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Best Golf Balls of 2018 – Complete Reviews With Comparisons

Best Golf Balls of 2018 - Complete Reviews With Comparisons
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Finding the best golf balls may seem a lot easier than it actually is, especially if you have yet to understand the role of each component.

In reality, golf balls are perhaps equally or more complex and important than golf clubs; they can make or break your performance.

The differences between amateur- and tournament-grade golf balls are easy to spot once you know what to look for.

This article contains all the information you need to know in order to make smart choices when it comes to golf balls. You might as well make sure that your purchase will complement and improve your game.

Comparison Chart

Callaway 2017 Supersoft Golf Balls (One Dozen)

Wilson. Smart Core Golf Ball – Pack of 24 (White)

Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls, White (One Dozen)

Bridgestone 2017 E6 Soft Golf Balls (One Dozen)

Volvik Vivid Golf Balls, Prior Generation (One Dozen)

Best Golf Balls Reviews

1. Callaway SuperSoft Golf Balls

If you need any validation that Callaway makes excellent golf balls, just ask five-time majors winner Phil Mickelson what he thinks. Callaway golf balls have a rich history, but that doesn’t mean that the manufacturer missed a chance to embrace the newest engineering developments.

Product Highlights

The Callaway SuperSoft golf balls have a tri-ionomer cover which gives them a very soft feel, very close to that of tournament-quality balls. Hex dimples are used to improve the aerodynamics. They also feature finer contours which should excel at reducing drag.

The carry is impressive and you should have no problem getting 250+ yards on your drives if you swing at over 100 mph. The new core design also helps you send the ball on a straighter flight trajectory.

The ground control isn’t amazing given that the balls are a two-piece construction. However, if your main concerns are hook or slice shots, the SuperSoft balls can help you improve your handicap.

What's to like about the Callaway SuperSoft Golf Balls

The SuperSoft balls are quite affordable and durable so they should last you for quite a long time. Although they’re mostly made for amateur golfers, specifically mid- to high-handicap golfers, if you want to play more often, they’re some of the best golf balls that can take such punishment.

What's not to like about the Callaway SuperSoft Golf Balls

The ground control is not as good as it could be in this price range. If you also need some extra help on chips or putts, you will need at least a three-piece design.

PROS

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    Affordable
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    Multiple color choices
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    Durable
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    Extra carry potential

CONS

  • Just a two-piece build
  • Little ground spin control

2. Wilson Smart Core Golf Ball

Wilson Smart Core

Wilson is one of the most recognizable sports brands in the world. The company manufactures a whole range of golf balls from budget to premium quality. However, where they excel in is creating affordable choices for amateur golfers that spend a lot of time working on their game.

Product Highlights

The durability of the Wilson Smart Core is very impressive especially considering the budget-friendly price tag. The ionomer cover gives a pretty soft feel though not close to the pro-quality of Surlyn®.

The core features a patented Wilson formula called the smart-core. This creates a very low compression ball and a core that reacts to the golfer’s swing speed in order to allow maximum distance by minimizing the spin. It also allows the ball to maintain a straighter trajectory mid-flight.

Considering that the Wilson Smart Core does such a good job of improving accuracy on long shots, it makes sense that a compromise was made to maintain the low price point. The short shots require very good technique if you want to have good spin and stop control, otherwise the ball’s performance is just average.

What's to like about the Wilson Smart Core Golf Ball

Players who need a serious boost to distance and spend a lot of time on the course or the range should find great value in the Wilson Smart Core soft golf balls.

What's not to like about the Wilson Smart Core Golf Ball

Players who need a serious boost to distance and spend a lot of time on the course or the range should find great value in the Wilson Smart Core soft golf balls.

PROS

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    Good value for money
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    Durable cover
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    Promotes straight flight trajectories

CONS

  • Average ground control
  • The feel is too soft for some golfers

3. Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls

Titleist almost single-handedly revolutionized the golf balls industry when it introduced the Pro V1 to the market. The balls quickly became a favorite not just among amateur golfers with low handicaps but also among pro players.

