Range Balls Vs. Regular Golf Balls – What’s The Difference

Using a ball that suits your game is crucial to achieving your best scores and using the wrong ball can have a significant impact on your game. There are many different types of golf balls on the market, and playing one golf ball compared to another will change distance, speed, spin, and roll on your shots.

If you have been working to improve your game, you should also pay attention to the golf ball that you are using. Range balls and regular golf balls are quite different, and there is a reason the sign at the range says to leave them at the range. In this guide, he will fill you in on everything you need to know about the difference between range balls and regular golf balls.

How Do Range Balls And Regular Balls Differ

Range balls and regular golf balls are made with different materials and treated differently when they are being manufactured. A range ball is designed to take quite a bit of abuse. Range balls will be hit hundreds and most likely thousands of times before they are replaced. Since they continue to get beat up, range balls have a very thick outer cover. They are a two-piece golf ball with a cheaper rubber insert, and they have a ton of paint on them. Regular golf balls can have two to five pieces inside them, and the cover is usually thinner to help you get some extra spin and distance out of your golf shot. A regular golf ball does not require as much paint either as it is meant to last you for a round or two, not an entire season!

Are Range Balls And Regular Balls Constructed The Same?

Range balls and regular golf balls are not constructed the same as regular golf balls. When a golf ball manufacturer produces a range ball, they are looking for a mix of performance with a significant focus on durability.

For regular golf balls, performance is going to be the most important. Of course, with a players golf ball, the cover will have to be tough enough that it won’t cut after a few holes, but outside of that, a typical golf ball only really has to make it through an eighteen-hole round.

Another factor that is more important with a regular golf ball is the feel. People aren’t going to complain about how a range ball feels because it doesn’t count on the golf course; however, a regular ball feel is going to matter, and it will make all the difference, especially in the short game.

How Do They Differ On Performance?

How range balls differ on performance has a lot to do with what golf balls you are comparing. If you are comparing a regular range ball to another two-piece golf ball, you will probably see a difference of at least 10% in overall distance and it may be a lot more.

If, you are going to compare a range ball to a high performing three or four-piece golf ball, there may will be more significant performance differences.

For the most part, the differences will be related to spin and feel, and sometimes launch as well.

A range ball will usually feel quite hard when hit. This is because the cover on the golf ball is thicker and covered with some extra paint. A harder golf ball can be difficult to spin. Luckily when practicing on the range, you are mostly working on your full swing, and you don’t need the ball to spin all that much.

However, on the golf course, when you are around the greens, you need to have a golf ball that you can rely on to stop where it needs to. There are certain parts of your game where the range ball could potentially be just as good as a regular ball, but you really should be using something that makes a good impact throughout your golf game.

Overall Distance,  Launch Angle , How Do They Hit Off Mats?

You may find that your golf balls are going to go a little further on your short irons and a little longer on your long irons and driver. It all is going to depend on your swing speed and how much you can compress the range ball.

Both regular golf balls and range balls are going to have about the same results hitting off of golf mats. Golf mats are a bit more forgiving than grass. If you happen to hit slightly behind a golf ball, the club will bounce through and end up giving you a decent golf shot.

How Do They Vary Across Different Clubs And Shot Types (Driver, Irons, Wedges)

Todays Golfer did a test with a brand new TaylorMade TP5X golf ball compared with a range ball and got some interesting results. As you can see, the ball speed varies considerably, and the backspin is very different as well.

When people say, they notice that it feels like you are hitting a rock when you practice with a range ball, you can see that when you look at the backspin rates. Regular golf balls feel better because they are softer and capable of spinning. You can see the backspin rates with the wedge are 2500 rpm with a range ball and 7000 rpm with the TaylorMade TPX 5.

One of the most surprising things for people is that the golf ball seems to carry further with a range ball when hitting a wedge. This is because the TP5X is a high-performance player golf ball. It is designed to react and spin around the greens. Players using this type of golf ball do not want their wedge to fly 175 yards; they want it to fly a manageable distance and be able to control and spin it as well.


Could I Use Range Balls Playing A Real Round?

You could use range balls on the golf course, but your short game will likely struggle. In fact, your long game could struggle a bit as well. If you have no other choice than to use a range ball during your round of golf, that is fine, but it is certainly not ideal.

