If you don’t know much about golf balls, you’re overwhelmed by the different versions available. Although simple and featuring the same size and weight, different golf balls are ideal for different situations and players.

To improve your game, take time to learn how to choose the best golf ball.

How to choose a golf ball

To pick the right golf ball, you need to know yourself on several fronts:

an image showing you how to choose the best golf ball

Skill level

Your skill level is a big determinant of the type of golf ball you should pick. Beginner and high-handicap players benefit from using balls that emphasize on distance and forgiveness, while experienced golfers prefer balls offering more control and spin.

Beginner or high-handicap Golfers: Amateur golfers generally have slower swing speeds and may struggle with control and accuracy. For them, it’s essential to choose a golf ball that offers:

    • Maximum distance: A low-compression ball helps generate more carry distance by providing better energy transfer, especially at slower swing speeds.
    • Forgiveness: A ball with low spin can minimize the effects of mishits, resulting in less hooking or slicing and more consistent shots.
    • Soft feel: A soft ball can provide a better feel around the greens and instill confidence in short-game performance.

See our choice for the best Beginner golf ball here.

Intermediate or mid handicappers: As average golfers improve, they may start looking for a ball that balances Distance, feel, and control. For these players, a ball with the following features is ideal:

  • Moderate compression: This can offer a good combination of distance and feel, suitable for players with average swing speeds.
  • Balanced spin: A mid-spin ball can balance distance off the tee and control around the greens.
  • Durability: Intermediate players may appreciate a golf ball that lasts longer without sacrificing performance.

Advanced or low-handicap golfers: Advanced golfers typically have faster swing speeds and greater control over their shots. Therefore, they may prefer a golf ball that offers:

  • Maximum control: A high-spin ball can provide more control around the greens, allowing advanced golfers to shape their shots and control trajectory.
  • Consistency: Advanced golfers may prioritize consistency in their ball flight and spin rates to consistently execute their preferred shots.
  • Specialized features: Some golfers may prefer a ball that caters to their specific preferences, such as a softer or firmer feel or a ball designed for low ball flight or high trajectory.

Experienced golfers usually experiment with various golf balls to determine which one suits their gameplay best. 

Swing speed

Golfers with different swing speeds need golf balls designed to maximize their potential. Slower swing speeds usually benefit from low-compression balls, while faster ones require higher compression balls.

  • Slow swing speed: Golfers with slow swing speeds typically need a golf ball that generates more distance with less effort. A low-compression ball, such as a two-piece ball, can help maximize distance by increasing ball speed off the clubface. Additionally, a low-spin ball can minimize sidespin, resulting in straighter shots and better accuracy.  

image of a man doing slow swing - AEC Info

  • Moderate swing speed: Moderate swing speed players can benefit from a ball that balances distance and control. A ball with a medium compression rating can optimize ball speed, while a mid-spin ball can help maintain control around the greens. Additionally, golfers with moderate swing speeds may consider a ball with a soft feel for better shot feedback.
  • Fast swing speed: Golfers with fast swing speeds typically need a golf ball that can handle high ball speeds and generate maximum distance while still providing control. A ball with a high compression rating, such as a four-piece ball, maximizes ball speed and provides greater control around the greens. Also, a high-spin ball can help generate more spin for greater control of approach shots.

Spin

A golf ball’s spin significantly impacts its performance and behavior during your game. Spin affects the following aspects of your play:

  • Control: A higher spin rate allows for better control, especially around the greens. This means you can more accurately shape shots and stop the ball closer to the pin, which can lead to lower scores.
  • Trajectory: The spin influences the ball’s flight path. A high-spin ball will generate more lift and have a higher trajectory, which can be beneficial when you need to clear obstacles or generate more distance. A low-spin ball will typically have a lower trajectory, leading to a more penetrating flight and greater greenside spin.
  • Wind performance: The spin rate can affect a golf ball’s behavior in windy conditions. A high-spin ball is more susceptible to wind influence, which may result in less accuracy. A low-spin ball may be less affected by the wind and provide a more consistent and predictable flight.
  • Personal preference and skill level: Different players have different swing styles and abilities, which can influence the ideal spin rate for their game. More skilled players may prefer a higher spin ball for increased control, while beginners or high-handicap golfers might benefit from a lower spin ball for increased distance and forgiveness.

Now that you know how spin affects golf ball performance, you can choose the best ball based on your game requirements and skill.

Budget

You don’t have to break the bank to find a suitable ball; many affordable options provide excellent performance. While you can spend a few dollars or $50+ on a dozen, know that the cost is directly related to the ball’s quality (durability and performance).

image of woman laying down in grass with golf ball - AEC Info

  • Low end: Golfers on a tight budget may opt for a lower-priced golf ball. Most of these balls feature low-quality material, which affects their performance. However, some lower-priced balls for beginners still provide good distance and accuracy when you are just starting to play or have a high handicap.
  • Mid-range: Golfers with a mid-level budget can find a variety of golf balls that offer a balance of performance and affordability. Mid-range balls can provide good distance and spin while still being durable enough to last several rounds of play. Golfers with a moderate budget can also consider buying balls in bulk to save money.
  • High budget: Golfers with a higher budget often opt for premium golf balls made with high-quality materials and advanced technology. These balls can provide exceptional distance, spin, and control and may be preferred by advanced or professional golfers.

Be sure to check out AEC Info‘s post on How much of a Difference expensive balls golf make.

Golf ball comparisons

To help you make an informed decision, here are some popular golf ball comparisons:

image of Titleist AVX vs Pro V1 - AEC Info

Titleist AVX vs Pro V1

Both premium golf balls from Titleist offer high performance, but they cater to different types of players. The AVX is designed for golfers seeking lower ball flight and less spin, while the Pro V1 is for players looking for more spin and control around the greens.

Callaway ERC Soft vs Chrome Soft

Callaway’s ERC Soft focuses on distance and feel, making it a great option for mid-high handicappers. Chrome Soft is designed for more advanced players, offering a soft feel with increased control and spin.

Vice Golf Pro Plus

This high-performance budget-friendly golf ball is ideal for golfers looking for a balance between quality and cost.

Titleist Pro V1 vs Pro V1x

While both Titleist golf balls are designed for advanced players, the Pro V1 offers a softer feel and more consistent flight, while the Pro V1x provides a higher ball flight and increased spin control.

TaylorMade TP5 vs TP5x

The TaylorMade TP5 is known for its soft feel and high spin rate, making it ideal for players looking for control around the greens. The TP5x, on the other hand, offers a firmer feel, lower spin, and increased distance.

image of golf ball in white golf gloves - AEC InfoCallaway Supersoft vs. Chrome Soft Golf Balls

The Callaway Supersoft is an excellent choice for beginners and high-handicap players, providing a soft feel, maximum distance, and low spin. The Chrome Soft, designed for more experienced players, offers a soft feel with increased control and spin.

Low-compression golf balls

These are ideal for golfers with slower swing speeds. They are designed to provide maximum distance, a softer feel, and better energy transfer at impact.

Winter golf balls

Playing golf in cold weather can affect the performance of your golf balls. A winter golf ball designed for lower temperatures can help you maintain distance and control in colder conditions.

These balls often have a softer compression and cover, which help retain their performance characteristics in low temperatures.

 

Final thoughts

By considering these factors and reviewing popular golf ball comparisons, you can make an informed decision and find the perfect ball to help you improve your game. There’s some trial and error involved in the process, so don’t shy away from testing golf balls on the course.