Range Balls In Golf (Comparison With Regular Balls)

The question is often pondered in many golfer’s heads and asked: ‘What are the quality of range balls?’

People wonder whether or not range balls are playable during a round and how they compare to normal golf balls.

Do they go shorter distances is another often asked question.

We will explain in this article how they play rather than standard golf balls and give details regarding their materials and why you should only practice with them.

What Are Range Balls?

Range balls are golf balls specially created to be used only on the driving range where they will be hit thousands of times.

These balls are often yellow or white, with either a black or red stripe surrounding the ball designating it to be a range ball.

The word “practice” or “range” can also usually be seen on these balls.

When purchased new by an individual, these balls will be in better condition than the balls at a local driving range. They can be taken and hit anywhere and are good for practice for those who don’t mind losing them.

One example would be if you’re going to the lake or park.

Most ranges sell range balls in small, medium and large buckets for golfers who “borrow” them. 

They are then collected after each use and resold.

Practice Range Golf Balls vs Regular Golf Balls: Key Differences

There are significant differences between range balls vs normal balls.

Normal golf balls vary in price and are usually more expensive than range balls. They also are built differently.

Normal golf balls are built with two, three, four or five layers. The two-piece balls have the least spin and are the cheapest. The four and five-piece balls are more costly and produce more spin and control.

Some of the most used balls on golf courses by players and on the PGA Tour are the three-piece Titleist Pro V1 and four-piece Pro V1x. These balls cost $50 for a dozen balls.

TaylorMade Distance+ balls are two-pieces and provide distance for amateurs and seniors who need to be longer off the tee. These balls cost around $20 for 12 balls.

Range ball prices differentiate between how many balls you buy but they will almost always be drastically lower than normal balls since they were not designed for performance.

The balls were created to be hit countless times, thus need harder cores and shells, which limits ball flight and reduces control, especially around the greens.

Most range balls are two pieces and have a sturdier inner-core and hard cover. It will take longer to damage them but they won’t allow you to see your full potential on the course.

📋 Keep in mind: Using used range balls is a bad idea since they’ve endured the elements and have been hit so many times.

Do Range Balls Go As Far As Regular Golf Balls?

There is definitely a difference between a range ball vs a real ball’s distance.

Range balls usually fly shorter than normal golf balls.

Since they’ve been used so much and could be waterlogged or damaged, they tend to travel less distance through the air and often can have less rollout.

Sometimes it can be extremely noticeable on the range.

📋 Keep in mind: Each range ball will travel a different distance depending on its brand as well as condition.

If you’re using a Trackman on the range or trying to calculate your distance on the range take the numbers with a grain of salt.

They won’t show your true shot length compared to doing it on a tee box with a normal ball.

Are Driving Range Balls Bad For Your Clubs?

Driving range balls have the same impact on your clubs that regular balls do.

Clubs were designed by manufacturers to be hit practically a million times without suffering real damage. Obviously, there will be some scratches and normal wear but the performance won’t be affected.

You might lose slightly less spin on your wedges after hitting a thousand balls but the difference is hard to tell with the naked eye.

What Balls Do Pros Use On Driving Range Before A Round?

Golf pros on the PGA Tour are given the highest quality range balls from their sponsor of which ball they play.

Many brands like Titleist, Callaway, TaylorMade and Srixon create their own range balls. They are made closely to the original balls although with a much harder shell.

The company will ship a plethora of balls to the course, which are then given to the individual pro for range sessions.

📢 Need To Know: Major golf brand companies usually label their range ball with “practice” on it. That way players don’t get mixed up with their real ball.

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Lawrence Smelser has been part of the Golfible writing staff since 2019 and is a freelance golf journalist. Smelser has covered the PGA Tour including the U.S. Masters with Augusta.com. He holds a journalism Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M and a Master’s journalism degree from the University of North Texas. Learn more about our team at Golfible on our About Us page.

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