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ChasingScratch

Practical applications of the MGS Golf ball test

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Hey everyone!

This is my first thread so I why not jump in on the biggest topic in the golf industry right now?

So I originally read the MGS golf ball test report and liked it.  Very interesting results (wish I could see the raw data files to do some number crunching).  I watched the live video from start to finish and loved it.

I'm a college professor so all the research they do really intrigues me.  I thought using the robot was an absolute must for this type of test.

Here's what really got me thinking......  If balls that are produced for the public to buy have that much variance in their manufacturing tolerances, what does that say about range balls and the actual quality of our practice time and $$$ on the range?????  Think about it, if Bryson DeChambeau says that he tests the balance of his golf balls and still finds balls that do not meet his specs (I read somewhere or heard that he says it is 3 or 4 per dozen), and MGS found some balls to be very inconsistent, what can we truly expect from range balls? Surely they are not up to the same tolerances as golf balls produced for actual play are they?  What about how many times they are hit, run over by the range picker, washed and soaked (or not, depending on the quality of the range you practice at), etc.  Are 4 to 5 out of 10 range balls useless for us to get any real feedback from?

It got me thinking about some recent range sessions. I know my swing pretty well.  I can immediately tell if the ball is going to go left (for instance), if I hit it slightly off the toe, etc..  There have been sessions where I am hitting lasers and all of a sudden the ball just goes crazy short, or way off line.  Now I do not hit balls that  are clearly visibly damaged, cut, dimples worn down, etc., but sometimes seemingly good balls that I know are hit well go crazy offline.  Then you start wondering if it is your swing.

Long story short, I asked my club fitter about range practice and using range balls to work on trajectory, ball flight curve, etc.  He told me that the best you can do on the range is work on contact.  Spray some foot spray on the club face, baby powder, magic marker, you name it, and that is the best you can really hope for.  I mean we see the Tour pros get their specific ball for use on the range in tournaments.  They aren't hitting the rocks we practice with on the range.

I guess if you are a teaching pro you could find the worst balanced balls possible and just use those for lessons, you'd have guaranteed lessons for life! LOL

Is it time for me to put the tinfoil cap on or is anyone else starting to have major questions about the quality of our practice sessions? 

Maybe the next MGS test should be on the quality of range balls.  Take a random sample of 70 balls (or a typical large bucket size) and see how consistent they are with a robot.  I think that could be very insightful as well.

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Maybe the next MGS test should be on the quality of range balls.  Take a random sample of 70 balls (or a typical large bucket size) and see how consistent they are with a robot.  I think that could be very insightful as well.



First of all welcome to MGS from northwest Ohio.

The only way I believe you could conduct the test would be brand new range balls, which my instructor calls 80 percenters. And even then I'd question how that could possibly relate to your local range. I've practiced at three different ranges with a huge difference in ball quality.

Our Club uses new Pinnacle range balls, another range I go to uses Srixon range balls that are a bit beaten up but not too bad. The third range uses everything from old range balls that are really beaten up along with found balls.



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17 minutes ago, tony@CIC said:

 

 


First of all welcome to MGS from northwest Ohio.

The only way I believe you could conduct the test would be brand new range balls, which my instructor calls 80 percenters. And even then I'd question how that could possibly relate to your local range. I've practiced at three different ranges with a huge difference in ball quality.

Our Club uses new Pinnacle range balls, another range I go to uses Srixon range balls that are a bit beaten up but not too bad. The third range uses everything from old range balls that are really beaten up along with found balls.



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Thanks for the response!

Yes, I completely agree on the new range balls as opposed to used (as an overall test).  We have to give the range ball a fighting chance right?!? LOL

However you are also correct that ranges vary drastically in what they have concerning quality.  I have played at some private courses that have what look like brand new balls every time I played.  Then others seem to say, "As long as it ain't in two pieces we'll sell it to ya."

Even if a test was done on badly worn range balls it would be fun to see the results.  Could give people a realistic idea as to the quality of their practice and let them know they should not waste their time and money on a range that has terrible range balls.

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Posted (edited)

Maybe everyone on the site could snag 4 or 5 range balls from their local range and send them in.  Then MGS tests them all for an average of performance?   That would account for the vast difference in range ball quality across the board.  

Sure it's a lotta balls...  but that's what you need to be the best...  right?  

 

Edited by ga_pike
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3 minutes ago, ga_pike said:

Maybe everyone on the site could snag 4 or 5 range balls from their local range and send them in.  Then MGS tests them all for an average of performance?   That would account for the vast difference in range ball quality across the board.  

Sure it's a lotta balls...  but that's what you need to be the best...  right?  

 

I can do that - provided it ever stops raining here! FYI our's are Pinnacles. 

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1 hour ago, ga_pike said:

Maybe everyone on the site could snag 4 or 5 range balls from their local range and send them in.  Then MGS tests them all for an average of performance?   That would account for the vast difference in range ball quality across the board.  

Sure it's a lotta balls...  but that's what you need to be the best...  right?  

