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The Difference Between Regular and Practice Golf Balls

The Difference Between Regular and Practice Golf Balls

March 28, 2024

What’s the Difference Between Regular and Practice Golf Balls? 

Picture this: You’ve just dropped money on a bucket of golf balls at the range and teed up your first shot when a thought occurs to you. “These balls react a bit differently than the ones I use on the course. Are they the same type of golf ball?” 

You may be shocked to learn that a driving range ball and your normal golf balls are completely different. There are a lot of practical reasons for this, and for most people, it doesn’t matter. But for the players out there really looking to take their game to the next level, it’s important to know the limitations of practice golf balls. 

In this guide, the experts at Rapsodo will discuss the differences between practice golf balls and regular golf balls and what you should expect from each. 


Practice Balls are Made for Hitting 

This statement might seem odd, considering all golf balls are made to be hit. But since the job of a practice golf ball is to be hit over and over again, they’re designed to take a beating.  


The typical practice golf ball will be made of a thick outer layer with a cheaper rubber core in the center. This tends to add a bit of weight to them, meaning they’re heavier.  


In contrast, premium golf balls are built for performance and use a higher-quality rubber core surrounded by two, three, or four layers. Usually, the outer-most layer is made of a durable but flexible layer of surlyn. Very high-performing golf balls like those used in the PGA Tour typically have a urethane covering, which allows for greater control over the ball. 


Practice Balls Fly Low and Slow

As previously mentioned, practice balls are typically made of heavier materials. The extra weight means they often produce a slower spin rate when hit. This decreases their overall flight speed and can cause them to have a lower arch. 

The big takeaway here is that if you’re training your shot speed or smash factor, you might need to take your results with a grain of salt. While any insight you gain during practice is valuable for improving your game, just keep in mind that premium golf balls will likely spin faster and fly higher out on the course.  


Practice Balls Travel Shorter 

Another consequence of the heavier construction of a practice ball is that they tend to travel shorter distances. Ball speed is one of the main factors that helps determine a shot’s distance. A slower ball speed means the shot won’t travel as far. 

However, it’s only slightly shorter. You’re more likely to notice the difference with higher-numbered clubs than you will with a driver. This is why practice balls still make for great shot drills at the driving range.  


Practice Balls are More Resistant to Wind Shear

The heavier construction of practice balls does come with one really good built-in benefit: They’re much more resistant to windy conditions. This means you can practice to your heart’s content without adjusting for the wind and focusing more on your swing. 

However, this doesn’t prepare you to play in the wind when you’re actually out on the course. 

Other Types of Practice Golf Balls

So far, we’ve only discussed range balls when it comes to practice golf balls. However, there are a few other types that should be mentioned here to get the full picture. Each of these practice balls has its own pros and cons.  


Foam Practice Golf Balls

Foam golf balls are a great option if you don’t have a golf net and need to practice in a small space. These soft, durable balls are designed to take hits and bounce off walls, floors, and ceilings without damaging your space.  

They’re fantastic for practicing perfecting your swing technique but aren’t very good for learning how to improve your shot. They travel an extremely short distance compared to either a range ball or a premium ball. However, they are a cheaper option than either if you’re looking for a more affordable option. 

There are many different brands of foam practice balls boasting different levels of firmness and other traits that attempt to make them “feel” like regular golf balls when hit. 


Plastic Practice Golf Balls

You’re probably more familiar with this type of practice golf ball. The wiffle-like appearance of many brands of plastic practice balls is instantly recognizable. 

Like foam balls, plastic balls are built with durability in mind, so you can get as many hits on them as possible before needing to replace them. Due to their light construction and aerodynamic nature, plastic practice balls fly a bit further than foam balls but still fall short of the distance and control you can expect from regular golf balls. 

While foam balls can be used outside as well as inside with few problems, plastic golf balls are really designed for indoor use only. Their build makes them more susceptible to gusts of wind that can easily carry them off course and into parts unknown.  

However, plastic practice golf balls are great for practicing your swing, your short game, or just picking up the basics if you’re new to the sport. Additionally, plastic balls are extremely affordable. 



Callaway RPT Chrome Soft X Golf Balls 

The Callaway RPT Chrome Soft X Golf Ball is not your typical practice golf ball. These balls are built the same as Callaway Chrome Soft X golf balls, a tour-level premium golf ball designed for faster-swinging players and offering unrivaled control over the ball. No other practice golf ball, foam, plastic, or rage, can compete with the feel, control, and performance of a Callaway RPT golf ball. 

Rapsodo has enhanced these golf balls by adding a specialized pattern under the clear external coat that helps the MLM2PRO track them with expert precision. This means you get the best of both worlds: A premium ball that looks and feels like the type you’d hit on the course and access to practice data and insights you need to step up your performance.  

Don’t just practice. Practice to win. Get Callaway RPT Chrome Soft X Golf Balls today to get the most out of your shots both on and off the course. 

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By Rapsodo Golf

With an unwavering passion for the game and data-driven insights, we're here to inspire and elevate your Golf journey through articles that help you find improvement and excellence.