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What Is Compression In Golf? – Explained!

what is compression in golf
what is compression in golf

Golf is known to be a technical sport full of technical terms that you may not know the meaning of. One of those golf terms sometimes mentioned on golf courses and TV broadcasts is the expression “Compression”.

If you are reading this article, you may wonder: What exactly is “Compression” in golf?

In this article, we will explain to you exactly what the term “Compression” means in golf.

What Is Compression In Golf?

In golf, the term “Compression” generally refers to the pressure a golf ball experiences when hit by a golf club. The “Compression” of a golf ball squeezes it, making it temporarily deform and store potential energy until it is released upon shape restoration into kinetic energy.

In the great game of golf, the expression “Compression” is sometimes mentioned on golf courses and on TV broadcasts, but not that often.

In golf, the expression “Compression” typically refers to the way a golf ball is squeezed and deformed by the pressure caused when it is struck with a golf club.

Once struck, the golf ball is “compressed” by the force of the club head, multiplied by the moment arm (shaft length).

This “compression” temporarily and elastically deforms the golf ball, thus storing potential energy into the deformation. Once the golf ball leaves the golf club, it is free to restore its original shape, releasing the potential energy into kinetic energy that improves shot speed.

The ability of a golf ball to compress and restore its shape afterwards also improves golf ball lifetime and durability.

An interesting fact to note is that different golf ball models from different manufacturers have different levels of hardness. Some balls are harder, some balls are softer, and this impacts how much each individual golf ball can actually compress.

Golf balls usually have a compression rating ranging from 30 to 120, with 30 being the softest, and 120 being the hardest. A harder golf ball will compress less easily, meaning it is best suited for golfers with a high swing speed.

On the other hand, if you have a slower swing speed, you can play with a softer golf ball, as it is often designed to travel the furthest distance with a slower swing speed.

If you have an average swing speed, there are medium-hardness golf balls available on the market for you.

However, as it is known that a higher swing speed is better to generate large carry distance on golf shots, it can be worthwhile to work your way up to being good enough to use a hard golf ball while still retaining optimal swing technique.

Softer golf balls are known to travel far away while harder golf balls can give you more accuracy. This is because a softer golf ball “compresses” more, so it has more energy to release when it restores its shape.

If you are a really good golfer, you can still get great distance from the more accurate and harder golf balls. This is because your swing speed will be quick enough to compress even the harder balls.

Another factor that impacts which golf ball hardness you should be playing with is the outside temperature of your environment.

In fact, the colder your weather, the harder your golf ball will feel, so you might want to play with softer balls to offset the weather’s effect. On the other hand, if it is as warm as 100F where you play golf, your balls are likely to feel softer than they are rated to be.

If you would like to work your way up to be able to compress the hardest golf balls that professionals use, you can read our guide: How To Improve Your Golf Score? – 9 Pro Tips.

Origin Of The Term “Compression”

The origin of the expression “Compression” in golf is extremely simple, and based in the English language.

The verb “to Compress” in English means “to apply pressure on an item or to squeeze it”.

When you apply pressure on a golf ball, it elastically and temporarily deforms, which is roughly the English definition of “compression” being applied.

Therefore, it makes perfect sense why the term “compression” is used to describe the deformation of a golf ball when subjected to the pressure of the golf club.


There you go! After reading this article, you have learned exactly what “Compression” means in golf.

Do you have any other golf expressions you wish to know more about? Did you know a golf ball compresses once struck? Let us know in the comments down below!

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