The Best Golf Balls for Low Handicap Players in 2022

By Nick Heidelberger

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Golf balls for low handicaps

Finding the best golf ball is like asking “what’s the best food?” The answer you get depends on the person you ask. Low handicap golfers, however, have some significant advantages in identifying the best golf ball for them. Of course, those advantages come at a premium price. Let’s take a look at the best golf balls for low handicap golfers and help you decide which one is the best for you.

You’ve worked hard to get your handicap index down into the single digits. Well done. For the purpose of this article, we’ll define a low-handicap player as someone with an index of 8.9 or lower. That puts you in the 75th percentile of male golfers who keep an index, and the 96th percentile of women. However, if you’re on the cusp of breaking into the single-digits, a lot of this information applies to you as well.

Finding a Ball for Low Handicap Golfers

As a low handicap golfer, you need a golf ball that performs. You can rely on your swing to produce all the distance and accuracy you need. It’s time to ditch the balls built to help you in those areas and find one that emphasizes workability and stopping power instead.

We mentioned earlier that low handicap golfers have some advantages when finding the best golf ball for them. There are a few reasons for that.

  1. Golf ball manufacturers invest significantly in creating the best-performance golf balls available for their professional staff and high-caliber amateurs;
  2. You’ve built enough consistency in your game that you know exactly what features will help you the most and what sacrifices you’re willing to make;
  3. You have strong swing mechanics, which means the ball that fits you and your swing today will likely still fit in 3-6 months;
  4. You’re skilled enough to test various golf balls and differentiate the ball’s performance from a particularly good or bad swing.

Of course, premium golf balls designed for players with the highest standards come with the highest price tags. If you’re looking for the best performance-at-all-costs golf ball for your game, you’re going to have to shell out $50 per dozen. However, if you’re on a bit of a budget and prefer a ball that delivers 90 percent of that performance for 60 percent of the price, there are also some solid choices in the under-$30 per dozen range.

The 11 Best Balls for Low Handicap Golfers

Our priority is to identify which golf balls deliver the best performance for low handicap players, with consideration for the fact that not every low handicap golfer demands the same characteristics from their ball. Some players prioritize the ability to shape shots, while others may need a ball that performs with a slower swing speed, and some simply don’t want to spend $50 a dozen. With all that in mind, here’s our list of the 11 best golf balls for low handicap players. Now let’s figure out which of these selections are best for your game.

Ball

Cost/Dozen

Player Profile

Standout Feature

Titleist Pro V1

$50

Players looking for lower ball flight and don’t need more spin

Combination of penetrating ball flight and soft short game feel

Callaway Chrome Soft X LS

$43

Players who prefer maximum distance over shaping shots

Straighter ball flight than most premium balls

Bridgestone Tour B XS

$50

Players with 105 MPH+ driver swing speed and want softer feel and increased spin

Penetrating flight with driver maximizes roll out and total distance

Titleist Pro V1x

$50

Players looking for more spin and higher launch

Lower driver spin, higher iron and full swing wedge spin

TaylorMade TP5

$50

Players seeking a workable ball with mid-high spin and soft feel

Ideal workability and great distance

Srixon Z-Star

$45

Maximum performance for players with swing speeds of as low as 90 MPH

Slightly lower price than competition without sacrificing performance

Volvik S4

$45

Players with swing speeds 95+ who want maximum distance and ability to hold greens

Superb tee-to-green performance makes up for lack of feel

Kirkland Signature v2.0

$18

Player seeking peak performance for bottom dollar, willing to sacrifice some consistency

Dollar for dollar the best golf ball on the market

Titleist AVX

$50

Slower swing speed player seeking more distance in exchange for control into greens

Maximum distance and flatter ball flight for moderate swing speeds

Vice Pro Plus

$29 (bulk price)

Players with high swing speed who seek low driver spin and maximum distance

Premium driver distance with high iron and wedge spin at budget price 

Wilson Staff Model

$50

Players with high swing speed who want to shape shots

Improved painting process promises unmatched consistency

Titleist Pro V1

Titleist ProV1 golf ball
Titleist

Price/Dozen

$50 [Buy at PGA Tour Superstore]

Construction

3-piece

Cover

Soft Cast Urethane Elastomer

Dimples

388

Flight

Penetrating long-game flight

Player Profile

Player looking for lower ball flight and doesn’t need more spin

Have you ever noticed that any new premium golf ball that hits the market is instantly compared to the Pro V1? That’s because the Titleist Pro V1 has been the gold standard premium golf ball for decades, and for good reason. 

