What golf ball do you use? That was probably quite an easy question. You will either have named a particular model from a particular manufacturer, or said “whatever I can lay my hands on”.
This question might be a bit trickier: Why do you use that ball? Answers here will range from “it’s what I’ve always used” or “I just like the feel of it”, to “no idea” and “it’s just a ball – who cares?” Not many of you will have been able to say that you use that ball because you’re 100 per cent certain that it’s the right ball for the specific needs of your individual golf game.
Bridgestone’s Joe Di Stefano is on a mission to change that. “The golf ball is the cheapest part of your equipment, and it’s the only part you hit on every single shot. I get frustrated seeing people who swing at 70 or 80mph buying a golf ball because of the brand or because a tour pro uses it; there’s no valid performance reason for playing that ball. I’ve done over 5,000 fittings now, and the average distance gain has been over 10 yards. People often ask me, ‘What’s your best ball?’ There is no best ball. It’s about what suits you as a golfer. I genuinely think every golfer could benefit from a ball fitting. It’s free and only takes 15 minutes, so what have you got to lose?”
To get fitted for your ball this spring, find a Bridgestone Golf Ball Fitting Challenge near you. Visit www.bridgestonegolf.co.uk
Three TG readers put ball fitting to the test
Peter Ladlow, 76, St Ives Golf Club. Handicap: 22
Normal ball: Srixon AD333
New ball: Bridgestone e5
The Bridgestone diagnosis: Peter’s typical shot shape is a low, chasing hook, which is manageable in the summer when the fairways are firm and the ball will run. But he struggles in softer conditions when the ball will land and stop quickly. The Bridgestone e5 has much shallower dimples and a softer urethane cover compared to the Srixon AD333, which has deeper dimples and a firm surlyn cover. This will help reduce drag, which will lead to high speeds and increased lift – resulting in 15 yards more carry distance.
Peter’s verdict: "I was astonished by what a difference the ball can make. I thought that things like ball fittings were only for the top players; I didn’t think they would come down to my level. To see the printout of what the new ball can do for me… well, it’s not a matter of opinion; it’s a matter of fact. The numbers speak for themselves."
Craig Sutherland, 36, Bourn Golf Club. Handicap: 3
Normal ball: TaylorMade Penta TP5
New ball: Bridgestone B330
The Bridgestone diagnosis: Craig was creating too much spin with the driver, so he was less likely to gain maximum distance and avoid an inconsistent trajectory when playing in windy conditions. The Bridgestone B330 will help reduce spin, due to its lower compression core, without sacrificing short game control. This will result in a more consistent trajectory, because the ball will compress more on the clubface, reducing the glancing contact.
Craig’s verdict: "This has changed the way I think about and choose balls. I’m long enough off the tee – I don’t need any extra distance; I need accuracy. I hit it very high because I’m quite steep into the ball, which means I struggle in the wind. I used to use Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x, but I was getting too much spin on my approach shots. If this ball helps me manage the wind and control the spin, I’ll be more than happy."
Alan Thompson, 66, St Ives Golf Club, Handicap: 15
Normal ball: Titleist Pro V1
New ball: Bridgestone e6
The Bridgestone diagnosis: Alan’s clubhead speed isn’t high enough to compress a firmer ball, which results in too much backspin and a reduced total distance. The Bridgestone e6 is a lower compression ball, which helps create more distance and less overall spin. The greater deformation makes it harder for the ball to move up and across the clubface, which keeps the ball flying straighter. The end result for Alan was an average distance increase of six yards and a much tighter dispersion.
Alan’s verdict: "The interesting thing for me is that this ball gives me more distance and consistency. I talk to fellow golfers and they say, “oh I just use any old ball”, but I do believe it can make a big difference. I think everyone tries to eke out a bit more distance, so if a ball can help, why not make the most of what’s available to you?"