Product Highlights

The Pro V1 is believed to offer the best distance because of its consistent flight capabilities. The superior aerodynamics is evident if you closely watch how many pro golfers have improved their drives over the past years after making the Pro V1 part of their arsenal.

But the penetrating trajectory is just one of the many advantages of the Pro V1. The construction of the balls also allows for a very consistent drop-and-stop game, especially when used by a low-handicap player with a clean short game technique.

The feel is perhaps the softest which is why many consider these the best golf balls for tournament play. Add to that the medium flight trajectory, less spin on the iron and high spin on the ground, and it’s no wonder why the Pro V1 golf balls are best sellers.

What's to like about the Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls

The overall performance is the main highlight for the Titleist Pro V1 golf balls. Most professional golfers use them in all the important tournaments around the world, which should speak volumes to their worth.

What's not to like about the Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls

Not all golfers can adapt to a low or medium flight path which is why the Pro V1 is not for everyone.

PROS

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    Pro favorite
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    Low spin on long shots
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    High spin on the ground

CONS

  • The ultra-soft feel is hard to adjust to
  • Not for medium to high handicap golfers

4. Bridgestone E6 Soft Golf Balls

There are two models of the Bridgestone E6 golf balls. One is made for speed and the other is made for ultimate control. The latter is known as the E6 Soft and is the most popular choice among skilled amateurs and even some semi-pro and pro players.

Product Highlights

As the name suggests, these balls have the softest feel in the Bridgestone E6 series. They are similar to tournament-quality balls and a good choice if you want as little feedback as possible when striking the ball.

The short game performance is surprisingly good. The balls don’t take more than two hops before stopping.

Although the ball design seems to favor ground control, Bridgestone has a history of emphasizing long distance performance. Therefore, the E6 Soft golf balls still give you quite a carry and plenty of correction when using your driver. The flight trajectory is straight and this is easily achieved even by players with slower swing speeds

What's to like about the Bridgestone E6 Soft Golf Balls

The performance in the short game is what impresses the most. Compared to pricier pro golf balls, the E6 Soft has only about 10% spin gap. Low- to mid-handicap players should have a good time using these balls.

What's not to like about the Bridgestone E6 Soft Golf Balls

There’s a significant difference in achievable distance between the E6 Soft and the E6 Speed. Players that need more help with long shots may need to sacrifice ground control for a boost in yardage.

PROS

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    Superior ground control
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    Straight flight
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    Good carry

CONS

  • More helpful to slow swingers

5. Volvik Vivid Golf Balls

Volvik is not the most popular or recognizable brand in the golf balls industry. However, the Korean manufacturer delivers consistent-performing golf balls that are slowly catching the attention of amateur and semi-pro golfers around the world.

Product Highlights

The Vivid golf balls feature a three-piece design. The ionomer cover is very durable which makes the balls a good choice for players that golf on a regular basis. Because of the extra inner layer, the Vivid balls also offer good stop and spin control for their price range.

The balls seem to favor slow- to medium-speed swingers due to how the core reacts to the moment of impact. While the balls don’t explode with high velocity, they offer very little spin in the air so you’re still able to achieve good distances based on lift alone.

What’s even more interesting is the matte finish. The Vivid golf balls are designed to offer maximum visibility with their bold-colored covers and finely polished dimples.

What's to like about the Volvik Vivid Golf Balls

The main highlight is probably the superior visibility. The bright colors, especially the yellow and bright green, make the balls easy to track in the air and on the green, as well as easy to spot on cluttered ground.

What's not to like about the Volvik Vivid Golf Balls

The fact that the Volvik Vivid doesn’t handle fast swing speeds too well says a lot.