The Pro V1 appeals to so many highly-skilled golfers because it combines so many desirable characteristics. It’s got distance, great short game feel, penetrating ball flight, and more than enough spin to hold greens and even spin back towards the hole on a crisp wedge or iron into the green.

When Titleist updated the Pro V1, along with its sibling the Pro V1x, in 2021, it gave the ball a pretty significant makeover. The newest version includes a softer cover for increased greenside spin, an upgraded middle layer designed for more speed and less spin in the long game, and a new core designed to produce more distance. If the Pro V1 didn’t deliver on all of these promises, it wouldn’t be the gold standard golf ball, would it? 

Pros:

  • Premium greenside feel and spin
  • Low, penetrating ball flight
  • Great distance

Cons:

  • Natural low-hitters may prefer a ball designed for higher launch

Callaway ChromeSoft X LS

Callaway Chrome Soft X LS golf ball
Callaway Golf

Price/Dozen

$43 [Buy at PGA Tour Superstore]

Construction

4-piece

Cover

Soft Urethane

Dimples

332

Flight

Medium-High

Player Profile

Players who prefer to maximum distance over shaping shots

The Callaway Chrome Soft X LS was created to combine the best features of two of Callaway's other premium offerings, the Chrome Soft, and the Chrome Soft X. The “LS” stands for low spin, meaning the Chrome Soft X LS is a low-spin version of the Chome Soft X, which is a tour version of the Chrome Soft.

The Chrome Soft X LS has a few features geared towards maximizing distance. The large core is made to promote distance. Meanwhile, the cover and dimple design focus on minimizing drag to increase distance with a penetrating ball flight.

The Chrome Soft X LS is a low spin ball designed to fly straighter and resist side spin, which means it’s a little tougher to shape when you want to hit a draw or fade. Players who want to swing as hard as they can with their driver will likely take the tradeoff, but if you’re looking for the most workable ball available, this isn’t it.

Pros:

  • Excellent distance
  • Straighter ball flight than most premium balls
  • Available with Triple Track alignment
  • Costs less than most balls in this category

Cons:

  • Less workable than other premium options

Bridgestone Tour B XS

Bridgestone Tour B XS golf ball
PGA Tour Superstore

Price/Dozen

$50 [Buy at PGA Tour Superstore]

Construction

3-piece

Cover

REACTIV iQ Urethane

Dimples

330

Flight

Medium

Player Profile

Players with 105 MPH+ driver swing speed and want softer feel and increased spin

If it’s good enough for Tiger Woods, it should be good enough for you, right? The Bridgestone Tour B XS isn’t only the ball Tiger plays competitively, but it’s the ball he actually helped develop. 

The Tour B XS doesn’t try to be everything to every golfer. It clearly indicates on the package that it’s ideal for players with a swing speed of 105 MPH or above. Bridgestone’s REQCTIV iQ cover is designed for increased ball speed, more spin, and soft greenside feel, all characteristics many low handicap players look for in a ball. The ball also launches low off the driver, which increases total distance after a little extra roll.

Pros:

  • Very workable
  • Premium soft feel cover
  • Excellent durability

Cons:

  • Increased ball speed offset by increased spin

Titleist Pro V1x

Titleist ProV1x golf ball
Titleist

Price/Dozen

$50 [Buy at PGA Tour Superstore]

Construction

4-piece

Cover

Soft Cast Urethane Elastomer

Dimples

348

Flight

High

Player Profile

Players looking for more spin and higher launch

The Titleist Pro V1x is a great alternative to the Pro V1 for low handicap players who are willing give up some soft greenside feel for a higher ball flight and a little more spin. 

The sibling models perform almost identically in the short game, and with the driver, but the Pro V1x provides a bit more spin on iron and wedge shots. Although the 2021 edition of the Pro V1x is trending softer than previous versions, it’s still firmer than the Pro V1, leaving low handicap players a choice of which feel they prefer within Titleist’s premium lineup.

The Pro V1x is a 4-piece ball and includes a dual core, as opposed to the Pro V1 which is a single-core, 3-piece ball. The Pro V1x also has a slightly different dimple pattern and is designed to fly a bit higher than the Pro V1, lending itself to the naturally low-hitting player who wants some extra lift from their ball.

