If you're a low handicapper or close to the low single digits, choosing the right golf ball for your game is essential. Why? Because when you’re shooting in the 70’s the game comes down to small margins and a quality golf ball can be the difference between a bogey or a par.
The best golf ball for low handicappers is always going to be the Pro V1 range but I like to try new balls all the time until I settle on the one I will use to give me consistent playability and reliability without doubt creeping into my mind. I've been a low handicapper for over 20 years and the golf ball is key to your commitment which is key to your score.
Real life experience vs launch monitor stats
I have played every single one of these balls in a variety of REAL WORLD settings. Yes, launch monitors are cool, but can they tell you how a ball will perform off a downhill lie, on a scorching hot day when you’ve consumed 3 strong coffees and a breakfast burrito?
A premium golf ball is a very fickle mistress. It either suits you or it doesn't and there's no shame in turning your nose up at some of my suggestions. But when you do find a golf ball you click with, play it all the time. I LOVE the Volvik S4 and use it as often as I can, almost exclusively since mid 2021.
It doesn't matter why you like the ball. It might go shorter but have better distance control on irons. It might go longer and that's what you want. It might bite more on the pitch shots and that's your priority. But pick ONE and stick with it for at least 10 rounds. Changing ball models all the time, even during a round is not going to get you to scratch handicap. It's not me telling you that, that's Pro Mo.
Best Golf Balls For Low Handicappers
- Volvik S4 (editors personal choice)
- TaylorMade TP5 & TP5x (Best for faster swing speeds)
- Titleist Pro V1 (Best for overall performance and spin)
- Bridgestone Tour B RXS (Best for max distance)
- Srixon Z Star XV (Best for stopping longer approach shots)
- Vice Pro Plus (best newcomer on the block)
- Wilson Staff DUO Professional (Budget option with premium features)
My personal ball of choice since August 2021
I've tried everything playa. I've played the Titleist Pro V1 - too expensive in Thailand. TaylorMade TP5X - doesn't suit me. Srixon Z Star XV - love them. Inesis Tour 900 - really good value.
BUT. Nothing performs the way the Volvik S4 has been performing for me. It's consistent in its distance with every club. It doesn't get cut up after a wedge shot. It flies LONG.
A lot of people will bring up Bubba Watson not playing well after switching to a Volvik golf ball. Am I Bubba Watson? Is my swing or my game anything like Bubba Watson. None of us can compare our game to a man on the PGA Tour and when I finally let go of that base level thinking, I just decided, Volvik S4 is for me.
Every aspect of this ball suits MY game. I may move on from it one day but for the foreseeable future, I will play the Volvik S4.
Fastest and longest TaylorMade balls ever
TaylorMade's roster boasts some of the biggest players and their TP5 line is now considered as an equal to the main tour balls.
These balls are full of technology. The main difference between the TP5 and TP5x is the cover. The TP5 has a soft cast urethane cover, while the TP5x has a firmer cast urethane cover. The firmer cover of the TP5x is designed to produce more speed, a higher trajectory and less spin - pretty much like a Pro V1x.
These are the only 5 piece balls on the market and you can feel the difference. The marketing material on the box mentions a “Speed layer system” and “High flex material.” In reality this translated into control and distance for me. The TP5 feels fractionally softer than the TP5x, but the distance and higher flight I achieved with the TP5x was noticeable.
My long irons were flying much higher and with my low dynamic loft, it helps a lot because that lower flight can hurt on the wrong course. On and around the greens the TP5 felt like a bar of soap and I was getting some grip action with wedge shots inside 100 yds. The TP5x performed equally well, to the point where I couldn’t notice much of a difference.
I found both balls to be durable, with little scuffing visible after 2 rounds.
I’m a fan of colorful balls and the eye-catching Pix variant, used by Ricky Fowler and Matt Wolff, really helps with chipping and putting. The pattern on the ball makes it look bigger at address which is a big bonus for chip shots. For puts, the Pix line up to your club face providing more confidence in your green reading.
