Illegal golf balls are a controversial thing in golf for obvious reasons. Playing with them in a competition is cheating but what about using them for a casual round on your own or with friends? We know that golf is a hard game, so why not get a little bit of extra help from non conforming golf balls to boost distance and improve accuracy?
I'm a golf ball nerd, and I've played all of the balls in this list so you can be sure that the feedback I'm giving you is genuine. There are a lot of wild claims made by the manufacturers of illegal golf balls and many are total BS. Let me guide you in your choices and make sure you're getting the most from your money.
Best Illegal Golf Balls 2023
- Polara Self Correcting 2-Piece Golf Balls (editor's choice)
- MG Golf balls (best for seniors and golfers with slower swing speeds)
- Kaede Fly Distance Golf Balls (most unusual illegal golf balls)
- Bandit Maximum Distance Golf Balls (best of both worlds illegal golf balls)
These golf balls really do work - long and straight!
Ok, these illegal golf balls are the real deal. I picked up a dozen to play with some non conforming clubs as an experiment and I was just blown away. I literally couldn't hit a shot with ANY shape, they just went arrow straight and at least 10-15 yards further than my normal golf balls. If you struggle with a big hooks and slices off the tee, this is definitely the golf ball for you.
The secret of this illegal golf ball is that you have the line the seam up with the target. You can do this on every shot to give you a perfect ball flight, but it will be illegal in tournament play. Polara claim that they reduce unwanted shot shapes by 75% and that its definitely what I saw on the golf course.
The dual core 2 piece construction feels along the lines of a Srixon Soft feel and I was impressed with the greenside spin and control. Off the the putter they felt firm but not unpleasant.
Perfect illegal golf balls for senior golfers
These illegal golf balls from MG were specifically designed to increase distance for senior golfers who have had a drop in swing speed as time catches up with them. Balls designed for seniors will also help beginner golfers who struggle with their strike or players who have naturally slower swings so if you fall into any of those camps, these could be a great option for you.
What makes these balls illegal is that their initial rebound velocity off the face of the golf club is not conforming to USGA standards. This is the only ball sold by MG which isn't legal, so make sure you're buying the ball you want - whatever that may be!
If you hit the ball under 250 yards (which is most people to be honest) these balls will give you up to 20 yards more distance - or so the marketing materials on the box say. I swing the club too fast for these balls, but my friend Fred has a respectable 90mph driver swing speed and found that these balls went like sh*t off a shovel! He wasn't getting 20 yards more, but he was seeing at least 10 extra yards on drives and found that the ball felt extremely hot off the face.
On finesse shots greenside the ball does OK - it has a decent surlyn cover but it's not going to rip like a Pro V1. Off the putter it feels hard, but we have to remember its a distance ball.
Weird looking golfs balls but they go long
I've included these strange looking illegal golf balls in this article because they are something completely different. I've never seen anything like this on the market and I had to see if they were a gimmick.
The unique dimple pattern on these Kaede fly golf balls is meant to reduce drag by 19% over standard golf balls, which is said to lead to big increases in carry distance. I teed these up on a normal round in Thailand where carry distance means everything due to the soft fairways. I have to say, I didn't notice any real difference in how far the ball flew, but I did find that they had a much lower ball flight that normal.
This lower ball flight could be good or bad for you depending on how you normally hit the ball. I did find that they weren't very durable and the strange dimple pattern scuffed up really easily, especially when playing out of the bunker.
There are much better golf balls on this list if I'm completely honest!
Best of both worlds - flight correcting and long
The box says that these are the worlds longest (illegal) golf balls. Now, I can't verify this claim, but I'm going to keep this review nice and short. They are very, very long. They aren't the complete package like the more expensive Polara golf balls, but damn, for the price you really can't go wrong with these.
You playing partners will not know what has happened to your game when you start bombing perfectly straight drives down even the narrowest of holes!
A history of illegal golf balls
First and foremost; what is an illegal golf ball anyway? Most golf balls are made with strict adherence to PGA rules and standards. For official tournament play, the PGA does their best to make the playing field as equal as possible.
This means no gear whatsoever that can give a player an unfair advantage. And illegal balls are just that – an unfair advantage. Of course, it's only unfair if you are competing in an official amateur or professional tournament.
Outside of these official settings, “unfair” translates to a lot of fun. The reason these kinds of balls are typically banned is that they are manufactured to give you more distance. Some balls also help correct hooks and slices on their own.
In fact, some illegal balls can add as much as 15 yards to your shots. Of course, there are a couple of hitches with illegal balls. While they are a blast for casual play, they won't do anything to improve your game. In fact, if you use them too often, they could actually hinder your game.
Secondly, the added distance and slice correction usually coincides with a lack of playability on the green. Most people use them for distance and to get straighter shots in the long game. So if you are in fact in the market for a ball of this nature, take a look at our list.
Final thoughts on best illegal golf balls
If golf is about having fun for you, and you aren't going to be playing in a load of official tournaments then using an illegal golf ball isn't going to do anything bad for you. Tee any of the balls in this list up and you're going to be the envy of your playing partners. It might also improve your game and you just learn to trust your golf swing and not try and steer the ball.