Which golf balls for beginners are best?
Golf is more mentally challenging than chess and requires years of practice to perform well. However, the satisfaction of hitting a good shot or making a birdie on a challenging par 4 makes the effort worthwhile. As a beginner, choosing the right golf ball for your golf swing and style of play can help you lower your handicap and reach your goals.
If you are looking for the best all-around golf ball, the Titleist Tour Soft Golf Ball is the top choice.
What to know before you buy golf balls
Golfers are always looking for ways to improve their game (other than lots of practice), and it usually means spending money buying the best clubs, shoes, gloves and even golf clothes available.
Although beginner golfers share the same goal, they do not need to spend $50 on premium balls, like the Titleist Pro V1, to get good performance. Most beginners lack the swing speed and spin control to maximize distance and accuracy like pros do with high-end balls.
Conversely, the cheapest balls usually offer poor performance and are not appropriate for beginners either. An ideal ball for a beginner provides the best combination of distance, feel and durability at a reasonable price.
Golf ball construction
Most golf balls are made with a rubber core of varying compression ratings. A few have a liquid center. The best core compression for a golfer depends upon the clubhead speed generated by a driver. A golfer with a relatively slow 70 miles per hour h speed should use a ball rated with a 70 compression, and a golfer with a fast clubhead speed of 100 will get the best performance from a 100-compression ball.
Over the core, the golf ball is typically covered with layers made of plastic, a thermoplastic resin called Surlyn or urethane. The number of layers or pieces varies from one to five.
One-piece golf balls are rarely used anymore. Made of Surlyn, they are incredibly durable and generate very low spin, but have a heavy, clunky feel. Beginners should avoid using them.
A good choice for beginners and high-handicap golfers, the two-piece ball is made with a large core and a single cover. The design promotes distance while helping to reduce spin that results in hooks and slices off the tee.
Two-piece ball covers are typically thick, making them durable and long-lasting. The feature is essential to beginner golfers who often hit their balls against hard surfaces like trees, cart paths and the occasional roof. The Srixon Q-Star Tour 3 Golf Ball is an example of a premium two-piece ball.
The three-piece ball is designed for more experienced golfers with a good compromise between distance and feel. The additional layer versus the two-piece ball provides a softer feel and produces more spin. Lower handicappers can take advantage of the higher spin rates and a lighter touch.
Manufacturers of four-piece balls claim “spin separation” occurs in a four-piece ball only when the player reaches a sufficiently fast swing speed. Shots with the driver spin less, for more distance, while the short irons produce more spin giving low-handicap players the best of both worlds of performance.
The engineering that goes into making the five-piece ball is similar to that of the four-piece. The extra layers produce more spin separation, and the design maximizes compression to achieve longer distances.
For more information, look at the Best Golf Balls guide from BestReviews.
What to look for in a quality golf ball
Golf balls fall into four general categories based on their construction and performance features. Beginner golfers and lower handicap players can find the right ball type by selecting a category with characteristics suitable for their game.
The core of a golf ball is the engine that makes it fly. Distance golf balls typically have a larger core to help support maximum carry while reducing the spin that exaggerates slices and hooks. A thin cover also helps boost yardage by activating the core faster off the clubface resulting in maximum speed.
Balls with good spin control cut down on excessive side spin that causes slices and hooks for beginner golfers. The Callaway 2021 Supersoft golf ball is an example of a spin control ball.
Low compression produces a soft feel in a golf ball, and it allows more deformation at impact, which reduces spin and results in a straighter, longer ball flight on longer irons. The prolonged contact on the clubface of short irons and lofted clubs can result in a softer feel and better feedback, which helps improve your game.
Multi-layered golf balls are designed for professionals and experienced, mid or low handicappers. Most beginner golfers cannot sense the difference between these premium golf balls and high-quality two-piece balls except in their pocketbooks.
How much you can expect to spend on golf balls
Golf balls range anywhere from $15-$50 per dozen, depending on the brand and type.
Golf Ball FAQ
How big is a golf ball?
A. The USGA Rules of Golf require golf balls to be no smaller than 1.680 inches (42.67 mm). Smaller golf balls typically fly a longer distance than a larger one of equal weight.
Do heavier golf balls fly further than lighter ones?
A. Heavier balls have less wind resistance which can result in a longer distance.
Which ball is the most popular among professional golfers?
A. Titleist is the most widely played ball on the PGA Tour. About 69% of all tour players use a Titleist golf ball.
What’s the best golf ball for a beginner to buy?
Top golf ball
What you need to know: Made by one of the most reputable brands in golf, the Titleist Tour Soft golf ball is aimed at the beginner golfer with a soft feel and premium quality.
What you’ll love: The Tour Soft golf ball is made with the largest core Titleist has ever produced, making it fast and long off the tee. The ball is fitted with the very thin, high-performance 4CE grafted cover, which increases short game spin and responsive feel around the green.
What you should consider: Titleist balls are expensive, and other options are available at a lower price for golfers that produce a high clubhead speed.
Top golf ball for the money
What you need to know: An innovative new core and cover design makes it easy to hit, enhances distance and helps it perform better at a lower price.
What you’ll love: The Taylormade is ideal for the beginner with a high swing speed. The two-layer low-drag aerodynamic design with a 77 compression produces minimal spinning for increasing accuracy and maximizes ball speed for extra distance.
What you should consider: The Distance Plus Golf Balls perform best for golfers with a high swing speed. Golfers with slower speeds can find other options.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: The Pinnacle Soft is engineered with a low compression, high energy core that offers a soft feel with maximum distance at a great price.
What you’ll love: The exceptionally soft ionomer cover with an enhanced 332 icosahedral dimple design provides an optimal and consistent ball flight. Pinnacle offers the Soft balls with 15 balls per box at the same price other brands offer a box of 12 balls.
What you should consider: The optional, pink-colored balls are not as visible as intended. Some golfers claim they are difficult to find in the rough and sometimes even on the fairway.
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Jeff Harper writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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