What Makes a Golf Ball different from others?
I work at a sporting goods store and now since are golf pro is gone they put me in golf for a bit. The problem is I know the bare minimum about golf but really want to learn about it. http://www.golferic.com/ I look at the whole wall of golf balls and I just wonder what makes one better than the other? Is it player preference?
There's two basic constructions of golf balls: two-piece and multi-layered (used to be three-piece, but some companies have four layers- Taylormade has a five layered ball!).
Two-piece balls have a core and a cover. The cover is generally made out of Surlyn (or Ionomer), while the core is a solid plastic and/or rubber mix. Bridgestone's e5 is the lone exception: a two-piece ball with a urethane cover. They are generally billed as "distance" balls, though robot testing by Golf Magazine has proven that there's only a 5-7 yard difference between all golf balls (at 95 mph swing speed).
Multi-layered balls have a core, mantle and cover. The models with four layers have different names for the 4th layer (dual-core, inner mantle/outer mantle). The covers can be made of either Surlyn/Ionomer or urethane... price point is a key factor in knowing which is which. The "mid-level" balls, like the NXT Tour and HX Hot Bite have the Surlyn cover, while the Pro-V1, B-330 and Penta have urethane covers.
Urethane is softer than Surlyn. This allows the grooves of the club to grip the ball better, thus imparting more spin. Really, this is where the biggest difference in balls is. Throw in the manufacturing process (urethane cannot be recycled, as for as golf ball manufacturing is concerned) and it's easy to see why "tour" balls cost more.