driving range question do range balls go shorter than normal golf balls

Table of Contents


  • Range balls are designed to be durable and cost-effective for driving ranges, but they may not perform the same as regular golf balls.
  • Range balls have a different design and construction, which can impact their distance compared to normal golf balls.
  • Factors such as the condition of the range balls, the type of golf club used, and weather conditions can affect the distance of range balls.
  • To maximize practice with range balls, focus on consistent technique and choose the right range balls for your needs.
  • When assessing the quality of range balls, look for essential features and reliable brands. Don't fall for common misconceptions about range balls.


Range balls, a staple at every driving range, are often a topic of intrigue and speculation among golfers. One burning question that comes up time and time again is: do range balls actually go shorter than normal golf balls? As a retired professional golfer with years of experience, I've spent countless hours hitting both range balls and regular golf balls, and I'm here to provide some clarity on this matter. In this article, we'll dive deep into the science behind range balls and explore whether they truly go shorter than their counterparts. Buckle up, because you might be surprised by what you're about to learn!

Understanding What Range Balls Are

Range balls, as the name hints, are designed to be used on the driving range. They often feature different characteristics and performance than regular golf balls due to their specific function.

Characteristics of Range Balls

Range balls are generally made to be more durable than average golf balls as they are meant to withstand hundreds of strikes. They are frequently covered with a thick, hard shell to increase their longevity. Most range balls have a solid core, unlike many traditional golf balls that might have layers of different materials. Often, range balls are branded with a distinguishable marking such as a stripe or a distinct color, to differentiate them from regular balls.

The Purpose of Range Balls at A Driving Range

At a driving range, the ultimate purpose of range balls is to allow golfers to practice their swings and improve their skills without worrying about the cost of losing or damaging expensive golf balls. The universal flight characteristics of range balls, which are usually shorter and lower than regular golf balls, provide a consistent base for golfers to gauge their shots besides offering practicality for range operators in terms of cost and space. offers a comprehensive view on the value of using range balls at a driving range.

Debunking Myths: Do Range Balls Go Shorter?

In the golfing world, it's commonly believed that range balls don't travel as far as regular golf balls due to their design and construction. But is this really the case? Let's dig deeper to find out.

The Design of Range Balls Vs Normal Golf Balls

To the untrained eye, range balls and normal golf balls may seem identical. However, they are designed differently for a reason. Range balls are typically constructed with a hard, durable cover to withstand repeated use on the driving range. They may also contain a rubber or plastic layer on the inside to further reduce distance. This robust design often results in less distance when hit, compared to a normal golf ball. Decoding the Difference: Range Balls Vs Regular Golf Balls

The Impact of Range Balls on Distance

If you've ever felt your shots with range balls lack distance, you're not alone. Many golfers report a difference in the flight of a range ball versus a normal golf ball. Range balls may indeed go shorter due to their construction and because many are 'restricted flight' balls, which are designed to go 70-80% of the distance of a normal ball. This allows more balls to be hit in a smaller space, which is ideal for a driving range setting. However, the lack of distance shouldn't take away from their purpose – helping players practice and improve their swing. Understanding the Golf Ball Compression Chart

Remember, range balls are designed to endure harsh conditions and innumerable hits. Their design will inevitably impact their flight distance. Ultimately though, they still offer invaluable practice and skill development for players of all levels.

Debunking Myths: Do Range Balls Go Shorter?

Understanding the difference between range balls and normal golf balls can largely demystify the common perception circulating amongst golfers that range balls are shorter in terms of distance coverage. This belief is largely due to misunderstanding the very design of range balls and how they are impacted differently compared to standard balls.

The Design of Range Balls Vs Normal Golf Balls

Range balls, which are mainly designed for practice purposes, tend to have a different build compared to normal golf balls. A typical range ball has a harder outer covering and a hollow center, which greatly affects its performance in terms of distance coverage. Whereas, a normal golf ball is expertly designed with a harmonious balance between distance, spin, and feel, a blend optimized for competitive play. Golfweek provides a decent explanation on the rules and regulations pertaining to the design of golf balls.

