethane and harder covered balls.  Some things I know for a fact from my experience.

1.  Most urethane balls launch lower off of short shots and spin more
2.  Most surlyn balls will launch higher and spin less on short chip shots

Does this mean they accomplish the same thing in the end?  Sometimes but certainly not all the time.  it really depends on they style of shots and the wedges you use around the green.   Once you become comfortable with a certain trajectory, a certain amount of spin you learn to hit certain shots with confidence, and having a different ball can affect your confidence in that shot or cause you to play different types of shots in certain situations.

For me after years of experimentation I have more confidence I will hit the ball on average closer to the hole with a higher spinning ball, especially from 50 yards in.  On longer shots, I might actually like a harder covered ball better.  But overall I am sure I score better with the spinnier ball.

Honestly I wish I like the cheaper balls better, it would save money.

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#66 pitchinwedge

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 04:41 PM

View Postdlygrisse, on 03 August 2015 - 02:03 PM, said:

I often work on my short game around the practice green.  I will use urethane and harder covered balls.  Some things I know for a fact from my experience.

1.  Most urethane balls launch lower off of short shots and spin more
2.  Most surlyn balls will launch higher and spin less on short chip shots

For me after years of experimentation I have more confidence I will hit the ball on average closer to the hole with a higher spinning ball, especially from 50 yards in.  On longer shots, I might actually like a harder covered ball better.  But overall I am sure I score better with the spinnier ball.

Honestly I wish I like the cheaper balls better, it would save money.

Interesting topic and according to the test, balls don't make a difference.  Regardless, dlygrisse has a good point about spin and feel.  I also prefer urethane and suspect it helps me somewhat.  I've been exclusively using just one brand and model of  "premium" urethane balls for years (ProV1x).

A few weeks ago, I noticed some bulk Wilson Duo golf balls on sale at the shop for $1 each.  On a whim I bought a few.  I was thinking I'd put one of these in play if any ProV's went AWOL during a round of golf.   How bad could they be for a buck?  Not bad at all!  

But to be honest, it's just not the same when looking down at ball.  Maybe it's because I'm brainwashed, but the Duo is damn ugly.  It cost $1.00 but looks like $0.50.  Despite it's looks, it feels great coming off the face of every club and it's especially super-soft off the driver and putter.  Equally long off the tee, about 1/2 club longer with the irons, and nearly the same green-side spin control.  

Now more downside. It may or may not be me, but some iron shots from the fairway did not result in the expected yardages.  Some green-side chips and pitches also did not spin as expected.  The strikes on these shots felt good.  Like they should with a ProV, but the results were just erratic.  These "misses" only happened once or twice a round but it really messed with my confidence.  

Anyways, if they're still selling em for $1, I'll probably use em again.  IMO, they are a great low cost alternative to premium urethane balls but I wouldn't use em in a tournament or if any $$ was on the line.

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#67 Cwing

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 05:42 PM

Nice thread and thank you.
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#68 BrianL99

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 06:00 PM

I don't dispute anyone's right to play whatever ball they want to play.

I don't dispute that balls behave differently off the club ... fly higher, fly straighter, bounce less, stop faster or any one of a myriad of characteristics.

What I dispute, is that anyone who can't break Par consistently, is going to see a "scoring benefit" from a specific ball.

In my opinion, very few handicap players are consistent enough to see lower scores, because they're using a specific ball.

If I can take any old ball I found in the woods and shoot basically the same scores as I do with brand new, $3/each balls, I'm sure anyone can do it.  I'm even more convinced that a double-digit handicapper isn't going to realize a scoring benefit from playing with Pro V1's at $48/Dozen.

& for all those who want to complain my "test" wasn't scientific ... no kidding!  Shooting golf scores isn't a scientific process ... it's a sport played by people of varying degrees of talent, accomplishment and experience.  As long as the sport has been around, there has never been a "machine" that played golf ... so whatever "test" is ever invented, it will still be subject to the vagaries of human intervention or it will merely measure the performance of a golf ball, hit under a given set of circumstances.

Where some posters seem to be missing the point, I didn't make any claims about the "performance" of a given golf ball, only a ball's contribution to scoring ... which is just about nil for most players.

