Hotlist 2022 Balls: Our Ball Testing Is Different

Short-game shots are the key

Although the Golf Digest Hot List and Golf Digest Golf Ball Hot List share similar names, they are anything but in terms of player testing. In many ways, testing golf balls is far more difficult. For clubs, testing is done on a range setting with a variety of player types. Between adjustability and different shaft options, fitting plays an important role. The number of variables that can be discerned are plentiful. Distance, trajectory, turf interaction, spin, look, sound and feel all contribute to the impression of a club. However, golf balls are all round and primarily white and dimpled, so the “look” isn’t a significant factor. There are no fitting levers to work with, either. Sound? Probably not. Meaningful player testing, however, can be done. Unlike clubs, all markings are blacked out. Club testing is conducted with handicaps that go into the 20s, but ball testing entails better players exclusively, with the highest handicap a 5 and most scratch or better. That’s because the vast majority of ball testing is done within 100 meters and around the green on a golf course. As such, a reliable short-iron game and significant short-game skills are needed because it is these shots where differences appear and can be felt and seen. – EMJ

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