From the sidelines, it may seem that all golf balls are equal; after all, they’re round, of the same size and color (usually white), and seem to do the same thing when hit by the same player. In reality, however…
There is a HUGE variety of golf balls out there, which can and will affect your game differently, so which golf balls are the best?
The best golf balls are used almost exclusively by very low handicappers and tour professionals and are:
- Titleist ProV1
- Titleist ProV1x
- Callaway Chrome Soft X
- TaylorMade TP5x
- Srixon Z-Star XV
- Bridgestone Tour B RX
Both genders use these balls on all tours with very similar percentages.
Several golf ball manufacturers with proven track records make some great balls, but because all good balls have different attributes, no manufacturer limits themselves to just one ball.
Realistically, it is worth noting that the best golf ball for one golfer may be totally different from the best golf ball for another because of the variables in every golf game.
The Best Golf Ball Manufacturers
The top 100 PGA Tour players use only nine different golf balls, all of which are produced by the top five manufacturers:
- 69% play a Titleist
- 14% play a Callaway
- 7% play Srixon
- 6% use TaylorMade
- 2% use one of the Bridgestone balls
Titleist (‘tight list’) is the best-known golf ball in the world, with daily exposure to tens of thousands of golfers of both genders, both on the course and on TV. More tour professionals use one of the Titleist range than a ball by any other manufacturer, so clearly, this is a good place to start.
All Titleist golf balls are said to embody superior performance, a highly innovative design, creative technology, and exceptionally precise manufacturing. Titleist is considered by many to be the #1 name in golf balls.
Three of Titleist’s top balls have even been developed by their R&D engineers to include Radar Capture Technology (RCT) which enhances the data capture of ball launch conditions within an indoor environment and provides incredibly accurate information.
The balls used were Pro V1, Pro V1x, and AVX. Note – these are not the standard models and should be used indoors only.
These balls work best with the following launch monitoring devices:
- Full Swing KIT
- TrackMan 4
- Garmin Approach R10
- FlightScope Mevo+
- FlightScope X3
It should be noted that all software/firmware needs to be current to obtain accurate spin results.
Tour players committed to using Titleist balls:
- Scottie Scheffler
- Patrick Cantlay – (Despite his rift with Titleist, Cantlay still prefers the Pro V1x)
- Will Zalatoris
- Cameron Smith
- Justin Thomas
- Tony Finau
- Viktor Hovland
- Matthew Fitzpatrick
- Jordan Spieth
- Hye-jin Choi
- Lydia Ko
Srixon is one of the world’s leading golf ball manufacturers and is owned by SRI Sports Limited, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. in Japan. Like Bridgestone, their origins were in vehicle tires and other rubber-based products before they entered the golfing arena.
Currently based in Huntington, California, their golf balls are the first choice for:
- Hideki Matsuyama,
- Shane Lowry,
- Keegan Bradley
- Ernie Els
- Hannah Green
- Minjee Lee
- The aptly named rising star Cameron Champ also uses Srixon on Tour.
Srixon acquired Cleveland Golf in 2007
Callaway produces a fine range of high-performance golf balls from their base in Carlsbad, CA, and also sells clubs and accessories such as bags, gloves, and caps.
From the tour-rated Chrome Soft models down to the versatile Warbird, a ball that offers a high value for money and strong durability, you’ll find several balls that will suit your needs and your game.
With 14% of the Pro Tour using a Callaway ball, there’s good reason to add it to your bag.
These golf pros all rely on one specific Callaway ball:
- Xander Schauffele (Chrome Soft X)
- Jon Rahm (Chrome Soft X)
- Sam Burns (Chrome Soft X)
- Alex Noren (Chrome Soft X)
- Emiliano Grillo (Chrome Soft X)
- Maverick McNealy (Chrome Soft X)
- Aaron Wise (Chrome Soft X)
- Tyler McCumber (Chrome Soft X)
- Madelene Sagstrom (Chrome Soft X)
Overall, TaylorMade creates an excellent golf ball that is great for all-round play and golfers looking to improve distance from the tee and tighten up their short game.
