If I'm a high handicap player, does it really matter what ball I play with? I usually play with a softer ball, as a better golfer told me that with my slower swing speed, I should go with a softer ball. Is that true? I usually play with Noodles, or Pinnacle Gold (made in the USA). Any thoughts?
High handicap and golf balls
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Here's a recent thread that's somewhat relevant to your question: http://thesandtrap.com/t/75712/do-ball-types-make-that-much-difference-to-a-high-handicap-player
For higher handicap players, the consensus seems to be that the ball doesn't have much of an impact on their game, as they aren't consistent enough to experience the benefits. You will probably like the feel of a softer ball over a harder ball, though.
I think the golf ball is very important for all players, but a lot of times the higher handicapper who thinks "I'm not good enough for it to matter" can get the most dramatic results when fit into the proper ball.
When Tour players hit different golf balls on a launch monitor, the differences between "Ball A" and "Ball B" can be remarkably small (I'm talking about the same type of ball, but different models or brands). I've seen pros hit 5 or 6 different models and it can be like splitting hairs to pick the one that performed the best.
Remember, all players have certain tendencies. Maybe it's a tendency to hit a fade or slice, or maybe it's hitting the ball too low. If ball selection isn't taken into consideration and a player with these tendencies happens to pull out a low launching/high spinning ball, it will exaggerate these issues and cause them to struggle. Compare that to a higher launching/lower spinning ball and there can be a very noticeable difference.
A lower compression ball can help higher handicappers as well. A firmer compression golf ball will lose a higher percentage of ball velocity on off center hits. This is also true with backspin/sidespin. Backspin will have a larger deviation on off center strikes with a firmer ball compared to a softer compression ball. A softer compression ball will remain more stable stable and relative to control characteristics of a center strike.
As an 18 HCP, and as I stated in the thread linked to above, playing the right ball for your swing can make quite a difference in distance and your ability to work the ball around the green, which I am normally not on in regulation. I do not believe the Pro V1 will work best for you, but do not believe that you can hit any rock and it will not matter because you are inconsistent - watching the ball roll across the green like a marble will not help that handicap. Based on what you said I would recommend a ball like the Maxfli U/3, Gamer Soft, or Callaway Supersoft. I am certain that when I play to my ability, I save 3-4 strokes/round buy using a ball suited for me.