 

Absolutely!  Could be a crazy test.  I'm scared to see the results! LOL

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1 hour ago, tony@CIC said:

I can do that - provided it ever stops raining here! FYI our's are Pinnacles. 

I would contribute as well.  Again, I'm not interested in balls that are visibly damaged, what I want to see is the rate of unseen inconsistencies in seemingly good range balls.  I think that has a big impact on our practice.

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While I'd still like to see an MGS version done with all the excellent data...  there are a couple of range ball tests out there that seem decent enough.  They all basically come up with the same conclusion...  don't use range balls to judge distance or for a proper club fitting.  They are simply good enough to allow you to work on swings and impact.  

 

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/gd-tested-range-balls

 

https://blog.trackmangolf.com/the-difference-in-range-ball-distances/

 

https://www.todaysgolfer.co.uk/features/equipment-features/2018/may/tested-range-ball-vs-premium-ball/

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37 minutes ago, ga_pike said:

While I'd still like to see an MGS version done with all the excellent data...  there are a couple of range ball tests out there that seem decent enough.  They all basically come up with the same conclusion...  don't use range balls to judge distance or for a proper club fitting.  They are simply good enough to allow you to work on swings and impact.  

 

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/gd-tested-range-balls

 

https://blog.trackmangolf.com/the-difference-in-range-ball-distances/

 

https://www.todaysgolfer.co.uk/features/equipment-features/2018/may/tested-range-ball-vs-premium-ball/

 

I had no idea! Thanks for sharing, I'll read right now.

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41 minutes ago, ga_pike said:

While I'd still like to see an MGS version done with all the excellent data...  there are a couple of range ball tests out there that seem decent enough.  They all basically come up with the same conclusion...  don't use range balls to judge distance or for a proper club fitting.  They are simply good enough to allow you to work on swings and impact.  

 

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/gd-tested-range-balls

 

https://blog.trackmangolf.com/the-difference-in-range-ball-distances/

 

https://www.todaysgolfer.co.uk/features/equipment-features/2018/may/tested-range-ball-vs-premium-ball/

Just read these.  I think the distance issue for me is a no brainer, they don't perform the same as the ball you buy to play.

What I'm more concerned about is the side to side dispersion accuracy.  If tons of range balls are out of balance by a significant amount, then the quality of our practice could be moot.  That is what was missing from these articles' tests, they did not look at balance and offline shots.

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3 minutes ago, ChasingScratch said:

Just read these.  I think the distance issue for me is a no brainer, they don't perform the same as the ball you buy to play.

What I'm more concerned about is the side to side dispersion accuracy.  If tons of range balls are out of balance by a significant amount, then the quality of our practice could be moot.  That is what was missing from these articles' tests, they did not look at balance and offline shots.

I agree.  How many other sports do you practice with equipment that is not the same as what you play with?  

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, ga_pike said:

I agree.  How many other sports do you practice with equipment that is not the same as what you play with?  

 

Exactly, the obvious challenge with golf is price and space.  I'd love to buy tons of balls I play with (e.g., ProV) and use them to practice just like the pros.  If money were no issue, sure, go with that.  The second problem is space.  I can find places to take a shag bag and practice 100yds and in, but good luck hitting 20 drivers off the 11th tee at your home course.  LOL

Long story short, the pros have lots of advantages to getting better than average folk.

Edited by ChasingScratch
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Anyone tryin to get accurate distances, ball flighting on the range and think it will be same as on the course.

courses/ranges aren’t going to spend a lot on practice balls and won’t resolve them as often as they should be. So do any type of test of range balls imo is a waste of a test. 

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16 hours ago, ChasingScratch said:

Is it time for me to put the tinfoil cap on or is anyone else starting to have major questions about the quality of our practice sessions? 

I've never any illusion that range balls are for working on any ball flight characteristics really. Contact only, swing tweaks, pre-round warm ups, etc. Our club uses crappy yellow Srixon range balls. Two other clubs in town use Titleist Tour Soft. Those are much better for sure. If you want to "work" a golf ball all over the place - without trying; use range balls. I've hit shots I never dreamed were possible. Defied the laws of physics actually. LOL

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, PlaidJacket said:
I've never any illusion that range balls are for working on any ball flight characteristics really. Contact only, swing tweaks, pre-round warm ups, etc. Our club uses crappy yellow Srixon range balls. Two other clubs in town use Titleist Tour Soft. Those are much better for sure. If you want to "work" a golf ball all over the place - without trying; use range balls. I've hit shots I never dreamed were possible. Defied the laws of physics actually. LOL

 

I did see a teaching pro at the range I frequent using what looked like brand new range balls for a lesson once. I respect that.

Oh yeah, I've hit some crazy looking shots.  Actually split a ball in half once! LOL

 

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Edited by ChasingScratch
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Anyone tryin to get accurate distances, ball flighting on the range and think it will be same as on the course.
courses/ranges aren’t going to spend a lot on practice balls and won’t resolve them as often as they should be. So do any type of test of range balls imo is a waste of a test. 


I think there is value in any test. I also think that people should expect some level of value in their range practice. What I’m saying is that maybe the regular golfer needs to know how bad the balls are, so they can understand that they need to focus more on impact than thinking the ball flight is all that matters on the range.

