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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What is the Best Golf Ball to Use on a Golf Simulator?

I tested four different golf balls on my golf simulator to see which ball would hold up the best in commercial use. The four balls I tested were: Callaway HX Hot Plus, Nike Power Distance Soft, Noodle + (long & soft), and Titleist NXT Extreme.

I wanted to test a series of balls which were relatively inexpensive and readily available in most golf retail stores and pro shops. I choose not to use the top of the line of golf balls, for this test, because all playable golf balls will break down eventually and most of the advantages of the high end golf balls have negligible affect on a simulator. In my option it is a waste of money to use a $4 golf ball on an indoor golf simulator, when you can use a $1 ball and get the same results.

The Test:
I ran an indoor golf league from my business; I used a different group of 6 balls for each week. The same players played 9 holes each week on the same golf simulator. I limited the variables for the study, by holding everything constant except for the golf balls. I had 8 players, each player using their own golf clubs. At the end of each week, I traded out the balls and replaced them with six new test balls. The six test balls were placed in a bin next to the simulator, and the players were only allowed to use the balls, I had provided.

The Results:
At the end of the test, which ran for four weeks; 8 players and 9 holes per week, the results are as follows:

Callaway HX Hot Plus
The Callaway ball held up great! There was a little wear and tear on the balls, mostly due to friction from using wedges and the grooves cutting the exterior of the ball. There was only one out of six balls which were used, that I wouldn’t use again on another round.

Nike Power Distance Soft
The Nike held up pretty good, there was one ball which had a small crack in the shell. Three of the six balls showed a fair amount of friction cuts. I threw away three of the six balls used.

Noodle +
This ball held up great for the first few weeks…but then it fell apart. I had one ball completely break into two pieces. An additional two balls had cracks on the shell and were removed from the test before the fourth week. But for the price, I was surprised they lasted as long as they did.

Titleist NXT Extreme
Overall the ball held up very well, there was a little friction cuts on a few of the balls and only one small crack on one of the golf balls. I only threw away that one ball.

The Winner:
Based on the results of my small study I would recommend the Callaway and the Titleist balls. They both held up well and I was able to use the balls for many rounds after the study was complete. The price is right for both of the balls. If I had to declare a winner: Callaway takes the prize.

Honorable Mention:
Again for the price the Noodle was a good ball, you might just need to get good at picking up shards of golf ball off your floor.

The Looser:
The Nike Power Distance Soft really surprised me. I thought the soft ball would have held up better than it did. Yes the Callaway and Titleist are a few bucks more than the Nike, but it’s worth it.

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