A new golf ball can cost anywhere from 50 cents to $5 but do expensive golf balls make a difference?
When you play are your balls there for a good time, but not a long time? If you are losing several balls per round, $5 each can add up quickly. Have you ever hit your first tee shot of the day out of bounds and thought “I didn’t really get my money’s worth out of that one”?
How much should you spend on a dozen golf balls? You want to perform at your best, but golf can be an expensive activity. How many strokes do you save playing a premium ball compared to the one you found in the lake?
Do Expensive Golf Balls Make A Difference?
The quick answer – it depends. Helpful, right? The difference in the type of golf ball you use makes will change based on several factors. Your playing level (PGA Tour Pro vs. Elite Amateur vs. Weekend Warrior 18-handicapper vs. Beginner). The type of player you are – fundamental, mechanical, or feel. Mentally, do you feel more positive hitting a nicer ball – Bobby Jones famously said, “Golf is a game that is played on a 5-inch course – the distance between your ears”. Let’s talk about golf ball pricing and how to make the best decision.
Is there a difference between golf balls?
There are many different types of golf balls on the market, for several different price points, but we will focus on Premium, Mid-Range, and Low.
- Premium – that balls that Tiger, Rory, Ricky, and Phil play. They have all the technology that golf manufacturers can develop to be long, soft, and straight.
- Mid-Range – costing 40% less than the premium ball, mid-range still provide playability and the vast majority of amateur players can’t tell the difference between premium and mid-range. Often designed for slightly slower swing speeds, which can help the average golfer.
- Low – costing 60% – 80% less than premium, these are designed to be less expensive. They will often be marketed as long, because they are typically very hard. The primary goal – ability to buy a lot of balls, for not much money.
Which price range should you be shopping in?
Are you fighting to break 100 or par?
The most significant factor to consider when deciding if you need a premium golf ball is your current level of play. 100% of PGA tour professionals leverage a ball that would fall in our Premium category. You will find the occasional exception when a pro is paid endorsement money to play a Mid-Range ball, but that is rare.
At this highest level of golf, the expensive ball definitely makes a difference. A professional golfer will spend hours on the range trying different models to determine the ball that provides the feel, spin rate, and speed/length they desire. When Tiger switched from playing a Nike to Bridgestone, he spent days with the engineers discussing/designing how the ball should feel, react, and fly.
What are you goals in the game of golf? What is your current handicap? As you are deciding if you need an expensive golf ball, be realistic about your game. Unless you are consistently hitting shots on the sweet spot, you aren’t going to experience the advantages that a premium ball provides, so what are you paying for?
Are you a feel player?
Do you have mechanical swing thoughts about club position, or do you just try to make a natural swing? Do you care if the ball feels hard when you hit your driver, chip to the green, or putt? If the feel of the ball is important to you, you may want to try a mid-range priced golf ball. Low priced golf balls will typically feel firm and many players struggle with this near and on the greens. It can also be harder to spin a Low-priced ball and get it to stop close to the hole.
If the feel of a Low-priced ball doesn’t bother you, you may want to stay in that price range.
How will I know if I don’t try the premium and mid-range balls?
The good news – other people will play these balls and most likely lose them. When you are on the course, always keep your eyes open. In some cases, it is like finding $5 in the woods under some leaves. The great thing about finding balls, is that you can try different types and see if you notice a difference.
If you don’t want to count on Lady Luck, there are some other alternatives. One great way to get Mid-Range balls for the price of low are Logo Overruns. You can find these sales online. The balls are discounted because they have someone’s logo printed on them, but they are brand new.
If you want to try an expensive ball without dropping the premium cash, look for X-outs or Practice balls. These are premium balls that either have a slight imperfection or were intended to be used on a driving range. They are brand new and will let you get the feel of a premium ball.
And maybe just for fun, ask for a dozen premium balls as a gift. Maybe as a holiday or birthday present. Just don’t try to slip that on your wedding registry – it won’t go over well!
Unless you are getting paid to play golf, a premium golf ball will not make much difference in your game but may in your bank account. A simple way to think about it, if you start playing 18 holes without losing a ball, the extra investment might be worth it.
Try some different mid-range and low-priced balls – how do they feel? Do you notice a difference in how they play? Do you feel more confident playing one brand versus another? Do you like playing the same brand as your favorite professional golfer? Almost all top golf brands offer a mid-range ball to suit your game.
Golf is a great way to spend the afternoon, regardless of the type of ball you hit down the fairway. Stick with mid-range or low price balls and save your money for the 19th hole!