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#69 ode1

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 08:43 PM

Maybe you proved that you are better off playing any ball you find...i mean the numbers prove that as much as they prove it doesnt matter, if we are going by the numbers.  Out of curiosity what happens when you find a z star?

What I believe is that we score the best when we are getting up and down and putting well...throw in striking it well and boom, you have a chance at a great rd.  What I want when the pressure is on and I have to hit a shot, is equipment that is tried and true...I know how it performs...been there done that...i don't want the unexpected from a ball, that is the last thing i want!  A 2 pc, surlyn ball can behave dramatically different than a multi layer urethane ball on partial wedges, chips, and pitches...I don't want to change technique or how i approach a shot based on equipment...i want equipment to accentuate what i do well!

Anyways, thx for the pretty graphs Brian.

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#70 The Pearl

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 09:59 PM

I remember Steve Elkington talking about golf ball differences, perhaps in one of the SITD segments.  He commented that he once hit a wide range of different balls while wearing hearing protection.  He had no idea what ball he hit when his hearing was limited indicating that most of the perception of the "ball feedback" is auditory.  Throw on a logo with a model imprint and you pretty much set the "bias" within each of us.

When you control for all the bias generating effects, it seems to me the only thing left over is "spin" which we all know is mostly a function of the cover material, specifically urethane vs. non-urethane.

While I understand the attraction of the greenside spin of a tour ball, I don't think is particularly very hard to adjust chipping and pitching when using a non-urethane ball.  This should be even easier for better players.

One thing not really addressed is that the performance between a traditional "rock" and a "tour" ball has significantly narrowed over the years.  While you are not going to get the spin of a tour ball, even most two-piece, non-urethane balls aren't going to hit and bounce over the green on a well struck approach, pitch, or chip, UNLESS your course conditions just simply suck and are baked out.  In the old days you couldn't keep a balata ball from curving and if you really sucked you could hit them off the planet and likewise you couldn't get a distance ball to stop dead if you hit it into a pond.  Today, even a Pinnacle Gold or similar modern day "rock" will be a yard or two from it's pitch mark on a well struck approach from scoring distance.


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#71 TayTaySlam

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 10:07 PM

View PostBrianL99, on 02 August 2015 - 12:02 PM, said:

The Ultimate Ball Test is over.  The results are so overwhelming and obvious, there's no reason to continue.

The data is attached and below.

So does the ball matter?  Not a whit, at the level of golf I play.  Does it matter for a Scratch player or a professional?  Just speculation, but it probably matters on the Pro Tour and likely in national caliber Amateur tournaments, but I don't think anyone at a lower level than that, has sufficient consistency that the ball will substantively effect his score.

Set #1 is using new Srixon Z-Star golf balls.

Set #2 is using random, found balls, provided they're still serviceable and not a near new, pro line golf ball.

The results:

Maybe you like to look down at beat up balls.

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#72 Gauchograd99

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 11:02 PM

Let's see if this will post now.... wouldn't last night for some reason:

View Postjust plain bill, on 03 August 2015 - 02:50 AM, said:

...and I would call a 3-shot difference significant!

What a game of torture...

Not really that significant especially with the small sample size. If he was getting 3 strokes difference after 100 rounds with each ball type then I would say there is something really significant there provided it was outside the normal range of scores. If you are seeing 3 strokes difference and you constantly shoot 74 literally every round, then it is very impressive. If you see 3 strokes on average and shoot between 74-80, probably not very significant. Note the "probably" there as it would still fall within scoring variation, but it would help to prove (to a degree) that the ball doesn't make that much of a difference for him.

I am looking at this a bit like I look at Game Golf or other system data. I have 2 rounds on the system right now and my driver shows everything from 210 to 293. What it doesn't show is what I was trying to do and whether or not I accomplished it (or KO'd a branch). Same with my 3 wood... it shows a span of 193-269. It doesn't show if that was into or with the wind, if I was trying to punch a ball forward, or if I even swung full. It just shows a total yardage number.

The data says I have huge variation in my yardages to someone who wasn't playing with me, but that isn't 100% accurate. Same with the ball data. Did the ball cause the 8 different 3-putts outside 25 feet or did the position of the pin vs where he left the shot influence that? What about the conditions of the greens? Was he above or below the hole? Did he scramble better because of the location of the miss or because the ball reacts better for him when it rolls out more?

