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How to Choose Golf Balls

Heorhii Rysak

Choosing the right golf ball is one of the most important equipment decisions a golfer can make. The proper golf ball can improve shot distance, control, spin rates, and feel. The wrong ball for your game can negatively impact performance. With so many types of golf balls on the market, how do you pick the ideal ball for your game? Here is an in-depth guide on choosing the best golf balls for your playing style and swing speed.

Factors to Consider

There are several key factors to evaluate when selecting golf balls:

Swing Speed 

Faster swing speeds above 105 mph require balls designed for maximum distance. Slower swings below 85 mph need balls focused on shot control and feel. Know your driver clubhead speed.

Skill Level

High handicappers need extra forgiveness and straighter flight from golf balls. Low handicap players can benefit from premium balls that spin more. Match balls to skill level.

Golf Ball Construction

2-piece, 3-piece, and multi-layer balls have different materials and technologies to produce desired performance. Understand the options.

Compression Rating 

Compression indicates the deformation of the golf ball at impact. Swing speed dictates ideal compression. Lower speeds need lower compression for best distance.

Course Conditions

Certain ball types handle wind, cold temps, and wet conditions better. Consider the typical conditions where you play golf.

Prioritize these factors as you evaluate golf ball options to narrow down the best fit for your game.

Ball Types by Construction

Golf ball construction determines how the ball performs. Here are the common types based on materials used:

2-Piece Golf Balls

  • Used primarily by beginners and high handicappers
  • Large soft core wrapped in durable surlyn or cut-resistant ionomer cover
  • Low compression core for longer shots off the tee
  • Very low spin rates for straighter shots
  • Modest control around the greens
  • Most affordable ball option
  • Examples: Wilson Ultra 500, Callaway Supersoft, Titleist TruFeel

3-Piece Golf Balls 

  • Soft rubber core, mantle layer, and urethane cover
  • Medium compression for balance of distance and feel
  • Moderate spin rates for solid control
  • Soft feel on all shots
  • Ideal for mid-to-low handicap amateurs
  • Examples: TaylorMade Project (a), Callaway ERC Soft, Bridgestone E6

4-Piece (Multi-Layer) Golf Balls

  • Ideal for low handicap and pro players
  • 3-4 mantle layers wrapped around a solid core
  • Firm urethane cover for greenside control
  • High compression rating for faster swing speeds
  • Maximum spin and responsive feel
  • Most expensive ball type
  • Examples: Titleist Pro V1, TaylorMade TP5x, Bridgestone Tour B X

Choosing Balls by Swing Speed

Your clubhead speed with the driver determines optimal golf ball compression and construction:

Under 85 mph Swing Speed

  • 2-piece low compression balls
  • Softer cores compress properly at impact
  • Prioritize distance over spin and feel

85-105 mph Swing Speed 

  • 2-piece balls or soft 3-piece balls
  • Low to medium compression rating
  • Balance of distance and feel

Over 105 mph Swing Speed

  • 3-piece urethane or multi-layer balls
  • Medium to high ball compression
  • Generates maximum ball speed off the clubface

Matching golf ball compression to swing speed maximizes energy transfer and shot distance. Test balls to see which compress best at your swing speed.

Picking Balls for Skill Level

Your skill level and scoring ability should factor into golf ball selection:

High Handicappers (20+ handicap)

  • Focus on distance and straight shots
  • 2-piece low compression balls
  • Ionomer cover for durability
  • Low spin rates keep shots straighter

Mid Handicappers (10-20 handicap) 

  • Balance distance and feel
  • Some spin for shot control
  • Softer 3-piece urethane balls
  • Moderate compression rating

Low Handicappers (0-9 handicap)

  • Soft multi-layer urethane balls
  • High compression for aggressive swing speeds
  • Prioritize spin, feel, and control
  • Great shot shaping ability
  • Premium ball quality

As you improve and lower scores, you can upgrade to balls with greater greenside spin and precision.

Golf Balls for Slow Swing Speeds

If your driver clubhead speed is under 85 mph, maximize distance with these ball choices:

  • Callaway Supersoft
  • Wilson Zip
  • Titleist TruFeel
  • Srixon Soft Feel
  • Bridgestone E6 Soft
  • Noodle Easy Distance
  • Precept Laddie
  • Top Flite Gamer

Prioritize low compression and soft cores. Avoid harder balls made for tour level swing speeds.

Golf Balls for Average Swing Speeds

For moderate swing speeds of 85-105 mph, these balls offer great performance:

  • Callaway ERC Soft
  • TaylorMade Project (a)
  • Titleist AVX
  • Bridgestone e12 Contact
  • Srixon Q-Star Tour
  • Kirkland Signature 3-piece
  • Snell MTB Black
  • Vice Pro Plus

Opt for medium compression 3-piece balls with soft urethane covers. You can still compress them fully.

Golf Balls for Fast Swing Speeds 

For driver club speeds over 105 mph, play premium balls made for elite players:

  • Titleist Pro V1/Pro V1x
  • TaylorMade TP5/TP5x
  • Callaway Chrome Soft/Chrome Soft X
  • Bridgestone Tour B RXS
  • Srixon Z-Star XV
  • Mizuno RB Tour/RB Tour X
  • Volvik S4
  • Wilson Staff Model

Higher compression ratings and multi-layer construction ensures maximum energy and ball speed.

