What is Golf Ball Compression?

Most golfers understand the differences between various shaft stiffnesses. Likewise, the advantages of cavity-backed compared to blade irons are easily recognizable.

Golf balls all look nearly identical at first glance. The benefits and price discrepancies can be overwhelming. One commonly used term companies use to describe golf balls is “compression.” What is “compression” and how does it relate to golf balls? That question and many more are covered in this article!

Compression is defined as “the reduction in volume due to applied forces”. A low compression golf ball is easier to deform than a higher compression golf ball. This compression transfers high amounts of energy from the clubhead into the golf ball. Players with slower swing speeds or players who are looking to get more distance on their shots should most likely play a low compression ball. 

Meanwhile, a high compression ball takes a huge amount of force to deform. Players with high swing speeds are still able to properly deform the ball on impact. Since the ball does not deform as much, harder balls tend to fly straighter and be easier to control. Most players on tour play some type of high compression ball. 

However, these ratings do not mean as much as they once did. Most golf balls today have more than a single core. In the past, all golf balls had a single core. This single-core had a single compression rating and hence compression could be used as a reliable specification for golf ball performance.

Nowadays, it is less important. Manufacturers make multi-core balls that have different compression ratings for each core. Hence, players can have some of the benefits in a distance of a low compression ball, without sacrificing the control of a high compression ball.


It is important to read about the different design characteristics of different golf balls. Compression alone is no longer able to determine specifically which ball you should play. Companies have different balls available, at different price points, for different players.

We always recommend players try to play with a ball with a urethane cover (as they will see an increase in control around the green), but besides that, it’s best to try various balls for yourself!

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