Pros:

  • Dual core helps increase ball speed compared to Pro V1
  • Optimized spin through the bag, lower spin in the long game, higher spin with irons and full swing wedges
  • Higher launch for naturally low-hitting players and those who prefer a higher ball flight

Cons:

  • Firmer feel may not appeal to all players

TaylorMade TP5

TaylorMade TP5 golf ball
TaylorMade Golf

Price/Dozen

$50 [Buy at PGA Tour Superstore]

Construction

5-piece

Cover

Soft Cast Urethane

Dimples

322 Tour Flight Dimple Pattern for More Carry

Flight

Medium-High

Player Profile

Players seeking a workable ball with mid-high spin and soft feel

The TaylorMade TP5 golf ball gets its name from its 5-piece construction. Each layer is designed to enhance a different part of your game. TaylorMade gave the TP5 a larger core for more ball speed in its 2021 edition. The progressively-stiff inner layers help optimize performance from long irons to wedges, and the soft cast urethane cover adds the soft feel and greenside spin many low handicap players prefer. The cover also features what TaylorMade calls the “Tour Flight” dimple pattern, which essentially is designed to reduce drag, and provide longer carry. Translation: more distance.

The spin profile of the TP5 is the highest in TaylorMade’s premium ball lineup, compared to the TP5x and Tour Response. This will appeal to players who want to shape the ball on command and like ample stopping power, but may deter others who favor a straighter ball flight.

If you like unique designs on your golf ball, the TP5 is available with TaylorMade’s Pix cover, a triangular-looking pattern that can serve as a useful alignment aid.

Pros:

  • Available with unique Pix putting alignment can appeal to some players
  • Soft feel
  • Produces high ball speed

Cons:

  • Perhaps too much spin for naturally high-spin players, windy days, or players who prefer accuracy over workability

Srixon Z-Star

Srixon Z-Star golf ball
Dick's Sporting Goods/Golf Galaxy

Price/Dozen

$45 [Buy at PGA Tour Superstore]

Construction

3-piece

Cover

Urethane

Dimples

338

Flight

Medium

Player Profile

Suitable for any player with 90+ MPH swing speed

The Srixon Z-Star is a little different than some of its competitors on this list. With a compression of 90, players with swing speeds as low as 90 miles per hour can still reap maximum benefits from the Z-Star, while it still performs for those who swing faster than 100 miles per hour.

The Z-Star is a 3-piece ball, but its “FastLayer Core” almost acts as two different layers. The core is soft at the center, but gradually becomes firmer at the edge. This helps deliver the soft feel while improving ball speed. The urethane cover features Srixon’s “Spin Skin” coating, which helps the ball grab your club face, spin more, and hold greens.

At $45 per dozen, the Z-Star offers a slight price break from the standard $50 price tag of most premium balls, without cutting on performance. 

Pros:

  • Preferred feel on short game shots
  • Outstanding durability
  • Costs less than many competitors without sacrificing performance

Cons:

  • Top-end swing speed players may lose some distance compared to Z-Star XV

Volvik S4

Volvik S4 golf ball
Dick's Sporting Goods/Golf Galaxy

Price/Dozen

$45 [Buy at PGA Tour Superstore]

Construction

4-piece

Cover

Urethane

Dimples

336

Flight

Medium-Low

Player Profile

Players with swing speeds 95+ who want maximum distance and a ball that holds greens

Volvik is known more for its bright-colored, distance-at-all-costs offerings than its premium golf balls, but the brand offers some stiff competition to the household name premium balls with the Volvik S4

Through its 4-piece construction, the S4 turns out high spin on full swing shots with wedges and irons for plenty of stopping power. Meanwhile, the dramatically reduced driver spin yields top-end distance. 

What the S4 lacks in greenside feel, it makes up for with control. Although it’s not the softest ball off the club face on those chips and pitch shots around the green, the S4 is very controllable around the green, a tradeoff many low handicap players would happily make.

Checking in a few dollars under most of the competition while offering ideal all-around performance, the S4 will appeal to many low handicap players and golfers who want maximum distance, spin into greens, and control in the short game.

Pros:

  • Great greenside control
  • High spin on full swing iron and wedge shots provides top-end stopping power into greens
  • Low spin off the driver helps turn out maximum distance

Cons:

  • Lacks soft feel around the green
  • Not as durable as other premium offerings

Kirkland Signature v2.0

Kirkland Signature golf ball
Image courtesy of Costco Wholesale

Price/Dozen

$18 [Buy on Amazon]

Construction

3-piece

Cover

Urethane

Dimples

338

Flight

Penetrating

Player Profile

Player seeking peak performance for bottom dollar, willing to sacrifice some consistency

The Kirkland Signature V2.0 got our nod for the best value golf ball on the market because, dollar for dollar, no other golf ball churns out this level of performance. But how does the Kirkland Signature perform straight up against the best premium golf balls, forgetting about cost? The Kirkland Signature V2.0 does in fact pack premium performance. It delivers on promises of superb distance, soft feel, high iron spin, and greenside control. 

