Balls for Hickory Play

As the new Season beckons, it seems appropriate to Your Correspondent to remind Players of the Article in the Spring 2007 Issue of the Wee Nip (SoHG website; under “Resources” to “Wee Nip” then to Spring 2007). The intervening years will have increased, rather than diminished, opinions on this essential topic, not to mention the plethora of new balls offered to an unsuspecting public since then.

 When expounding on the pusillanimity of the Golfing Authorities in not imposing a strict limit on the flight of the modern ball, to bring back into play all our historic Courses and prevent real estate values dictating the future of the game, there usually results a great measure of agreement.

Discussion of what type and compression of ball is best for hickory golf – almost inevitable during the course of any game or event – will often result in four different opinions from each of the Foursome, and only Titleist of the many Manufacturers have proffered any advice, or been willing to expound on differing compressions. As a result of that advice I limited myself in the early days to the DT Solo. Since then I have played a whole range of balls from the Wilson 50 and Karma, through the range of Lady and “soft” versions.

Many better hickory Golfers play the PRO VI (not X) and I now do so, at least in the Summer months, in the vain hope that some of their prowess will rub off! Any harder ball feels like a brick; endangers the shaft or wooden head, and does not reward my gentle swing!

It has been put to me by more than one Exponent whom I esteem that the softest balls will fly as far as my Pro V, and I begin to suspect that swing speed is the greatest determinant of distance, and the harder ball will reward only the faster swing.

Almost the first query I receive from new hickory Players is the best ball to play, so I will close with a plea to those who have the knowledge to update their wisdom in print; confound the Tyro with ever more good advice than was available in 2007, and reopen the great debate for the good of the Scotch Purveyors!