When you ask people which new ball you should play, how many times do they tell you to 'Use the money for balls to get lessons instead'? I don't know if there is a more annoying answer! I understand what it's like to crack open a fresh new pack of balls and breathe in the aroma of toxic fumes that let you know they're brand new. The small pleasures!
When you're ready to up your golf game and play the best golf balls for high handicappers, go for it! Over 25-plus years, I've seen balls change from hard-as-rock to balata to modern surlyn and urethane golf balls. I've hit them all and I play with high handicappers who've benefited from my advice on which golf ball to use. I hope you will too.
The Best Golf Balls for High Handicappers
- Titleist TruFeel (perfect compression for 80 to 95 mph swings)
- Srixon Soft Feel (wallet friendly top value)
- Volvik Crystal (for slow swing speeds and bad eyes)
- Callaway Supersoft Max (best to improve low ball flight)
- Bridgestone E6 (best to reduce slices and hooks)
- Volvik Vivid (brightest golf ball almost impossible to lose)
- Wilson Duo Professional (urethane cover for softer feel and more spin)
- Kirkland Signature Urethane (Amazing value for money LONG urethane ball)
- SAINTNINE U-Pro Golf Balls (best if you want to try something totally different)
What are you looking for?
I hate to put you into a box, but usually we golfers can be classified into these categories of what we're looking for in our golf game:
If you just want to get a few more yards off the tee, those lake balls are not doing you any favors. With a new sleeve of balls designed for more distance, you'll instantly notice the difference.
The balls you're looking for are lower compression which create much less spin on the ball on the long shots. You'll notice on the Bridgestones, the dimples are very shallow and almost flat. I don't know the science behind it, but I'm sure that has something to do with their amazing ability to give you straighter shots.
Spin & Feel
Perhaps you have the distance, you have the direction but those distance balls just aren't holding the greens. We all reach a point when we want to actually chip it close or stay on the green when the ball actually lands on the par 3. These balls are usually multi layered with urethane covers and feel so soft which does lend them to getting scuffed.
Great all rounder for medium swing speeds. Just in ahead of the Titleist velocity golf balls.
The TruFeel is a firm ball that really does boom off the tee and with long irons. It produces a high ball flight so you can stop the ball on the greens easily enough.
As with most distance golf balls, the TruFeel is a two-piece and is designed to help a slower swinger get the ball further down the line. One of the longest golf balls out there with the Titleist name on it and with that title comes the fact that the ball is HARD. So be prepared for some high pitched strikes and looong rollout on your shots for extra distance.
Now in its umpteenth iteration, the Srixon Soft Feel remains an anchor in Srixon's ball collection. It's a two-piece golf ball so it's made for distance and durability but the thin cover gives this ball a soft feel so it doesn't feel like you're playing a rock. Expect long drives and irons that roll out with a soft feel on the club face.
Whenever someone asks for a recommendation for a golf ball as high or mid handicapper, I immediately, without hesitation say Srixon Soft Feel. I've loved these balls since I used them dropping from a mid/high handicapper down to a 5 handicapper. Soft feeling off the face and big distance off the tee. You'll love them.
Easy to see distance ball for slow to moderate swings
This is a hard ball. Let's get that out the way. It's not going to feel like a piece of soap on your club face but the Crystal travels far. If you prefer distance ball that is easier to see in the air and find in the grass, then these balls are perfect for you.
I would say this ball feels right in the middle of a Pinnacle Gold and a Titleist DT Trusoft. This is a very nice 3 piece ball for slower swings to really get an extra kick in the pants. Volvik have been and continue to be the golf ball of choice for the World Long Drive Association so you know this thing is a flier.
Expect the ball to go much further than others and take a few yards to stop on the green. If you prefer the bump and run type of chipping, this ball is perfect and you want to get it running as soon as possible because it really is consistent.
