Golf isn’t an easy game. You need lots to practice before playing even average. And the golf ranges aren’t cheap either. So how to practice?
This is where a golf practice ball comes to rescue. These are specially manufactured for flying short distances, no matter how hard you hit! With these, you can start practicing right in your backyard or even indoors.
When you walk into a sports shop, you will be bedazzled with the array of choices. Practice balls come in different sizes, materials, core-composition, surface-dimples, etc. Each is best suited for a particular type of situation. So which one should you buy?
Worry not. We have prepared this extensive guide to help you select the perfect practice golf ball. During our research we took into consideration the following points:
- type of material used
- standard sizing
- spin and compression factors
- range & trajectory of flight
- how closely they mimic standard ball aerodynamics
- cost factor
Without going into technicalities & to keep things simple, let’s see the best practice balls overall. Consider these are our finest picks with each having the best price-to-benefit ratio.
- Here’s Our Selection of Top 4 Practice Golf Balls Overall(in no particular order)
- How to choose the perfect practice golf ball?
- Recent scientific advancements in making of practice golf balls
- Now coming to the basics. What are practice golf balls?
- How useful are they to golfers?
- How a practice golf ball differs from regular ones?
- Are practice golf balls legal?
- How far does a practice foam ball go?
- How much does practice balls cost?
- Which practice ball can closely mimic a standard ball?
- When should you use practice golf balls?
- Last Question. So are practice golf balls any good?
- Final Words:
Here’s Our Selection of Top 4 Practice Golf Balls Overall
(in no particular order)
These are highly rated and cheap price balls. They are made of hard plastic-like material but are non-brittle. Hence they can withstand several hits without cracking up. You can hit them as hard as possible, and easily practice your range shots. Max travel distance is about 40 yards and they last about a month each. Considering price and durability, they are our no.1 choice.
These yellow-colored foam balls have good spin and flight trajectory. Being soft, one cannot break valuables or hurt a real person when accidentally hit. Cheap, durable and perfect for indoor use. Florescent yellow makes it hard to lose! Overall or best recommendation for foam balls.
Made of flite material, they are partially-soft and light. The outer surface is dimpled. We like this ball because it gives a very good spin, can travel very high and gives a sense of control after being hit. It can mimic a real standard ball very well. It’s a bit pricey, but worth anyways.
These are like your daily practice balls, & you might need to buy a big bag of these. Nothing much to brag about, they are more so use-n-throw type balls. They let you unleash your beast of swings without flying too far. White in color, hard plastic, symmetrical holes and best of all, extremely cheap. What else do you need, right?
How to choose the perfect practice golf ball?
This is a rather complicated question since your choice of the golf ball will depend on the use case or make of ball. Let’s discuss them individually.
1. Foam practice golf balls have soft outer and lightweight. Most of them have hollow cores. Being soft, they absorb the majority impact force of club, resulting in a shorter flight. However, due to the high friction of foam, it can carry the angled force of club in a better way resulting in improved spin and direction.
So we recommend choosing a foam practice ball if you want to play with better accuracy and learn your spin.
2. Plastic practice golf balls are smooth and hard. As a result, they transfer the full energy of your club onto the ball, thus the ball travels a little farther and faster than foam ones. Due to the smooth exterior, they rather have poor spin.
So we recommend this kind of ball for those who want to practice on their trajectory and flight range.
3. Practice balls for indoor use
We suggest picking up foam ones because they travel a shorter distance. Being soft, chances of accidentally breaking valuables inside the house is also less.
4. Recommended practice golf balls for playing in the backyard
Since your backyard is an open space, we suggest buying hard plastic variety. These balls can cover a longer distance, so you can use up your full backyard space in lesser no of shots. However they spin less, so you can’t practice advanced shots. But they allow you to hit with full force without worrying about the ball flying to your neighbors’roofs!
Recent scientific advancements in making of practice golf balls
Science is moving at a fast pace and so are it’s applications. To make this game more interesting, several sporting companies are heavily investing in research. This has resulted in several developments, particularly within the past two decades. We list here 2 such relevant inventions.
1. The Birdie Ball
It was introduced in the “PGA merchandise show” and instantly grabbed the attention of many. It was awarded the “best new product”. It was very well received & several pro-golfers endorsed it too.