I’ve been playing for about 10yrs (where I cared about improving, more like 17 years when I picked up my first club), and I still love to hit balls on the range. I’ll spend hours hitting balls. I never really thought about how a bad range ball could curve or veer that much offline (I’m talking balls that appear to be good, not obviously worn or damaged balls). This test opened my eyes to many things.


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1 hour ago, ChasingScratch said:

 


I think there is value in any test. I also think that people should expect some level of value in their range practice. What I’m saying is that maybe the regular golfer needs to know how bad the balls are, so they can understand that they need to focus more on impact than thinking the ball flight is all that matters on the range.

I’ve been playing for about 10yrs (where I cared about improving, more like 17 years when I picked up my first club), and I still love to hit balls on the range. I’ll spend hours hitting balls. I never really thought about how a bad range ball could curve or veer that much offline (I’m talking balls that appear to be good, not obviously worn or damaged balls). This test opened my eyes to many things.


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Most avg golfers don’t practice. The ones that do vary between the ones who take all their clubs, buy a large bucket and hit driver for 90% of the balls, others who are trying to work on something they saw in GD, golf channel or YouTube but still play cheap balls, have water hole balls and aren’t worried about launch, spin, etc. then there’s the group who are working on getting better and have an some level of understanding of ball flight laws. This group also is aware that range balls aren’t the same as  the balls we play during the round, they get beat up from the constant bashing and aren’t anywhere near new and thus won’t perform the same.

imo a test of range balls won’t accomplish anything other than to tell those who already know they don’t perform that well that perform well. With the number of range balls out there in various conditions it would also be hard imo to do anything accurate. A fitter that used to work at Adams told me a regular golf ball lasts about 120 swings. Imagine how few a range ball would last and how long most range golf balls stay in rotation and how quickly they lose any performance. 

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1 hour ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

Most avg golfers don’t practice. The ones that do vary between the ones who take all their clubs, buy a large bucket and hit driver for 90% of the balls, others who are trying to work on something they saw in GD, golf channel or YouTube but still play cheap balls, have water hole balls and aren’t worried about launch, spin, etc. then there’s the group who are working on getting better and have an some level of understanding of ball flight laws. This group also is aware that range balls aren’t the same as  the balls we play during the round, they get beat up from the constant bashing and aren’t anywhere near new and thus won’t perform the same.

imo a test of range balls won’t accomplish anything other than to tell those who already know they don’t perform that well that perform well. With the number of range balls out there in various conditions it would also be hard imo to do anything accurate. A fitter that used to work at Adams told me a regular golf ball lasts about 120 swings. Imagine how few a range ball would last and how long most range golf balls stay in rotation and how quickly they lose any performance. 

LOL There is definitely truth to the different types of golfers you described.  Many are just out there whacking balls for the fun of it.  However, up and down my range I see guys and ladies (older and younger) trying to get better, talking with other golfers about their swing, why the ball is going off to the right, etc.  They are honestly working on their game on the range (myself included).  I don't know that they have thought about the quality of the good looking range balls they are hitting.  I think they assume that "if I hit it good it should fly true," and I guarantee you they take credit for every ball that flies dead straight LOL.  

Who knows, maybe I'm wrong.  Perhaps I'll poll the golfers on my range next time I'm out there, see how many of them think that they are getting good feedback from the range balls.... would be interesting to see their thoughts.

Thanks for the comments!

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LOL There is definitely truth to the different types of golfers you described.  Many are just out there whacking balls for the fun of it.  However, up and down my range I see guys and ladies (older and younger) trying to get better, talking with other golfers about their swing, why the ball is going off to the right, etc.  They are honestly working on their game on the range (myself included).  I don't know that they have thought about the quality of the good looking range balls they are hitting.  I think they assume that "if I hit it good it should fly true," and I guarantee you they take credit for every ball that flies dead straight LOL.  
Who knows, maybe I'm wrong.  Perhaps I'll poll the golfers on my range next time I'm out there, see how many of them think that they are getting good feedback from the range balls.... would be interesting to see their thoughts.
Thanks for the comments!

In the foursome that I typically play, when we get to a water hole the 3 other guys always pull out a "water ball" which could be anything from an old ball they found to range balls. I never documented their success but my gut reaction is that at least 50% of the time they drown the ball. Then they try to rationalize it as a swing fault. They're always amazed when I pull out my best ball for those holes.

I keep telling them that using a "water ball" is really a self fulfilling prophecy.


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In the foursome that I typically play, when we get to a water hole the 3 other guys always pull out a "water ball" which could be anything from an old ball they found to range balls. I never documented their success but my gut reaction is that at least 50% of the time they drown the ball. Then they try to rationalize it as a swing fault. They're always amazed when I pull out my best ball for those holes.

I keep telling them that using a "water ball" is really a self fulfilling prophecy.


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Wow! Lol. Well now you have a study to show them that demonstrates that junk balls can fly inconsistent distances! Very counter intuitive for most people to pull out their best ball. Not all balls are the same!


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