Compression -- how "squeezable" a ball is -- influences feel and plays a role in generating distance. The firmer the core, the higher the initial ball speed. A soft-core, low-compression ball will generate lower spin and improve feel. Golfers with slower swings may find they can optimize their distance with a lower-compression ball; fast swingers can benefit from lower-compression balls as well as higher-compression models.
Below is a guide to the cover hardness and overall compression of some popular models, based on data about the balls' construction provided by the companies that manufacture them. By Scott Smith