So what’s the fuss all about? This birdie ball is different than its stereotypes. It’s shaped like a cylinder and nothing like a sphere. The main advantage is that it exactly mimics aerodynamics of a real ball. So you get a very good curved trajectory, proper spin, and perfect feedback on club impact. Unique design makes its flight range restricted to max 50 yards. However, it’s priced higher than regular ones and durability is usually less than a month. Nevertheless, its a scientific marvel giving the best real-like experience.
2. The Floppy ball
The name sounds funny and physically feels funny too! It’s so soft that you could squeeze to half. On striking hard surfaces such as window glass, it will just fall flat without breaking glass.
Its innovative material is designed to react similarly to a real ball on being hit with a club. It gives a good spin and can roll just fine.
The best use of Floppy ball is for playing indoors to practice your chip shots, flop shots, and pitch shots. You may use it outdoors too, but avoid swinging with bigger clubs, or else it will lose its shape.
Now coming to the basics. What are practice golf balls?
Practice balls are manufactured in a different way using plastic or foam. They are essentially meant to be used in small spaces with a limited range of flight and height. It is normally used in 3 scenarios:
1) by newbies to learn their swing initially
2) to play indoors
3) teach kids to play golf
How useful are they to golfers?
Imagine a rainy day, or you live in a hugely expensive metro city with limited spaces. So how do you play golf without visiting a golf course?
Worry not, just buy some practice golf balls and play in your garage, inside room, or backyard. It won’t give you the full feel of playing in a golf field, however, it definitely is second to the best experience.
How a practice golf ball differs from regular ones?
1)Practice balls are manufactured to travel with limited range. You can actually see the trajectory after being hit. So it’s best used to practice your swing as you can spot your inefficiencies quickly. A bonus is that you don’t have to walk long distances to pick it up! Also suitable for indoor use due to restricted range.
2) since these are built lighter without compact core, they feel different to touch. Plastic balls are hard & brittle and can break very often. Foam ones have soft outer and are best for indoor use (they won’t crack your windows) but very limited travel range. The impact sound also feels very hollow compared to regular balls.
3) Practice balls are generally less durable. They can last about 15-20 shots. Plastic balls usually end up cracked, and foam balls end up torn or deformed.
4) price wise they are much cheaper, starting from 50 cents to $1.2. Foam practice balls with compressed core are usually sold on the higher range, but they give a close-to-real feel. They are slightly more durable than plastic ones.
Are practice golf balls legal?
As the name suggests, practice golf balls are made literally for practice. You cannot use them in tournaments. However they are not much different from standard balls, so you can get near-normal experience playing them. They are also perfect for playing indoors where there’s no legality involved!
How far does a practice foam ball go?
Foam balls have soft outer, so they reduce the impact pressure, eventually resulting in a short travel flight. They can typically fly about 30-50 yards at most. There are some expensive practice balls with compressed core, these travel a little farther and can more closely replicate the trajectory of a standard ball.
How much does practice balls cost?
They are relatively inexpensive. Given their limited longevity, you might need to buy lots of them. They can typically cost you anywhere between 50 cents to $1.2
Certain varieties of practice balls like birdie ball can be costlier up to $2 per piece.
Which practice ball can closely mimic a standard ball?
By all means, a foam practice ball with a compressed core will give you the best feel of a real standard golf ball. It gives you proper spin, drag, with shorter travel range.
When should you use practice golf balls?
At a golf course, the best use case is for those who are newbie or low-handicappers. They can practice swing without having to worry about running too far to collect hit balls.
It’s ideal for use by kids too. Another use case is playing indoors or in a backyard golf-course where you cannot afford hitting too long.
Last Question. So are practice golf balls any good?
Depending on your use case they can be a good trade-off. If you’re are planning to use them just for warming-up/practice or want to play indoors, then it’s a perfect choice. However, you cannot play tournaments with it.
Certain practice balls- particularly foam ones with compressed cores can correctly replicate a real ball’s flight, so it won’t leave you less satisfied.
Regarding durability, it lasts lesser than standard balls, but low price offsets this negative. Eventually, your pockets are happy.
We tried to cover the topic of practice golf balls from every possible angle. By now you would have selected your favorite type and brand already. If still in doubt, we recommend buying anyone from the following two: