Ever been on the golf course and watched someone crush a cheap golf ball with a set of old rusty golf clubs?
I’ve been there and its pretty frustrating.
Moments like this make you wonder:
Are more expensive golf balls worth it?
Surely, the more you spend on a golf ball, the better it is, right? Well the short answer is yes, more expensive golf balls are worth it.
However, if you’re a high handicapper, you may not notice a big difference between a premium golf ball and a less expensive ball.
An above average golfer or a low handicapper will make the most of an expensive golf ball. Weekend warriors who care more about their beverage choice should find the best cheap golf ball to play with. This is because the average golfer won’t get a huge a benefit from using pricier balls.
The money saved from playing with a cheaper golf ball can be used for golf lessons, more forgiving golf irons or some investment that will make an actual difference.
This isn’t to say that a Pro V or Pro V1x isn’t a better golf ball. The materials, the design and the rigorous quality control standards all demonstrate that these golf balls cost more to make. The Titleist Pro V line and other premium ball options offer superior distance, a soft feel and increased greenside control…but here’s the catch: you have to be a decent golfer to actually put those attributes to work.
So let’s dig into the question in more detail. When you’re done reading, you can decide if spending the extra cash on golf balls is worth it for your game.
And if you make the decision to go big or go home, here’s our write-up on the Most Expensive Golf Balls on the market.
Expensive golf balls vs inexpensive golf balls
The quality of a golf ball is generally decided by two factors:
- The research and development behind the ball
- The actual materials and features included in the ball’s construction
It’s also worth noting that more expensive golf balls will usually last longer thanks to their overall quality and construction.
Premium multilayer golf balls that have a urethane cover tend to be superior. This is because they perform well from the tee to the fairway to the green. Dimple patterns are optimized for ball flight and ball speed without sacrificing performance and control in the short game.
This is why Tiger Woods and other famous PGA Tour players aren’t using a Kirkland golf ball on tournament day.
At the same time, you need to recognize that these guys and gals have an unlimited budget and high swing speed. They’re playing with the best golf ball for their swing speed. With sponsors in tow, they can afford to lose a few golf balls along the way without suffering any harm.
If you have a slow swing speed, you shouldn’t expect the same results as a PGA Tour pro. And if you’re on a budget, there’s no reason to continually throw $4 golf balls into the woods or the lakes.
It’s also worth nothing that some affordable two piece golf ball options actually offer great distance off the tee. Companies like Vice Golf and others offer the right golf ball for the right price.
Thanks to low spin and other design factors, some less expensive golf balls will actually give the average golfer straighter ball flight and better distance off the tee than a premium ball. There are some great low compression and softer golf ball options that don’t break the bank.
But back to the question of whether are more expensive golf balls worth it. The true advantage of using expensive multi-layer, urethane-covered golf balls is how they perform in all aspects of the game. These balls offer added control and more comfortable feel when playing shots nearer the green.
If you have a decent short game, then more expensive golf balls may be worth the extra cost. If your short game needs some improvement, you should probably stick to lower-priced golf balls until you lower your handicap.
Golf ball feel and durability
Some would argue that one of the most noticeable differences between cheaper and more expensive golf balls is their feel.
Some low-cost balls can feel like you’re hitting a rock, while more expensive golf balls often have superior feel on impact.
However, the gap between cheap and expensive ball feel is closing. The Srixon Soft Feel (and others) offer a soft golf ball that doesn’t cost a fortune.
If you’re committed to a great feeling premium golf ball, the Callaway Chrome Soft are hard to beat, but do some research first to see if any other options suit your game.
Durability is one area where cheaper golf balls may not hit the mark. Lower quality materials often result in a lower quality product. Every scuff and scratch on your ball cover will affect the ball flight and distance. Plan accordingly.
If you lose a ball every three holes, durability shouldn’t be your top concern. Go ahead and buy the best cheap golf ball you can find.
However, if you’re good enough to use the same ball for multiple rounds, you may benefit from one of the pricier options.
Golf ball distance and forgiveness
As I mentioned earlier, you’d assume that $1 golf balls would cover less distance than $4 golf balls. But this simply isn’t the case. Distance is determined by swing speed, golf club choice, launch angle and other factors. Some cheap golf balls perform quite well off the tee (see the Vice Drive stats).
If you’re a high handicapper, you want to find a golf ball that offers more forgiveness. Don’t focus on the price, just look for the most forgiving golf balls on the market. Those will actually help your game.
If you want to experience the biggest difference between cheaper and more expensive golf balls, then spin is the factor you need to consider. Higher-end balls generally offer more greenside spin and superior stopping power around the green.
Of course, many weekend golfers find it difficult to spin the ball in the first place. This is the very reason why expensive golf balls aren’t for everyone. Some golfers would benefit more from golf lessons than a fancy ball.
If you’re a player who can use ball spin to your advantage, then your golf ball choice matters. You will certainly notice a difference between cheap and expensive balls.
While the spin of the tee is somewhat similar with different-priced golf balls, the real game-changer is when you’re within a hundred yards.
Do expensive golf balls make a difference?
Yes, but as we noted earlier, high handicappers and golfers with slower swing speeds don’t need expensive golf balls. In fact, they should err on the cheaper side to focus on distance and forgiveness.
Low to mid handicappers are the group that benefits the most from the features of more expensive golf balls.
Got some thoughts of your own? Please share them in the comments below.