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3-piece vs 4-piece ball. Still confused


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#31 playa

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 12:14 AM

View Postrainkingjr, on 02 October 2017 - 10:20 AM, said:

View PostNorth Butte, on 02 October 2017 - 08:49 AM, said:

Your confusion comes from buying into (presumably) some sort of marketing gobbledegook about golf ball construction. Or maybe second-hand gobbledegook you've read in forums like this one.

Golf balls are built to meet certain performance targets. Different manufacturers might build a ball to the same performance target having 3, 4 or 5 pieces. Not to mention all the variations on "dual mantle" vs. "two-piece core" vs. "gradient core" and so forth. The number of pieces is just one of dozens of choices they make when designing a golf ball.

Your noticing that a lot of balls you've liked happened to have 4 pieces is just happenstance. You might just as easily noticed your favorites all have more than 400 dimples or they are all made of TPU instead of cast urethane. You can't deduce how well you're going to like (or not) a ball you haven't tried by reading the marketing bumpf on the back of the box.

Nailed it.

As for Snell developing a 4 piece ball. I'd chalk it up to just offering another option with slightly different characteristics.
Snell making a 4 piece is pure marketing. As responses here show there are golfers who prefer 4 piece balls and won't buy a 3 piece no matter how good it is. Snell has probably gone as far as he is gonna go in the 3 piece market and now wants to target a new market. All businesses try to diversify.

Edited by playa, 03 October 2017 - 12:15 AM.


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#32 thug the bunny

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 11:08 PM

After 30 yrs of playing, I can't wrap my brain around 2, 3, 4, or 5 piece balls, other than will they hop and stop with a crisp 6i on down. That's it. Those that do I like. Those that don't I don't like. I have noticed that when I have a 135yd 9i, a good urethane ball will hop and stop no matter if it has 3 layers or 200 layers, whereas a surlyn ball doesn't even if it is a '50 compression super soft' ball. That's it for me. Off the driver or 3w, they are all the same to me (except for feel).
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#33 lil'mike

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 11:54 PM

View Postplaya, on 03 October 2017 - 12:14 AM, said:

View Postrainkingjr, on 02 October 2017 - 10:20 AM, said:

View PostNorth Butte, on 02 October 2017 - 08:49 AM, said:

Your confusion comes from buying into (presumably) some sort of marketing gobbledegook about golf ball construction. Or maybe second-hand gobbledegook you've read in forums like this one.

Golf balls are built to meet certain performance targets. Different manufacturers might build a ball to the same performance target having 3, 4 or 5 pieces. Not to mention all the variations on "dual mantle" vs. "two-piece core" vs. "gradient core" and so forth. The number of pieces is just one of dozens of choices they make when designing a golf ball.

Your noticing that a lot of balls you've liked happened to have 4 pieces is just happenstance. You might just as easily noticed your favorites all have more than 400 dimples or they are all made of TPU instead of cast urethane. You can't deduce how well you're going to like (or not) a ball you haven't tried by reading the marketing bumpf on the back of the box.

Nailed it.

As for Snell developing a 4 piece ball. I'd chalk it up to just offering another option with slightly different characteristics.
Snell making a 4 piece is pure marketing. As responses here show there are golfers who prefer 4 piece balls and won't buy a 3 piece no matter how good it is. Snell has probably gone as far as he is gonna go in the 3 piece market and now wants to target a new market. All businesses try to diversify.

So Snell isn't trying to make the game more affordable to the player's but now it's all about business and making lots of money and gonna get some of the 4 layer market!

Didn't he say that he had no plans to change what he sells or that no one needed anything more than a 3 layer ball?  I thought that was mentioned in his video answering questions but not 100% sure!  I guess I should re-watch it.

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#34 North Butte

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 06:02 AM

Regardless of whether he thinks anyone "needs" that 4th layer, he probably realizes if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

It's like Ping coming out with "forged" irons every now and then. They know and have always said that cast is the best way to produce the best product line.  But once in a while they give in because certain people will not buy a "cast" iron, period. Same with 3-piece balls.
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#35 Matt-78

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 01:42 PM

I am not a golf ball expert by any means, but as an engineer I have had a desire (or disease perhaps)  to know how golf ball design works. I have had only limited success researching this based on what info is available to the consumer. This actually bothers me, as I feel I need to understand this. lol.

I could very well be wrong on some of this, so please be kind if you have a better understanding than I do. But as I understand it, the number of layers are there for spin separation between the clubs, just as was stated early on in the thread. Each layer is engaged by different club lofts, or effective lofts, at impact. The driver, being the lowest lofted club, primarily engages the core as it's a direct impact into the ball (ideally!). As you progress to higher lofts, you start engaging the outside layers, until you reach you highest loft, which primarily engages the cover. Probably obvious to everyone here, this is why the cover makes such a big difference with wedges. Stating the obvious I know. So the diameter of the layer will determine which club (or loft) engages it. You change the material of the layer to affect the performance of the ball on that club. The more layers you have, the more a manufacturer can vary the performance across the lofts. As I understand it, you will see the biggest changes in the short game.