The gold standard premium golf ball
There is nothing more to say. Okay, but I will say more.
This is the most popular ball on tour for a reason. Yes, they only cost about 6c a piece to make and sell for a lot of money, but at the end of the day, even the pro's who have to buy their golf balls will choose the Pro V1.
King of golf balls end of story. Consistent, long, spinny.
One of the best behind Pro V1
When Nike stopped making hard products, the golfing world wondered which ball Tiger would start using. There was a rumor that he had been using a rebadged Bridgestone for a while anyway, so when he moved to the American OEM, it was little surprise.
As a TaylorMade staffer, it was a major win for Bridgestone to have Tiger use their product instead of the Taylormade range.
The Tour B RXS is aimed at the better player, and specifically those who generate higher swing speeds. Those with driver swings of less than 105MPH won’t get the most out of this ball, BUT that doesn’t rule them out completely. Slower swing speeds can still take advantage of the premium golf balls.
Pro Mo, from my channel loves this ball. He will tell you this ball is LONG. I mean silly long. He can generate enough speed to take advantage of the Gradational Compression core, launching the ball in the air with high speed and low spin. The ball flew past some of the more traditional premium offerings.
Bridgestone balls have unique looking dimples, and the Dual Dimple pattern delivered on its promise of enhanced aerodynamics and increased distance. Where this ball excels however, is around the greens. Tiger is famous for demanding exact spin numbers and this ball was easy to control with the lofted clubs. The ‘Reactiv’ urethane cover feels good on the wedges and putter and I was able to get the ball to stop quickly out of bunkers.
This is a ball which is definitely worth checking out.
Excellent durability and Pro V1 like performance
Whenever I see the Srixon Z Star XV on promotion, I make sure to get a couple of dozen. The first time I tried them, they shocked me and in a good way. How could a lesser known manufacturer produce something so close to a Pro V1 for such a good price?
I’m now a Srixon convert and I’m happy to see them receive the recognition they deserve outside of Asia.
The cover of these balls is a bit harder than a Pro V1 but you hardly notice a difference between the balls. The biggest difference is that the Srixon looks more like surlyn rather than urethane even though it is urethane.The Z-Star XV sits down and rips back on the greens with the shorter clubs.
What I like about these balls is the durability of the cover. I ripped wedges on it all day and hardly noticed a scratch using only a single ball per round. Compared to the Pro V1 which just gets chewed up, I prefer something a little more durable like this Srixon.
If you’re a Pro V1 user who is looking for a cheaper alternative, definitely check these out. The yellow model is really good too!
Challenger brand at a highly competitive price point
The Vice Pro Plus sent shockwaves through the golf ball market when it was released. The challenger brand boasted that it was selling Pro V1 level balls, direct to consumers, for a fraction of the price.
By cutting out the middleman, Vice say that they are able to pass savings on to us hackers, which is always welcome. I have to admit, I’m not the kind of player to stock up on dozens of balls at once, so their volume discounts haven’t applied to me, but I know many players who do take advantage and the savings can be huge.
I like these balls. They are a 3 piece construction with a soft urethane cover. They have a relatively low compression point for a tour level ball and they do feel soft. For mid and short iron shots, they perform as well as any other ball.
The decals give the ball a premium feel, something which other challenger brands often struggle with. I also found the balls to be very consistent, which is something I was concerned about before trying them.
If you want some street cred, give this ball a go and see what all of the fuss is about.
Cheaper option which may surprise you
I’m a big fan of Wilson golf balls. They are cheap, no frills but consistent. JMac from the channel has played their two piece offerings for years and the DUO professional is his new ball of choice.
The DUO Professional replaced the popular DUO soft and is slightly firmer than that ball. With short irons, the Duo Professional surprisingly spins much more and on all shots provides a softer feeling. This is due to the increased compression rating.
It's hard to find a urethane ball at this price point and the major trade off is in the distance category. This ball won’t fly as far as some of the premium options which is a consideration.
When you handle the Duo Professional ball, you notice the texture of the cover and the 'bite test' lets you know that it’s not a cheap ball. Feel off the club face is smooth and off wedges feels soft.
