How many times have you heard this?
'Buy second hand balls' and 'Use the money for balls to get lessons instead'. Yeah, real helpful when all you're asking for is what ball you should use, right?
But I totally get you, there comes a time when all you want to do is crack open a new sleeve of balls and get that new ball smell. Hold the ball up to your nose and breathe it in. The small pleasures in life.
A lot of golfers overlook the importance of a decent golf ball but not us. Congratulations on seeking more information on the one piece of equipment that's essential on every shot. Let's have a look at the best golf balls for high handicappers. But before we do, I've got one question for you...
What are you looking for?
I hate to put you into a box but usually we golfers can be classified into these categories of what we're looking for:
Maximum Distance: If you just want to get a few more yards off the tee, those lake balls are not doing you any favors. With a new sleeve of balls designed for more distance, you'll instantly notice the difference.
Straighter shots: The balls you're looking for are lower compression which create much less spin on the ball on the long shots. You'll notice on the Bridgestones, the dimples are very shallow and almost flat. I don't know the science behind it, but I'm sure that has something to do with their amazing ability to give you straighter shots.
Spin & Feel: Perhaps you have the distance, you have the direction but those distance balls just aren't holding the greens. We all reach a point when we want to actually chip it close or stay on the green when the ball actually lands on the par 3. These balls are usually multi layered with urethane covers and feel so soft which does lend them to getting scuffed.
Now that I know what you're looking for, I can help you find the best golf ball for your game. I recommend a few balls below and I've tried to stay within a certain budget.
My mission is to help you play simpler, better, faster golf for less money. Please keep reading at the bottom of the page for more information to maximize your time on the course with your new balls.
Best All-Round Pick: Bridgestone E6
A bit of a firmer golf ball with a focus on more distance and less side spin for more balls in play off the tee and on long approaches.
Easily the most popular ball among my playing partners who play off between 16 and 28. They scoop these up whenever they can find them.
The Best Golf Balls for High Handicappers
Here are my picks broken down into 3 categories to reduce the confusion a little. Once you understand what you need for your game, it's quite easy to find the best golf balls:
For extra spin
Distance Golf Balls
When your priority is extra distance, you'll find the balls are firmer and when you hit them they roll A LOT more than the expensive premium balls. They'll bound down the fairway often giving you a few yards more run.
The Velocity is a firm ball that really does boom off the tee and with long irons. It produces a high ball flight so you can stop the ball on the greens easily enough.
As with most distance golf balls, the Velocity is a two-piece and is designed to help a slower swinger get the ball further down the line. One of the longest golf balls out there with the Titleist name on it and with that title comes the fact that the ball is HARD. So be prepared for some high pitched strikes and looong rollout on your shots for extra distance.
Now in it's 10th 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. You'll love them.
Easy to see distance ball for slow to moderate swings
This is a hard ball. Let's get that out the way. It's not going to feel like a piece of soap on your club face but the Crystal travels far. If you prefer distance ball that is easier to see in the air and find in the grass, then these balls are perfect for you.
I would say this ball feels right in the middle of a Pinnacle Gold and a Titleist DT Trusoft. This is a very nice 3 piece ball for slower swings to really get an extra kick in the pants. Volvik have been and continue to be the golf ball of choice for the World Long Drive Association so you know this thing is a flier.
Expect the ball to go much further than others and take a few yards to stop on the green. If you prefer the bump and run type of chipping, this ball is perfect and you want to get it running as soon as possible because it really is consistent.
Straight & Long Golf Balls
If you are a bit of a slicer or puller of the golf ball, these balls will get you back in the fairway and bombing them down the middle.
Callaway deliver excellence ball after ball. The low compression Super Hot 55 is 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.
Golfers prefer this older model to stop hooks and slices
Yes, the 2015 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.
My favorite ball at the moment. I recommend these to everyone. The cover isn't exactly soft but it isn't really hard so initially you're confused. But after bouncing it on a tiled floor and biting it, you try it on the course and realize this is not only an awesome ball to track in flight, but it goes like a bat out of hell, straight down the fairway.
I like the matte finish but it does take some time to get used to (maybe 2 or 3 holes). I started using these and love the looks I get on the course with my orange and surprisingly easiest to see luminous green ball. Avoid the blue color balls - something about them makes them difficult to see.
On my tee shots I noticed the Vivid seemed to fly with a lower penetrating flight but didn't come down to earth as soon as I expected and traveled an extra few yards further before curving down to the ground. It was quite astounding. I chip in a lot with these ball because their roll to the hole is so consistent on green side chips.
Spin Golf Balls
Generally I wouldn't recommend extra spin balls for high handicappers but sometimes they're necessary for you to hold more greens an give yourself a shot at making more putts. These three balls are the best golf balls for high handicappers looking for some green holding spin.