Plenty of questions and they are all very hard to answer for in the data. That is something the OP gets to assess for himself.

Added: There really isn't a way to make a truly scientific experiment as we cannot isolate all but one variable (the ball itself). What you end up having to do, as some have said on here, is simply hit a bunch of balls and find one you play well with and prefer how it reacts. If you are a high ball hitter and play softer conditions, why bother with a high spin ball? The soft ground will "eat" the spin with deep divots and slow the ball anyway. Around the green, with soft conditions the ball will still make a bit of a mark and probably take as much energy off the ball as a higher spin ball on normal greens. If you are a low flight player and need a ton of spin to hold the ball on really hard/fast greens, then maybe you need the extra 5-10% spin. Certainly doesn't hurt to keep it cheap so you have more money for green fees too. :)
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#73 Michael C.

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 02:48 AM

After your supply of Srixons is depleted, which ball will you play?

After rereading this thread from the beginning, I bet it's not the PROV1. :)

Edited by Michael C., 04 August 2015 - 02:48 AM.

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#74 BrianL99

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 04:02 AM

View Posthdr_ric, on 03 August 2015 - 12:42 PM, said:

View PostBrianL99, on 31 July 2015 - 04:51 PM, said:

I would suggest that anyone who's interested in this thread, re-read my original post again.

One "Set" is played with new Srixon Z-Star balls.  (I buy 20 dozen new balls every Spring, I'm not worried about losing them).


20 dozen new balls every spring!!!!  What the ___ are you doing with that many golf balls?  Or was that a typo ... 2 dozen??

It was a typo ... I buy 10 Dozen & usually another 6-8 dozen through the year.  I play a lot and hit a lot crooked.

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#75 BrianL99

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 04:07 AM

View PostMichael C., on 04 August 2015 - 02:48 AM, said:

After your supply of Srixons is depleted, which ball will you play?

After rereading this thread from the beginning, I bet it's not the PROV1. :)

Every spring I buy whatever 3 piece ball I can buy for $20/Dozen or less.  Over the last few years it's been:

2 Years of Wilson Zip
2 Years of TopFlite Gamers
2 years of Wilson FG
1 year of Bridgestone B-330 RX
1 Year of Callaway Hex
1 Year of Srixon Z-Star


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#76 Sean2

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 05:36 AM

I rarely buy golf balls. After a round I sometimes look for balls on my course. For example, I currently have 12 dozen Pro V's in excellent condition, plus a gaggle of other golf balls.

However, I will say the ball does make a difference. Last season I did an extensive test with six premium golf balls over a two day period. This included chipping, pitching, long game, etc. I spent a good five hours in total. Much to my surprise I found the Pro V1x worked best for me, especially around the green. Being a senior I did not think this ball was something I would ever play.

In any case, the other premium balls were fine, just not as good. The mid-range and lower tier balls simply do not respond well around the greens. I have to factor in quite a bit of release, and cannot be as aggressive as I might like to be on some shots.

Do I buy the Pro V1x? No. My home course is littered with hazards. I play what I find.

But yes, I think the golf ball does make a difference.
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#77 Dayton

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 10:29 AM

Thanks for sharing your results.  Judging by your scores, we play a very similar game and I would probably get similar results.  I always changed balls a LOT, like every time I bought a dozen, until the last couple of years I jumped on the ProV1 buy 3 get 1 free deal.  I feel like I have putted better using the same ball all the time.  Your results show no difference at all.  Maybe it is all in my head.  Something to think about......

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#78 larrybud

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 01:39 PM

View PostBrianL99, on 10 July 2015 - 09:03 PM, said:


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.  

I'm late to the discussion, but a stroke a round is HUGE to PGA Tour players.  Could mean the difference between keeping your card or not.

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#79 BrianL99

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 01:52 PM

View Postlarrybud, on 04 August 2015 - 01:39 PM, said:

View PostBrianL99, on 10 July 2015 - 09:03 PM, said:

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.  

I'm late to the discussion, but a stroke a round is HUGE to PGA Tour players.  Could mean the difference between keeping your card or not.


