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Range Balls vs. "Real Balls"


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#1 DaveLeeNC

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 07:18 PM

I don't know what got into me, but I decided to do a (admittedly limited) experiment on 'range ball' vs 'real golf ball' distances.

I "borrowed" 9 golf balls from our club's range (yes - all 9 are already returned) and went to my favorite "shag ball area" a couple miles down the road.

I pulled out 9 ProV1x'es from my shag bag (a mixture of 2007-8 and the previous version all in 'slightly less than course playable' condition). I then proceeded to hit alternate shots with the "Pinnacle Practice" range balls and my V1x'es. As far as I know these range balls are not 'limited distance' balls as the range at our club has plenty of room. And they were in as good as (or better) condition than the V1x'es.

I was hitting into a very light "quartering against" breeze (est. 5 mph), slightly uphill, into what you would call "moderate rough" on a golf course. IOW, VERY little roll-out and marginally unfavorable carry conditions.

I am absolutely certain that (based on my extensive range experience vs. shag area vs. on-the-course)  these range balls are absolutely no more than 1/2 club short (and maybe zero) vs. 'real balls' inside 150 yards. But with longer clubs it is harder to judge.

So I hit (driver) the 9 range balls and 9 Pro V1x'es into my shag area. My expectation was to find little to no difference in total distance. I was very wrong on this point.

On picking up the longest 6 balls, 5 of them were the V1x'es. I would estimate that the average carry distance difference between the two ball types was somewhere in the 10-15 yard range.

FWIW, the longest couple of balls ended about 230-235 yards out. Given the slightly unfavorable conditions (slightly against breeze, very limited roll-out, slightly uphill) this matches my expectations/experience (mid to high 90's driver SS).

FYI.

dave


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#2 mbbrewer

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 07:31 PM

View PostDaveLeeNC, on Jul 27 2009, 07:18 PM, said:

I don't know what got into me, but I decided to do a (admittedly limited) experiment on 'range ball' vs 'real golf ball' distances.

I "borrowed" 9 golf balls from our club's range (yes - all 9 are already returned) and went to my favorite "shag ball area" a couple miles down the road.

I pulled out 9 ProV1x'es from my shag bag (a mixture of 2007-8 and the previous version all in 'slightly less than course playable' condition). I then proceeded to hit alternate shots with the "Pinnacle Practice" range balls and my V1x'es. As far as I know these range balls are not 'limited distance' balls as the range at our club has plenty of room. And they were in as good as (or better) condition than the V1x'es.

I was hitting into a very light "quartering against" breeze (est. 5 mph), slightly uphill, into what you would call "moderate rough" on a golf course. IOW, VERY little roll-out and marginally unfavorable carry conditions.

I am absolutely certain that (based on my extensive range experience vs. shag area vs. on-the-course)  these range balls are absolutely no more than 1/2 club short (and maybe zero) vs. 'real balls' inside 150 yards. But with longer clubs it is harder to judge.

So I hit (driver) the 9 range balls and 9 Pro V1x'es into my shag area. My expectation was to find little to no difference in total distance. I was very wrong on this point.

On picking up the longest 6 balls, 5 of them were the V1x'es. I would estimate that the average carry distance difference between the two ball types was somewhere in the 10-15 yard range.

FWIW, the longest couple of balls ended about 230-235 yards out. Given the slightly unfavorable conditions (slightly against breeze, very limited roll-out, slightly uphill) this matches my expectations/experience (mid to high 90's driver SS).

FYI.

dave
Great Experiment.  Thanks for taking the time to write it up.

#3 owaisdurrani

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 07:48 PM

interesting.

#4 blademan68

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 08:01 PM

Useful info, thanks.

#5 adam_mac84

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 09:09 PM

at the practice facility i frequent, my balls land  on the 235 'green' on the range, i get no roll on my driver (maybe 1-2 yards max), but accd  to on-course yardages (my subtraction is not the greatest, but hey, good nuff to get through 7 yrs of college) i am usually carrying 250+

Nice to hear someone confirm this.  i think that up to about 5 iron, the distances are negligibly different, after that i think i lose progressively longer distance (i.e., can't carry my 3 iron >210 on range, but can hit onto a 230 par 3 to pin high with roll)

cool experiment though!!!



wonder what is on the pro's ranges... whatever ball they game? or the home courses range balls


#6 CosmosMpower

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 11:52 PM

View Postadam_mac84, on Jul 27 2009, 09:09 PM, said:

at the practice facility i frequent, my balls land  on the 235 'green' on the range, i get no roll on my driver (maybe 1-2 yards max), but accd  to on-course yardages (my subtraction is not the greatest, but hey, good nuff to get through 7 yrs of college) i am usually carrying 250+

