SI Vault
 
Don't let your ego shorten your tee shots
Jack Nicklaus
July 19, 1965
Many golfers make the mistake of thinking that a high-compression ball—that is, one wound very tightly—will automatically give the most distance. But more often than not. the reverse is true. To get maximum distance you must use a ball with a resiliency that matches the speed of your swing. The slower the swing, the softer the ball should be, because the more your club head flattens the ball at impact, up to a certain point, the farther it will go. If your swing is an easy one and the ball is too hard, it will feel and react like a rock. However, if your swing is hard and your ball is too soft, you will not get maximum results either. All manufacturers rate their golf balls according to compression. The softer the ball, the lower compression rating it has. Because they generate so much club-head speed, the long-hitting pros use a high-compression ball, one rated between 95 and 100. This ball will compress just enough to give them maximum distance. Most other pros use balls rated between 90 and 95. These compression ratios are too high for the average golfer. Even most low-handicap players should stick with a compression ratio between 75 and 90. Soft swingers and high handicappers will achieve maximum distance with a ball in the 60-to-75 compression range. Consult your pro to find the right compression ball for you. It may be hard on your self-esteem, but use the ball best suited to your swing.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
July 19, 1965

Don't Let Your Ego Shorten Your Tee Shots

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue

Many golfers make the mistake of thinking that a high-compression ball—that is, one wound very tightly—will automatically give the most distance. But more often than not. the reverse is true. To get maximum distance you must use a ball with a resiliency that matches the speed of your swing. The slower the swing, the softer the ball should be, because the more your club head flattens the ball at impact, up to a certain point, the farther it will go. If your swing is an easy one and the ball is too hard, it will feel and react like a rock. However, if your swing is hard and your ball is too soft, you will not get maximum results either. All manufacturers rate their golf balls according to compression. The softer the ball, the lower compression rating it has. Because they generate so much club-head speed, the long-hitting pros use a high-compression ball, one rated between 95 and 100. This ball will compress just enough to give them maximum distance. Most other pros use balls rated between 90 and 95. These compression ratios are too high for the average golfer. Even most low-handicap players should stick with a compression ratio between 75 and 90. Soft swingers and high handicappers will achieve maximum distance with a ball in the 60-to-75 compression range. Consult your pro to find the right compression ball for you. It may be hard on your self-esteem, but use the ball best suited to your swing.

1