Dustin Johnstone and Rory McIlroy are among the golf professionals that use a TaylorMade golf ball. Others include:
- Collin Morikawa
- Sergio Garcia
- Tommy Fleetwood
- Henrik Norlander
- Brooke M. Henderson
- Yuka Saso
Bridgestone Golf is a sports equipment subsidiary of the Japanese Corporation Bridgestone in Japan. The home of the US company is in Covington, Georgia, where they make a full range of golfing equipment, not only golf balls. They also own the Precept brand.
Bridgestone is an excellent premium golf ball that provides a solid, trusty feel off woods and irons, flying long and true off the tee. Around the greens, it spins consistently well, stopping quickly, and gives a great response on each stroke.
Of course, the inimitable Tiger Woods is the best-known player who uses Bridgestone when he attacks a golf course, but other notables are:
- Matt Kuchar
- Fred (Boom Boom) Couples
- Jason Day
- Lexi Thompson
Since this piece is titled Best Golf Balls, we will concentrate on the balls considered the best by the world’s top golfers, with just a cursory mention of balls suitable for high and medium-handicap golfers.
How Many Pieces Does A Top Golf Ball Consist Of?
- Three-piece golf balls: Designed for golfers who require more out of their ball, a three-piece is aimed at low to mid-handicappers, not tour pros. They can be made to spin more than one- or two-piece balls, but they do not stop as quickly as a four-piece. Titleist Pro V1 is the best-known exception in this category.
- Four-piece golf balls: Engineered for golfers with high swing speeds, they have a higher compression rating than most three-piece balls and offer the most spin. Titleist Pro V1x leads the way in this category.
As technology can cost a fortune which is spent long before these balls are created, they may seem expensive, but…
Bear in mind that they are the finest in their field and will provide you with cutting-edge innovations, giving you the best possible chance when you walk onto the golf course.
Look at what balls the Top 50 golfers from the PGA Tour play:
|Rank||Golfer||Golf Ball Used|
|1||Rory McIlroy||Taylormade TP5x|
|2||Scottie Scheffler||Titleist Pro V1|
|3||Cameron Smith||Titleist Pro V1x|
|4||Patrick Cantlay||Titleist Pro V1x|
|5||Jon Rahm||Callaway Chrome Soft X|
|6||Xander Schauffele||Callaway Chrome Soft X LS|
|7||Will Zalatoris||Titleist Pro V1|
|8||Justin Thomas||Titleist Pro V1x|
|9||Matt Fitzpatrick||Titleist Pro V1x|
|10||Viktor Hovland||Titleist Pro V1|
|11||Collin Morikawa||Taylormade TP5|
|12||Tony Finau||Titleist Pro V1|
|13||Sam Burns||Callaway Chrome Soft X|
|14||Tom Kim||Titleist Pro V1x|
|15||Jordan Spieth||Titleist Pro V1x|
|16||Max Homa||Titleist Pro V1|
|17||Cameron Young||Titleist Pro V1|
|18||Billy Horschel||Titleist Pro V1|
|19||Sungjae Im||Titleist Pro V1x|
|20||Shane Lowry||Srixon Z-Star XV|
|21||Hideki Matsuyama||Srixon Z-Star XV|
|22||Joaquin Niemann||Titleist Pro V1x|
|23||Brian Harman||Titleist Pro V1|
|24||Tommy Fleetwood||Taylormade TP5x|
|25||Keegan Bradley||Srixon Z-Star XV|
|26||Tyrrell Hatton||Titleist Pro V1x|
|27||Sepp Straka||Srixon Z-Star Diamond|
|28||Ryan Fox||Srixon Z-Star XV|
|29||Seamus Power||Titleist Pro V1|
|30||Tom Hoge||Titleist Pro V1|
|31||Russell Henley||Titleist Pro V1x|
|32||Kevin Kisner||Titleist Pro V1x|
