Do Range Balls Fly Shorter?
One of the best places to work on your golf swing is the driving range. And when you visit the driving range to hit balls, you’re going to notice that most driving ranges use golf balls with a stamp “range ball” on it.
Range balls typically do not fly as far as your golf balls you’d use on the golf course for a live round of play. The majority of the range balls you encounter on the driving range will not perform as well either if you tried to use them during normal play.
The reason most range balls fly shorter is due to the design of them. Since driving ranges are often limited in space, they choose golf balls that are intentionally made with limited distance features.
In other words, manufacturers create golf balls specifically for the driving range. The aerodynamics and dimple pattern of the balls create more drag so that these golf balls cannot fly as far.
This helps prevent the balls from reaching the back of the range as easily if space is limited on the golf course due to woods, housing developments, etc.
So if you plan on using the driving range to practice, focus on your swing tempo, rhythm, and accuracy of ball flight rather than your distances.
Expect that range balls will fly 10-15% shorter than normal and if you’re using a limited flight range ball, then expect 25-30% shorter distances to result.
What Type of Golf Balls Do Courses Use for their Range Balls?
Above we talked about how you shouldn’t expect the range ball to perform as well as your on-course golf ball you play with.
So the question becomes, are these range balls different than the golf balls you’re used to playing with out on the golf course? The answer is yes.
Range balls are not the types of golf balls you’ll be using out on the golf course. They are often cheaper grade balls because golf courses don’t want to spend thousands on the best golf balls like Pro V1 and TaylorMade TP5.
However, some higher end private golf courses may in fact still use a Pro V1 style golf ball for their range balls so don’t count it out as a possibility of getting to practice on the range with premium balls. It’s just not that common.
Range balls have more drag so they cannot fly as far. It’s an intentional design from manufacturers who supply balls to driving ranges and golf courses.
Do PGA Tour Players Have Special Range Balls?
If you watch players on the PGA Tour practice on the driving range before their tournament round, you’ll notice that their range balls do not have the normal stripes on them.
In fact, these golf balls you see the PGA Tour players hitting are not range balls at all. They are normal high grade, premium golf balls that you’d find the player to be using out on the golf course.
Since PGA Tour players are super precise on distances and performance of their golf clubs, it wouldn’t make sense for them to use different golf balls that fly shorter than what they’ll face on the golf course.
They need to ensure predictability so they can transfer their range practice to the golf course and have their clubs dialed in, ready to go when the tournament round starts.
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