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Golf Ball Cover

Cover CoverThe cover design plays a large role in overall golf ball performance especially for higher-lofted clubs and shots hit around the green.

Depending on its thickness and stiffness (“firm” or “soft” is typically used to describe cover stiffness) the cover has a variety of effects on both golf ball speed and spin.

The cover also plays a critical role in durability and feel. There really isn’t a performance aspect of the golf ball that isn’t somehow influenced by the cover design.

Cover Materials

Cover MaterialsGolf ball covers are made from one of two possible material classes: urethanes and ionomers.

Urethane is a very soft strong elastic material and is found on premium, tour-calibre golf balls. Ionomer is a firm plastic that is used on distance focused golf balls found in the market.

Urethane and ionomer materials can be engineered to have many different properties - the most important of which are high durability and low stiffness.

Cover Thickness

Cover ThicknessGolf ball speed and backspin are inversely related when it comes to cover thickness. Thick covers produce less ball speed but more backspin and thin covers have more ball speed but less spin.

Since the cover is a lower “C.O.R.” material than the core, golf balls with thick covers also typically have lower ball speed.

Greenside spin is generated by maximising the contact surface area between the golf ball and the clubface.

Thick covers can deform more at impact and therefore contact more of the clubface so more spin is generated with golf balls that have thick covers.

Cover Stiffness

Core StiffCover stiffness comes with the same trade-off as cover thickness: you can get more greenside spin with a soft cover but that gain in spin will cost you ball speed.

The trade-off between backspin and ball speed is not equal. Cover stiffness changes backspin a lot relative to its effect on ball speed, while cover thickness has more of an effect on ball speed.

For this reason engineers are constantly searching for ways of making the cover thinner (maximise ball speed) and softer (maximise greenside spin) without hurting durability.