PROS

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    Multiple color choices
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    Easy to track
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    Good ground control
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    Above average carry

CONS

  • A bit pricey with respect to performance
  • Core doesn’t favor fast swing speeds

BUYER'S GUIDE

Construction

The way a golf ball is built these days is a lot more complex than most people credit golf balls. Although there are three main types of golf balls in use, there are actually five types of golf balls on the market, each with its own pros and cons.

One-piece

Golf balls don’t get more basic than the one-piece design. These are cheap and very durable. The Surlyn® cover makes them a suitable choice for golf ranges all over the world. They make financial sense from an equipment standpoint and they’re also quite forgiving on beginners as opposed to golf balls that have higher compression.

Two-piece

Two-piece golf balls tend to come with a solid core that is encased in a resin or acrylate which allows them to get a lot more distance. These balls vary in durability depending on the cover. It’s just as common to see a urethane or Surlyn® cover.

On paper, a two-piece golf ball may give you the most distance but there’s a good reason behind them not being favored for pro tournaments. The control is not impressive and this is most evident when a skilled golfer is on the tee.

Three-piece

Three-piece golf balls vary a lot also. The core could be made of solid rubber or it could also be liquid. An enhanced rubber layer is used around the core and a molded cover of either Surlyn® or urethane. But what makes them truly unique?

Three-piece designs allow for softer golf balls. This is what players need in order to exercise more control over the ball’s flight path. A three-piece design also allows more spin. The general rule of golf ball design is that the more layers a ball has, the more evident the spin-separation. This is also what makes the three-piece balls better for drivers instead of irons.

Four-piece

Four-piece golf balls are designed for maximum distance when swinging a driver. The core is almost always solid rubber, which is what gives the explosiveness required for extra range. The inner cover, or second layer, ensures optimum energy transfer from the force of the strike to the core.

The middle cover is what increases the driver distance by producing more mid-iron spin. The final layer, the cover, is usually urethane which doesn’t make them very durable but soft and easy to control. For all intents and purposes, this design is associated with the best golf balls in pro pla

Five-piece

There aren’t that many five-piece golf balls on the market yet. This design is rather new, even though it was introduced in 2009. This is not because the extra layer adds too much spin or because it’s too expensive, it’s just that not too many manufacturers have gotten around to making them.

Compared to a four-piece golf ball, the five-piece design features yet another performance-enhancing rubber layer, dedicated to giving more spin separation. As far as distance is concerned, nothing flies further than a five-piece golf ball. But, a very particular technique and swing speed is needed to get the most performance out of one.

Spin

When referring to the spin of a golf ball, there are three types you should be aware of.

Low spin

If you want to decrease the side spin of your shots and force the ball to fly on a relatively straight path, what you want is a low-spin golf ball. They’re mostly used by slicers and players who can’t get enough distance on the ground. Keep in mind that low-spin also results in a shorter fly path.

Mid spin

Mid-spin balls offer a decent balance between low and high spin, which is why they’re perhaps the most popular among the general population. They offer enough distance while also giving some decent control.

High spin

If you want a long-carrying ball then you need a high-spin model. Another great feature about them is the extra control in and around the green. High-spin golf balls are also generally recommended for golfers who tend to hit with a draw.

Cover

The cover is very important as it can make or break a golf ball and your budget. Most balls today use polymer or polyurethane cover. Depending on what you want or need, both present some advantages. Surlyn® is known as the most durable cover since the 1960s. Although it’s an ionomer cover, usually just the DuPont-manufactured ionomer referred to as Surlyn®.

Urethane on the other hand, is the go-to choice for tournament play as it provides superior control and the softest feel.

It’s also important to understand that the cover is not the same as paint, coating, or dimple design. Although golf balls may not look the same from one manufacturer to another, all covers used are either polyurethane or another polymer, and you can differentiate between them by the feel on the shots rather than by feeling the dimple pattern.

Price

Shopping for sports equipment is often a tricky business. There’s so much variation in pricing that it’s hard to make the best purchase on your first try, regardless of what you want to buy. What’s even worse is that even top manufacturers have started making cheap or entry-level equipment to boost sales.