When comparing the DT Trusoft against the Velocity, it's clear the difference comes in the short game. With short irons, the Trusoft spins much more and on all shots provides a softer feeling. Velocity might have a slight edge in purely distance but all-round the Trusoft is a high-value golf ball for golfers who want some feel and spin.
When you first hole the DT Trusoft, you notice the sopay 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.
This is a luxurious ball. It's a urethane covered three-piece beauty. Despite the urethane cover, it's durable along with providing excellent performance. The ball flies long and sits down on the greens - you notice immediately the shallow dimples and maybe that has something to do with it.
Iron-play is where the ball really shines and holds greens like a Tour ball.
If you're confident with your direction and hit a pretty straight ball, this is an excellent golf ball to take you to the next level for spin and green side performance. If you're inconsistent, the Tour level performance can hurt you with the increased spin.
The poor man's Titleist Pro V1
While on a recent golf trip, there was a promotion on Srixon Z-Star XV balls and I loaded up on a dozen. They blew me away. The cover is a bit harder than a Pro V1 but you hardly notice a difference between the balls. The Z-Star XV sits down and rips on the greens with a wedge. It gave me my longest drives of the trip as well.
What's even more impressive than the performance is the durability of the cover. I ripped wedges on it all day and hardly noticed a scratch using only a single ball per round.
Types of golf balls available
You can find these on the golf course or in second hand shops everywhere. They usually look great on the outside but it's a lot like buying a second hand car. You just don't know what problems you're getting because you don't know where they've been and what's happened to them.
Vice Golf has done some research and found some interesting facts. They claim "after just one week in the water, lake balls will lose 5 to 10 yards in driving distance off of the tee; after 3 months, the distance loss widens to 20 to 30 yards."
Refurbished golf balls
While I think lake balls, balls from the woods and refurbished balls are great for beginners, high handicappers really shouldn't be playing with them if they want to get better at golf. People will tell you that the ball hardly matters but the truth is refurbished balls are just lake balls with a sand blasting on the outer cover to make them look really new.
You'll see them wet when advertised or on display because they makes them look even fresher. Yes, these balls were great when you started, but now it's time to level up and be a big boy bomber. New balls are in order.
Two piece golf balls
Two piece balls are usually a core with a cover around it. It's a simple ball and usually aimed at the higher handicapper or beginner. The price is low and the materials are not designed for Tour level performance. The characteristics of a two piece ball are usually a harder feeling and a lot more roll on the fairways.
This is a good thing because Tour level balls will accentuate any problems you have. A fade turns into a slice and a draw turns into a hook because Tour balls generate so much more spin.
A good two piece ball like a Srixon Soft Feel works perfectly.
Three or four piece golf balls
These balls have all sorts of layers in the core with a cover that is often urethane but not always. Urethane is a very soft material and most often found on premium balls to increase spin especially for faster swinging and more skilled players like pros. These balls spin a lot and while you might get similar carry to the harder balls, the rollout is WAY less.
When I play premium soft balls, sometimes my driver actually can go backwards by a foot or so after landing int the fairway!
The multi piece balls are normally much more expensive but that's because the quality of products is slightly higher. If your priority is spin or distance as well as spin then these balls are a good idea. Sometimes they come with surlyn covers to allow higher handicappers to play a multi-layer ball without breaking the bank and getting excess spin on his shots.
How to select the best golf ball for you
Once you know what your priority is on the golf course, it's easy to pick a ball. There are however, two ways to further filter the choices.
- Price: How much do you want to spend on a ball? You can pay anywhere between 75c and $4 for a golf ball. Always remember to multiply that by 3 for a sleeve and 12 for a box of a dozen. So for a sleeve you can pay between $2.50 and $12. For a dozen you can pay between $9 and $50! Pick your price point per ball and then select according to that.
- Durability: Urethane covers are generally softer and give you more spin around the greens. The Polymer or ionomer/trionomer covers are made of Surlyn. Surlyn is a tough material and is difficult to scuff. Even bounces on cart paths hardly make a mark.
Urethane scuffs quite easily even from a hard wedge shot. Surlyn and urethane have very different characteristics on the course and usually lower priced balls with have surlyn covers while the more premium golf balls have urethane.
Using your new golf balls to maximum effect
As a high handicapper the game can really be simplified down to a few shots that need to be kept and some that need to be eliminated. Using the right ball is part of the journey but using the right equipment the right way is even more important.
Take a look at my guide to breaking 90 and see how to think your way around the golf course better.
In the guide I show you which 5 essential shots you need to practice and how to practice them. I show you how to play a strategy to get your high handicap down very quickly by thinking your way around the course. You'll create easier decisions for yourself and easier shots to hit into greens.
There you have it, all the best golf balls for high handicappers depending on your priorities. While Titleist is the name everyone associates with golf balls, the recent surge forward by Asian companies like Srixon and Bridgestone means that there are plenty of other balls to play out there and get awesome results. Take your pick!