Really?

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#80 MadGolfer76

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 02:06 PM

Nothing against the OP, but what I am seeing at first glance is someone who doesn't handle spinny urethane in the long game as well as he does the cheaper/lower spinning balls. Not exactly sure that is an irrelevant outcome.

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#81 Jamboy72

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 07:17 PM

View PostBrianL99, on 04 August 2015 - 01:52 PM, said:

View Postlarrybud, on 04 August 2015 - 01:39 PM, said:

View PostBrianL99, on 10 July 2015 - 09:03 PM, said:

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.  

I'm late to the discussion, but a stroke a round is HUGE to PGA Tour players.  Could mean the difference between keeping your card or not.


Really?

Absolutely. Depends on where you're at - The difference between #1 and #125 right now is  approx. 2.5 strokes/round - The difference between averaging 72/round and 73/round is quite significant.

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#82 Gauchograd99

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 08:58 PM

View PostJamboy72, on 04 August 2015 - 07:17 PM, said:

View PostBrianL99, on 04 August 2015 - 01:52 PM, said:

View Postlarrybud, on 04 August 2015 - 01:39 PM, said:

View PostBrianL99, on 10 July 2015 - 09:03 PM, said:

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.  

I'm late to the discussion, but a stroke a round is HUGE to PGA Tour players.  Could mean the difference between keeping your card or not.


Really?

Absolutely. Depends on where you're at - The difference between #1 and #125 right now is  approx. 2.5 strokes/round - The difference between averaging 72/round and 73/round is quite significant.

I am sure the OP would agree IF this data were from a touring pro (i.e. +4.4 index, give or take) and not a 4.9 index player. I am certain that he, like myself as a 4.1 index player, are NOT the player someone on tour is. Even the + index players on here would agree they are not the level of player touring pros are or they would be on tour and not posting on this forum. Now, if these numbers came from a touring pro and it turned out there was 3 strokes difference and the "other" ball won, I guarantee they would all dump the Pro V1/B330/SR3/etc's of the world and rock the Top Rocks. The big question would be, how many people on here would believe said data and how many would deny it and stick with the Pro V1's of the world?
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#83 BrianL99

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 09:00 PM

View PostJamboy72, on 04 August 2015 - 07:17 PM, said:

View PostBrianL99, on 04 August 2015 - 01:52 PM, said:

View Postlarrybud, on 04 August 2015 - 01:39 PM, said:

View PostBrianL99, on 10 July 2015 - 09:03 PM, said:

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.  

I'm late to the discussion, but a stroke a round is HUGE to PGA Tour players.  Could mean the difference between keeping your card or not.


Really?

Absolutely. Depends on where you're at - The difference between #1 and #125 right now is  approx. 2.5 strokes/round - The difference between averaging 72/round and 73/round is quite significant.

It's amazing what one can learn on WRX.

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#84 just plain bill

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 09:01 PM

a 3-stroke average diff would take me from an 11 to an 8! that's significant! lol
i get what you're saying, gaucho, but 3 strokes is 3 strokes, and i dont think the sample size is that small, based on my own crappy experience!  :)
but with so many variables, finding a ball that finally works for an individual, and sticking with it so you know exactly what it'll do, could be important, at least to me...but what the heck do i know? i'm an 11 a/bing balls right and left, trying to find something that helps me play better than pinn gold, which i should stick with since i need the length off the tee...
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#85 BrianL99

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 09:15 PM

View Postjust plain bill, on 04 August 2015 - 09:01 PM, said:


a 3-stroke average diff would take me from an 11 to an 8! that's significant! lol
.

There is no "3 stroke difference".  The sample is way to small to draw that sort of conclusion.  Every round was within what would normally be expected of a player with a 5 handicap.   No adjustment was made for Course Ratings or Slope or weather conditions.  

People are drawing conclusions that the data doesn't warrant.

There are only 2 reasonably inferences that can be made from the data.  Playing Pro Line golf balls most likely doesn't help the average amateur and "ball consistency" probably isn't all that relevant either.

I'll take it one step farther, I'll play another 10 rounds with "Set 1 balls" & "Set 2 balls".

