What Is Golf Ball Compression?

Many new golfers have trouble understanding what golf ball compression is. It is not a well-understood topic amongst amateurs and high-handicappers. Different people make the mistake of describing it incorrectly and how it affects each golf ball.

Low vs high compression golf balls are a common question but this article will break down what golf ball compression is and what type of compression suits different types of golfer’s games.

What Is Compression and When Does Golf Ball Compression Happen?

Compression for a golf ball means “how tightly wound the core threads are.”

If they are more wound up and tighter, that means the ball will be more compressed in its core and have a harder shell.

There are different compression ratings for different categories of balls with the most common being low compression, mid compression and high compression.

The lower the compression is, the less wound and tight it is, making it a softer ball.

The higher the compression, equals a tighter wounded ball as well as being harder in build.

Compressing the golf ball happens when the ball is struck against the clubface and when it compresses during contact throughout a swing.

📢 Need To Know: Compression is defined as how the club shoots the ball forward off the face and focuses on the core of it being compressed.

Different swing speeds will affect how the ball is compressed and how far or clean the ball is hit result-wise.

Low Compression Golf Ball Definition

Low compression golf balls are usually rated at 80 or lower.

These balls go longer distances than tighter mid or high compression balls since they are soft and have a better reaction and bounce effect off the face when swung.

This selection of balls will have less spin around the green and more rollout. They are ideal for amateurs or seniors looking for more distance due to a slow swing speed or not being able to make great contact.

📋 Keep in mind: Since the ball is softer it won’t fly as straight through the air as a mid or high-compression version.

Mid Compression Golf Ball Definition

These golf balls fall in the category between low and high-compression balls.

They will also fall in the middle of price points as well, with lower compression balls being cheaper and higher compression being more expensive.

They have a good mix of both control and length.

Mid-compression balls will be easier to control from the fairway and spin more around the hole. Distance control will come in handy and you will hit more greens in regulation rather than sailing it over or leaving it short.

📢 Need To Know: The standard rating for these balls is around 90.

High Compression Golf Ball Definition

High compression balls are the hardest balls and are usually supposed to be played by golfers with the highest swing speeds and lowest handicaps.

Golfers who need the most control and are able to navigate where they want to hit the ball use these often with ease.

These balls will check up spin-wise and contain high spin rates around the greens. 100 compression golf balls are the standard rating for high compression.

One example of a high compression ball is the Titleist Pro V1x used by many tour professionals including major-winner Justin Thomas.

What Compression Golf Ball Should I Play?

It is ultimately up to the golfer themself what compression ball they want to utilize but it is recommended for beginners or older players to play low compression balls in order to achieve more distance.

Mid-handicappers should use mid or high-compression balls to control the ball better while also getting a good number of yardage off the tee.

Low-handicappers and professionals should use high compression balls so to maximize the amount of spin and control hitting into greens.

There are different factors including how good around the greens a player is.

📋 Keep in mind: If they can usually get up and down and know how well to hit their wedges, chips and approach shots, then they should buy a high compression ball.

Best Low Compression Golf Balls

The following section will describe each type of compression and the benefits for each brand showcased by Golfible.

Srixon Soft Feel

The Srixon Soft Feel (60 compression rating) features a FastLayer Core that contains a soft middle inner core that feels extremely soft and helps provide boosted yardage from the tee box.

Srixon added 338 Speed Dimples for its model making the drag improved and the trajectory sky-high.

The two-piece build is great for golfers needing a long drive and the Ionomer cover that is 0.063” in thickness helps keep the ball sturdy and lasts for multiple rounds.

Best Medium Compression Golf Balls

Titleist Velocity Golf Balls

Many golfers think of top-end golf brands when they hear of the legendary Titleist brand.

Titleist has made a two-piece ball that fits any level of golfer with their Velocity series.

