For years Jason Dufner has enjoyed the reputation of being one of the PGA Tour’s best ball strikers. Winning majors—as Dufner did Sunday at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill—comes down to hitting fairways and then piling up checkmarks in the greens-in-regulation column. To achieve that, one has to have ultimate confidence in one’s swing—and in one’s equipment, including the ball one strikes with it.
It’s a symbiotic relationship, that. This video of what Dufner underwent to find the right ball for his game is complicated, not to mention a luxury few weekend golfers get to experience.
So, what does this relationship matter to the weekend golfer? From my personal perspective, I know that having a ball that costs $4 per makes me grip the club a little tighter and become very aware of every pond, OB stake and parking lot.
That said, most amateurs don’t need to be playing high-end performance balls like the Bridgestone B330S or, like Dufner, the Titleist Pro V1. But they do. And if a recent round at a high-end mountain course is any indication, they lose them by the dozen.
Srixon’s Q Star, which you can find for about $2 a ball, and even less, is a quality product that delivers very good performance that helps most weekend players. How so? First, its softer core enables higher launch angle that, with its crisp cover, allows for less spin and thus more overall carry distance. Its cover has enough softness to produce decent spin off 8-iron shots into the green.
Whether it is driver or short iron into the green, a well-struck shot will reveal some differences, such as stopping power on the greens. In fact for slower swing speeds the Q Star will help the weekender. A bad shot – like a sculled sand wedge off a tight lie – performs the same no matter whether it’s a Pro V1 or a Q Star.
Q Stars cost half of the high-end balls. Dufner wouldn’t like this ball, but you don’t have Dufner’s swing. More importantly, after his PGA Championship victory, you don’t have his wallet, either.