Nice to hear someone confirm this.  i think that up to about 5 iron, the distances are negligibly different, after that i think i lose progressively longer distance (i.e., can't carry my 3 iron >210 on range, but can hit onto a 230 par 3 to pin high with roll)

cool experiment though!!!



wonder what is on the pro's ranges... whatever ball they game? or the home courses range balls

I think at tourneys the pros hit whatever ball they game which are provided to them in color coded bags.
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#7 jonwil

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 03:59 AM

Great experiment!!

#8 Chris_D

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 09:00 PM

Great write up man. I'll definitely show my dad these, he'd be interested in this since he's bee interested in "Range Balls." He gets a lot of his recommendations from Test Freaks but he's recently been lurking these forums and using the members opinions as well.

#9 CassinoNorth

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 09:10 PM

View Postadam_mac84, on 27 July 2009 - 09:09 PM, said:

wonder what is on the pro's ranges... whatever ball they game? or the home courses range balls

At tournaments they get 'practice' balls which are basically one in the same in terms of performance.


Not sure about at their home courses but I'm sure their home tracks are nice enough that they aren't pounding rocks out there.

#10 titleistfan14

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 09:17 PM

+1 nice write up


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#11 scifisicko

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 10:13 PM

I have a good supply of used balls. I often take a shag of them to the local range and finish a session by hitting a few. In good conditions the range balls land 25 yards short of the back fence and run up the hill into the base. Real balls hit the fence on the fly. In great conditions i fly the back fence with a regular ball and hit the base with a range ball. The range uses 1 piece yellow Srixon balls. Similarly there is an elevated green 20 yards deep with a marker at 110 yards, With Gap Wedge real balls fly the middle/back, range balls land on the front. With Driver 1 piece range balls are 25 yards shorter and 10 yards shorter with a Gap wedge.

#12 DaveLeeNC

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 04:49 PM

View PostRetired Ed, on 11 April 2011 - 06:55 PM, said:

Thanks for doing this.  I have a question though.  Why do you think you got the results you did?

I've heard range balls spin more off the driver and less off the irons.  Did you notice any difference in the flight of your iron and driver shots?  If the spin effect is true I would expect the driver flight to be higher and the iron flight to be lower?  I've read somewhere else though that the core in range balls is nowhere near the quality of a good golf ball as far as compression and rebounding and what not.

So taking those two factors into account, spin and core, it's possible to maybe reach some conclusions?  Like for a driver the higher spin + bad core = much less disance.  But for a mid iron the lower spin and bad core sort of cancel each other out as far as distance, with maybe a lower flight?

Sorry for the slow response. I started this around 2 years ago and my subscription to this thread had expired and I didn't notice this question.

My instincts are that the primary factor is that the range ball core is clearly an inferior performer at higher clubhead speeds. I've only been on a launch monitor once, but at that point I was not seeing high spin rates (that LM sesion used Pro V1's). An that is consistent with what I see in my shots. But I can't prove that.

Given my swing it is tough to judge varying launch angles. I have a kind of handsey swing and my launch conditions can vary a good deal just swing to swing (with no other changes).

dave

Edited by DaveLeeNC, 01 May 2011 - 04:50 PM.


#13 Cornbread

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 07:19 PM

The driver distance difference was probably due to the low flight characteristicse (and landing angle) of the ProV vs. a 2 piece range ball.   This gap would be even greater when hitting into a head wind as you described.

Edited by Cornbread, 02 May 2011 - 12:04 PM.


#14 DaveLeeNC

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 07:53 PM

View PostCornbread, on 01 May 2011 - 07:19 PM, said:

The driver distance difference was probably due to the low flight chareristice (andnlandingnangke) of the ProV vs a 2 piece range ball. This gap would be even greater when hitting into a head wind as you described.

If there is a big difference in trajectory between the range balls at our range and the ProV1x'es (and V1's) that I have played, I have never noticed it. But as I said my swing makes that a harder than usual judgement to make accurately. And if I had observed that in the experiment I would have remembered it.

dave

Edited by DaveLeeNC, 01 May 2011 - 08:36 PM.


#15 highergr0und

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 08:15 PM

I was at a demo day last week for titleist and the rep told a guy hitting balls that the pinnacle range ball just spins slightly more than a Pro V1 with the driver.....


