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Gary W

range balls

35 posts in this topic

What is it about range balls that knocks down the distance? They seem to be hard as a rock, yet even when I catch one pure they just die out before the top of the trajectory. It seems like they launch the same, but then the air brakes kick in.

Are the dimple patterns designed to kill the distance? Something else?
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What is it about range balls that knocks down the distance? They seem to be hard as a rock, yet even when I catch one pure they just die out before the top of the trajectory. It seems like they launch the same, but then the air brakes kick in.

Ball velocity is usually not as high. Plus they get out of round... Most go about 80% the distance a real ball goes.

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Range balls typically sport rock hard covers to make them more durable and able to sustain a beating. At my club our driving range is only about 275 yards deep, so we're forced to use limited-flight Srixon's, which seem to mimick ball flight accurately, but fly about 75% as far.
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Since I became so addicted to golf recently I took a part-time job at a range. The balls we use are Srixons which have a lower compression. And according to the rep they travel about 15% less than a normal, quality ball.
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Most range balls are 50 to 60 compression cores with surlyn covers which means if you hit it pure you will lose 10 to 15 percent.
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I have a feeling that if you took the best balls on the market and put them through what a range ball goes through, they would travel even less than the "durable" range balls.

The typical range ball is beat and scratched all to hell going through the picker, the ball deposit machine, and getting hit over and over. Typically they're "cleaned" but hardly what you would consider clean, so they have some degree of dirt or mud on them. Then consider they are made to fly shorter (as pointed out above).
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Most range balls are 50 to 60 compression cores with surlyn covers which means if you hit it pure you will lose 10 to 15 percent.

There's your answer, but I'd say more along the lines of 70 compression. Titleist ProVx are 100, prov1 90. Ladies balls around 80.

At the course I work at, and all other course that the parent company owns, it is now mandatory that we use these outrageously low compression balls, they are around 50-60. It feels like hitting a ping-pong ball. The membership is freaking out about these things. And they should be, cause these balls suck.
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A little research on the Internet gave me some insight into this. If I am wrong in my understanding then I hope someone can correct me...

Lower compression balls (say 80 to 85%, such as womens balls) compress easier, so they jump off the face pretty well for slower swing speeds. A heavy hitter will also experience the same compression (more, of course) but they don't less benefit from the lower compression.

High compression balls do not compress very easy. So someone with a slow swing speed gets very little compression and therefore very little bounce. They therefore hit them shorter than they would a low compression ball. On the other hand, a fast swing will get the proper compression out of the ball.

So your standard range balls actually go where they should for many seniors, women, and high-handicapped, slow-swinging men. These people don't see much difference from a range ball compared to what they usually hit (assuming they are using a ball that suits them).

I am not yet swinging the club as well as I could be, so I actually only lose 5% distance, give or take. But most of you quick swingers will probably be losing 15% or so.
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i know they dont go as far but do they also fly lower? the balls at the range i use are very worn down, dimples almost non existant on some, dimples create drag and therefore lift so if the dimples are worn down they will fly lower, is that a correct assumption? Im just curious as i always hit it very low at the range.
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There's so many myths about range balls. Let me explain a few things.

The range I use uses all real balls, everything from ProV1s to Top Flites. They fly about 90% as far as the real thing. Other ranges use limited flight balls, and these may only go 75% as far. These are the first two differences to be discussed.

First , "range" balls, the ones that are marked as such, are what we call limited flight balls. They are quite a bit lighter than standard 1.6 oz golf balls. For this reason, they float. Many range balls are labeled "floater" for this very reason. The rules of golf only limit how small and how heavy a ball can be, it can be as light or as large as you want. Lighter and/or larger balls don't go as far, so everyone makes balls that weigh 1.62 oz and are 1.8" in diameter. Range balls, however, are lighter.

The dimples are also designed to limit the flight of the ball. Since the dimples cause lift, the balls will not go as high either. Range balls usually have more dimples than standard golf balls, over 400 on occasion. Range balls are also very durable, made from hard surlyn. Range balls are either one or two piece balls, where as regular balls are almost always two or more. Range balls carry a compression of about 80-90, which is about the same as an average amateur golf ball. Some ranges use softer balls however.

Second factor is the core itself. When a ball is repeatedly struck and deformed, the core loses its resiliency. If you take a rubber band and stretch it, dry it out, or just let it get old, it doesn't have as much elasticity. Golf balls are also made from rubber. Rubber has a limited shape memory, so like aluminum, it can only be deformed so many times before it breaks. When the core finally wears out, the ball will become dead, and fly like a rock. Where I practice, we get a few "dead" balls in the bunch. They feel very soft and pure when you hit them sometimes, but rarely go very far. A good quality golf ball will last for a while, depending on how hard it's hit. I use a ball for about nine to twelve holes before the groove marks in the cover become pretty nasty, and the ball begins to feel like putty. Despite popular belief, scratched balls don't fly poorly. Why do you think they put dimples on them? It's the same thing. The thing is, modern golf balls are so well designed, that scratches will inhibit their flight, but nothing is worse than having a smooth sphere.

And if you've never tried it, take a golf ball and sand the dimples off, the hit it with a driver. I'll be willing to bet you can't hit it more than 150 yards.
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Good thread. I'll sometimes have a bit of a panic attack when visiting a new range that has the reduced flight balls, and start to question my swing. Now that I've been to several places and experienced the short shots, I just concentrate on my swing. My home course has a 250yd range that is directly perpendicular to the 9th hole. It doesn't have any netting, so if someone was going much over 275yds off the driving range, they'd have a distinct possibility of plunking someone walking up #9. I haven't verified, but I believe our range balls are reduced flight, because I've never seen anyone clear the 250 flag, and I play with a couple guys who regularly go 275-280yds on course. That said, the irons aren't impacted in a linear fashion, I only see maybe a 5-10yd reduction. The one thing I do hate is how the range balls feel when cold, I honestly get a little hesitant to hit my driver because it feels like you could cave the face in hitting those rocks. Even on pure shots, where you normally don't even feel the ball leave the face, it almost feels like the clubhead is absorbing the shock when hitting the ball.
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The dimples are also designed to limit the flight of the ball. Since the dimples cause lift, the balls will not go as high either. Range balls usually have more dimples than standard golf balls, over 400 on occasion. .

Shouldn't this also reduce side spin, and thus slicing and hooking as well? Seems like it would mask swing flaws a bit. (There was a no-dimple ball that came out a couple of years ago that was claimed to help players prone to slicing/hooking.)

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Shouldn't this also reduce side spin, and thus slicing and hooking as well? Seems like it would mask swing flaws a bit. (There was a no-dimple ball that came out a couple of years ago that was claimed to help players prone to slicing/hooking.)

I'm not sure about that. Because the balls are lighter, they may possibly hook or slice more than other balls. I find that they do indeed bend more. You need to remember that a lighter ball has other factors too that change it's charactaristics. You'd need to do some pretty extensive tests to figure it out for sure.

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My local club put in pro v1's for range balls a few years ago... it didnt last long, as all the members would pocket them, the owner was pissed but what should he expect?
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My local club put in pro v1's for range balls a few years ago... it didnt last long, as all the members would pocket them, the owner was pissed but what should he expect?

Ouch that sucks!

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Some courses have a water range. Meaning you hit balls out onto a lake or something like that. The balls float and are gathered with some sort of net.
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