We’ve included some tests for our 2021 Hot List to see if the average golfer can tell the difference between a ball with a urethane sleeve and a non-urethane sleeve.
We asked a group of 25 randomly selected golfers with handicaps from 0 to 20 some basic questions about their knowledge of urethane-coated golf balls. Then we had each player with urethane cover balls and non-urethane cover balls with logos marked, make a series of strokes around the green.
Some players immediately saw differences in how quickly a ball “grabbed” the green, others were certain that one ball felt better than the other, and each player assumed that the ball that felt best was the the more expensive urethane coverball was. Not all of these players were right. (Lesson: “soft” doesn’t always mean short game spin.) Here’s what we found.
Most golfers said they had heard of “urethane coating” and knew it improved spin. But more than 10 percent said they had never heard of the term or thought it improved distance.
After taking a series of chip shots with each type of ball (all markings were blackened), nearly half said they liked the non-urethane cover ball better because it was softer to the touch and spun more.
Among the better players (less than a handicap of 5) almost all saw the spin advantage of urethane-covered balls. Many said they had to change their stroke style in order for the non-urethane balls to stop near the hole.