The Duo Professional is a high-value golf ball for golfers who want that premium feel and spin at a relatable price point.
Understanding golf ball needs of a low handicapper
What will a premium golf ball do for my game?
Hey, I’ll play any ball. Whether it’s a piece of rock $0.60 distance ball or don’t-tell-my-wife $6 a pop Pro V1 I will still enjoy the game. BUT there are some major psychological and physical benefits to playing a premium ball.
Launch monitor distance numbers between a mid level and premium ball might be small.
But when you’re on the edge of breaking 80 or looking to get to scratch, it's not how far the ball goes only. It's how far it goes regularly. You want CONSISTENCY. You want that wedge to go 138-141 every time. you don't want one to go 130 and the next 145. It is a nice brag to tell someone you hit a 148 yard pitching wedge but when it lands in the short-side bunker over the pin, you take a bogey. We want the pars.
The premium golf balls, and the one that suits you, will give you this confidence and remove doubt about the ball on your shots. You can focus on your game and forget the ball. This cannot be overstated enough! Playing the right ball for a low handicapper is more about peace of mind that the ball is performing. Any and all doubt should be eliminated at this skill level to focus purely on the shot.
The course is always trying to take spin away from you, and better players are able to use spin to their advantage.
A premium ball like a Titleist Pro V1 or a Taylormade TP5 will provide more spin due to the quality of the outer layer. The urethane offers much more grip and spin on the greens than a 2-piece ball. Hitting to raised greens or firm greens needs a ton of spin, otherwise you need to calculate in the bounce and roll out of the hard ball.
On pitch shots and chip shots, the spin control of the premium ball is consistent to give you the confidence to KNOW what will happen with the shot you hit. When you use balls that are not designed for the feel and spin of a partial wedge shot, you're handicapping yourself further. The consistency of a premium ball means you know that if you land at 50 yards, it will usually stop by 54 yards.
This is both a psychological and physical benefit to a premium ball.
When you're standing over a shot of any kind and you can visualize or imagine how the ball will react off the face to the tiniest detail, it inspires confidence.
The feedback from a top quality ball helps you to understand where the ball is coming off the face, and with practice you will learn how to interpret that feedback and translate it into lower scores. On the putting green and in the scoring zone, the feel of the golf ball is the number one factor when choosing a new golf ball. The more feedback you get the better your putting and chipping will be.
The better your short game, the lower your scores in this scoring-range!
When not to use premium golf balls
If you're an aspiring low handicapper or someone trying to become a scratch golfer, use premium balls only when you can accept that you will lose one or two per round.
If you cannot accept losing golf balls, and the thought of losing an expensive golf ball makes you paralyzed with fear, do not play these balls. Stick to balls that you are comfortable losing. The psychological aspect of not wanting to hit a golf ball in the water, means you will hit crap shots. I've seen it with many low handicap golfers on a bad day.
The day starts off exciting with a new ball like a Chrome Soft Truvis and they're enjoying the expensive funky looking ball they got in the pro shop. Then they lose one on hole 3. Then another on hole 5. Suddenly, the guy is talking about losing $4 each time the ball goes into the bushes. Eventually he's $24 lighter because he lost 6 balls and has destroyed his round. All from fear of losing another premium golf ball.
If you're happy and you rarely lose golf balls, or don't care if you lose some to the woods and water, go ahead- this is a subjective game.
Whether you want to play premium golf balls, is entirely your choice. Your game is good enough to benefit from them, but also, you can adapt your style of play to still play low handicap golf without the fancy ball.
BUT, and it's a big but...Use the same ball on every round. You want to use the same ball throughout the round, not switching between different manufacturer and model. You want to get a feel for your consistent distances and spin conditions. You want to know you can trust your ball.
If you go with an expensive model, be prepared to lose some. If you feel despair about losing a ball, you cannot play it. If you are happy and relaxed, you hit good shots, so make your choice based on your needs, your acceptance rate of losing a few and your happiness level playing the round with them.