|33||Aaron Wise||Titleist Pro V1|
|34||Corey Conners||Titleist Pro V1|
|35||Abraham Ancer||Titleist Pro V1x|
|36||K.H. Lee||Titleist Pro V1x|
|37||Adam Scott||Titleist Pro V1|
|38||Thomas Pieters||Titleist Pro V1|
|39||Alex Noren||Callaway Chrome Soft X|
|40||Talor Gooch||Titleist Pro V1|
|41||Sahith Theegala||Titleist Pro V1|
|42||Kurt Kitayama||Taylormade TP5x|
|43||Dustin Johnson||Taylormade TP5x|
|44||Mito Pereira||Titleist Pro V1|
|45||Harold Varner III||Titleist Pro V1x|
|46||Mackenzie Hughes||Titleist Pro V1|
|47||Adrian Meronk||Titleist Pro V1|
|48||Jason Kokrak||Titleist Pro V1|
|49||Kevin Na||Titleist Pro V1x|
|50||Louis Oosthuizen||Titleist Pro V1|
The Best Golf Balls (By Manufacturer)
Most professional golfers use a Titleist ball because these are the most consistent balls off the tee and in the area of the green. Titleist Pro V1 is the best-known ball on the planet and Pro V1x is catching up fast, with both producing highly reliable spin rates and increased distance.
Twenty one of the current top 50 male golfers on the PGA tour use the tried and tested Titleist Pro V1, while 15 have moved to the Titleist Pro V1x, and the rest all use a ball from Callaway (4), TaylorMade (5), Srixon (5), or Bridgestone (0 at present, but it is used to great effect by Jason Day, Bryson DeChambeau, and Matt Kuchar).
Of the current top 20 golfers on the LPGA Tour, five use Titleist ProV1 and the same amount trust the ProV1x, giving Titleist 50% of the field, with Callaway getting 10%, TaylorMade with 5%, Bridgestone with 15% and Srixon reaching 20%.
Here’s a list of the top 20 LPGA golfers (at the time of writing this) and what golf ball they use:
|Rank||Golfer Name||Golf Ball Used|
|1||Lydia Ko||Titleist Pro V1x|
|2||Atthaya Thitikul||Callaway Chrome Soft X|
|3||Brooke M. Henderson||Taylormade TP5x|
|4||Minjee Lee||Srixon Z-Star 1|
|5||Hye-jin Choi||Titleist Pro V1|
|6||Jennifer Kupcho||Titleist Pro V1|
|7||Lexi Thompson||Bridgestone Tour BRX|
|8||Xiyu Lin||Bridgestone Tour BRX|
|9||In Ghee Chun||Srixon Z-Star|
|10||Leona Maguire||Titleist Pro V1|
|11||Celine Boutier||Titleist Pro V1x|
|12||Hyo Joo Kim||Titleist Pro V1x|
|13||Nasa Hataoka||Srixon Z-Star|
|14||Danielle Kang||Titleist Pro V1x|
|15||Andrea Lee||Callaway Chrome Soft X|
|16||Nelly Korda||Titleist Pro V1|
|17||Ayaka Furue||Bridgestone Tour BRXS|
|18||Hannah Green||Srixon Z-Star Diamond|
|19||Jin Young Ko||Titleist Pro V1|
|20||Lilia Vu||Titleist Pro V1x|
Since over 70% of the top 50 male golfers and 50% of the top 20 female golfers on the professional circuit make use of one of these two Titleist balls, it’s clear that sponsorships may account for some of the attention.
However, pros only enter a tournament with one thing in mind: Finish as close to the front as possible, and if they didn’t trust their chosen ball brand, they would be more than happy to change, even if it meant paying for their own balls.
By Pro Circuit, I’m referring to the PGA, LPGA, and LIV tours interchangeably unless specified.
Caveat: The fact that pros play with specific balls, regardless of brand, doesn’t mean you should. Check out the ‘balls for mid-handicappers’ and ‘balls for high-handicappers’ later in this article if you’re not a low-handicapper but want a ball that will help your game.
