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Ken Tannar, PGI Creator








Try my Driver Distance Calculator

Input speed, mass, loft, etc.


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Probable Golf Instruction

Thanks for supporting Probable Golf Instruction. I know it's a little late, but congratulations to Phil Mickelson for winning his first major and Masters. I hope everyone is now on the links. My course just opened last week.

Order Golf Tips

Want more great golf tips? Please come to PGI Golf Tips to see the details. You can download them immediately.Prepare for your own game by getting a season's supply of tees. Golf tees do make a difference in how far you hit the ball. Order your Stinger Tees here for only about 5 cents each.

You owe it to your game to make the best of your abilities; become " Master of Your Own Game". Stand out and improve, without hitting any balls!!

Here's to a long lasting life of great golf!

My latest study is finished. See some of the details of the reports HERE.

A Brief Message        Apr 21/04

  • Ken here from Probable Golf Instruction. In my last newsletter, I explained how weather affects how far a golf ball travels. Review the newsletter here.
  • In this issue, I'll explain the difference advances in golf ball technology.
  • About 3 weeks ago, I received a copy of Swing Machine Golf. The author, Paul Wilson, uses a unique teaching method with his students. He has been featured a number of times on The Golf Channel. He models his teaching swing after the machine, Iron Byron. His emphasis is on simplicity. I think it is an excellent book (one of the best I've read). I think you'd be impressed, too. Take a look at it here, Swing Machine Golf
  • Have you played any matches yet? Do you find you are at a real disadvantage on some holes because you don't get a shot or have to give away a shot? It could be your holes' difficulty rankings do no reflect reality of how golfers play them. Find out your course's true hole rankings here.
Distance & Technology Part 6: The Golf Ball

Read Part 1 of this series here, Clubhead Mass.
Read Part 2 of this series here, Clubhead Loft.
Read Part 3 of this series here, Clubhead Shaft.
Read Part 4 of this series here, Clubface Area.
Read Part 5 of this series here, Weather.

If you'd like one on one explanations about the topic, sign up for the PGI Member Select Club and I'll answer all your questions. Now on to this week's topic.

VI. Distance & the Golf Ball

     Two things have led to PGA Tour players hitting the ball significantly farther in the last 15 years: new driver technology and new golf ball technology. Most of the newsletters in this series have focused on drivers. This issue will focus on the new golf ball and its benefits to all golfers.

     In Hogan and Snead's era, the golf balls used were 3 piece construction. A small rubber core filled with fluid, wrapped by hundreds of feet of elastic, with a soft cover made of balata. Then came a harder cover made of surlyn for durability. then the two piece ball was developed which consisted on a solid core surrounded by a surlyn cover. The benefit of the surlyn cover was a longer lasting ball (especially on mishit irons) but it lacked a feeling of softness and definitely lacked backspin for stopping on greens. The two piece construction led to greater distance but again itlacked backspin.

     Today, the 3 piece ball with elastic windings has all but vanished. The solid core balls are much less expensive to produce and the material used compresses and expands (that's what happens to the golf ball when hit) without losing as much energy. The result is more energy is transferred from the club to the ball resulting in greater distance.

     PGA Tour players now hit it farther because of the much better driver technology (most significant reason) and because they can now play a high spin ball without the ball being a wound ball with a balata cover. Amateurs, on the other hand, have been playing with harder 2-piece balls for years, therefore their new found distance is mainly the result of club technology. Better amateurs that previously played with soft, wound balls have realized additional gains, like the pros, since they can now play a soft, high spin ball that is still durable and goes a long ways.

     What is the longest golf ball out there? That's a very popular search by surfers with the search engines. Pretty well every ball manufacturer claims to have the longest ball. They can't all be the longest. I'd like to suggest to you two avenues to pursue if this question is important to you.

1. Purchase my Longest Golf Ball Report in which I statistically analyze distances of over 70 different golf balls with differing constructions. The balls were hit using a mechanical hitting machine.

2. Take a look at the results of Equip2Golf.com, an independent golf testing company. They have tested many of the new golf balls using golfers and launch monitor equipment. Below is a sample of their results.

Driver Carry
Driver Spin
6-iron Carry
6-iron Spin
Maxfli Noodle Spin
Titleist Pro V1
Pinnacle Exception
Strata Tour Ace
Nike One

The Pro V1 and the Nike One are both expensive balls. The others listed are much cheaper. Note that the carry distances are not that different. The distances all depend on ball speed and ball spin. Just a slight caution that the results are from human testing (not machine testing) therefore there is more variance in the tests and more uncertainty. My Longest Golf Ball Report explains what this uncertainty does to concluding whether one golf ball is in fact longer than another for all golfers.

Another characteristic of a golf ball that has a slight effect on distance is the size and depth of the dimple. Without any dimples at all, a drive would only carry about 100 yards. It has been determined that the deeper the dimple, the greater the distance, although it is only a few yards. On today's new balls, the size and number of dimples does not affect distance significantly. The different patterns are mainly for aesthetics.

Play with my Driver Distance Calculator. You can input such variables as loft and clubhead speed to determine the optimum loft. I'll be adding to it soon so that you can input different golf ball parameters such as speed and spin.

A list of resources that have been used to produce this newsletter can be found on my website here.

The next newsletter's topic will continue to discuss how to optimize distance off the tee using the right golf ball. What spin maximizes distance for your ball speed? Do you want a low spin ball or a high spin ball?

The focus of my site is to utilize science and math to lower your score. New technology is one way to achieve this, but to be honest, the technology is one small piece of the puzzle.

To actually improve significantly, we all need to:

1. Improve our swings using CD Interactive, Hit Down Dammit!

2. Learn how to swing simpler like the Iron Byron with the great coffee table book, Swing Machine Golf!

3. Improve our physical fitness and strength.
The Golf Trainer Power Performance Programô

4. Improve our mental games. Golf Mind Software

5. Improve our Probable Golf games. Learn how to make better choices on the course through knowing how shot patterns and reading the elements and course better.

Click on the links above to take a look at ways that I personally use myself and recommend you try as well.

Hope I provided some useful ways for to become better prepared for you best golf season ever.

Ken Tannar


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