Amateur golfers spend hundreds of dollars making sure they have the right clubs and equipment for their weekly eighteen holes. But very few amateurs factor in the importance of finding the best golf balls for their game. Regardless of price, manufacturers have created a host of specialized golf balls that best suit the swing speed and needs of your game once you hit the course.
Discovering the best golf balls for your round can be the difference in breaking 80 for the first time or obtaining that extra five yards on your drive. As vital as it is to get a club fitting from a professional, buying the best golf balls can be as necessary for realizing your potential. Here is a guide to finding the best golf ball to complement your skill level.
How to Choose the Right Golf Ball
Choosing the right golf ball is about complementing the needs of your game. Perhaps you want more spin from your shots into the green, then finding a golf ball that has a urethane cover is a priority. If you are looking for durability and distance from a ball, then two-piece models made from Surlyn is a great way to save money and boost your long game.
The best place to start your search for the best golf ball is determining the price level your budget allows before you purchase. As with most consumer products, the adage “you get what you pay for” applies to golf balls. The models that most professionals play each week on the Tour are readily available to the consumer albeit with a few slight differences. These three-piece models offer additional spin as well as extra distance for the extra cost.
Made for enduring punishment, two-piece balls offer value to the weekend warrior who is not concerned with subtlety from their golf ball. Most two-piece balls are made from Surlyn which provides not only toughness but distance as well. For the high-handicapper, a great rule of thumb is to start with the two-piece ball, then begin to escalate in price point and quality as the level of your game increases.
Another option for finding the right ball for your game is to get a golf ball fitting from a professional. By using sophisticated technology, a proper ball fitting takes readings from your contact with different types of golf balls. Each golf ball will feature unique outcomes. One golf ball may fly farther and more consistently than another golf ball that generates higher spin.
The more swings you can place on each golf ball during your fitting session, the more the data will round into shape giving you a fuller picture into how your game could be transformed from switching away from your current golf ball. Once you can dig into the data, the professional can use his expertise to guide you toward the golf ball that works best for your game.
One point of emphasis to prepare for when receiving a ball fitting is that the professional will focus on your ball and swing speed. Most amateurs cannot utilize the compression of higher-tiered balls and the expert will help find a ball that fits your swing speed without sacrificing performance.
Best Golf Ball for Beginners
Bridgestone is usually overlooked when standing aside the titans of Titleist and Callaway. But with the signing of Tiger Woods, Bridgestone has moved to the main stage of golf ball manufacturers. One of their best golf balls for amateurs is the e6 model. With two different options, a Soft and a Speed version, the e6 is a very affordable and stable alternative for the beginner looking for a new golf ball to play.
The Soft model emphasizes creating spin on entry shots and added control around the greens. The Speed model is for the golfer looking for that boost in distance and shot stability.
The latest reinvention of the e6 includes a “Delta Dimple” design for reduced side spin and increased smoothness on ball flight. A technologically advanced cover helps with softness on the greens for creating spin to stop shots where they land.
For amateurs on a budget, the e6 plays like a ball that costs twice as much.
Best Value Golf Ball
Volvik Vivid Golf Ball
The most fun golf ball on the market today is the Volvik Vivid golf ball. With an assortment of colorful options, the Vivid has a ton of personality without sacrificing execution. For the amateur looking to add enjoyment to their game, the Volvik is a conversation starter and will surprise your playing partners with its’ durability and function around the green.
The Vivid is the best golf ball for value due to its’ three-piece construction. Providing terrific distance off the tee, the Vivid features a low-compression core that helps with lower swing speeds. The low-compression core also plays well in colder conditions.
The matte finish outer layer supports elevated spin and helps with feel on pitch shots and putts. And as a bonus, the bright cover will help when your golf ball finds the heavy rough.
For the amateur that is shopping for a fun high-performance ball, the Volvik Vivid offers tremendous value.
Best Value Golf Ball for Better Short Game
Callaway Supersoft Golf Ball
The Supersoft model from Callaway is a solid contribution to the moderately priced entry-level market. A high performer redesigned to generate more feel from the fairway without losing distance on drives. The newly created cover on the Supersoft is even softer than previous models for additional shot-making ability when using a wedge around the greens.
An improved core has allowed Callaway to engineer a Supersoft that promotes faster ball speed off the club face and lower spin that results in longer, straighter ball flight off the tee. All Callaway golf balls utilize a HEX aerodynamic system that reduces drag and enhances lift for a boost in carry and distance.
The Supersoft is an exceptional golf ball for the amateur looking for a softer cover that wants more control around the greens. Even though the Supersoft is a two-piece model, the performance will have you feeling otherwise.
Best Golf Balls for the Advanced Player
Titleist Pro V1x
For a good reason, the most popular golf ball on the market is the Titleist Pro V1 model. With a high-performance multilayered core and a cover that promotes shot-stopping spin around the greens, the Pro V1 is adored by professionals and low-handicap amateurs alike.
Titleist has two versions of the Pro V1, the regular version, and a Pro V1x alternative model. The Pro V1x is the preferred model for those golfers looking for enhanced control and spin on shots, especially chips and pitches around the green. Titleist has made adjustments to the original Pro V1’s dimple pattern to reduce sidespin for more accurate shots. The soft urethane cover on both models continues to optimize the exceptional spin associated with the model.
Although it costs a pretty penny, the Pro V1 and V1x continue to be the standard bearer that all golf balls aspire to become.
