1 Piece Vs 2 Piece Vs 3 Piece Vs 4 Piece Vs 5 Piece Golf Balls – What’s The Difference & Why Does It Matter?

Does Golf Ball Matter.

Golf balls have come a long way over the history of golf. From the hand-carved beech wood balls of the 14 century to the feathery and now the Pro V1, it’s quite a journey. There is so much technology packed into golf balls that it is easy to get lost in it.

Different golf balls are composed differently and offer differences in performance and price from the simple 1 piece you may find on the driving range to the affordable 2 piece balls that are perfect for beginners who may lose a lot of balls as they hack their way around the course. As we add more than 3 pieces in the golf balls, they become more geared towards low handicappers who have high swing speeds and value things like feel, spin and control of the balls around the greens. The truth is that each type of golf has something to offer modern day golfers who all may have differing needs from not only their clubs, but also their choice of balls for optimal performance.

In this article, we are going to breakdown the various golf ball types out there and get you up to speed. Which one will suit your game best and which should you avoid? Read on to learn more about balls.

The wrong compression

I will never forget my first ever dozen pack of golf balls. They were the original Strata balls which were making a bit of noise in the market at the time. As a young golfer, I had been told that the lower compression balls, with the red numbers, were good for me.

The shop didn’t have the right balls but I didn’t care, what 12 year old cares about golf ball compression. I stood on the first tee in the junior medal ready and shanked one into the trees in front of all of my golf friends. I turned to them and said, “Those balls have the wrong compression for me”.


What do more layers add?

Inside Of A Golf Ball

Layers have become a huge feature in golf balls, the extreme of this is the TaylorMade TP5. Manufacturers add layers for specific shot types and to aid specific parts of a golfer’s game. Usually the core of the ball is where distance is made, this is where the energy efficiency of the ball is created.

The outer layer is where the ball directly interacts with the club so this is the layer that adds backspin and control. The layers in between the core and the cover are where control is added to short iron shots whilst reducing spin with the driver to maximize distance.


The one-piece golf ball – who and what is it for?

This is obviously the cheapest of all of the golf balls we will talk about today but it is one that every single golfer has used. The one piece is a solid sphere that is usually made of a material called Surlyn, they are made to maximise durability. Can you tell what it is yet?

Yes, this is the range ball. The one-piece construction means that these golf balls don’t fly as far as premium balls but they can take an absolute beating. Perfect for the driving range but nothing else.

The 2-piece golf ball – who and what is it for?

Warbird 2.0

These are probably the most played ball in golf, they are great for those looking for distance and durability. They are made up of a large core, designed for maximizing how far the ball flies and rolls, then a thin covering layer.

Whilst the cover layer can help the golfer gain a bit of control with shorter shots, they are usually designed with durability in mind so spin tends not to be so high. This is the perfect ball for new golfers.

The 3-piece golf ball – who and what is it for?

Golf Balls compressed

So far we have the core and the cover, for the three-piece ball we now need to introduce the mantle. This is a layer that sits between the core and the cover and provides added performance for the golfer. These balls also tend to have a softer cover too which helps impart more spin on the ball at impact.


The mantle is usually made of a soft rubber which increases the spin on the ball. The harder rubber core still provides increased speed for long shots and this combination makes for a ball that is great for more advanced players. This ball is great for better golfers, from pros to mid-handicappers, there are three-piece balls for your game.

The 4-piece golf ball – who and what is it for?

We are now into the more advanced balls in the market and, as such, these tend to be the most expensive balls. They are for more advanced golfers and those trying to maximise the performance of their golf balls. These balls tend to have multiple mantle or core layers.

The extra-layer reflects a performance aspect and is usually there to increase the short game control that the ball offers. Four-piece golf balls fly like distance balls and stop like balatas, they are an incredible feat of engineering.


The 5-piece golf ball – who and what is it for?

Only two companies have made a five-piece ball, TaylorMade and Callway, with the former being the first to get a five-layer ball to market. The PentaTP was engineered with a layer for each of the five main shot categories: driver, long irons, mid-irons, short irons, and wedges. These balls are for advanced players.

