This is the newest trend in golf balls – alignment ready golf balls. Alignment ready but not balanced is the distinction.
Zen Golf, Maxfli, Taylormade’s TP5/TP5X Pix, Callaway’s Chrome Soft Triple Track ball and ERC Soft Golf ball and Pelz’s O-Balls are the balls that all feature an alignment aid. Of the aforementioned manufacturers, just Zen Golf and Maxfli offer both an alignment and balanced golf ball.
While alignment markings are a definite advantage, whether pre stamped or marked by a black marker, this does not mean that they will roll end over end and hold their line.
More than 99.5% of golf balls are marked with some sort of an alignment line—be it chevrons between the model name, or a line. But these markings do not represent a balance point on the ball. It is simply a visual guide to line up putts.
A balanced ball delivers longer drives, reduced side spin and precision putting. Equally important, knowing that you have the “perfect rolling ball” helps encourage a positive mental attitude.
Caveat: It must be emphasized, that however you attain the balance point, the imperfections of your STROKE, the relative humidity of the AIR and direction of the BREEZE, the SLOPE and SPEED and SMOOTHNESS of the green surface all have more of an impact on how well the ball will roll when putting or fly off of the tee.
A golf ball is unbalanced when its center of gravity is not perfectly in the middle. If this is the case, then the ball will have a light side and a heavy side. The best example of balancing is that of a tire, especially when being rotated. If the tire is not balanced perfectly so one side of the tire does not wear out, the tire installer uses lead weights to get the tire balanced.
With the golf ball, finding the center of gravity, aka the balance point, makes the golf ball run on a perfect angle. Master innovator and designer of Evnroll putters, Guerin Rife, uses ball balancing to minimize ball inconsistency for his robot testing.
In order to do this, the golf ball MUST be balanced. This is cost prohibitive for ball manufacturers.
1. It is illogical to expect a ball that has slammed into trees, bounced off cart paths, and suffered other traumas to its cover is going to stay perfectly in balance.
2. Ball manufacturers such as Callaway, Titleist, Bridgestone, Callaway and Snell, while preferring not to discuss the balance point of a golf ball, all agree that their balls have a variance factor of 0.017 to 0.2 degrees. This is probably why none of the aforementioned companies advertises the perfectly balanced golf ball.
As of the date of writing, only Maxfli claims to have a Center of Gravity Balanced Technology being used in their Tour X balls. Zen Golf’s balls are balanced, aligned and marked to their center of gravity in the development process.
However, having said this, handicappers need all the help they can get, especially on fast greens (10+ stimp meter).
There are several ways to test your golf balls for balance. Bryson DeChambeu and Cody Gribble still use the slow, somewhat messy way of spinning the ball in a warm solution of Epsom salts and dishwasher fluid (wear gloves or you sacrifice the moisture in your hands).
The high-tech fast way to a balanced ball is to buy a golf product such as the Stroke Saver sweet spot finder.
To date, through the PGTAA (www.pgtaa.com), I personally have worked with Patrick Reed, Retief Goosen, Ernie Els, David Frost, Cody Gribble, Bryson DeChambeau and Spencer Levin. They all see the difference in the roll and they all mark the ball’s sweet spot differently.
Caveat: They play on fast and smooth greens.
Summary & conclusion:
Balance-oriented balls perform noticeably better than randomly aligned balls. The consistent use of balance-oriented balls can shave a stroke or two off the handicap of any player who possesses reasonably solid fundamentals. Every golfer above the level of Hacker will benefit from spin-balancing their golf balls.
If you have a modicum of self-discipline, get a Stroke Saver or similar machine immediately. You must take the time to make certain that all the balls you play are balance oriented. With spinning and marking, you will see the benefits, especially on your scorecard.
Story by Barry Lotz