There are two types of golf ball.
A two-piece ball consists of a cover and a solid core.
The theory is that this enables the energy at impact to be transferred efficiently to the ball in flight so it's good for distance.
A three-piece ball consists of a cover over elastic windings wound around a solid core centre and is better for control.
Manufacturers use a combination of different materials with different features, such as hardness and weight, to make both types of ball.
The most common golf ball covers are made from two materials; Surlyn and Balata.
Surlyn provides a stronger cover, while the Balata is a softer material that offers a little more spin control but might not last more than a few rounds.
Most professional players prefer the control of the Balata golf ball.
Amateurs are better off with the Surlyn which last longer.
The surface is 'dimpled' to increase lift and reduce air resistance.
Balls come at different compressions; 100, 90 or 80.
As a general rule, the 'hardest' balls should only be used by low handicappers.
Any other numbers on the ball are only there to help you identify your ball on the course.
For many amateurs, brand new golf balls are an expensive luxury and we make do with 'seconds' and keep a bag of their oldest most battered balls with which to practice on the range.
Always carry enough balls to finish a round of 18 holes - the number will depend on how often you lose them!