The Impact of Range Balls on Distance

Range balls are inherently designed to travel shorter distances compared to normal balls. This is mainly due to their construction, which intends to ensure they don't escape the confines of a driving range. They are made to be resilient and durable to withstand repetitive hits, which invariably results in them being harder and less responsive. It is estimated that a range ball typically travels around 10% to 30% shorter than a normal golf ball. However, remember, the variation can depend on a lot of factors like the speed and angle of the hit, the golf club used, and also the specific brand and model of the range ball. You can further refer to this article on Golf Workz for more clarity on how range balls impact distance.

In sum, the very design and structure of range balls influence their coverage distance. While it holds true that range balls do travel a lesser distance compared to normal golf balls, it is imperative to comprehend that they are built for a different purpose – mainly for practice and not for competitive play. As a golfer, understanding these nuances can greatly help in adapting your playing strategies accordingly.

Debunking Myths: Do Range Balls Go Shorter?

Many golfers are often in a predicament about the performance of range balls, especially regarding the distance they cover. Common belief dictates that range balls tend to go shorter distances. However, this section will uncover the truth behind this prevalent myth, thereby facilitating a clear understanding of the performance and characteristics of range balls compared to regular golf balls.

The Design of Range Balls Vs Normal Golf Balls

Contrary to common myth, the design of a range ball does affect its distance. Typically, range balls are built to control distance and keep golfers from hitting into adjoining fairways. They are constructed with a harder cover and often have a restricted flight design, attributing to the misconception that they cover shorter distances.

However, the internal compression and construction of the range ball compared to normal golf balls mainly drains the difference in the distance covered. On the other hand, professional golf balls are designed for maximum distance and spin, features that are intentionally numbed in range balls for safety and controlled flight. This golf digest article gives an excellent discussion on the differences between range balls and normal golf balls.

The Impact of Range Balls on Distance

The overall design and construction of range balls restrict their distance, a feature lacking in regular golf balls. In an average sense, a range ball will go about 70% to 85% of the distance that a normal ball will cover.

The flight of range balls is affected by their hard cover, reducing spin off the clubface and thereby affecting the ball's lift and distance. It's also important to note that the majority of range balls are used extensively, which further limits their distance due to wear and tear. Read more in this trackman golf link to understand the impact of range balls on distance.

Debunking Myths: Do Range Balls Go Shorter?

It's a common hearsay among golf enthusiasts that range balls tend to fly shorter distances when hit. But is that the universal truth? Let's dive into the design of these golf balls and what impact they can have on your distance shots.

The Design of Range Balls Vs Normal Golf Balls

Range balls and normal golf balls differ significantly in their construction, which impacts their performance and flight. Range balls are often built with a harder cover and a restricted flight core to reduce their travel distance. These balls are designed intentionally stronger to withstand the rigors of being hit hundreds of times a day. In contrast, normal golf balls are designed for maximum performance and distance, thus have a softer cover and a more elastic core. Here, the Golf Monthly explains the difference in more detail.

The Impact of Range Balls on Distance

Range balls' hardened structure and limited flight core indeed lead to lesser distance coverage when hit compared to regular balls. Estimates suggest that on average, a range ball will travel 70 to 80 percent of the distance a normal golf ball would achieve, considering a similar hit. Certain conditions, though could further influence the flight of the ball, like weather conditions, the particular hit's strength, or the ball’s quality. For a detailed scientific insight on the travel of golf balls, refer to this study by MyGolfSpy.

Remember, while precision and distance are important, practicing with range balls still provides valuable swing repetition and feedback. It can help hone your skills and familiarize you with different clubs' performance, preparing you for the real game scenario regardless of the ball's travel distance.


From distinguishing the characteristics of range balls, understanding their role at a driving range, to debunking common myths about their distance, this blog article has taken an in-depth journey exploring what range balls really are. Intriguing science behind how these balls absorb energy and how their dimple pattern influences distance was also discussed, along with multiple factors that could impact the distance they travel. Not only this, you’ve learned practical tips for maximizing your practice with range balls, and perhaps have developed an eye for assessing their quality too! The article has also aimed to clear commonly held misconceptions, while addressing frequently asked queries related to range balls. The bottom line? Range balls do indeed have a tendency to travel shorter distances when compared to normal golf balls, but they still hold a crucial role in practice on driving ranges. Stick to this blog for more insightful content like this, feeding your curiosity about all things related to golf and beyond. Don't let the myths steer you away, embrace the range balls to hone your skills on the greens!

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