Golf Balls for High Handicappers

To lower scores, high handicap players need maximum forgiveness and accuracy:

  • Callaway Supersoft
  • Titleist TruFeel
  • Srixon Soft Feel
  • Wilson Duo Soft+
  • Bridgestone E6 Soft
  • Precept Laddie Extreme
  • Noodle Easy Distance
  • Top Flite XL
  •  Pinnacle Soft

Focus on straight shots and building consistency. Avoid premium balls made for shaping shots.

Golf Balls for Mid Handicappers

Mid handicappers can benefit from great feeling urethane balls with some spin:

  • Callaway ERC Soft Triple Track
  • TaylorMade Project (a)
  • Bridgestone e6
  • Titleist AVX
  • Srixon Q-Star Tour Divide
  • Kirkland 3-piece
  • Wilson Duo Optix
  • Snell MTB Black

Balances distance, feel, control and affordability. Provides feedback to improve ball striking.

Golf Balls for Low Handicappers

For the best players, premium balls deliver maximum greenside control:

  • Titleist Pro V1/Pro V1x
  • TaylorMade TP5/TP5x
  • Callaway Chrome Soft X
  • Bridgestone Tour B X/XS
  • Srixon Z-Star/Z-Star XV
  • Mizuno RB Tour X
  • Wilson Staff Model
  • Volvik Vivid

The urethane covers grip greens for stopping power. Provides shot shaping versatility for skilled players.

Choosing Golf Balls for Course Conditions

Beyond your swing and skill level, course conditions impact ideal ball choice:

Windy Courses

Prioritize lower ball flight and penetration into the wind:

  • Callaway Chrome Soft X
  • Bridgestone E6 Speed
  • Srixon AD333 Tour
  • Titleist Velocity
  • Vice Pro Plus

Hot & Dry Conditions

Balls that retain energy and resist ballooning work best:

  • Callaway Chrome Soft X
  • TaylorMade TP5x
  • Titleist Pro V1
  • Bridgestone Tour B X
  • Srixon Z-Star XV

Cool & Wet Conditions

Softer feeling balls with urethane covers perform best:

  • Callaway Supersoft
  • Titleist AVX
  • Bridgestone E6 Soft
  • Precept Laddie Extreme
  • Wilson Duo Soft+

Hard Turf/Courses

Balls with surlyn or cut-resistant covers hold up best:

  • Callaway Supersoft
  • Srixon Soft Feel
  • Titleist TruFeel
  • Bridgestone E6 Soft
  • Top Flite Gamer

Consider typical course conditions before purchasing dozens of balls. Try various balls to see which work best where you play frequently.

Most Forgiving Golf Balls

Forgiveness minimizes sidespin for straighter shots into greens. Best options include:

  • Callaway Supersoft
  • Titleist TruFeel
  • Wilson Duo Soft+
  • Bridgestone E6 Soft
  • Precept Laddie Extreme

Low compression and soft cores reduce sidespin. Ionomer covers resist curve and slice. Great for beginners or sporadic players.

Softest Feeling Golf Balls 

Buttery soft feel provides great control and scoring. Top choices are:

  • Titleist AVX
  • Bridgestone E6 Soft
  • Callaway Supersoft
  • Srixon Soft Feel
  • Wilson ZIP
  • Snell MTB Soft

Soft low compression cores cushion the blow at impact. Ideal for slower and mid-range swing speeds.

Most Durable Golf Balls

Maximize value by playing balls that withstand abuse. Look for:

  • Titleist DT TruSoft
  • Callaway Supersoft
  • Srixon Marathon
  • Bridgestone E6
  • Top Flite XL2000
  • Strata Ultimate Tour

Surlyn and ionomer covers resist scuffs, shears, and penetrations. Built to last all season long.

Best Golf Balls for Distance

Nothing beats crushing tee shots deep into the fairway. Top distance balls include:

  • Titleist Velocity
  • Callaway Supersoft Max
  • Bridgestone E6 Speed
  • Taylormade Project (a)
  • Vice Pro Plus
  • Top Flite Gamer Tour

Low compression cores and high resilience covers maximize speed and reduce drag. Ideal for slower swing speeds.

Most Eco-Friendly Golf Balls

Reduce waste with balls made from recycled materials. Look for:

  • Vice Pro Plus (recycled Surlyn cover)
  • Bridgestone E6 Recycle
  • Titleist Pro V1 Recycled
  • Srixon Natural Organic Core
  • Ecoballs (100% recycled)
  • Seed Golf Balls (plantable)

Brands are expanding eco-conscious options. Check materials and manufacturing when buying balls.


How do I know which golf balls are best for my swing speed?

Focus on ball compression – lower speeds under 85 mph need lower compression balls that compress more on impact. Faster swing speeds over 105 mph require higher compression balls.

Should I play the same model ball in the winter? 

Colder weather stiffens ball cores and reduces compression. Using softer low compression balls in winter can help compensate for the firmer feel.

What is the advantage of urethane cover balls?

The soft urethane covers on tour balls offer excellent control on approach shots. They also provide optimal spin and stopping power on the greens.

Why are lake balls okay to play? 

Lake balls are subject to prolonged water exposure which only affects the covers. The cores remain intact so they perform the same. Periodic washing restores them.

How many layers is best – 3, 4, or 5 layers?

For recreational play, 3-4 layer balls provide the best performance. Premium 5-layer tour balls don’t provide added benefit for amateur swing speeds under 105 mph.

Should I play a matte finish ball or glossy finish?

Matte finish balls reduce glare while glossy balls are easier to see in flight. Try both to determine personal preference. There is no performance advantage of one over the other.