Titleist balls seem to stand up to the pounding of constant play very well, which will mean nothing to a tour player as they use new balls for no more than a single game. However, this translates to good value for weekend golfers who cannot always justify the price of a new ball (or two!) every game.
The ProV1 and ProV1x are very similar for the most part, but the ProV1x does have higher launch properties and improved spin off the tee and around the greens and seems to feel a little firmer when hit.
Titleist ProV1 (3-Piece)
- Longer Distance With Consistent Flight
- Very Low Long Game Spin And Penetrating Trajectory
- Increased Drop-And-Stop Short Game Control
The ball has undergone several significant changes with its reformulated 2.0 ZG Process Core, which was implemented with more distance in mind.
After extensive trials and testing, the dimple count increased to 388 from 352, increasing distance and flight consistency. A new (softer) urethane elastomer now covers the ball, providing more greenside control and spin.
These golf balls fly far and fast off any of your longer irons, rewarding good strikes with an accurate flight. The dimple count has only increased by 10%, but the results of the tetrahedral design allow the Pro V1 balls to soar effortlessly through the air.
The Pro V1 golf ball’s core is called a process core by Titleist. The three-part core consists of a solid center surrounded by a softer layer of urethane elastomer casing. Because the ball is uniform in weight due to the hard inside and softer outside, it flies straight once airborne.
The process core also allows the ball to reach high speed, making the flight predictable and consistent.
Golf Pro Michael Breed found the Pro V1 to be “solid, with good feel and a piercing trajectory.”
Titleist Pro V1 Pros
- Superb short-game spin for your delicate work around the green Solid off your putter with a good response.
- The long-game spin is remarkable, giving improved accuracy off the tee, and predictability is enhanced by the 2.0 ZG Process core.
- The soft outer casing provides a high response with a firm feel when the club strikes the ball.
- The new 388 dimple design is a spherically-tiled casing that Titleist believe creates straighter flight patterns.
- Longevity of up to five years is expected from each ball.
Titleist Pro V1 Cons
- Price is high
- The ball is difficult to control for mid and high handicappers
Titleist ProV1x (4-Piece)
- Longer Distance with Consistent Flight
- Low Long Game Spin and High Trajectory
- Increased Drop-and-Stop Short Game Control
Pro V1x is designed for players who prefer a higher trajectory and increased spin than that provided by the Pro 1, while gaining a slightly firmer feel.
The latest Pro V1x has seen changes to every layer – the reformulated 2.0 ZG Process Core maximizes distance in the dual-core Pro V1x, while speed and long-game spin is increased thanks to the faster high-flex ionomer casing that can be seen on the Pro V1x (Left Dash).
Spherically-tiled Tetrahedral Dimple Designs – featuring a 348-dimple layout for Pro V1x, 40 less than on the Pro V1, – are optimized to maximize inroads in flight consistency and distance and the Pro V1x will fly higher and spin more than the prior generation could.
Jeremy Stone, Vice President of Titleist golf ball marketing, had this to say about Titleist golf balls:
“When it comes to the quality and performance of these products, we will continue to go to all lengths possible to help golfers play their best and shoot their lowest scores.”
Callaway Chrome Soft X (4 Piece)
- New Precision Technology delivers our tightest dispersion, consistently fast ball speeds and total performance. We’ve enhanced every component and design feature to create the highest...
- New Hyper Elastic SoftFast Core for Tour level speed, spin, and control through the bag.
- Consistent ball flight at every condition with our Tour Aero design.
The Callaway Chrome Soft X comprises a four-piece construction using a TPU (injection-molded) urethane outer. The design is dual-mantle, unlike the Titleist Pro V1x or Srixon Z-Star XV, which are both dual-core as noted above.
