Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the 1994 World Scientific Congress of Golf

By A. J. Cochran; M. R. Farrally | Go to book overview

55

Does it matter what ball you play?

T. Hale, P. Bunyan and I. Sewell

Centre for Sports Science, Chichester, UK

Abstract

Manufacturers of golf balls set out to persuade the club golfer of the special qualities of their own particular brands. This paper examines the relative performance in terms of accuracy and distance of balls regularly advertised in the popular golf magazines to test the assertions made by manufacturers. Eighteen golfers were divided into three equal groups of low (LH), middle (MH) and high handicaps (HH). Each subject played eight shots with two clubs-a three wood and a five iron with six different balls. The distance of each shot and its deviation from a target line were recorded. The balls from 3 different manufacturers were tested. Balls A and C were 2-piece surlyn covered and B a 3-piece balata from the same company. Balls D and E were 2-piece surlyns from two different companies and F a 3-piece surlyn covered ball recovered from a water hazard. The results showed that LH group were significantly longer and more accurate with each ball than both other groups (P<0.05), but there were no significant differences between the MH and LH groups. The claims for greater distance for balls C and D are confirmed for LH but at the expense of a slight loss in accuracy. The MH group received no significant advantage in distance or accuracy from any of the balls on trial. The cheaper Lake balls were significantly shorter for the high handicappers.

Keywords: Golf balls, Distance, Accuracy.


1 Introduction

The history of the development of the golf ball is one of steady progress in terms of distance and controllability and has now reached a point where, at the very highest levels, some believe the very nature of the game may be threatened. At the other end of the spectrum, the handicap golfer is always looking for some feature, usually new equipment, that will enhance their game. One of the features that occurs regularly in golf magazines is the number of advertisements describing the particular characteristics of high performance balls.

At present there are two basic forms of construction-2-piece or 3-piece. These are combined with surlyn, surlyn-lithium or balata coverings offering a mixture of

Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf. Edited by A.J. Cochran and M.R. Farrally. Published in 1994 by E & FN Spon, London. ISBN 0 419 18790 1

-362-

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