Bet the farm that my average score will be within 1 stroke.

It won't change the opinion of the ball snobs, but at least those with open minds may stop trying to draw conclusions that aren't warranted by the limited data.


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#86 MadGolfer76

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 09:25 PM

View PostBrianL99, on 04 August 2015 - 09:15 PM, said:

View Postjust plain bill, on 04 August 2015 - 09:01 PM, said:

a 3-stroke average diff would take me from an 11 to an 8! that's significant! lol
.

There is no "3 stroke difference".  The sample is way to small to draw that sort of conclusion.  Every round was within what would normally be expected of a player with a 5 handicap.   No adjustment was made for Course Ratings or Slope or weather conditions.  

People are drawing conclusions that the data doesn't warrant.

There are only 2 reasonably inferences that can be made from the data.  Playing Pro Line golf balls most likely doesn't help the average amateur and "ball consistency" probably isn't all that relevant either.

I'll take it one step farther, I'll play another 10 rounds with "Set 1 balls" & "Set 2 balls".

Bet the farm that my average score will be within 1 stroke.

It won't change the opinion of the ball snobs, but at least those with open minds may stop trying to draw conclusions that aren't warranted by the limited data.

Until you have shared the Ho/H1, stated your range of retention, and actually plotted out the results, their assumptions are about as valid as yours. Your "work" appears to be about as finished as your convenience dictates it should be.
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#87 BrianL99

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 09:31 PM

View PostMadGolfer76, on 04 August 2015 - 09:25 PM, said:


Until you have shared the Ho/H1, stated your range of retention, and actually plotted out the results, their assumptions are about as valid as yours. Your "work" appears to be about as finished as your convenience dictates it should be.


We can agree to disagree.

You could try the same test, but you'll have snow on the ground in another month, so you probably won't have time :)

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#88 MadGolfer76

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 09:41 PM

View PostBrianL99, on 04 August 2015 - 09:31 PM, said:

View PostMadGolfer76, on 04 August 2015 - 09:25 PM, said:

Until you have shared the Ho/H1, stated your range of retention, and actually plotted out the results, their assumptions are about as valid as yours. Your "work" appears to be about as finished as your convenience dictates it should be.


We can agree to disagree.

You could try the same test, but you'll have snow on the ground in another month, so you probably won't have time :)

What an amusing response. This isn't about disagreeing. Rather, it is a rare, black-and-white, right-and-wrong situation. If you don't finish (really, prove) your work, it doesn't have any validity - period. That's the trade off about being inside most of the year, Brian - we spend our time actually learning how to interpret information. You should try it sometime. Might do a better service to your business interests. On another note, I have seen a couple of instances with you trying to misrepresent "data" to the WRX community, and I don't know whether you have some compulsion to be "right on the internet" or whether you just don't understand how data is processed, but hopefully you will show better decision making in the future.
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#89 deetsal

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 10:15 PM

I have said it years, if I could lower my score by just one single stroke, one little stroke per hole, I would be on tour. ��

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#90 Gauchograd99

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 10:39 PM

Mad - Out of curiosity (and off-topic, so I apologize), what do you do for a living? Some of your terminology isn't connecting with my (limited) statistical knowledge (chemist here, and not a research chemist), so I am not sure if you are coming from a business background or a technical field.

The data, as flawed as it is (we cannot isolate variables with a golf swing repeatability, course and pin conditions, or weather/temperature), isn't showing a great enough variation from Ball A to Ball B to prove one is better than the other. As a 4 'cap, the range of scores and variability over 20 rounds is much more than 3 strokes... especially if you are as hot/cold a golfer as I am. Also, in order to gain enough data for a "golfer" (i.e. group of golfers in the same handicap range) to make a definitive answer would require a sample size of somewhere near 10,000 scores (minimum 20 rounds each ball per person) in a very short time frame to minimize the variables caused by swing changes. The balls would have to be blanked out as best as possible, some testers would have to be a "placebo" group that never changed ball one way or the other, and the data miners would have to use a t-test to remove out of confidence values. No clue what confidence you would prefer, but 90% is probably asking too much given how many variables there are. Long story short, I'm not sure we could get enough data to prove one way or the other... but it is a good effort for a small scale test.

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