Callaway’s Chrome Soft X ball is directed at a fast-swinging player, even more so than the standard Chrome Soft model. It is now Callaway’s most-used golf ball on Tour, with the likes of Jon Rahm and Sam Burns opting for this version of the ball in the men’s Tour, and Atthaya Thitikul and Andrea Lee in the LPGA tour.
The newly-designed Hyper-Elastic SoftFast Core certainly helps unlock faster speeds with the driver for the player that can generate good clubhead speed.
When switching from the standard Chrome Soft to the X, you will immediately see a leap in ball speed. In fact, it produced a speed slightly better than the Titleist Pro V1x, which surprised most of us. The launch was slightly lower than on the Chrome Soft, with an increased spin of around 150rpm.
A solid clubhead speed of 110mph or so can lead to an additional 5% or more in terms of distance. Even at 100mph, the added ball speed is almost impossible to miss.
With your approach irons, you can expect a spin of around 4900rpm, which gives you decent control when you attack the green with, say, a seven iron and need the ball to stop quickly.
From 100 yards, the spin was good but not amazing, but from 50 yards, it was a dream, spinning in the 6800rpm range for shot after shot.
Constantly long off the tee and beautifully soft around the green, the Callaway Chrome Soft X is hard to beat.
One downside for me?
Triple tracking markings on the ball, which I really disliked, but which might help some golfers with putt alignment.
Callaway Chrome Soft X Pros
- Wonderful ball speed
- Great distance from the tee
- Superb close-range control and feel
Callaway Chrome Soft X Cons
- A little firm off the face
- Ball markings are too busy
TaylorMade TP5x (5-Piece)
- More speed in the most complete tour ball
- XL low compression core increases launch angle and reduces drag
- 4 Increasingly stiff layers for higher ball speed through greater rebound
The TaylorMade TP5x golf ball is the firmer of the two TP5 balls and is in its third ‘incarnation.’
The TP5x boasts a 322 dimple pattern with shallower dimples and steeper sides than previous models. This provides a marginally lower launch and less drag. The landing angle to the green is steeper, providing a stopping action akin to a higher spin rate.
As in previous versions, the TaylorMade TP5x holds true in windy conditions and is still my favorite on a blustery day.
The TP5x provides good length off the tee and from the longer clubs due to the four increasingly stiffening layers beneath the cover. TaylorMade uses High-Flex Material to generate increased speed, but I found both Titleist options offered superior distance on average.
After strenuous research, TaylorMade has produced the new TP5x with a urethane cover using a slightly softer cast that is believed better to grip wedge grooves for increased spin around the greens. This ball remains the fastest tour ball in the TaylorMade lineup.
TaylorMade TP5x Pros
- Very fast
- High launch
TaylorMade TP5x Cons
- Good, (not great), distance
Srixon Z-Star XV (4-Piece)
- NEW FastLayer Core Starts soft in the center and gradually becomes firm around its edge, giving high-speed players exceptional feel and plenty of ball speed for maximum distance. A newly...
- NEW Spin Skin with SeRM A soft, thermoplastic urethane cover features Spin Skin with SeRM, a durable coating with flexible molecular bonds. It digs deep into wedge and iron grooves,...
- NEW 338 Speed Dimple Pattern Less drag and more lift boosts overall distance and flies straight, even in the toughest wind conditions.
For most players, the Srixon Z-Star XV will be the longer of Srixon’s two premium balls. It has a slightly firmer feel without sacrificing control. The golf ball is 7th generation, and the four-piece design now features a FastLayer inner core.
If you’re looking for distance, then Srixon’s most powerful ball will get you close to that perfect position for your approach shot on any par 4. Its reformulated inner core compounds resilience and assists in creating tremendous ball speed.
Medium height is produced from the 338-dimple cover, which reduces drag and enhances flight. Compression is around 100.