Long and straight for slower swing speeds
Callaway deliver excellence ball after ball. The Supersoft Max is made for the slower swinger for maximum distance and forgiveness, aerodynamically designed to get high up for a long strong carry. The soft mantle and cover system work in tandem to reduce spin. Reducing spin also means reducing side spin, so on your longer shots you can reduce those slices and hooks. These are really soft balls!
I'm not the biggest fan of these balls when I use the insert putter. When I use my steel faced putter, I like them a lot as the feedback is evident. If you use an insert putter, I'd suggest something firmer like the E6 or the Vivid below.
Very popular golf ball for double digit handicappers
This 2021 model is preferred by a lot of golfers. The performance and feel overall seems to be better in the older model, and on top of that, the price is incredibly low!
Slashing your handicap comes from hitting fairways and greens. The Bridgestone E6 gets you in the fairway easier and boosts long and mid iron performance to get you closer to the green more often. You may need to change your aiming - no more aiming way left. The ball goes where you aim.
Like with other Bridgestone balls, it's easy to notice the shallow dimples. They've done something right with their golf balls because most guys I play with loves these balls. I find the cover is quite hard so don't expect a bar of soap when you undo the packaging. This is for you if your priority is straight hitting and reducing slices and hooks.
My favorite ball at the moment. I recommend these to everyone. The cover isn't exactly soft but it isn't really hard so initially you're confused. But after bouncing it on a tiled floor and biting it, you try it on the course and realize this is not only an awesome ball to track in flight, but it goes like a bat out of hell, straight down the fairway.
I like the matte finish but it does take some time to get used to (maybe 2 or 3 holes). I started using these and love the looks I get on the course with my orange and surprisingly easiest to see luminous green ball. Avoid the blue color balls - something about them makes them difficult to see.
On my tee shots I noticed the Vivid seemed to fly with a lower penetrating flight but didn't come down to earth as soon as I expected and traveled an extra few yards further before curving down to the ground. It was quite astounding. I chip in a lot with these ball because their roll to the hole is so consistent on green side chips.
See my reviews of all Volvik golf balls here.
When comparing the Wilson DUO Professional to other balls in the list above, it's clear the difference comes in the short game. With short irons, the Duo Professional spins much more and on all shots provides a softer feeling. The surlyn covered balls might have a slight edge in purely distance but all-round the Duo Professional is a high-value golf ball for golfers who want some feel and spin with an amazing bang for the buck.
When you first touch the Duo Professional ball, you notice the texture of the cover and the 'bite test' tells you straight away the ball is softer than others. Feel off the club face is pleasant and off wedges feels surprisingly soft. These golf balls feel so good they could be considered a premium golf ball!
Proper golf ball for entry level prices
This is a luxurious, premium golf ball. It's a urethane covered three-piece beauty. Despite the urethane cover, it's durable along with providing excellent performance. The ball flies long and sits down on the greens - you notice immediately the shallow dimples and maybe that has something to do with it.
Iron-play is where the ball really shines and holds greens like a Tour ball. I played this ball for a couple months while trying them out and if they were freely available in Asia, I would be playing with them more often. They rank in my top 10 golf balls.
If you're confident with your direction and hit a pretty straight ball, this is an excellent golf ball to take you to the next level for spin and green side performance. If you're inconsistent, the Tour level performance can hurt you with the increased spin.
New kid on the block with interesting graphics
The U-Pro is a premium golfball at a fraction of the price of the competition. Saintnine do have a premium ball in their lineup, (the Extreme Soft Gold) but I really struggled to find the difference when I tested both.
The U-Pro feel great off the face of any club, especially those at the sharp end of the bag. I was able to get plenty of spin on full and partial wedge shots - they even grabbed on very dry greens here in Thailand.
What sets these balls apart however is not the performance, (which is excellent) but the looks. Each ball has a "Mind Mate" stamped on it, which are designed to give you different positive vibes while you're out on the course. I thought these graphics were really eye catching, and made identifying my ball a breeze.
