Some golfers are afraid to ask: Should I use yellow golf balls? Even though this is a legitimate question, the ridicule from their golf buddies would be too much to bear.
Well, thanks to the somewhat anonymous internet, no potentially embarrassing golf question is off limits. So back to the question…
Should I Use Yellow Golf Balls?
Yellow golf balls aren’t for everyone, but there are three good reasons why you might want to make the switch.
- If your vision isn’t as good as it used to be, try a yellow golf ball.
- If you aren’t striking the ball as well as you’d like, try a yellow golf ball.
- If you want to stand out from the crowd (literally and figuratively), try a yellow golf ball.
A Brief History of the Coloured Golf Ball
If you’ve played golf for any period of time or tuned in to a PGA Tour event, you know that the white golf ball is a staple on the course. Because the white ball is so common, some golfers believe that tradition should override all other logic. For these sticklers, playing with coloured balls is a sure-fire sign that you’re an amateur.
I could deal with all the reasons why that’s a dumb take, but my fingers don’t have the energy to do all that typing.
Colored golf balls have waxed and waned in their popularity.
Back in the early 80s, Wayne Levi became the first professional golfer to win a PGA Tour event with an orange golf ball. That same year, Jerry Pate won the Players Championship with an orange golf ball. As you could imagine, sales of the orange golf ball skyrocketed for a time.
The popularity of the orange ball faded in the following years. Orange isn’t the easiest color to spot in golf course leaves and in the colored ball category, I wouldn’t call it a high visibility golf ball.
So fast forward to the 90s and early 2000s. During this time from, different colored golf balls carried the stigma of being a second rate option. This is partially because major manufacturers didn’t offer a variety of colored options. There’s no point in creating a supply if there’s no real demand.
However, the tide has started to shift, and for good reasons. The yellow ball has been growing in popularity and some pro golfers, including Bubba Watson, have already made the switch.
Here’s the case for experimenting with different colored golf balls. If you’re ready to buy now, I drop a few purchasing options at the end of the article.
Reason #1 – The Visibility Factor
If you’re considering a move from a white golf ball to a yellow golf ball, visibility is the first and most obvious reason to do so.
When it comes to daytime color vision, a color that falls somewhere between green and yellow is literally most visible to the human eye. One might assume that a white ball is the most visible, but in assuming, they would be wrong.
If your vision isn’t as good as it used to be, make the switch. There’s real science behind the benefits of a yellow golf ball, and if you talk to golfers who’ve made the switch, you’ll hear comments like:
- “I just wish that I changed balls sooner.”
- “I’ll never go back to playing with a white ball.”
Srixon Golf and Bridgestone Golf were two early companies to offer the yellow ball, but now virtually all of the major brands including Callaway Golf and Titleist have jumped on board. You can even find yellow options in most golf club pro shops.
In 2020, Titleist began offering the famed Titleist Pro V1 in high-optic yellow. Pro golfers like Bubba Watson immediately made the switch.
Some Benefits of Greater Visibility
- In theory, seeing the ball better will help you make better contact
- Its easier to track your ball flight and avoid stroke penalties from a lost ball
- Its easier to differentiate your ball from all the white balls in your group
Reason #2 – The Savings
Golf balls aren’t cheap, especially balls that are made from high-quality materials.
It’s important to remember that professional golfers have sponsors. Most of their equipment is free, and if they win or finish well, they make good money. They can afford to lose or retire golf balls.
Casual golfers like you and me don’t have those same luxuries. We don’t usually have caddies or spotters who monitor the ball flight on our behalf. That means we tend to lose golf balls more often than a pro does.
In theory, playing with a high visibility golf ball will actually save you money in the long run. If you launch a ball into a water hazard, there isn’t much you can do about that, but the yellow ball color should reduce the number of balls lost in the rough or even on the edges of the fairway.
Reason #3 – Style Points
The yellow golf balls of the past were pretty ugly. In fact, I can still picture a faded yellow range ball in my mind or a bag of old yellow recycled golf balls at a yard sale.
I’ll pass on those options every day of the week.
But the colored golf ball options of today are pretty impressive. Golfers can choose from a smooth or matte finish, and no color is off limits. I’ve seen a pink ball, red ball and blue ball all come from the same golfer’s bag. The blue was my favorite by the way, but not very visible on the golf course.
Sure, these color options are partially a marketing gimmick (Volvik has played the card quite well), but let’s not forgot, the improved visibility of the ball is a real thing.
Colored golf balls allow for more visibility and they also inject a bit of personality into your game.
White balls will probably retain the long term title for golf ball dominance, but the colored and matte golf balls are here to stay.
Pay Attention to the Materials
So should you play with a yellow golf ball? It’s worth a shot. But before you go out and buy a few dozen unbranded golf balls, make sure that you’re buying a ball made from high-quality materials.
Appearance DOES NOT matter more than performance. Find a ball that goes well with your swing speed and is produced by a manufacturer will a solid reputation.
A cheap cover and poor quality paint isn’t worth the $5 that you might save up front. Find a ball that will go the distance.
Yellow Golf Ball Recommendations
Here are a few great buying options to choose from.
Please note: We may earn a commission if you click on one of the links below and make a purchase. This helps support our website so we can continue to produce quality content.
Yellow golf balls aren’t for everyone, but one could make the case that most golfers would benefit from having a yellow ball in their rotation.
If you’re on the fence, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I have a tough time tracking the ball in the air?
- Do I lose balls that I know are in play?
- Could a different color ball help me make better contact?
- Do I want to add some flair to my game?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, give a yellow golf ball a try. Play a few rounds on a course that you know pretty well and see if you can identify any improvements.