Regular Vs Practice Golf Balls: Key Differences 2023

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Just like any other sport, learning to play golf takes a lot of practice. However, most people believe using a practice golf ball is a good starting point, spending hours getting a general idea of their driving abilities or how to fine-tune their skills. 

But if you are unaware of the differences when comparing regular golf balls vs practice golf balls, it might catch you off-guard and make it seem like all those hours were wasted for nothing.

And knowing about the practice balls vs regular balls debate can help you transition from the practice range to the actual golf course. We will explore key notable differences between them such as carry distance, feel, durability, and golf ball flight in-depth below. 

Practice Golf Balls Vs. Regular Golf Balls: Comparison

Regular golf balls must meet certain criteria set by the USGA as they are specifically designed to be used for competition on full golf courses. They are more common than driving range balls which you will mostly see in a driving range. But beyond this, there are various other key differences between practice golf balls and regular ones.

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As a general rule, a normal golf ball will typically carry a further total distance than range balls, traveling a shorter distance.

A regular golf ball can cover more carry distances due to various factors. For instance, the spin impacts the carry distance a lot as too much can cause the ball to lose distance.

However, it is not easy to calculate the average distance of a driving range ball as they vary widely and remain inconsistent for golfers of different abilities. The range of total distance of different range golf balls is different. 

This difference is largely due to poor materials with practice balls, offering less accuracy than ordinary golf balls. This causes inconsistent distances when hitting with practice balls and regular ones are more predictable. Additionally the golf ball weight is different between the two golf ball types.


Both premium golf balls and driving range balls feel different at contact. They vary from manufacturer to manufacturer but a regular golf ball has more complex golf ball construction and is likely made with better materials than range balls. 

Practice balls have a different feel when hitting them, and it does feel like you are hitting an object with a hard outer shell. It feels like there is not much “give” and the golf ball doesn’t compress at contact, unlike regular balls.

They may be great for driving ranges, but you are unlikely to trust them when out on the golf course hitting shots that require exquisite precision.


Practice range balls are definitely less durable than a premium golf ball. This is due to their construction and materials used, which make them less durable. They are not built to last and can break or lose their shape after a few shots in comparison to regular balls.

Even a used golf ball is a better bet than a practice ball for a full round of golf because even though they’ll come with more wear and tear than practice golf balls, they will last longer due to premium construction.

Ball Flight

As expected, regular golf balls have a consistent ball flight. All of them have a similar spin to them, which creates a uniform performance across any golf course. Whereas, range balls can be inconsistent in the air and in general a range golf ball will fly less distance.

You will get a better feel for your game by using regular golf balls because of the consistency and more predictable ball speed. If you are not in tune with your present ability, you can get a better understanding when using regular balls– this will help improve your game more than driving range balls.

However, if regular practice is your desire and you care more about your swing fundamentals, practice golf balls should be used.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does A Range Golf Ball Go As Far As Regular Golf Balls?

Both types of golf ball will travel a reasonable difference. However, as a general rule of thumb, a range ball will not travel as far as a regular golf ball, though it can vary on all aspects of the game such as swing speed, direction, etc.

Can You Play Golf With A Practice Golf Ball?

Most committees have a list of requirements and criteria that golf balls must meet during a golf game. Often, a practice golf ball is unable to meet them all, so they are not approved to be used in professional tournament play.
You will experience less consistency with a practice golf ball, so you probably wouldn’t trust them on the course even if they are allowed.

Why Are Practice Golf Balls Bad?

Range golf balls are okay to use, but they have many limitations. They can teach you to be a better golfer so that you are confident enough to play on a real course or other sites. However, there are better options available to you for a complete round of golf.

What Are Practice Golf Balls Good For?

If you want to get some short game practice in, practice balls are a good choice. They help to refine your golf swing and improve your coordination as you will have a better feel for the direction of the golf ball. In addition, practice balls help you find a consistent swing pattern which is crucial for long-term advancement in golf.

Rounding Up: Premium Golf Balls Vs Range Balls – Which Is Better?

The debate between practice golf balls vs regular balls is often bought up, with one type of golf ball being better than the other. But both kinds provide excellent respective training benefits so you can choose others depending on what you want.

As discussed, regular premium golf balls are superior to practice range balls due to their feel, durability, and performance. They are better for playing the game as it is meant to be played as they come with the complete golf ball anatomy that is expected. Practice golf balls are good if you want to work on your swing or gain experience before hitting real golf courses and have a time and place for use at the practice range.