Another reason not to use range golf balls on the course is that golf courses do not appreciate you taking their golf balls. Driving ranges have to pay for new golf balls every few years as they wear out, and this is quite a big expense. If everybody chooses a few balls from the range, they certainly won’t last very long.

Are All Range Balls The Same

Not all range balls are even close to the same. Depending on where you practice, and the exclusivity of the golf club that you are playing at, you will see a significant difference in range ball quality. A private country clubs where members pay substantial dues you will see very nice golf balls on the range. Some of these ranges will even use a Titleist Pro V on the driving range.

Of course, this is more rare, and you will notice that these golf balls will perform just like the regular golf balls in your bag. At a private club like this people expect the best and the golf staff must give them the best of the best.

At a municipal golf course, you may see the same range balls that have been there for the last twenty years. These range balls are probably repainted each year in the offseason, and a few new golf balls are thrown into the mix.

If you have a few places where you like to practice, you should try and pay attention to the difference between the range balls that are offered so you can practice somewhere that will most resemble your game on the golf course.

What Is A Limited Flight Range Ball?

Some range balls are designed not to go as far as a regular golf ball. Sometimes a driving range is shorter than the recommended three or four hundred yards. If this is the case and a golf ball going too far could impact a house or a building behind the range, a golf course will use a limited flight golf ball.

Limited flight golf balls come in several different varieties, but most will fly anywhere from 60-80 percent the distance of a regular golf ball.

Best Range Balls

Most range balls will come directly from a manufacturer. The most common range balls that you will see at golf courses are Callaway, Titleist, and Top Flite.

  • The Callaway golf balls offer a great mixture of both feel and distance. You will find that the Callaway balls feel almost like regular golf balls and perform practically the same as well.
  • Titleist is the leading golf ball, and these are probably going to have the best feel and be well-loved by the players who have faster swing speeds.
  • Top Flite golf balls are going to be more durable, travel a long way but will probably not feel quite as good as the Titleist or the Callaway.

Best Regular Balls

Best Choice Golf Ball: Bridgestone e12 Soft Golf Ball

The Bridgestone e12 Soft Golf Ball is an excellent choice for a vast majority of golfers. You will get a combination of great distances off the tee and good spin around the greens with this golf ball. It has a nice feel for a straight flight distance golf ball. The Bridgestone has a dimple pattern that Delta helped develop so that it stays straight and in the air as long as possible.

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Best Premium Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Titleist Pro V1

The performance you get out of a Titleist PRO V1 will not even come close to comparing to a range ball. Whatever you need a golf ball to do around the green or off the tee, the Titleist Pro V1 can handle it. The Pro V1 has low long game spin and high short game spin; it is one of the best feeling golf balls available.

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Best Budget Golf Ball: TaylorMade Noodle Long and Soft

The Noodle has been around for quite some time, but it gets an update every few years. This is a distance golf ball for a mid to slow swing player. You will find the Noodle to have some decent feel around the greens for being a lower-priced distance golf ball. Amateur golfers like the fact that these are both affordable and high performing.

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Are All Regular Balls The Same – Regular v Premium

Golf Balls

Not all golf balls are created equal. As a general rule of thumb, the golf balls with more pieces are going to feel better and perform better around the greens. The two-piece golf ball is usually the cheapest, and it will give you some considerable distance and low spin, but around the greens, it will be a little hard and not give you much spin.

Are Driving Range Distances Accurate?

For the average golfer, the distances at the driving range are going to be plenty accurate. You may see a few yards difference, but this will probably not make much of a difference in your overall golf game. One of the best things you can do is to learn your distances on the driving range and then try to see how it compares at the range. If you notice you hit the ball about five yards further on the course, you can keep that in mind each time you practice.

When you are at the range, it is best to work on your swing and swing mechanics. If you are hitting the ball short or long by a few yards, you don’t need to pay all that much attention. It’s more important to work out some of the troubles in your game than to narrow in the distances.


Range balls are great for the driving range. The best thing you can do for your game and the golf course you are playing is to leave them on the range. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you are not spinning range balls the way you want or hitting them as long as you want; the range ball will perform differently than a regular golf ball.