This is one of the hottest topics in golf. It might be one of the hottest topics in LIFE. Many players tell me that they want to play a premium golf ball, but that the thought of slicing a brand new Pro V1 into the bushes and water brings them out in a cold sweat.
Why is it that the shots which keep us awake at night are the bad ones?
Is the ball we think we should play actually causing us to play bad golf?
Golf balls don’t need to cost the earth to be good - some of the best cheap golf balls in the world will be better suited to your game and I'm going to tell you why. So put your preconceptions away, and open the door to golf ball enlightenment.
Best Cheap Golf Balls 2021
- Srixon Soft Feel (best overall cheap golf ball)
- Callaway Supersoft Max (best for the slower swing speeds)
- Kirkland Signature (big value urethane golf ball ever)
- Bridgestone e6 (best for long, straight rolling shots)
- RZN Star (best for value for distance golf ball)
- Wilson DUO Professional (best cheap urethane ball for slow swing speeds)
- Taylormade Project (s) (Taylormade two-piece for max distance)
Spin isn’t what you think
The PGA tour on TV has ruined spin for the vast majority of golfers. When you see highlights reels of players ripping balls 30ft backwards you think that’s what you should be doing.
Here’s a question for you though, how often have you actually seen that happen in the cold light of day on the course? Probably rarely or never.
We are led to think that it is the ball which is the key ingredient to that tour level zip on the greens. Yes, it is important, but it is one of MANY FACTORS. Club choice, club age, groove sharpness, attack angle, quality of strike, ground conditions, green firmness, swing length, air moisture - yadda yadda yadda. It’s a list so long you’ll start to sound like Bryson and do you really want that?
The truth is that Pro V1 MIGHT help you to stop the ball on the green quicker, but it is probably harming your drives and approach shots because it is spinning TOO MUCH.
Sidespin on your drives is what causes the ball to veer off from the target. Softer premium balls are designed to spin more. Are you picking up what I'm putting down?
Golf ball psychology
Have you stood on the tee and a buddy shouts, “Don’t slice it” and you proceed to hit it into the next state? When we play with premium golf balls, a common thought is “I don’t want to lose this ball, it cost me $XXX!”
We often try to remove this demon by teeing up with an old or cheaper ball. Then the ball goes where we want it miraculously!
Why not remove the headworms before you hit the course by playing a ball which suits your budget AND your capacity to keep it on the course. A Pro V1 might fit into this bracket but the best cheap golf balls shouldn’t be any less productive than the premium models.
Always a winner, time after time.
Now in its umpteenth iteration, the Srixon Soft Feel remains an anchor in Srixon's ball collection. It's a two-piece golf ball so it's made for distance and durability but the thin cover gives this ball a soft feel so it doesn't feel like you're playing a rock. Expect long drives and irons that roll out with a soft feel on the club face.
Whenever someone asks for a recommendation for a golf ball as high or mid handicapper, I immediately, without hesitation say Srixon Soft Feel. I've loved these balls since I used them dropping from a mid/high handicapper down to a 5 handicapper. Soft feeling off the face and big distance off the tee.
Best for slower swing speeds on the cheap!
Callaway deliver excellence ball after ball. The Supersoft Max is made for the slower swinger for maximum distance and forgiveness, aerodynamically designed to get high up for a long strong carry.
The soft mantle and cover system work in tandem to reduce spin. Reducing spin also means reducing side spin, so on your longer shots you can reduce those slices and hooks.
I'm not the biggest fan of these balls when I use the insert putter. When I use my steel faced putter, I like them a lot as the feedback is evident. If you use an insert putter, I'd suggest something firmer like the E6 or the Vivid below.
Older but recent model - nothing wrong with this!
This 2021 model is preferred by a lot of golfers. The performance and feel overall seems to be better in the older model, and on top of that, the price is incredibly low!
Slashing your handicap comes from hitting fairways and greens. The Bridgestone E6 gets you in the fairway easier and boosts long and mid iron performance to get you closer to the green more often. You may need to change your aiming - no more aiming way left. The ball goes where you aim.
Like with other Bridgestone balls, it's easy to notice the shallow dimples. They've done something right with their golf balls because most guys I play with loves these balls. I find the cover is quite hard so don't expect a bar of soap when you undo the packaging. This is for you if your priority is straight hitting and reducing slices and hooks.
Once again, this is a two-piece ball as the prior two options are and so you'll notice more rollout and consistent spin of these balls.
Nike golf balls reborn
Nike stopped making hard goods in 2016, but the original manufacturer of the RZN balls has brought them back to courses everywhere for super low prices.
The RZN Star is the cheapest ball that RZN offer, and is aimed at beginners and high handicappers.
That being said, it performs way above what I was expecting. It’s long off the tee and feels great off the putter. For this price point, there is not much that can rival it. Perhaps Inesis Distance 100 golf balls.
Best for swing speeds under 90 who want urethane balls
When comparing the Wilson DUO Professional to other balls in the list above, it's clear the difference comes in the short game. With short irons, the Duo Professional spins much more and on all shots provides a softer feeling.
The surlyn covered balls might have a slight edge in purely distance but all-round the Duo Professional is a high-value golf ball for golfers who want some feel and spin with an amazing bang for the buck.
When you first touch the Duo Professional ball, you notice the texture of the cover and the 'bite test' tells you straight away the ball is softer than others. Feel off the club face is pleasant and off wedges feels surprisingly soft.
TaylorMade quality at a great price
TaylorMade’s 60-compression Project (s) offers good all-round performance, and gives players a TaylorMade option without breaking the bank.
The ball’s fast core stores and releases energy efficiently throughout the bag for excellent distance. The high-lift, low drag dimple design promotes a high launch and keeps the ball up in the air longer for optimum distance.
When it comes to putting and chipping, the cover offers a soft feel to help you play those scoring shots with ease. I really like the yellow version of this ball as it’s so easy to see after hitting tee shots and in the rough
When you're buying cheap balls, you can get urethane options, or you can get the cheaper surlyn options. The manufacturers have every base covered.
The rest is up to you and your priorities. If you want spinny action, you have to try the urethane options which are the best value possible above. Then if you're happy with more bump and run, more rollout, then you can go for the 2 layer options with surlyn covers and 2 piece construction.
Try a few and get the one you really like and use it exclusively to understand the way it reacts and you will slash strokes from your score with your deep knowledge of your game.