Does a Golf Ball’s Center of Gravity Matter? – Golf Myths Unplugged

Behind the Scenes

If you’ve ever wondered how we choose golf myths to test, here’s a peek behind the curtain.  I come up with a list of ideas and email them to Club Champion’s Nick Sherburne.  We go back and forth discussing logistics and interest until we have one or two worth pursuing.

Recently I wrote to Nick about the 2019 Maxfli Tour golf balls and their claims around the ball’s center of gravity.  His response was just one line: “I want in on that.”

The Myths

Myth #1 – Aligning the golf ball’s center of gravity makes it fly straighter

Myth #2 – Aligning the golf ball’s center of gravity makes it fly higher

Myth #3 – Aligning the golf ball’s center of gravity makes it fly longer

How We Tested

For this test, we brought together 5 golfers with handicaps ranging from 0 to 12.  Each player used their personal driver and hit a total of 28 drives, half with the “Center of Gravity Alignment Line” aimed correctly, half with it aimed incorrectly.  Every shot was captured on Trackman.

All testing was done at, and with the help of, Club Champion.

The Results

When we looked at the accuracy of shots with and without “proper” alignment, we did not see strong evidence to support either side.  For three of our testers, their accuracy was virtually identical with or without proper alignment.  One of our testers was slightly worse with the line aimed at his target.  The final tester was noticeably better with the Tour X in the aligned position.  Interestingly, he was equally accurate with the Tour version regardless of alignment.

Though the differences were not huge, most of our testers did produce slightly higher shots with the center of gravity aligned.  On average, our test group launched their aligned drives 0.4 degrees higher.  They also saw small spin increases – around 200 RPM on average.

Just as with accuracy, we could not find significant data to support the idea that an aligned center of gravity produced longer drives.  For most of our testers, the difference between their aligned drives and their non-aligned drives was minimal.  In fact, in 8 of 10 trials, the difference in carry distance was less than 2 yards.  The other two trials were split – one in favor of the aligned drives, one in favor of non-aligned drives – with differences of 8 and 6 yards, respectively.

Conclusion

This test illustrates two important points about manufacturer’s testing.  First, it is absolutely possible that, given certain testing conditions, drives with the center of gravity aligned will fly higher, straighter, and farther.  However, those conditions may or may not reflect your swing.  Second, there is a difference between measurable differences and noticeable differences.  50 RPM of spin or 2 feet of apex height are measurable differences.  But are they noticeable?  Not to any mortal.

These are both quality golf balls, but in terms of delivering noticeable, meaningful benefits to real golfers, we did not see any evidence to support the claims.

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Matt Saternus

Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

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7 Comments

  1. John Perry

    What about with putting? How significant is it to have the center of gravity lined up with the starting direction on putts? Is something like the Check-Go ball spinner worthwhile?

    • Matt Saternus

      John,

      I have a hard time believing that, if the center of gravity isn’t clearly impactful on a drive, it would be impactful on a putt. I would not spend money on a Check-Go spinner, personally.

      Best,

      Matt

  2. Rob Alberti

    Isn’t there a rule against a ball playing differently on a particular axis? I remember the myth about the original ProV1 and it going long if hit on the seam.

  3. If these were done at Club champion, then this was trackman data into a screen.
    I think one of the important pieces of physics here is the off axial rotation that creeps in over the course of 3-5 seconds of actual inference in the air. Trackman is fine but it’s merely a predictor of ball flight assuming all things perfect in the golf ball. When the ball becomes the variable, I think it has to have the ACTUAL flight analyzed and plotted.

  4. Here’s what I think. Golf is a game of voo-doo and confidence in what is going to happen. It is a game of rituals……….for example, I have a friend who hits in the low 80’s who will only play a Titelist 1 ball, will only hit a Driver off of a brand new unpainted wooden tee, and only hits it once and leaves it. Me ? I have to have 2 balls in my pocket when I go to the tee and they must have the Check Go spin line on them for tee shot alignment and putting. That is the way it is. Period. Nothing will convince me otherwise. In the words of Spock………..” It is only logical, Captain. “

  5. I have used the machine for a few years and my putting, especially lag putting has improved tremendously. Science is true, I believe in the ball having a center-of-gravity not in the center

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