#16 PINGWRXforeme

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 09:12 PM

I have done a test myself. The range by me has a fence at about 260. If I guessed the fence is 15' high. I hit the range balls either into the fence on the fly or a one hop into it. So I brought out a few found slazengers or top flights. Most of them go right over. Not to mention for me an easy 8 is 150 YRDS all day but with range balls it always seems more like 140.

#17 isaacbm

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 09:43 PM

Had a taylormade fitting today.  Hit a few on the launch monitor with our clubs brand new nike practice balls. .  Then hit a bunch for the actual fitting with taylor made's pail of Pro V's ( funny that they didn't have taylor balls).  At 110 swing speed,  I was carrying the Nike range balls 251 average.  With the  Pro V's,  I was carrying It 290.  ( Calgary is at 3300 feet)  So It was 40 yards difference.  I asked if they were less than full flight balls and the shop manager didn't know.  My spin with the Pro V's was 2100 average and with the nike's it was 2900.  

I would say there's  a little difference in range balls to real balls!!

#18 Break81

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 09:44 PM

I always knew there was a difference but to what extent I wasn't sure.  Went to hit a small bucket today and the difference was more than expected, but I think 1/2 of the balls were in poor condition and water logged.  I really do not mind the loss of distance, but the ball flight unpredictability DOES bother me.  a slight draw can be a hook dive and a high fade can be a big slice.  Also get the CORK SCREW ball that starts right , then left and then straight.

San part was I was at a higher end course..... no need for junk range balls.  At $90 a green fee I expect better.

#19 DJR10

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 10:21 PM

Nice write up!  I got an eye opening experience with the limited flight balls. I was unaware what they were and thought I cracked my driver. The guy down the range must have done the same thing. He laughed and told me to read the fine print on the ball. Talk about getting a little freaked out. They would get to about the pinnacle and just die out.

#20 CallawayKid86

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 11:50 AM

View Postadam_mac84, on 27 July 2009 - 09:09 PM, said:

at the practice facility i frequent, my balls land  on the 235 'green' on the range, i get no roll on my driver (maybe 1-2 yards max), but accd  to on-course yardages (my subtraction is not the greatest, but hey, good nuff to get through 7 yrs of college) i am usually carrying 250+

Nice to hear someone confirm this.  i think that up to about 5 iron, the distances are negligibly different, after that i think i lose progressively longer distance (i.e., can't carry my 3 iron >210 on range, but can hit onto a 230 par 3 to pin high with roll)

cool experiment though!!!



wonder what is on the pro's ranges... whatever ball they game? or the home courses range balls

Pro's use balls provided by their sponsor. I had a load of Pro V1, V1x, Z Star, and Z Star X balls that were their range balls. They are all stamped with PRACTICE on the side and play just as good as retail balls. All of them came in boxes marked "TOUR PRACTICE" on the labels. Just picked up a bunch of Q Star practice balls that never made it to the course apparently.

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#21 Froth

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 01:29 AM

My local range uses Top Flite, Callaway and Mizuno range balls(at least, that is what is stamped on them) and I have over the years noted at least 1 club difference in yardage from my play ball in on-course conditions and the balls on the range.  As sort of an in-depth test, The local pro-shop that is attached to the range uses all Prov1's in the Simulator area but for outside lessons they use the same range balls I mentioned above.  I grabbed a hand full of the newest/least worn range balls they had at the time and I smacked a few into the Sim, What most people in here are saying rang true as there is a distinct 5-7mph difference in ball speed hitting a range ball into the sim and hitting a Prov1 into the sim with the same club.  The clubfitter at the pro-shop chalked up the difference to the much Thicker cover that the range balls use for durability absorbing some of the initial ball speed.

What I took away from all this is that you shouldn't get your yardages set from range balls, Get a shag bag of 40-50 quality balls and get your club distances dialed in on-course or in a large open field with well marked off distances, ideally with an accurate range finder.  That is, unless you belong to a nice club that uses name-brand balls on the range.  I played in a Member-Guest at a really really nice Country Club and every one of their range balls were NXT Tours.  I spent a good amount of time on that range :)

Edited by Froth, 28 September 2013 - 01:35 AM.

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#22 Redhill

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 12:51 AM

I guess that's why the lads on the PGA tour have their driving range balls to the choice.

You experiment also show the fallacy of trying to figure out your distances with say a new set of irons, while on the driving range.  Usually it's after playing enough rounds with them that we actually dial in the yardages as most of us don't use our gamers on the driving range.

