You all know the guy.
He's the one who decides to go on a hunting trip and stay at the best lodge in the Canadian Rockies. He buys all the camo gear he has seen on ESPN Outdoors, he uses the scope endorsed by NASA, and his rifle is direct from a factory in the German Alps. But he loads his gun with a box of shells he got at the Piggly Wiggly. The way I see it, golf balls are the same. Too many average golfers are shortchanging themselves by playing the cheap ball. The balls pros play might cost double or even triple what other balls cost, but they help average golfers score better.
Look, a persimmon driver is not going to reward your best swing the way titanium will. That's why you don't play it. Same with a golf ball. Cheap balls won't reward your best short-game efforts. I'd estimate that high-spin balls spin 75 percent more on full wedge shots than your typical two-piece ball, or essentially the difference between "That's good" and the sound of silence. Listen, most average golfers are missing two-thirds of the greens in a typical round, probably more. So you're going to face a lot of short-game shots you can't execute properly because the ball you're playing won't respond. The game's frustrating enough. Why play with one arm tied behind your back?
HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT GOLF BALL
There are three areas to evaluate a ball's performance before deciding it's for you: (1) the green; (2) the green; (3) the green. Seriously, if you like the way a ball reacts on and around the green, then you won't notice if it's a couple of yards shorter than the distance ball. Review the research and select three or four balls to try. Then start on the green and work your way back to the tee to find the ball for you.
ROB AKINS a Golf Digest 50 Best Teacher, is director of instruction at Spring Creek Ranch in Collierville, Tenn.