Srixon Z-Star XV Pr
- Impressive distance
- Excellent feel and short game control
- Great value for money
- Strong ball flight
Srixon Z-Star XV Cons
- Less height than other brands
Bridgestone Tour B RX (3-Piece)
- The NEW TOUR B with REACTIV iQ is THE SMARTER TOUR BALL
- Proprietary NEW REACTIV iQ is a SMART cover technology that reacts to the force of impact
- MORE DISTANCE: REACTIV iQ rebounds quickly on tee shots, delivering explosive velocity and increased distance
It’s fast off the clubface and low-spinning in the long game, resulting in excellent distance and accuracy, provided you have a fast swing. It’s soft, spins well, and is consistent in the short game, feeling responsive with the putter. At the price, it provides excellent value for money.
Unlike the Tour B X, which is geared slightly more for distance, the Bridgestone B RX was designed for golfers who consistently swing the driver at speeds of 105mph or more and require tour-level spin control in the approach to the greens.
Slower swingers might find the ball tends to drop out of the air a little suddenly on longer shots, but this has been offset by the medium compression rating of around 75 on the latest iteration of this ball. This is quite low for a Tour-rated ball, but the lower-compression core can help obtain added distance for slower swing speeds.
The innovative ‘Reactiv IQ’ urethane cover was designed to absorb shock from shorter clubs for more spin and control, which will also benefit a mid-handicapper, and provides the ability to consistently hit those finesse shots that benefit your scorecard.
This allows the ball to rebound quickly off tee shots while spending more time on the face for approach shots. The average compression is 78.
This ball was developed for and with Tiger Woods. Enough said…
Bridgestone Tour B RX Pros
- Travels far and straight
- Superb spin control and exceptional feel on and around the greens.
Bridgestone Tour B RX Cons
- Tends to degrade faster than other brands
Best Golf Balls For Mid-Handicappers
I think of a mid-handicapper as a player who consistently shoots in the 80s on a standard, par 72 course. There are no exact definitions available, and these balls are what I believe are the best golf balls for players in this group:
- Srixon Soft Feel
- Callaway Supersoft
- No products found.
- Titleist Velocity
- Bridgestone e12 Contact
- Vice Tour
- Srixon Q-Star
Distance, forgiveness, and spin are my requirements for a ball in this category. If you’re scoring in the 80s, you can drive a ball fairly straight, and you want distance from the ball and forgiveness for when your strike is less than perfect.
You will be hitting the green in two (or three) shots, and will certainly need some spin to stop on the green and not bounce onto, and then off of, the putting surface.
Best Golf Balls For High-Handicappers
High handicappers make up the bulk of the golfing world, with more high-handicappers on the course on any given day than any other category of golfer. They score everything from 92 upwards on the average 72 par course.
This category naturally has the least knowledge of (or interest in) playing specific balls to suit their game. Many choose to buy used balls off caddies or new balls from chain stores, often aligning themselves with a specific brand rather than a specific ball for anecdotal reasons.
We’ve all seen 24 handicappers playing with Titleist Pro V1s or similar, hoping their game will improve if they use the best ball possible. This belief holds true, but the best ball possible for a high handicapper is simply not the Pro V1.
Higher handicappers need balls that will forgive the less wayward shots and reward the odd good strike. In this way, the golfer’s handicap can start to drop.
I recommend these balls to high handicappers who want to enjoy their game and who may like to drop their handicaps to the high teens. I’ve chosen balls with at least these three characteristics:
- Budget-friendly – just because you can afford to buy the best doesn’t mean you have to.
- Low driver spin – It’s easier to play your second shot from the fairway than from the rough. Low spin will help with distance and direction.
- Must fly high – Unless you can get the ball up, the angle of approach to the green will see the ball fly through the green more often than not.
- Bridgestone e12
- TaylorMade Noodle
- TaylorMade Distance Plus
- Callaway Supersoft
- Titleist Velocity
- Wilson Ultra 500 Straight
- Vice Drive
Recap: Best Golf Balls in 2023
With such a large hold on the professional market, regardless of sponsorships, Titleist’s Pro V1 and Pro V1x are the best golf balls available.
Remember, the best ball for the Pros is not necessarily the best ball for you.