I could be wrong about this, but I believe the 4-piece also provides something in addition to spin separation. When a 4th layer is added, the thickness of each layer goes down (obviously) since the ball diameter is always the same. This usually means a thinner outer layer, which I believe creates more spin in the highest lofted clubs that engage that layer. Which would be why the V1X seems to bite a little more than the V1 around the green. I think. lol. This would also mean that the higher spin layers are engaged by a narrower range in effective lofts, which would mean variations in loft control with the same club (swing faults maybe) could produce different spin with the same club as you move between layers. So it could be a 3-piece would end up having more consistent spin for those of us with a less than perfect short game, at the expense of the flexibility of the 4-piece. This is just my personal understanding and in no way is guaranteed to represent reality!

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#36 North Butte

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 01:47 PM

There are two limits on the thinness of the outer cover a urethane balls, according to comments by Dean Snell and an interview with a Srixon engineer I saw a few years ago. Durability and manufacturing process. Even with the best applicable materials you can only go so thin and get a durable cover, obviously. And TPU, as opposed to cast thermoset urethane can not be manufactured quite as thinly as the durability limit would allow.

Apologies if I got some of the nomenclature wrong but that was the gist of it. The companies not using cast thermoset make the covers in general as thin as they can regardless of numbers of layers. The ones doing cast thermoset do it as thinly as they can while meeting their requirements for durability along with other properties of the cover.
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#37 Matt-78

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 02:09 PM

View PostNorth Butte, on 10 October 2017 - 01:47 PM, said:

There are two limits on the thinness of the outer cover a urethane balls, according to comments by Dean Snell and an interview with a Srixon engineer I saw a few years ago. Durability and manufacturing process. Even with the best applicable materials you can only go so thin and get a durable cover, obviously. And TPU, as opposed to cast thermoset urethane can not be manufactured quite as thinly as the durability limit would allow.

Apologies if I got some of the nomenclature wrong but that was the gist of it. The companies not using cast thermoset make the covers in general as thin as they can regardless of numbers of layers. The ones doing cast thermoset do it as thinly as they can while meeting their requirements for durability along with other properties of the cover.

Thanks for the clarification North Butte!
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#38 Matt J

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 07:34 PM

Matt-78, my understanding is similar to yours.  They introduced different layers of synthetics that compress at different speeds to "buffer" some of the spin with the longest clubs as they compress deeper into the core while maximizing spin on shorter shots, such as greenside chips and pitches.  I watched a couple of videos on Callaways' website a couple of years ago and that is what I took away from it.  Different mass and density of the layers, and then the order they stack those composites, creates a different golf ball.

On a related note, I probably should have bought a sleeve of those Q Star Tours before jumping all in with 4 dozen.  Not as spinny as I like around the green.  Maybe it's the 3 layers?

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#39 Matt-78

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 11:52 AM

View PostMatt J, on 10 October 2017 - 07:34 PM, said:

Matt-78, my understanding is similar to yours.  They introduced different layers of synthetics that compress at different speeds to "buffer" some of the spin with the longest clubs as they compress deeper into the core while maximizing spin on shorter shots, such as greenside chips and pitches.  I watched a couple of videos on Callaways' website a couple of years ago and that is what I took away from it.  Different mass and density of the layers, and then the order they stack those composites, creates a different golf ball.

On a related note, I probably should have bought a sleeve of those Q Star Tours before jumping all in with 4 dozen.  Not as spinny as I like around the green.  Maybe it's the 3 layers?

Matt J, very interesting point. The z-star (which is what I usually play) is also a 3-piece with a gradient core with the spin skin cover and it spins a good bit. I think the difference is the compression. The q-star is lower compression and that probably changes the ball-club interaction. That is just a guess on my part, because that is the main difference I see between the balls.
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#40 TRheezy

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 12:58 PM

Watched a Bridgestone commercial a while ago, basically said they don't use 4 layers because they can achieve the same performance as other manufactures in 3.  Attributes it to being in the rubber industry.

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#41 JPW75

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 01:01 PM

View PostTRheezy, on 11 October 2017 - 12:58 PM, said:

Watched a Bridgestone commercial a while ago, basically said they don't use 4 layers because they can achieve the same performance as other manufactures in 3.  Attributes it to being in the rubber industry.

I didn't know they made rubbers?  Cool

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#42 nad12

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 06:46 AM

View PostTRheezy, on 11 October 2017 - 12:58 PM, said:

Watched a Bridgestone commercial a while ago, basically said they don't use 4 layers because they can achieve the same performance as other manufactures in 3.  Attributes it to being in the rubber industry.

