Gary Brown: No matter the golf ball label, there’s a hazard awaiting

Gary Brown

Is there a reason I’d find a golf ball labeled “straight” on its cover in weeds way to the left of a golf course fairway?

Would its owner have hit it straight into the underbrush? On purpose? “Yeah, it went where I was aiming. Watch me hit this one straight into the lake ...

I golf a lot and, since that practice-makes-perfect thing is a lie, my game takes me to a lot of out-of-the-way places. So I find quite a few golf balls that I didn’t buy. Because they’re all marked with some marketing claim, I’m always getting new and improved miracle balls.

If I’m looking for my ball just a little bit into the weeds, for example, I might turn up other balls labeled “distance.” If I hit my ball farther into the weeds, I might find balls labeled “more distance.” And if I hit my ball fairly well into the weeds, I’ll likely stumble on balls labeled “extra distance,” or “extreme distance,” or “more carry ‹ pure distance.”

When I hit the best ball I’ve ever hit into the weeds, that’s when I uncover balls labeled “tour distance,” which makes me think to myself, “Boy, I really whacked the daylights out of that one.” It makes me feel as though I could be on the pro tour, if I weren’t hitting balls into the weeds.

Look in the bag

The problem, however, is that at any given time I’ve got about two or three dozen different balls in my bag, stored in different pockets, stuffed in with a handful of different golf gloves that are in various stages of decomposition.

Before I can start playing, I’ve got to decide what ball I’ll be playing with during that particular round.

Do I go with “more roll” or “more carry”? Do I choose “straight distance” or “raw distance”? Should I pick “titanium feel” or “buttery feel”?

What’s the hot ball for me ‹ “burner” or “ignite”?

Can I depend on “long” being long enough, or do I step it up to “super long”? Is “straight” straight enough or do I need “super straight”?

Might “soft” be as soft as a ball should be, or should I pick one that says “super soft”?

How far is “super far?”

The day I had to choose between “long,” “soft,” and “long and soft,” I almost gave up the game.

At the bottom

So, early one morning over the weekend, I had most of the golf balls in my bag dumped out in grass beside my driveway, trying to figure out what manufacturer claims my game needed that day.

I threw out the one that said “FREAK,” no matter how appropriately a ball carrying that word might describe my shots. And, I ignored the one marked “PRACTICE.” Obviously, I’d hit into a driving range at one time or another.

I picked a ball marked by the manufacturer simply “gold.”

Well, the previous owner also had his initials in huge lettering. And he’d drawn a big red smiley face on it.

Tough ball to lose, now matter how much distance you get into the weeds.

Reach Canton Repository Living Section Editor Gary Brown at (330) 580-8303 or e-mail: