For an outsider, the golf ball is a fairly simple construct. Round with dimples, and white the majority of the time, there would seem to be little else to consider.
Golfers, of course, know the exact opposite to be true.
Variations in feel, performance, price, even how many pieces make up the construction, create great variance from brand-to-brand and model-to-model. And picking the right ball for your preferences, needs and budget can be a difficult task.
To help, here is our annual golf ball guide, broken down by price, including the top brands and the absolute latest models, written in Australia for Australian golfers.
Trying a few models is advised to discover a personal favourite. So too a ball fitting and recommendation from the experts. But above all, perhaps the best piece of advice when it comes to golf balls is pick and stick.
Once you have a favoured option, stay consistent so you can expect the same performance each and every time. Even those who don’t think their golf warrants such an approach will be surprised how consistent their golf can be.
$59+ PER DOZEN ...
BRIDGESTONE TOUR B
Bridgestone’s premium golf balls have developed a strong following with amateur golfers since the introduction of the B330 range. The current Tour B line is similarly popular, and is now used by some of the best golfers on the planet.
Collecting major wins thanks to Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau, Tour B includes four models – X, XS, RX and RXS – with the R models for players with swing speeds below 105mph with driver, the X and XS for those in excess of 105.
The varied models offer slightly different performance, however, the new ‘REACTIV’ cover technology of the range lessens performance differences, meaning golfers need not sacrifice much in the way of spin in favour of distance and vice versa.
The ‘S’ models feel softer and spin more around the greens, whereas the X models will fly longer.
The REACTIV cover also features ‘Dual Dimple technology’ for improved aerodynamic performance, while consistency is enhanced with ‘Seamless Cover Technology’ and a ‘Gradational Compression core’ is engineered for greater ball speed at impact and reduced side spin.
CALLAWAY CHROME SOFT & CHROME SOFT X
Callaway’s top golf ball, used by much of the company’s Tour staff, underwent a full
re-design for its most recent version.
The softer Chrome Soft and firmer Chrome Soft X released in 2020 benefit from an investment of more than US$50 million in Callaway’s ball manufacturing plant in Massachusetts.
Both featuring thinner urethane covers with new aerodynamic dimple patterns to produce higher launch in the Chrome Soft, a more penetrating flight in the X version and more spin around the greens, the current Chrome Soft core and mantle sections were greatly refined to optimise performance.
The Chrome Soft’s ‘Dual SoftFast core’ incorporates a 34 percent larger inner core and thinner graphene-infused outer core for greater ball speed and approach play spin, while the new ionomer mantle system similarly raises ball speeds.
Also receiving the ball speed benefits from a larger core in the form of its ‘SoftFast’ core, the Chrome Soft X possesses softer inner and firmer outer mantle layers that work in concert to produce increased ball speed.
Firmer feeling and more workable, the Chrome Soft X is offered in white, whereas the softer and more forgiving Chrome Soft is available in white and yellow, as well as ‘Truvis’ that assists focus and visibility, with ‘Triple Track Technology’ aiding alignment an option in both models.
CALLAWAY ERC SOFT
The second generation ERC Soft is Callaway’s longest golf ball with soft feel.
Featuring Triple Track Technology that was introduced on its predecessor in 2019, the ERC Soft features increased control around the greens. A new ‘Hybrid Cover’ is the standout technology designed to improve every aspect of performance.
The new cover design uses multiple materials and a ‘PARALOID Impact Modifier’ that is made by Dow Chemical and offers maximised distance in a high launch, low spin flight combined with soft feel, durability and control.
“The best explanation of the new PARALOID 2.0 cover is that we have added another element to the cover that helps blend the two types of Ionomers together. We blend a harder Ionomer with a softer Ionomer, which results in a cover that creates faster ball speeds for more distance with better durability and more spin around the green,” explains Callaway Golf South Pacific Product manager Ben Chester.
The new ‘High Energy Core’ of the ERC Soft increases ball speed, which is also achieved through the ‘High Speed Mantle’ creating greater efficiency between the various pieces, similarly increasing spin with wedges.
MIZUNO RB TOUR & RB TOUR X
Mizuno’s first-ever globally released golf ball model, the RB Tour and RB Tour X are unsurprisingly built with feel in mind, given Mizuno’s history and reputation for soft-feeling forged irons.
But beyond simply a pleasant sensation at impact, the softer and lower long game spin RB Tour and firmer, higher spinning RB Tour X also feature a dimple design 12 years in the making that improves aerodynamic performance.
360 Cone or C dimples, developed in Mizuno’s own wind tunnel, cover the golf balls and create more trigger points to keep fast flowing air close to the surface for longer to reduce drag and create longer shots.
Powered by a high-energy ionomer mantle layer and a graduated hardness ‘Butadiene Dual Core’, the RB Tour range also feature a urethane cover engineered for soft feel and greater greenside control.
SRIXON Z-STAR & Z-STAR XV
The recently announced seventh generation of the Srixon Z-STAR range features a new cover construction that creates greater spin and control around the greens, while new core formulations enhance ball speed for distance.
Thicker and featuring a ‘338 Speed Dimple Pattern’ that enhances aerodynamic performance, especially in the wind, the new thermoplastic urethane cover incorporates ‘Spin Skin with Slide-Ring Material (SeRM)’ that is exclusive to Srixon. The flexible material digs deeper into grooves for greater spin without compromising durability.
The softer three-piece Z-STAR utilises an all-new ‘FastLayer Core’ that transitions from softer in the centre to firmer towards the outer edge for outstanding feel and distance. The four-piece Z-STAR XV is the longer of the two balls, thanks to the same varied FastLayer Core technology as well as a more resilient inner core.
“The Z-STAR XV is played by some of the longest hitters on professional Tours around the world, and this new generation features a reformulated inner core to add even more distance. The new Z-STAR produces the highest green-side spin of any ball in our line-up, thanks to its super soft urethane cover and ‘Spin Skin’ coating,” Srixon Vice President of Research and Development Jeff Bunski said.
The second generation AVX ball from Titleist refines the groundbreaking performance of its predecessor, offering a performance alternative to the Pro V1 and Pro V1x.
The lowest-flying and spinning, softest feeling of the premium range from the company, the AVX core, cover and casing layers were re-engineered after feedback from golfers who loved the first iteration.
A larger, low compression core ensures an extremely soft feel and combines with the redesigned ‘High Flex Casing Layer’ to produce greater ball speeds and lower long game spin, resulting in increased distance.
Formulated by Titleist’s R&D chemists specifically for AVX, the thinner cover creates increased spin and control around the greens, while ‘Catenary Aerodynamic Dimple Design’ is responsible for the consistency of the penetrating and powerful ball flight.
TITLEIST PRO V1 & PRO V1x
The recently introduced 2021 Pro V1 and Pro V1x mark a significant change for Titleist. The two model’s feature the first new dimple design in a Pro V1 range in more than 10 years.
Having designed and tested more than 1,900 aerodynamic patterns since the Pro V1’s introduction more than 20 years ago, Titleist created the new 388 and 348 dimple designs of the Pro V1 and Pro V1x respectively on the softest cover formulation ever used in the Pro V1 range to create optimal flight and greater consistency. The new cover also increases spin and control around the greens.
The new models also feature a faster High-Flex Casing Layer that increases ball speed and lowers spin in the longer clubs, while the reformulated ‘2.0 ZG Process Cores’ of the solid core Pro V1 and dual core Pro V1x similarly add ball speed and distance.
Owning a softer feel, the Pro V1 will suit the majority golfers with its more penetrating flight and combination of spin and distance, whereas the Pro V1x flies higher with greater spin and a firmer feel.
Already used by many of the best players in the world including Cameron Smith, Adam Scott and Justin Thomas, both models are available in white and high optic yellow.
TITLEIST TOUR SPEED
Created after years of development and an amateur testing program, Tour Speed offers exceptional ball speed and distance, combined with all round performance golfers expect of any ball stamped “Titleist”.
The three-piece model features a high-speed core formulation and Titleist’s fastest ionomer casing layer that work together to reduce long game spin and create maximum ball speed for distance, while the specially formulated TPU cover delivers spin, control and soft feel.
Distance is further enhanced by a penetrating flight created through a 346 quadrilateral dipyramid dimple design, with every element undergoing Titleist’s testing processes to ensure consistency.
VOLVIK TOUR S3 & S4
Identified by Volvik as “the company’s most serious technology ball” designed for elite players, the Tour S3 and S4 suit players with swing speeds in excess of 95mph.
The unique core construction incorporates rubber and Bismuth, a heavy metal that is located in the outer part of the core and increases resiliency and energy transfer, while also raising the MOI of the ball and increases spin around the green and minimises it off the tee.
The softer S3 produces a mid-launch and mid-spin compared to the higher launching S4 that spins less with driver and features a dual core construction.