They are made up of multiple cores, multiple mantles and a cover. They are designed to go far and land soft and many elite golfers love them. Maxfli tried to up the ante further with a six-piece ball but it never seemed to take, maybe more layers doesn’t automatically mean better performance.


2-Piece Vs 3-Piece golf ball comparison: what’s best for who?

The two-piece golf ball is the perfect ball for those who are just starting out in golf. They will give you everything you need in terms of performance and it doesn’t matter if you lose them as they are cheap to replace. The three-piece ball is a more complicated affair.

There are two types of three-piece, the more basic and cheaper or more advanced and expensive. For this comparison we will talk about the cheaper ones. They are perfect for people with a mid-handicap (scores of +13-18) who want a bit more spin than a two-piece offers.


3-Piece Vs 4-Piece golf ball comparison: what’s best for who?

For this comparison we will take the premium three-piece balls as they are more comparable to four-piece. This is the segment of the ball market where it is about maximizing performance in terms of distance and spin control. These balls are pricey but you tend to get what you pay for.

Honestly, in this segment and with five-piece balls in the mix too, it is all about personal preference and what data says during a golf ball fitting. These are for advanced golfers and getting a fitting will tell you what to go for.

How do the different types compare on performance?

One- and two-piece balls are all about distance and durability. If you want to get as much distance as you can from your ball then then a two-piece is for you. When you add a third layer then you can start adding some spin control to your shots.

As you add more layers, you will start to get different benefits such as increased mid-iron spin. The key advance in the extra layers (premium three-, four- and five-piece balls) is that driver spin is significantly reduced whilst wedge spin is maximized. Let’s dive into this a bit further.



Two-piece balls are can maximize distance for those with a slower swing speed. For those who swing it hard but impart a lot of spin, four- and five-piece balls can help optimize spin levels and give you extra yards from the tee.



Spin is generated from the cover and can be enhanced in the mantle layer. A soft cover will help the grooves of your clubs to maximize the revolutions of backspin with wedges whereas that mantle can enhance this in the irons. Here you are looking for three-, four- or five-piece balls.



This is a tough one to talk about as there is a lot of personal preference to this. Some golfers like a firm feel with their ball and some opposite. There is no real rhyme or reason to how many layers create what feel so just try some and see what you like best.



Golf ball dimple patterns can really help reduce side-spin and in turn reduce the severity of hooks and slices. One radical solution to this has been the OnCore MA Series 1 ball which has a hollow metal core. This moves weight to the perimeter and reduces slices. Layers are not as important here as dimple patterns and weighting.



The cheapest balls tend to be two-piece balls, they are just a core and a cover so cost a lot less to engineer and produce. If you are learning and want to save money on lost balls then this is the way to go, without doubt. Even on premium balls, the three-piece premium balls tend to be cheaper than four- or five-piece.



I hate when, just a few shots into playing a new ball, you find a big scratch on the cover. Durability is a cover issue and so can be great in anything from a two-piece and up depending on the cover material. One-piece balls have the best durability but the performance on other aspects is so poor that it doesn’t really matter.


The more layers the better, yeah?

No, this absolutely is not the case, the first thing you need to ask yourself is what do you want from a golf ball? Once you know this then you can start looking for what will help you get that. You also have the option of attending a golf ball fitting with a trained technician.

Yes, adding layers can help to a point in that two are better than one and sometimes three are better than two. However, this does not translate beyond this and four or five is not necessarily better than three. Remember Maxfli flopped with a six-piece ball so there’s all the evidence you need.


How many layers do I need?

Again, think about what your game could benefit from. Maybe you need extra distance and you want a softer feeling ball, then a three-piece would work well. If you need far more control with your mid-irons and a reduction in driver spin then you will be looking at a premium three-, four- or five-piece ball.

Speak to your club pro about your game and let him/her know that you would like to try a new golf ball. They will be well-placed to suggest a few models for you to try and then it is just whatever you prefer in terms of performance, feel and price.


Best two-piece balls In 2020


  1. Wilson Duo Soft

wilson duo soft

This is one of the lowest compression and softest golf balls on the market. The Wilson Duo Soft is also easily one of the best value golf balls there is. If you have a slower swing speed then this is a golf ball that you simply must try.

