There are a few things that are important to know about golf balls.
The two most important are the compression and the number of pieces a golf ball is made up of.
Many golfers throw around the idea of the three- and four-piece ball, but they don’t know exactly what the differences are.
Let’s take a look at the major differences between a three- and four-piece golf ball.
3-Piece vs. 4-Piece Golf Ball (What’s the difference?)
The major difference between the three-piece and four-piece golf ball is going to be the construction of the golf ball.
The ball is made up of four-pieces or materials, and in the three-piece, there are only going to be three different layers.
You can think of a golf ball very much the way you think of the layers of the earth.
There will be an inner core, a mantle that surrounds that core, and then an outer layer.
If you are dealing with a four-piece golf ball, there are two inner levels between the cover and the core.
Some people will say that the extra layers of the four-piece golf ball are going to help it go quite a bit further.
Let’s break down the different layers of these golf balls and which ones are ultimately going to be the best choice for your golf game.
Differences Between the Three-Piece and Four-Piece Golf Balls
These are the main differences between the three- and four-piece golf balls on the market.
1. Inner Core
The inner core is the piece which makes up high energy center of the golf ball.
In the past, the inner core was always a rubber ball, and for many golf balls, this is still the case.
The difference between the inner core of a three-piece and a four-piece golf ball is that the four-piece ball really has a two-piece inner core.
There are some golf balls on the market that are only one-piece, and these are built more for a driving range.
However, the manufacturers of most of the golf balls on the market have put quite a bit of time and money into the development of their inner core.
The material is usually made of a synthetic rubber.
Sometimes this rubber is mixed with other materials to give it a higher level of performance.
Some golf balls have used resin or even liquid, but the synthetic rubber seems to provide the best results.
Although the core of a four-piece ball is going to have an extra layer, most of the time, the three- and four-piece are going to stick to an almost identical rubber core.
2. Inner Layers
The inner layers of a three-piece golf ball usually have another layer or rubber or an elastic which goes around the core of the ball.
Some golf balls also use a resin type material which is supposed to help the golf ball get some extra ball speed and distance.
The benefit of the four-piece golf ball as compared to the three-piece is that they can add additional layers of rubber and synthetic material.
These materials, when compressed, will expand again and send the ball a considerably greater distance.
This is why many people say that a three-layer golf ball cannot travel as far as a four-layer golf ball.
This, however, is not always an exact science.
It is not true that a company which somehow puts together a six-piece ball is going to have the longest golf ball on the market.
Another large consideration, when you talk about golf ball technology, is the person who is actually hitting the golf balls.
For example, if an amateur player with the wrong swing speed is hitting a ball, the distance will not be nearly what is expected or desired.
The bottom line is that having more inner layers does provide an opportunity for potentially more distance.
Although the cover of the three-piece and four-piece golf balls can be the same, it is worth it to understand the difference between the two types.
Sometimes a three-piece ball with a great cover could be just as good of a choice as a four-piece ball.
The three-piece will likely save you quite a bit of money as well.
The urethane cover has always been the most popular in golf.
The great thing about urethane is that it is soft, and it gives a player lots of feel around the green and when putting or chipping.
Most of the time, golf balls with these urethane covers are a bit higher in price because of the feel and performance that they provide.
The other type of golf ball cover is the ionomer cover.
An ionomer cover is a little harder than urethane, but golf balls with this type of cover are great for when you want less spin.
Golfers who want less spin are those who are struggling to get maximum distance off the tee.
If this describes you, then the ionomer cover golf ball could be a good choice for you.
Another great thing about the ionomer cover is that it is very durable this is a golf ball that could last you quite some time.
You may have heard of a golf ball with a Surlyn cover, which is simply a specific brand name of the ionomer material.
Again, look for a golf ball that has what you need on the outer cover.
If you want some durability and low spin off the tee, it is most likely that you are going to want a three-piece ball with an ionomer cover.
Many of the golf balls with the four-piece construction are going to come with a urethane cover.
This is because, with the four pieces, they need a softer cover which allows players to get the feel that they need from the tee.
The four total layers will give the ball a bit higher compression, and the soft cover will help to make up for this.
Four-piece golf balls tend to have a bit higher compression.
This higher compression has to do with the fact that there are going to be four layers of golf ball to compress.
This is a natural science thing, and it is important for you to pay attention to this when purchasing a golf ball.
It may be that you want the feel and the performance of a four-piece golf ball, but this doesn’t mean it is always a good idea for your game.
As a slower swinging golfer, you should be using a lower compression golf ball.
The three-piece golf ball usually comes in a variety of different compressions, and one of them is definitely the lower compression.
If you match your swing speed to the golf ball compression, you will end up with much better results.
Most of the time, a four-piece golf ball has higher spin around the greens than a three-piece golf ball.
The problem with this is that sometimes the four-piece golf ball has a little more spin from the tee as well.
Higher spin from the tee can result in a larger slice or hook if you put the wrong side spin on a golf ball.
The three-piece ball will have lower spin from the tee.
This helps golfers who are wanting to hit longer shots from the tee.
The problem with the three-piece ball is that the greenside spin is not going to be quite as high.
If you choose a three-piece ball with a soft greenside feel, you may have more luck when it comes to spin.
There is no question that the four-piece golf ball is more expensive than the three-piece.
This has quite a bit to do with the fact that it is a golf ball built with more material.
If you split the golf ball up, you would be buying four pieces as opposed to three.
The pieces inside the golf ball are going to be higher grade material, and therefore, they will also help to increase the costs.
The three-piece balls are going to be less expensive, but you may lose a little of the performance that you are looking for as well.
Chances are the ball will not fly quite as far, and the spin and performance around the greens will also be a bit less advanced.
For average golfers who still lose a few golf balls each time they go out to play, the cost of golf balls should be taken into consideration.
Should I Use a 3-Piece or a 4-Piece Golf Ball?
Now that you have a better idea of the differences between these two golf balls, it’s time to figure out which one may make more sense for your game.
Chances are the decision is going to come down to your handicap.
Generally speaking, the higher handicap golfers prefer to play with the three-piece golf ball while the lower handicappers will go with the four-piece.
The reasoning here is that the lower handicapper needs the performance and the spin around the greens that the four-piece can offer.
It is also quite common for a better golfer to have a faster swing speed.
This means that the lower handicap golfer has a swing speed that is able to compress a golf ball the way that they should.
There are plenty of average golfers who choose to use a four-piece ball, and they feel as though it helps their game as well.
However, most of the time, the three-piece golf ball will do the trick for these golfers.
Since the average golfer is also more likely to lose golf balls during the course of the round, the fact that the three-piece is a bit cheaper is going to be another selling point.
Luckily, the golf balls that are on the market today are better than they ever have been before.
You can get something that has a ton of performance and feel for a much lower price than ever possible.
Each year, golf balls seem to get longer and longer just as the equipment that is used to play them.
Soon, the golf courses are going to need to get longer.
As you can see, there are some pretty significant performance differences between three- and four-piece golf balls.
This has everything to do with the fact that they are manufactured differently and designed for two different types of golfers.
If you are starting to improve your game and feel like your current golf ball is holding you back, it might be time to look into the four-piece golf ball.
If you are tired of paying high sums of money for a golf ball you keep losing, see if you can save some money by switching to the three-piece.