When you boil it down, you really only use 2 types of equipment to play the game of golf: golf clubs, and golf balls. Most people take a lot of care researching and comparing golf clubs making sure they have what’s right for them, but don’t take the same care choosing a ball.
Maybe you heard that one brand has a great ball so you try it out, or just pick up some balls while you’re on the course. That’s fine, but you’re probably costing yourself valuable strokes by not playing the right ball for your play style!
As a high handicapper, you want to play the best ball for you. I’ll break down how to differentiate golf balls so you can play smarter golf and shoot lower scores.
Best Overall: Titleist Pro V1x
Best Value Tour Ball: Taylormade Project (A)
Best Premium Pick: Titleist AVX
Buyers Guide: Factors to Consider
Your budget will most likely come into play when you’re making a decision. You can find golf balls for as cheap as $8 a dozen, and as expensive as $75 a dozen! There are plenty of great choices within the $20-35 range, and the top of the line balls will be somewhere around $40-50.
If you buy last year’s golf balls, you can usually get high end golf balls at a lower price.
This is a bit technical, so I won’t cover it in too much depth and boil it down to the important points:
- Golf balls are layered, and feature between 2-5 layers; this is related to construction. 5 piece golf balls are usually tour level balls
- Core: made of rubber or liquid, determines ball compression and speed, with compression ranging below 80 and up to 120
- Cover: Urethane covers typically produce more spin, and Surlyn-covered balls create a lower straighter flight. All professional golfers use Urethane covered golf balls, period
- Performance: balls will be constructed for higher and lower spin, distance etc based on compression, layers and the cover material
- DImples: Not all golf balls have the same number of dimples, and this can impact how aerodynamic they are
Evaluating Your Needs
If you’re looking into this article, you’ve probably acknowledged that the right ball will help your game. You’ll need to do a bit of self evaluation to identify what areas need improvement, and we can dig a bit deeper from there. Here are a few areas to look at.
Better Distance Performance
With any club, a golf shot is measured by accuracy and distance. Specific to the driver, these issues (or strengths) tend to get magnified…..a great shot will have more distance and accuracy, where a wild shot can spray 150 yards forward and 100 yards to the right.
If you’re looking to improve your driver distances, you’ll want a ball that you can compress with your swing speed. Compression is the transfer of energy between the club and the ball, and creates a bit of an elastic effect that sends the ball launching; when you achieve compression the ball soars higher and further, because you’ve transferred that energy beautifully. Lower compression balls are made for slower swing speeds, while high compression are made for faster swing speeds. A good example of a lower compression ball is the Callaway Chrome Soft, while an example of a high compression ball is the Titleist Velocity .
The same distance focused balls will also help you hit a straighter shot. Distance golf balls generally have lower spin rates, which reduce the side spin that creates a big hook or slice. While these balls are great for drives, if you’re looking for more all around distance, i’d suggest a ball that has a mid range compression rate, like the Taylormade Project (a) or the Titleist AVX . These balls will help you with consistency across your bag.
Feel Around the Green
This can mean a variety of things. If you’re looking for a ball that will be very responsive around the green, that will typically be a soft ball. Softer golf balls will produce a lot more spin on shorter irons and give you a lot of stopping power when your ball hits the green. They also produce high quality chip shots, delivering more feel.
A lot of players tend to struggle here, and many high handicap players give up tons of strokes every round near the green between bad chips and the dreaded 3 putt. If you have trouble holding the green with your approach a softer ball will probably help you out.
What if I need both?
Most people are interested in both, and that’s easy to understand. There are some great middle ground balls that produce great distance, yet soft feel and high spin rates; these are some of the most popular balls on the market. Some of the best all-around balls include the Titleist Pro V1x and the Bridgestone Tour B RX .
The Best Golf Balls for High Handicappers in 2020: The List
Best Overall: Titleist Pro V1x
The Pro V1 brand of golf balls has long been considered the #1 ball in golf, and it’s sister the Pro V1x is just as popular. The Pro V1x is designed to deliver incredible distance, and provide consistency from driver to wedge in terms of predictability. This is easily my favorite ball to play with, because I love the higher trajectory and carry I get from it. If there is a downside, it’s that this ball is one of the more expensive golf balls on the market.
This ball is well balanced where it matters; it delivers low spin on drives with a higher trajectory, and higher spin on iron shots for shot stopping control and feel. Titleist delivers optimal performance and feel around the green with this ball, thanks to its “drop and stop” short game control. This has long been a staple selling point for the Pro V1x.
In the most recent model of the Pro V1x, Titleist made a few changes to directly affect its performance on the course. Titleist have made the urethane cover system 17% thinner which directly results in more spin on approach and short game shots. This year’s model also has a larger casing layer, contributing to ball speed and distance. Finally, they’ve also implemented a very soft, faster core to this model to further enhance speed, yet still maintaining the feel of the golf ball.