Bridgestone Golf Tour B RX
For golfers who have a slower swing and would not benefit necessarily from higher priced balls like the Titleist Pro V1, Bridgestone has stepped in and created a golf ball that has the tee-to-green performance golfers expect from balls at an elevated price point.
The Tour B RX provides a boost in distance and due to its uniquely engineered core, grants forgiveness on off-centered shots. The soft SlipRes cover created by Bridgestone enhances the friction when the ball comes into contact with a club’s grooves fostering greater spin around the greens for more control.
The RX’s Dual Dimple technology adds distance without sacrificing spin when you need it the most. Side spin is also reduced with the Tour B RX as the seamless cover encourages consistent flight.
The Bridgestone has created a ball for the low-to-mid handicapper that exceeds expectation and is highly affordable.
Golf Ball FAQ
How much do golf balls cost?
The price of golf balls is determined by their construction. Premier golf balls like Titleist’s ProV1 series feature an interior containing a multi-layered center with a urethane cover. Golf balls that have these features earn their higher price tag because of their flexibility around the greens. The cover, made from urethane, allow for greater spin and excellent control around the greens. Premium golf balls will fly further too, but their main attraction for golfers is the increase in spin rate.
For more inexpensive golf balls, the material used to create the cover is, most often, surlyn. Made to handle the wear and tear of multiple rounds, surlyn is built for muscle rather than finesse. The lower price tag does not mean that balls made of surlyn cannot deliver quality performance. Many surlyn golf balls can boost distance several yards on average. Compared to the higher tier golf ball, there is tremendous value in finding the right ball that works with your game.
How to clean golf balls?
Cleaning your golf balls during a round is an essential step to assuring quality contact with the club face. Clean, maintained grooves on a wedge’s club face will create maximum spin with a pristine golf ball.
A simple trick to assuring that your clubs and golf balls stay clean during a round is to attach a moderately sized golf towel to your bag. Then, divide the towel into two halves. Saturate the bottom half of the towel with water. You want to be able to take the dirty golf ball or club and wipe away any excess dirt or grime with the wet half of the towel. Then to dry the ball or club, use the top half of the cloth to remove excess water.
It may sound obvious, but you never want the golf ball to come in contact with your mouth. Golf balls can gather assorted bacteria, fertilizers or pesticides along its’ cover, and you need to avoid any possibility of ingesting those harmful substances.
How to mark your golf balls?
Marking your golf balls before a round can have several practical uses that will help with on-course identification and alignment of your putts. All you need to mark your golf ball properly is a Sharpie-like marker. You will want to place your personal stamp on your golf balls at least 30 minutes before putting the balls into play so that the marks will have enough time to dry adequately.
For creating a line to use for aligning your putts, you will want to find a device that correctly produces a straight line. For a minimal price, you can purchase an apparatus that locks on the golf ball and allows easy access to marking a straight line that will last for the life of the ball. These homemade lines will help you align your putts on the green and also give you instant feedback on the quality of your putts after contact.
How to keep golf balls warm?
Keeping your golf balls warm can be incredibly important on cold days. When the golf ball gets cold, around 40-degrees Fahrenheit, it loses several miles per hour in ball speed which translates into lost distance on drives and entry shots into greens. This loss of distance can create mental havoc as you lose confidence in the correct club for each shot.
Professional golfers like Phil Mickelson suggest moving to a lower compression golf ball when the temperatures drop into the “danger zone” but what if you don’t want to go out and purchase a new dozen when you have several boxes at home?
One popular hack for keeping golf balls warm is to take place a towel at the bottom of a pot then filling the container with roughly two quarts of water. You will safely and slowly want to bring the heat of the water up to around 120-degrees Fahrenheit before removing the pot from heat and placing the golf balls into the towel. After heating the balls for thirty minutes, dry the balls and put them in an insulated bag. If you warm six balls, then try and change them out every three holes to maximize their usefulness.
How long do golf balls last?
Contrary to popular belief, golf balls do not last forever. The shelf life of a new golf ball is anywhere from two-to-five years old. The difference is in the construction of the ball in question. The higher-priced, three-piece balls such as a Titleist ProV1 can stay in “new” condition for up to two years. The reason is the reduction of tension in the windings of thread that layer the core in these higher-priced balls. The tightness can begin to relax causing lost performance as time progresses.
In comparison, two-piece balls are more durable due to their firm rubber core and harder plastic-based cover. These golf balls can stay suitable for up to five-to-seven years. These timeframes should always take into consideration that the balls are properly stored at room temperature.
One myth that some golfers fall into is that by storing their golf balls in the freezer that their life will be extended. There is no science to back up this theory and, in fact, colder golf balls reduce performance.
What to do with old golf balls?
There are several smart and productive ways to dispose of a large number of excess golf balls. One of the most popular methods is to simply resell them to a fellow golfer or even to a golf course looking to add range balls. Another strong way to help out those growing into the game is to donate old golf balls to a local junior program or a high school that is in needs of equipment.
For those looking to be eco-friendly, there is the option of recycling the golf balls to online resellers who will grade, clean and resell the golf balls to consumers. This assures that your golf balls won’t end up in a landfill and will be reused by other golfers.
Another idea that is gaining traction is creating craft projects with old golf balls. For children, salvaging these out-of-life golf balls are a fun way to create items such as Christmas ornaments and other decorations for their bedroom.