There are many pieces of equipment which are used during a round of golf and while much attention is given to the clubs, golf balls are also extremely important.
Golf balls come in different designs, patterns, and materials and the outer cover of a golf ball will differ depending on the type of ball you are using.
To the untrained eye, all golf balls can look and feel the same but there are various golf ball covers and they each have their own characteristics. Two of the most common forms of golf ball cover are Urethane and Ionomer and they have their differences.
Urethane golf ball covers offer increased control to golfers and therefore balls with this cover tend to be more expensive than other balls on the market. Urethane is a polymer which can be controlled when heat is applied and this means the hardness of the material can be changed, resulting in a softer cover.
Thanks to its softness, golf balls with a Urethane cover can be controlled more easily, leading to better distance control and better feel on chips and putts.
In contrast to Urethane, Ionomer does not maintain its strength well when heated and made softer. As a result, Ionomer cover balls have a harder surface which gives the benefit of durability.
However, Ionomer is cheaper to produce than Urethane and this means golf balls with an Ionomer cover are less expensive. Golf balls using Ionomer covers may feel slightly firmer but for beginner and amateur golfers, they should provide more than enough feel on and around the green.
Furthermore, Ionomer covered golf balls are beneficial to beginner and amateur players because they produce less spin off the tee. If you find you are slicing or hooking the ball regularly off the tee, it may not be a simple case of bad technique.
While using an Ionomer covered ball will not help you if you have poor technique, the reduction in spin will reduce the amount of hook or slice on the ball and this could make a difference. So, if you are struggling to keep the ball straight off the tee, check why type of cover you have on your ball and if it is Urethane, try changing to an Ionomer covered golf ball.
Ionomer is usually found on golf balls designed for long distance play and commonly in 2 piece balls.
The type of golf ball cover you go for will be determined by your budget, the feel and which area of your game needs improvement. If you lose a lot of balls during a round, it makes little sense to spend a lot of money on Urethane balls. Likewise, if you are slicing or hooking off the tee, a ball which promotes more spin will not help, so Ionomer would be the better choice.
Using the strengths of both Urethane and Ionomer, you can decide which golf ball cover is best for your game.