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What You Need to Know About

2016 Golf Balls & Wedges By ED TRAVIS It’s great to hit a soaring drive down the fairway and most golfers are aware of the best way to maximize distance and control is by matching the driver and ball to their swing. But a driver is only used 14 times during a round while the shorter, scoring shots under 150-yards may occur every hole so they deserve attention as well. Golf balls are made with different performance characteristics to consider. Some, usually categorized as tour-quality, have urethane covers and multiple layers to better provide distance off the tee plus control spin and distance on scoring shots. Others with firmer ionomer or Surlyn covers have large cores and are made more for just delivering pure distance. They spin much less than tour balls and thus are more difficult to control on the shorter shots around the green. Others while having ionomer covers, have a third layer or mantle that give improved spin control in contrast to distance balls. High performance or tourquality golf balls sell for $40 or more per dozen while distance balls retail for $25 per dozen or less. Prices of the multi-layer ionomer-cover balls fall somewhere in between.

Bridgestone Golf The B330 series has a new core material and high friction surface coating on the cover. The B330-RX is for swing speeds below 105mph and the B330-RXS above. • Urethane Cover • Three-piece construction • $40 dozen

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The wedges you carry should have lofts that “gap” properly starting with the pitching wedge and increasing usually in four-degree increments through the sand wedge. If the pitching wedge, which mostly likely came with your iron set, is 46 degrees adding wedges of 50, 54 and 58 degrees should cover the distances needed for the scoring shots. The grooves and bounce on your wedges are another important consideration though. Wedges with less loft have relatively deep and narrow grooves and higher lofts somewhat shallower and wider grooves. Bounce is misunderstood by many but the profile or grind of a wedge’s sole should match the playing conditions most often encountered. Higher bounce wedges usually produce the best results when the turf is soft and from the sand and lower bounce wedges work best when conditions are firm. As we have said often before, to best match the golf balls and the wedges you play to your game, consult a PGA Professional, she or he has the answers.

The best of the new golf balls:

August 2016  
August 2016