The soft-core shell has an LSX core that gives players an added velocity on shots to help with carry distance. Titleist created the ball to spin around the greens similarly to their higher-end models despite the two-piece build.

A NAZ+ cover specialized by Titleist increases distance and adds more spin on chips and wedge shots.

The 328 dimples with a tetrahedral design enable the ball to launch high in the air, giving players a nice professional feel similar to what they see on TV in terms of high ball flight from pro golfers.

📢 Need To Know: The Titleist Velocity golf ball compression rating is considered mid to high thanks to its distance off the tee and control greenside.

Taylormade Project A

The TaylorMade Project A is a three-piece golf ball with a urethane cover that features tour-level greenside spin thanks to the company design.

TaylorMade added a 322 dimple composition with low drag technology that helps with a straight ball flight and high spin close to the greens.

The world-renowned brand gave the ball 70 a compression rating to aid mid-level golfers with a combination of spin and distance.

Best High Compression Golf Balls

Titleist Pro V1

Titleist Pro V1s (three-piece) are some of the most popular golf balls on the planet. They have been mentioned countless times by golf announcers as well on popular sports talk shows across the globe.

The world-famous joke and common belief among any level of golfer is that the goal on the course is to not lose a Pro V1 to a hazard or in the trees.

The Pro V1 has 348 tetrahedral dimples compared to its Pro V1x sibling (388 dimples).

The X has more spin compared to the standard Pro V1 despite less distance. Both sets of balls are considered by many amateurs and professionals alike as the best golf balls ever made.

📢 Need To Know: These high-technology balls are used by many major and top PGA Tour winners including Viktor Hovland, Louis Oosthuizen, Abraham Ancer, Harris English, Max Homa, Daniel Berger, and Tony Finau.

TaylorMade TP5x

The TaylorMade TP5x was manufactured similarly to the Pro V1x. TaylorMade has a TP5/TP5x as does Titleist with its Pro V1/V1x. Both have an extremely soft feel with high spin.

The TP5x is a five-piece ball with maximum spin and holds a hard core in the center of its ball.

TaylorMade gave the ball a 322 dimple pattern to reduce drag and have a high spin rate when hit with irons and wedges for an elite-level players-like feel.

📢 Need To Know: A number of PGA Tour players including Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlory, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day use the TP5x.

What is the compression of TP5x balls?

According to mygolfspy.com, the first generation of TP5x balls measure at a 91 compression with the second generation coming in at a 98.

How To Compress The Golf Ball

The following video features Golfing World coach, Sean Clement instructing how to properly hit a ball. The famous coach demonstrates a technique on how to easily compress the golf ball.

Golf Ball Compression vs Distance

Low compression golf balls will often provide more distance and rollout than high-compression balls. This is due to their two-piece builds.

There is a sacrifice in terms of spin when selecting a lower-spinning ball than a higher compression more-spinning ball.

Golf Ball Compression vs Swing Speed

Swing speed plays a major role in what ball a golfer should handpick to place in their bag.

A golfer with a higher swing speed and lower handicap should select a mid-high compression ball that generates more spin and control around the green.

A higher handicapped golfer should go with a lower compression ball that gives them more distance.

What Is The Compression Rating Of A Pro V1?

The Titleist Pro V1 has been tested by countless reputable sources including MyGolfSpy. The different tests have resulted in “around a 90 compression” golf ball.

What Is The Titleist Velocity Golf Ball Compression Rating?

The Titleist Velocity’s compression rating based on a number of compression tests has been deemed as a “mid to low” rating.

Final Thoughts On Golf Ball Compression

Compression can be a complicated topic for many golfers. Lower compression balls can range in the 50-rating mark with mid-range compression ratings coming in at 70 compression golf balls and higher levels being around a 90 compression golf ball.

It’s up to a golfer to select what golf ball they want to play but there are recommendations for different skill levels as mentioned in this article.

Be sure to comment on what compression balls you prefer in the comments section.

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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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