What Makes the Best Golf Ball the Best?
When we talk about what makes the best golf ball it really comes down to three things, 1) technology, 2) personal preference, and 3) cost. However, there is no top dog on the best golf ball list that will automatically make you a better golfer. If golf were that easy, a lot more people would be playing the game. Despite this unfortunate truth, some aspects of the best golf balls are matters of science and testing. The technological improvements to the best golf balls are objective, which is why the best golfers playing the best golf balls are hitting the ball further than ever before. But you and I are not the best golfers in the world. As such, the best golf ball for Dustin Johnson is likely not the best golf ball for us. For that reason, let’s explore how you can find the best golf ball for you.
Technology: Does it really matter?
Yes, technology really matters. The technology of the best golf balls is hotly contested and highly secret. Our reviews of the best golf balls take tons of testing and data gathering from various sources. However, there’s no doubt that technology has changed the game of golf and is highly important. Yes, the guys on the PGA tour now are more athletic. And yes they play with better clubs than Snead, Hogan, Palmer, and Nicklaus – but Dustin Johnson hit the green from the tee on a 320-yard par 4 with an IRON not too long ago. AN IRON! That’s not a typo. It was amazing. Remember when Tiger Woods was the big hitter on tour because he regularly hit it 300 yards with his DRIVER!? Needless to say, technological advancements are here to stay.
How we got here:
Traditionally, golf clubs tend to get most of the attention when it comes to new golf technology. But golf clubs aren’t the only golf products that are making the game easier and a bit more accessible. Over the past two decades, a stunning amount of research and development (money) has gone into developing the best golf balls. Golf balls like the first generation Titleist ProV1 were game changers. They redefined what it meant to be the best golf ball by flying farther and spinning more around the greens. The best golf balls on the market have only gotten better over time. As a result, a strong argument can be made that the golf ball is actually more responsible than anything else for the incredibly long drives and dart like irons the pros hit every day.
Titleist may have been first out of the gate, but since the debut of the now flagship ProV1, every ball manufacturer has invested heavily in producing some of the best golf balls. TaylorMade, Callaway, Srixon, Bridgestone, Nike and others all produce a version of their own best golf ball. As you might imagine, they all claim to produce the best golf ball on the planet. But here’s a little secret that you may be surprised to hear. None of them are definitively correct, and none of them are definitively wrong (pretty straightforward, right?). Although the lines are blurred, we will do our best to clear things up.
What is the best golf ball?
The best golf balls on the planet tend to have more similarities than differences. Yes, every manufacturer uses their own proprietary dimple design and they patent names for their cores and covers – but in reality the golf ball world is very much commoditized at the top of the chain. The best golf balls tend to boast (and produce) the same features. A solid core engineered for distance and speed and an advanced cover designed to feel soft. Some have mantles, some have high compression cores, some have 5 components, and some have urethane covers – but they’re all trying to do the same things (within their respective categories).
We’ve tested and reviewed the best golf balls from all of the big manufacturers and there is honestly little difference between golf balls that are designed to accomplish a particular goal. What we mean by that is, there’s little difference between Nike’s distance ball and Callaway’s. They’re both going to be similarly designed and they’re both going to accomplish the same thing. These best golf balls for distance will go far off of the tee and won’t spin a ton on the greens. There’s a continuous arms race among our favorite golf companies to produce the best golf ball in the world, but you shouldn’t lose sleep worrying over which one is the absolute best golf ball. What you should concern yourself with is which one is the best golf ball for your game.
How to Choose the Best Golf Ball
Now that we’ve told you that the best golf balls aren’t snowflakes, we are now going to seemingly contradict ourselves and give you advice about how to choose the best golf ball for your game. There is indeed a difference between the best golf balls in different categories. Before, we pointed out that the distinctions between the best golf balls trying to achieve a particular goal are slim. What you should remember is that the difference between the best golf balls trying to achieve different goals is huge. We’ve all seen the slick “V vs. X” Titleist commercial where tour pros say which Titleist ball they play. But notice how none of them say “I play the Titleist Velocity”?
All golf balls are designed with things like swing speed, spin rate, and skill level taken into consideration. As such, to find the best golf ball you need to do an honest self assessment of your game. If you just started playing or have a swing speed in the 80s than you don’t need to play a TaylorMade Tour Preferred or a Srixon Z-Star. The best golf ball for your game is going to be a golf ball engineered for your swing speed and type. If you don’t know your swing speed, head to your local golf shop for advice and a testing. Figuring out how fast you swing the club will take about 3 minutes. In addition to swing speed analysis, many golf stores provide ball fitting services to help you choose the best golf ball for your skill set.
How much do the best golf balls cost?
The best golf balls out there range in price, but are grouped into categories. While two piece distance balls are on one side of the spectrum, five piece tour balls are on the other. Typically a two piece distance golf ball will cost between $20-30 per dozen. Five piece tour golf balls can run you upwards of $50 for a dozen. As we’ve mentioned over and over again at this point, choose the best golf ball for your game first and go from there. However, don’t feel bad about buying Titleist DT Trusoft distance golf balls over Titleist Velocity balls because of cost. The difference between these two golf balls isn’t going to be dramatic (though small differences do exist). What’s far more important, is that you understand that you are playing a distance golf ball and that the distance golf ball is the best golf ball for you.
Think about your golf game and be honest with yourself. Figure out what type of swing you have and what type of golf you play. Ask yourself some of these types of questions:
- Do I swing fast or slow?
- Am I having trouble keeping the golf ball in the fairway?
- Do I intentionally shape the ball from right to left (or vice versa)?
- Is adding distance to my drives and long irons important?
- Do I want the golf ball to check more around the greens?
After asking yourself these types of questions rank them in order of importance and figure out what type of golf ball you need to improve your game. DON’T put too much emphasis on spin around the greens, this is a classic mistake for amateur golfers. For example, if you aren’t hitting greens in regulation, does it matter whether the ball spins when you chip it from the rough for bogey ? (hint: it won’t spin from there anyway)
As your swing changes and your game improves you can move up to the best golf balls designed for more advanced players. Until then, the world is your oyster and we recommend trying out golf balls as your game advances. Once you figure out what type of game you have, buy a few sleeves of the best golf balls for your game and head to the course. Experience is the best teacher so try out two or three different brands and models to find out which one really is the best golf ball for you.
To check out some of our golf ball reviews, please click here.