The 10 Best High End Golf Balls
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in October of 2016. If your game has progressed to the point that you are no longer afraid of losing balls in those pesky water hazards, it may be time to step up to one of these high-end models. No matter what your handicap is, the right choice will give you better control over your contact and trajectory. The next trick is to swing the same way every time, which is easier said than done. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
July 02, 2020:
The right golf ball makes a significant difference for those working to improve on an already low handicap, and to some extent, the choice can be a pretty personal one. Nonetheless, the Titleist AVX and Titleist Pro V1 both stand out as two of the most popular and most effective tools for cutting strokes off an already refined game. The special-edition Bridgestone Tour B XS is similarly well respected, although it's even less forgiving than the Titleist models, and as such is a poor choice for those who aren't extremely confident in their swing. The TaylorMade TP5X is another that beginners should shy away from, but if you're comfortable with your accuracy and can consistently hit without hooking or slicing, it can add noticeable distance to your drives.
If you're trying to advance your game to the next level, there some high-end models that are somewhat forgiving but also able to increase drive distance and approach consistency. The Bridgestone E12 Speed and TaylorMade Project (A) are two of these. If you have trouble getting a significant amount of distance off the tee, the Srixon Z-Star is worth a look, although it might make your short iron game and flop shots a bit more challenging. Alternately, the Callaway Chrome Soft, Volvik Vivid Soft, and Wilson Staff Duo all take spin very well thanks to their low compression and relatively high-traction exteriors.
Dixon Fire If cost is of little concern, the Dixon Fire is worth a look, because while it's known as the most expensive golf ball on the market, it's a very high-performing option that should serve low-handicap players well. It's one of the few that's marketed as being made with eco-friendly materials. dixongolf.com
Are Expensive Golf Balls Worth It?
The better you are — and the more seriously you take the game — the more likely you are to benefit from a high-tech ball.
If you consider yourself a real golfer, then you'll likely do anything to shave a few strokes off your game. That means you've paid for lessons, expensive clubs, fancy gadgets, and maybe even lied when you thought you could get away with it.
You'd do anything for a better score. So, should you spring for fancy golf balls?
As with almost any question in life, the answer is, "That depends." The better you are — and the more seriously you take the game — the more likely you are to benefit from a high-tech ball. There's a reason that the pros all use fancy Titleists or TaylorMades; when you have the ability to affect almost every aspect of the ball's movement with your stroke, you need a ball that will react accordingly.
Most high-end balls respond best to hard and fast swings, and inexperienced golfers may not be able to put enough oomph behind their drives to get the full benefit of the ball's design. If you're just starting out, you may be better off aiming for a ball with a tighter compression, as those will fly further and land with the proper spin even if you can't put as much power behind your drives as Bubba Watson does.
That's not to say that an amateur duffer won't benefit from a better ball, however. The balls are more expensive because they are better, and you'll see some benefit from using them. However, just know that it may be like giving someone who just got their license the keys to a Ferrari — the car's still great, but that doesn't mean that they can make it reach its full potential.
As you get more advanced, you will most likely want to graduate to the higher-end balls. Whether it's worth it to you to pay more for balls early on in your career is a matter of personal preference, but if you do end up investing in better gear, keep your expectations in check.
After all, it's not the balls they use that makes the Tour pros so good. It's the fact that they don't have real jobs.
Finding The Right Ball For You
The type of ball you use won't take you from the municipal course to Augusta National, but it can have an impact on your score. Don't simply grab the first box you see in the clubhouse; find the one that fits your game.
Don't simply grab the first box you see in the clubhouse; find the one that fits your game.
The most important factor in selecting a ball is your skill level. If you have trouble generating distance off the tee, getting a ball with a plastic ionomer cover can help. These balls reduce the likelihood of slicing or hooking, so your drives will be more likely to end up on the fairway. Also, they can really get some hang time in the air, allowing even the slowest of swingers to cover some serious ground on a drive.
If you've got a little experience under your belt, or if you want to focus more on your short game, then a ball with a urethane cover is worth the extra money. These balls are still long off the tee, but they're more receptive to any spin you apply, allowing you to really direct your shots. There might be a little bit of a learning curve at first, especially if you're coming from using cheaper balls, but these are a necessity for the serious player.
Of course, you should also remember that, if you're not confident in your game, you're more likely to lose a lot of balls, so make sure you can afford to say goodbye to whichever model you pick.
Whatever you do, don't buy a new set of sticks before you decide on your brand. Remember, the ball is the only equipment you use on every shot, so you'll want to have that piece of the puzzle in place before you start spending money on other gear.
Unless you just want to have a reason to justify buying multiple sets of clubs, of course.
Getting The Most Out Of Your New Balls
If you've taken the plunge and sprung for fancy new balls, you're going to want to be sure you can get your money's worth. Don't treat them like the cheap plastic options you've used in the past. You're trying to step up your game, and you should treat the purchase accordingly.
Don't just hit them off the tee at the driving range, as many top-end balls reveal their mettle during the short game.
This is a perfect opportunity to test out a swing analyzer. These machines can give you all sorts of feedback about your motion, including the speed and angle with which you're striking the ball. Remember, expensive balls are much more sensitive to spin, so you should take the time to learn exactly what kind of English you're putting on each hit.
Take the balls on a test drive for a couple of rounds, as well. Don't just hit them off the tee at the driving range, as many top-end balls reveal their mettle during the short game. You'll want to hit a few wedge shots and see how it performs on the green before you commit to a new brand. Try to be consistent with your swings as much as possible, to eliminate any variance in performance.
You also need to stay committed to your new label once you switch. If you're constantly switching back and forth between balls, you'll never develop the feel necessary to become a scratch golfer. The more practice time you get in with a certain ball, the better you'll be able to control it — and that will lead to a better score over time.