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COVER STORY – A Shift In Sales For Golf Balls

Golf balls with urethane covers and multiple internal layers generally have been thought of as the exclusive property of elite golfers. But according to sales figures from Golf Datatech, that could be changing. A decade ago about 70 percent of the balls sold at on- and off course outlets had Surlyn-ionomer covers (and the rest urethane), but in the past year the percentage of urethane-covered balls sold has hovered in the mid-30s, reaching nearly 40 percent in December. Why the shift? Generally, the grooves on irons and wedges tend to grab the urethane cover, allowing for more spin on shorter shots—which average amateurs increasingly desire. How much spin? Robot testing conducted by Golf Laboratories for Golf Digest shows 2,000 to 3,000 revolutions per minute more for urethane, which might mean 6 to 10 feet less roll on a well-struck half-wedge shot. —Mike Stachura

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