It's rare to see any innovation in the golf ball market, so (bucket) hats off to Saintnine for coming up with something unique. Give them a try and see for yourself.
Types of golf balls for high handicappers
Used Golf Balls
You can find these on the golf course or in second hand shops everywhere. They usually look great on the outside but it's a lot like buying a second hand car. You just don't know what problems you're getting because you don't know where they've been and what's happened to them.
Vice Golf has done some research and found some interesting facts. They claim "after just one week in the water, lake balls will lose 5 to 10 yards in driving distance off of the tee; after 3 months, the distance loss widens to 20 to 30 yards."
Refurbished golf balls
While I think lake balls, balls from the woods and refurbished balls are great for beginners, high handicappers really shouldn't be playing with them if they want to get better at golf. People will tell you that the ball hardly matters but the truth is refurbished balls are just lake balls with a sand blasting on the outer cover to make them look really new.
You'll see them wet when advertised or on display because they makes them look even fresher. Yes, these balls were great when you started, but now it's time to level up and be a big boy bomber. New balls are in order, avoid the super cheap golf balls.
New golf balls
Two piece golf balls
Two piece balls are usually a core with a cover around it. It's a simple ball and usually aimed at the higher handicapper or beginner. The price is low and the materials are not designed for Tour level performance. The characteristics of a two piece ball are usually a harder feeling and a lot more roll on the fairways due to their low spin characteristics.
This is a good thing because Tour level balls will accentuate any problems you have. A fade turns into a slice and a draw turns into a hook because Tour balls generate so much more spin. You can use these balls until mid handicap easily.
A good two piece ball like a Srixon Soft Feel works perfectly.
Three or four or five piece golf balls
These balls have all sorts of layers in the core with a cover that is often urethane but not always. Urethane is a very soft material and most often found on premium balls to increase spin especially for faster swinging and more skilled players like pros. These balls spin a lot and while you might get similar carry to the harder balls, the rollout is WAY less.
When I play premium soft golf balls, sometimes my driver actually can go backwards by a foot or so after landing int the fairway!
The multi piece balls are normally much more expensive but that's because the quality of products is slightly higher. If your priority is spin or distance as well as spin then these balls are a good idea. Sometimes they come with surlyn covers to allow higher handicappers to play a multi-layer ball without breaking the bank and getting excess spin on his shots.
How to select the best golf ball for you
Once you know what your priority is on the golf course, it's easy to pick a ball. There are however, two ways to further filter the choices.
How much do you want to spend on a ball? You can pay anywhere between 75c and $4 for a golf ball. Always remember to multiply that by 3 for a sleeve and 12 for a box of a dozen. So for a sleeve you can pay between $2.50 and $12. For a dozen you can pay between $9 and $50! Pick your price point per ball and then select according to that.
Urethane covers are generally softer and give you more spin around the greens. The Polymer or ionomer/trionomer covers are made of Surlyn. Surlyn is a tough material and is difficult to scuff. Even bounces on cart paths hardly make a mark.
Urethane scuffs quite easily even from a hard wedge shot. Surlyn and urethane have very different characteristics on the course and usually lower priced balls with have surlyn covers while the more premium golf balls have urethane.
Using your new golf balls to maximum effect
As a high handicapper the game can really be simplified down to a few shots that need to be kept and some that need to be eliminated. Using the right ball is part of the journey but using the right equipment the right way is even more important.
In the guide I show you which 5 essential shots you need to practice and how to practice them. I show you how to play a strategy to get your high handicap down very quickly by thinking your way around the course. You'll create easier decisions for yourself and easier shots to hit into greens.
There you have it, all the best golf balls for high handicappers depending on your priorities. While Titleist is the name everyone associates with golf balls due to the Titleist Pro V1, the recent surge forward by Asian companies like Srixon, Volvik and Bridgestone means that there are plenty of other balls to play out there and get awesome results. Take your pick and play the ball that makes sense for your game! If you keep losing golf balls, try get them back with a retriever!