Ordinarily this should make golf balls one of the hardest items to shop for. Just think of all the features that you have to look for in order to match the best golf ball to your game or your clubs. However, when it comes to golf balls, expensive ones are generally better.

The only time you shouldn’t look at the price tag is if you’re just buying practice golf balls. These just need the proper durable cover and you’re good to go. Even if you’re just a casual golfer and you tend to use two-piece or three-piece models, you should still want to pay a bit extra for something that’ll last.

Pricier golf balls tend to have significantly higher durability. While it’s not always the case, pricier balls also tend to have more dimples which will give them more lift.

Color

Golf balls aren’t always painted in the traditional white. Driving ranges often use bright yellow balls because the color makes them easier to track against the green. It’s estimated that a yellow golf ball offers about three times better visibility than a white golf ball for distances up to 250 yards.

Golf balls come in a wide range of colors and design patterns but that doesn’t mean that all of them are better than the traditional white. Yellow balls seem to offer the most balanced visibility on the green and in the air.

Is there another reason to select a different set of golf balls based on color alone? Not really. Unless you’re really worried about losing sight of your ball because of certain weather conditions, any color will do if you play on a regular course.

Golf Balls FAQ

How to choose golf balls

One important aspect of choosing golf balls in recent years has been understanding the need for top performance on the green. If in the past compression was more important, but these days, golf ball manufacturers are slowly easing it out of the equation by making low-compression cores which offer the same speed as firm core balls even for the fastest of swingers.

Fitting the golf balls to your scoring clubs is also a good idea for both beginners and skilled golfers. It’s a lot easier to fit the ball to the irons, wedges, and putters and then adjusting the longer clubs than chasing the longest tee performance from the start. Of course, paying a little extra for golf balls also doesn’t hurt if you’re serious about improving your game.

Why do golf balls have dimples?

The dimples on golf balls account for around half of the ball’s lift. Golf balls rely on aerodynamics, just as airplanes, to sustain their flight. The backspin effect creates lift just as it would on an airplane’s wing. The spin allows the air pressure to be higher on the bottom on the ball than on the top which is what gives the balls an upward force.

The dimples are designed to optimize the effect of the spin and thus the performance of the ball in midair. Compared to smooth golf balls, dimpled balls can allow a pro golfer to double his range on swings.

What are golf balls made of?

Throughout history there have been plenty of different materials used, but today’s golf balls mostly stick to plastic, rubber, and a special polymer called polybutadiene on the interior. The polymer is also reinforced with zinc to prevent the ball from feeling too soft and to give it more bounce.

What are practice golf balls?

Practice golf balls, often referred to as range balls or driving range balls, are significantly different than what golfers use on an actual course. First of all, they don’t have nearly enough lift or drive as regular golf balls.

Secondly, the materials, as well as the construction, often differ. Range balls are built for durability and not distance. They often feature a 2-piece construction with a solid core and a hard cover. They offer superior resistance against cutting and scuffing but this also means that they limit the flight.

Another way to distinguish practice golf balls from regular balls is by actually looking at the design. These balls aren’t always white as tournament balls and they may feature the words ‘practice’ or ‘range’ painted on them. Some balls may even have a marking on the circumference to help beginners with their hand-to-eye coordination development.

Are all golf balls the same?

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FINAL VERDICT

While Titleist’s claim that the Pro V1 is the best golf balls seems a bit brazen, there’s no denying that it is the most popular choice even among pro players. An estimated one-third of professional golfers use the Pro V1 golf balls and swear by them, and that should give you something to think about.

Sure, the feel of a ball is clearly a matter of pure personal preference. But, both on paper and based on results, Pro V1 high-performance tournament-quality golf balls are also surprisingly affordable. If your technique is solid, with these balls you can achieve very long distances off the tee with a consistent flight pattern and excel at drop-and-stop shots.

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