This ball feels so great around the greens and goes pretty far from the tee. The team at Wilson have done an incredible job engineering this ball and more club golfers should be playing it, it is as simple as that.

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  1. Srixon AD333


Frankly, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that the Srixon AD333 is a two-piece ball. This is another standout which is packed with features of a premium tour ball but at a price that makes it very attractive. This ball is the perfect tool for those golfers who are getting better and starting to demand more from their balls.

They go far, they perform exceptionally well on windy days and they generate a good amount of spin. These balls are firmer than the Wilson above but they feel excellent off the clubface, definitely one to consider.

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  1. Titleist TruFeel

They brand themselves as “the number one ball in golf” and they really are the market leaders. The Titleist TruFeel is an incredibly good value golf ball that will give you a good balance of distance and spin control.

This is the cheapest of the three in this list but no less well-performing. If you are just starting out in your golfing journey this is a great ball to commit too.

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Best three-piece balls in 2020


  1. Titleist Pro V1

Titleist Pro V1

What happens when you take the solid core of a distance ball, wrap it in a mantle made of Surlyn and wrap it all in a soft urethane cover…you change the world of golf forever. In October 2000 in Las Vegas, Billy Andrade won a PGA Tour event with the all new Titleist Pro V1.

I could easily write a whole article on this ball but it is simply the best three-piece golf ball on the market for elite golfers. This will give you serious distance from the tee, a penetrating ball flight and the familiar “drop and stop” performance that this ball is famous for.

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  1. Bridgestone B XS Tiger Edition

As a devoted Nike player, he was actually instrumental in the success of the Tour Accuracy golf ball, Tiger Woods made a huge stir when he chose his next golf ball, the Bridgestone B XS. This three-piece ball has really innovative “double dimples” which enhances its stability through the air.

This ball gives you great control around the greens and feels great off the club face. It is good enough for the best player of our generation so it is good enough for anyone.

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  1. Vice Pro Soft

Vice are an innovative German brand and are newcomers to the world of golf balls. They have upended the market with their simpler business model and a recent collaboration with Erik Anders Lang has consolidated their place as the cool kids of golf. The Vice Pro Soft has substance as well as style though.

These three-piece balls are incredible value and will help you get the best from your game. They are best suited for golfers with a handicap of around ten who are looking for an extra edge in their ball.

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 Best four-piece balls on Amazon


  1. Titleist Pro V1x

This is another truly remarkable golf ball that has taken the world-beating performance of the Pro V1 up a notch for those with a higher swing speed. The Titleist Pro V1x is a ball that flies a little higher than the Pro v1 but produces less spin with the driver.

If you hit it hard and need help gaining control around the greens then this could be the ball for you. These two really are the balls that all other balls are measured against and for good reason.

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  1. Callaway Chrome Soft X

Callaway have always been real innovators in the golf world and they push the limits when it comes to golf balls. They even have hexagonal dimples which make them stand out, they also make the balls really stable in the air. The Chrome Soft X is a wonderful golf ball for good golfers with single figure handicaps down to scratch and beyond.

This ball goes far, spins like the premium tour ball it is and feels great with the putter. The crazy thing about this ball is the price, you can’t beat the Chrome Soft X on value.

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  1. Srixon Z Star XV

Srixon are a company that produce some of the highest quality golf equipment on the market and their golf balls are no exception. The Srixon Z Star XV is played by many tour stars like Hideki Matsuyama and Cameron Champ. It flies low which is a great asset to big hitters who can balloon it up in the air.

The spin that the Z Star XV generates is seriously impressive thanks to the innovative cover on the ball too. One of the best balls on the market and one that many elite golfers would benefit greatly from the use of.

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I have barely scratched the surface of the golf ball market and what is out there for us golfers. There really is a ball out there that can help you with almost any part of your game and it takes time to find out what is best for you. Do some research and speak to other golfers to find out there opinions.

Try different balls on the course and when you find one you like, stick to it so you can learn how it plays in different settings. Above all, if you are unsure, speak to a pro who can help you find what you need. The golf ball is arguably the most important part of your arsenal so take time and pick wisely, you won’t regret it.