The wooden golf ball stayed around for well over one hundred years. It was, at the time, all they had. From there it advanced to the feather ball, the gutta percha, then the rubber core and finally to the golf ball that we use today. It is due to the great technology involved in the golf ball structure that golf is the popular game it is today.
To fully understand what makes a golf ball effective on the course, we need to understand the golf ball structure that is part of each ball. The golf ball is comprised of the cover, the layers and the core. Golf balls fall into two groups or categories: spin and distance.
A spin ball is just what the name implies-its designed to spin more. The core is either solid or wound. Balls designed for spin usually consist of three-piece construction, which are usually wound. The wound core has either a small solid center or a liquid filled center. If it is solid, the core is a small rubber ball. If it is liquid, the liquid is a sort of liquid paste. Rubber thread is then wound around the ball. The average is approximately 35 yards, which stretches to around 275 yards per ball. Balata, a very thin, soft material is used as the cover. Surlyn is used occasionally on three-piece balls for a less expensive golf ball structure, but its usually found on two-piece balls.
Distance balls are generally of two-piece construction. They are a much harder and will have a solid core, usually an elastic material. They are then covered with surlyn, which allows for more durability than balata. The two-piece golf balls are very good for beginners as are the one-piece golf balls. The one-piece are made of synthetic rubber, are inexpensive and used mostly for the driving range for practice.
Deciding what kind of golf ball structure appeals to you is a matter of personal preference. While the balata seems to give you more control and spin, you wont get as much distance as the two-piece with the surlyn cover. Golf manufacturers have been experimenting with adding titanium and tungsten in the core and covers of two-piece balls. They believe that the density of these materials will contribute to better spin and distance. Many golfers have a few of each kind and experiment to see which purpose each serves.