Isn't the Bridgestone B330 range 4 layers?

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#43 George1174

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 07:03 AM

View Postnad12, on 13 October 2017 - 06:46 AM, said:

View PostTRheezy, on 11 October 2017 - 12:58 PM, said:

Watched a Bridgestone commercial a while ago, basically said they don't use 4 layers because they can achieve the same performance as other manufactures in 3.  Attributes it to being in the rubber industry.

Isn't the Bridgestone B330 range 4 layers?
Only the S balls. B330 and B330RX are 3 piece.
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#44 DLiver

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 07:36 AM

I thought the current B330S is now 3 layers, while the previous version was 4 layers.

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#45 George1174

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 08:53 AM

The new ones, B RX and B XS?

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#46 PuttCurseRepeat

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 01:31 PM

The current B330, all four lines, are 3 piece balls. The previous generation (hydrocore) was B330/s - 4 piece and rx/rxs - 3 piece.

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#47 North Butte

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 01:38 PM

Focusing on the number of layers in your golf ball is about like worrying about the type of steel used in your clubheads. It's a matter of far more concern to the manufacturer than to the golfer.
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#48 klbcec

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 05:20 PM

I have always driven the ball more consistently with the four piece ball.  Seemed like the spin was always lower with a higher ball flight with the Vx and the XV.  I have only tried the Srixons and the Titleist and prefer the XV overall.  

As far as 100 yards and in goes, they all perform substantially the same for me.  In other words, they all - 3 piece and 4 piece - have plenty of spin to excute the shots needed around the green.  

Now, if they could just make an orange ball....

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#49 playa

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 12:02 AM

View Postklbcec, on 16 October 2017 - 05:20 PM, said:

I have always driven the ball more consistently with the four piece ball.  Seemed like the spin was always lower with a higher ball flight with the Vx and the XV.  I have only tried the Srixons and the Titleist and prefer the XV overall.  

As far as 100 yards and in goes, they all perform substantially the same for me.  In other words, they all - 3 piece and 4 piece - have plenty of spin to excute the shots needed around the green.  

Now, if they could just make an orange ball....
I have come to pretty much the same conclusion. The biggest performance difference I've noticed between different premium balls is off driver. All the X versions are longer off the tee for me, but around the greens I don't notice any differences. Having said that my short game isn't sharp enough or consistent enough to make a fair comparison.

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#50 Scottie68

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 09:13 PM

I'm waiting for a 14pc ball, with each layer optimized for each club!


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#51 Cwebb

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 01:03 AM

The golf forum "debunkers" are always amusing :stop:.....telling everyone that the only way you'll notice the finer details, is if you're a tour player

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#52 Nessism

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 08:37 AM

View PostCwebb, on 12 November 2017 - 01:03 AM, said:

The golf forum "debunkers" are always amusing :stop:.....telling everyone that the only way you'll notice the finer details, is if you're a tour player

Counterpoint is mid cappers that say such and such a ball is longer and/or spins more when the difference in their good and bad shots is about 100X more significant than the difference in different balls.  

As to the layers debate, there is one thing I know: a 4 layer ball allows the designers one more parameter to play around with.  Does this mean 4 is better than 3 and the designers are truly taking advantage of the extra layer?  NO.
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#53 theshadow1971

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 08:44 AM

View Postclubber, on 28 September 2017 - 11:39 AM, said:

I have read topics and searched. I think I am in love with four piece balls vs 3 piece and don't know why. Dean snell or anyone please pitch in here (I have watched the videos he has produced as well). Played snell prior to Kirkland and think my love for the Kirkland may be due to four piece va three piece. In the past I liked srixon xm more than z stars. V1x more than v1. Swing speed (100-105) with the driver made me try to stay away but definitely felt that the balls previously mentioned suited me better. Is this possible?  Why?  The difference is slight in my opinion with any urethane ball but I felt this way before realizing which balls were three piece vs four. Most specifically I guess is green side spin and irons as much as anything.

If you still like Srixon they have a new 4 piece ball out called Srixon - X  but it has an Ionomer cover.
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#54 cristphoto

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 11:50 AM

There are two constructions for 4-piece balls.  1 - core, inner mantle, outer mantle, cover.  2 - inner core, outer core, mantle, cover.  I place the second style along with 3-piece balls.  From what I've seen the second mantle allows slightly more spin separation.

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#55 tangojay

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:07 PM

The one thing I have noticed is that when they go in the water hazard, the water displacement and sink rate is the same for both.


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#56 deetsal

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 06:05 PM

View Postjoergensen, on 30 September 2017 - 11:24 AM, said:

If more layers are better, we should all be playing Maxfli U/6.
Yes, yes you should. I do, don't you want to be like me?

Edited by deetsal, 22 November 2017 - 06:06 PM.


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