#23 MyPGAQuest

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 01:26 PM

What gets me in trouble when on the range is when I start hitting irons that I know I can hit a certain distance.  But the range balls do not go near as far.  Then I start thinking something is wrong with my swing and I start try to HIT the ball harder thinking I know I can hit this club this far.  And the cycle goes on and on.  And then the fun begins, I go out to the course and my club distances just magically appear.  

Distance is so ingrained in my mind that it is hard for me to just practice control shots, shaped shots, etc. and to not worry about the distance.  But not me, I know I can hit the ball this far and I am nowhere close, what is wrong with my swing today.  And so the cycle continues. . .

#24 Froth

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 02:39 PM

View PostMyPGAQuest, on 02 October 2013 - 01:26 PM, said:

What gets me in trouble when on the range is when I start hitting irons that I know I can hit a certain distance.  But the range balls do not go near as far.  Then I start thinking something is wrong with my swing and I start try to HIT the ball harder thinking I know I can hit this club this far.  And the cycle goes on and on.  And then the fun begins, I go out to the course and my club distances just magically appear.  

Distance is so ingrained in my mind that it is hard for me to just practice control shots, shaped shots, etc. and to not worry about the distance.  But not me, I know I can hit the ball this far and I am nowhere close, what is wrong with my swing today.  And so the cycle continues. . .
Been there, done that.  I hate it.
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#25 BobbieDollar

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 11:26 PM

whats interesting is the politics of range balls. In L.A. at the ranges they all lie and tell you theirs no difference and they have fine new balls, etc. Its very condescending and insulting. The swing preachers that troll the ranges looking for lessons say theres no difference. This is because they mostly teach hackers who wouldn't know the difference and do not compress the ball enough to make a difference. Anyone with a SS at 105 or higher will know and the faster you are the greater the drop off in distance. Drixons are the worst. They are ghost balls. They fade and start to die out over 250 like drones programmed to self-destruct. Don't let anyone tell you different. A range I stopped going to has the fated range Drixon, last time I was there I had just come from a Nike range ball facility and was carrying drives 7.5-8 seconds in the air. The same shots hit with the infamous Drixon and they started ghosting on me at 6-6.5 seconds. Their fence is 50 ft high and fronts a freeway at just 270 yards which is a freakin 2 iron for an average touring pro. Just imagine the lawsuits if they even played Nike range there, let alone Titelist.. Yet i have overheard their 'pros' telling innocents that the balls are brand new,etc. all the while they teach them all the wonders of the modern swing replete with locked left leg at impact,locked hips in the backswing, no lifting of left heel in backswing, - all the good things that will send these people to ortho surgeons over the next 2-5 years. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate modern swing preachers? Nobody bothers with Nicklaus anymore, too bad for them.


#26 Hidalgo

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 07:54 AM

LOL ... topic drug up from the dark ages ......

Anyway, I always have guys that are new to our course ask me "How far is it to those different flags out there"?  My response is, "What difference does it make?  You're hitting a range ball and it's also downhill!"  I always get a confused look from them.  It amazes me that there are actually people out there that have no clue about the range balls they are hitting and actually try to judge them against their balls that they play with.

Edited by Hidalgo, 21 February 2014 - 07:54 AM.

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#27 JoeSchu

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 09:32 AM

At my club, the regular practice ground and instruction center hit into the same range.  When practicing, you get a bag of yellow Pinnacle range balls, but when you go to the instruction center for lessons and to get on Trackman, it is all NXT Tour balls.  Not a ProV, but still a big improvement.  There's a very noticeable difference in the flight and feel.  It is great to have the better ball when getting the feedback on your lesson and seeing the Trackman data.  I'm sure the little bit of manual sorting adds a little labor to the process, but it is well worth it to get the nicer balls into the instruction facility.

The guy I'm taking lessons with has been consistently advising not to pick up my distances from the range, just contact and shot shape.  Sound advice.

#28 EmperorPenguin

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 09:52 AM

I used to work at a driving range twelve years ago, and range balls we bought were Pinnacles at 75 cents each. I will say that there is a huge difference between a new range ball when first struck versus another that is even two weeks old.  Difference is night and day, especially with the driver.  Lesson: if you want maximum distance on the course, play a new ball; any scuff of any sort, replace immediately.

#29 Upgrayedd

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 09:59 AM

They're 20 yards shorter across the board in the cold versus an e6 for me. In the summer it is about the same as my NXTs.

Edited by Upgrayedd, 21 February 2014 - 10:00 AM.


#30 saasgolfer

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 11:45 AM

Soem range balls are limited flight though... All balls are not created equal


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