If you’re looking for a ball that pretty much does it all, this is a good bet.
Runner Up: Bridgestone Tour B RX
Bridgestone is a powerhouse when it comes to producing tour quality golf balls at a reasonable price. They have several options in their Tour B series, but the most relevant for a high handicap player is definitely the Bridgestone Tour B RX. The Tour B RX is designed to deliver enhanced distance and accuracy. This is another great game improvement ball for any level player.
Bridgestone has put together a proprietary core construction, coupled with enhanced aerodynamics to deliver incredible ball speed and distance for this ball. The ball cover is also designed to deliver feel and consistent flight performance.
Best value tour ball: Taylormade Project (a)
This is a tour quality ball at a mid-market price. I’ve been really impressed with the Taylormade Project (a) this season, as this is one of the balls I like to use most frequently. The Project (a) delivers great distance, wedge spin and feel that you would find in a ball like the Pro V1x, without the premium price. This is probably the best golf ball for a mid handicapper, as it truly is a tour quality price for a great value.
This ball has a 3 layer design that incorporates a dual distance core for more distance on the driver and long irons. The dual distance core has a stiffer outer core, that generates more spin as a short iron pinches the ball. Taylormade incorporates the same dimple pattern they use in the TP5 ball, delivering more speed and distance with this design.
Best Golf Ball for Distance: Titleist Velocity
The Titleist Velocity is not a new ball to the market, but it is a fun one to play with. Featuring extremely low spin and a high flight off the tee, this ball has been created to maximize distance in every shot you hit. The Velocity offers 2 piece construction,with a high speed LSX core offering faster speeds off the club head. Overall the feel around the greens is OK, but if you struggle in the distance department this one is probably a good bet.
Best Premium Pick: Titleist AVX
This is another all-around great ball by Titleist. The AVX is a premium performance ball that has some similarities to the Pro V1 it terms feel, but a few key features make this ball attractive to a high handicap player. If you’re looking for maximum distance, extremely soft feel, and a lower ball flight this is probably your best bet on the market today.
The technical specs of this ball are what make the ball stand out as a high performance ball geared toward game improvement. A larger core and thinner urethane based cover make this ball faster and add distance to every shot in your bag. The dimples are uniquely designed for aerodynamics, and you’ll notice a lower piercing ball flight, compared to a higher Pro V1 flight. The thinner urethane cover delivers tour level spin and control in the short game, allowing you to have more control on your approach shots. This is another ball that will help you hold greens by stopping on a dime.
Players consistently report additional yardage from the Titleist AVX when compared to the Pro V1/ Pro V1x, and great feel during iron play. The lower trajectory is noticeable, especially in windy conditions. The AVX is also relatively durable, considering the thin cover and soft feel.
Overall, this is the best premium option available in my opinion.
Best Budget Pick: Srixon Soft Feel
I get it, golf balls can be expensive and you literally always need them, so spending $30-40 a dozen can be tough for some. Out of the golf balls that are in the lower price bracket, I think the Srixon Soft Feel golf balls provide the best performance. These balls are made with accuracy and consistency at the top of mind for longer shots, while providing excellent spin and feel around the greens. Srixon uses a 338 speed dimple pattern to cut through windy conditions, and hold a straight line when hit.
For the price, this ball does a great job holding greens on an approach shot, and delivers great feel. Many players are impressed with the distance, and comment that this ball feels like a premium ball at a much lower price. If you’re on a tighter budget, this is likely your best bet.
Worth a Look
There are a ton of good golf balls on the market, and it wouldn’t be right to not highlight a few more for you. Check these out if you want a few more options to consider.
This is a 4 piece ball optimized for extraordinary distance, great feel and spin rates for green grabbing control. Vice is one of the newer major players in the golf ball space, and they have a few tour level balls at a reasonable price.
It was tough for me to not place this in the best overall or best for mid handicappers camps, because I really enjoy playing with the Callaway Chrome Soft. If you buy this ball, please do so in the Truvis soccer ball format, it just looks awesome and unique on the course. Overall, this is a really high performance ball for every aspect of the golf round. It features a Dual Soft Fast core, maximizing compression energy. This ball has a high flight for a long distance carry on drives. You’ll find consistency on your irons, and this ball is forgiving when you hit it off-center.
This ball is on the lower end of the cost spectrum, and the main selling point here is absolute dead accuracy and long distance. This ball wants to fly straight with very minimal spin. This ball’s Delta Dimple technology is also meant to resist pop-ups. If you lack control, you may want to give this ball a go.
It may take a little bit of experimenting for you to determine which golf ball will improve your game the most. That said, after a bit of self evaluation on where you’d like to see improvement, you’ll probably have a good idea of where to start. All things considered, I think the Pro V1x is the best ball on the market, as it has a higher trajectory that carries more distance, and has unmatched feel and spin around the greens.
I hope you enjoy some golf ball testing, and thanks for reading!