Do Range Balls Go As Far as Regular Balls?


Mr. Thomas,
I will assume this is a commonly asked question.

People always tell me that the golf balls I use at the range don’t go as far as “regular” balls. I too find this to be true, especially with my woods. I know these balls are constructed differently. Is there a general rule of thumb for determining how much yardage I might be losing? I’ve found it to be almost one club difference.

– Todd

The range balls are generally slightly different in construction in that they will have a more durable cover and paint layer. A combination of these differences will affect the distance slightly but not more than the 10 yard difference between clubs.

Some manufacturers will make balls specifically for the range which are shorter by as much as 20 to 30 yards than a standard ball. This is done with a less resilient core and a change in the aerodynamic properties. These balls don’t feel very good but do serve a purpose of range length limitations.

I think that the racing stripes on the range balls make them play so much better. This is the only plausible explanation as to why I seem to hit balls so much better on the range than on the course.


This week’s Q&A is an excerpt from Dear Frank….Answers to 100 of Your Golf Equipment Questions

5 thoughts on “Do Range Balls Go As Far as Regular Balls?

  1. Frank, thank you for reminding everyone to never take this beautiful game too seriously, and the importance of keeping one’s sense of humor. Laughter IS the best medicine.

  2. Another question I have wondered about, I actually have a friend who always seem to mention the “range ball factor” as we discuss our golf swing journey. I like how you get us to think “is this really that important?” .. and you do it with a smile. Once again thanks for your Q&A’s … you guys are great.

  3. One thing left out: Range ball are often “played” until they are absolutely dead. In that death dance, dimples are progressively softened. This should have an effect on height and distance. How much? Ask Iron Byron.

  4. I never considered that the racing stripes on range balls would make them play better…no wonder I see so many people using them for tee shots over water hazards!

  5. Could it be that the lack of pressure on your driving range shots is vastly different to that of your first tee shot in the club championship, or weekend foursome ?
    After all who cares where those range balls go. There is no penalty for hitting half a dozen shots over the boundry fence at the range.
    Just remembered, IT IS a mind game.


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