When compared to other value golf balls, the Kirkland Signature is a no-brainer for many players, but the biggest difference players shopping for a premium golf ball are likely to notice is consistency. From shot-to-shot and ball-to-ball, the Kirkland Signature won’t deliver the consistency players expect from, for comparison sake, a Pro V1. At the end of the day, it’s up to each individual player to decide if the insane price difference is worth the tradeoff. 

Pros:

  • Unbeatable performance for the price
  • High spin rate with irons and wedges offers good stopping power
  • Satisfying control around the greens

Cons:

  • Ball-to-ball, shot-to-shot consistency falls short of premium competition

Titleist AVX

Titleist AVX golf ball
Titleist

Price/Dozen

$50 [Buy at PGA Tour Superstore]

Construction

3-piece

Cover

Cast Urethane

Dimples

348

Flight

Low

Player Profile

Slower swing speed player seeking flatter ball flight and more distance in exchange for control into greens

The Titleist AVX is the third Titleist ball to make our list, but for very different reasons than the Pro V1 and Pro V1x. The AVX is a low spin ball with a lower compression, designed to give players with a lower swing speed optimal distance, and to help optimize the ball flight of players who hit the ball higher than they would like. While the AVX delivers on its distance and penetrating ball flight promises, those features come with a tradeoff.

Any ball that flies low with low spin will produce low stopping power, it’s simple physics. While players who put the AVX into play will likely notice, and appreciate, a more optimal ball flight, it could take a little tinkering to learn how the ball reacts into greens. If at the end of the day it simply means planning for a little more roll out on approach shots, it’s a tradeoff many players who benefit from the other characteristics of the AVX will happily make.

Pros:

  • Long distance through the bag
  • Flatter, penetrating ball flight helps optimize trajectory of naturally high-hitting players
  • Improved short game spin compared to previous AVX, but still behind competition

Cons:

  • Distance features result in sacrificing stopping power

Vice Pro Plus

Vice Pro Plus golf ball
Vice Golf

Price/Dozen

$29 (bulk)/$36 (individual) [Buy at Target]

Construction

4-piece

Cover

Urethane

Dimples

336

Flight

Low

Player Profile

Players with high swing speed who seek maximum distance

The Vice Pro Plus offers a premium, but budget, golf ball, something low handicappers who are tired of shelling out $50 a dozen will appreciate. The Pro Plus rivals the Titleist Pro V1x with its spin, launch and feel characteristics. It’s built for high-swing speed players who want to work the ball and either prefer, or can live with, a firmer-feeling ball. It’s not a low-spin ball, but it still packs plenty of distance with stopping power to boot.

The Pro Plus gets its low spin, long-distance driving characteristics from the large core, while the cover and outer layers favor higher wedge and iron spin.

If you stock up for the season, you can get five dozen Vice Pro Plus balls for $29 a dozen, but if you just want to try them out, or prefer to buy a dozen at a time, each box runs $36.

Pros:

  • Premium distance for high swing speed players
  • Low driver spin, high spin with irons and wedges
  • Performance rivals balls that cost much more

Cons:

  • Some players will be turned off by the firm feel
  • Durability falls short of premium competitors

Wilson Staff Model

Wilson Staff Model golf ball
PGA Tour Superstore

Price/Dozen

$50 [Buy at PGA Tour Superstore]

Construction

4-piece

Cover

Urethane

Dimples

362

Flight

Lower

Player Profile

Players with high swing speed who want to shape shots

It’s no secret that golf ball manufacturers will do anything to make a ball that stands out from the crowd. Wilson has taken an uncharted path to create a better ball, chasing accuracy and consistency through the process used to paint the Wilson Staff Model. Wilson promises every Staff Model ball boasts a “nearly flawless finish", which improves consistency from ball to ball, and just may lower your scores.

While traditional painted urethane-covered balls are in fact suseptible to slight blotches and imperfections here and there, it’s tough to measure the impact on the ball’s performance, or how much Wilson’s technique makes a difference. 

Aside from the paint, the Wilson Staff Model is a good, premium golf ball. The 4-piece construction is designed to make the Staff Model a high spin ball that low handicap players can shape with any club in the bag, and hold greens. It doesn’t have the softest feel in the premium category, but not every player prefers a soft-feeling ball.

Pros:

  • Workable from tee to green
  • Premium distance off the tee

Cons:

  • Lacks some greenside control
  • Second-tier durability

Picking the Best Ball for Your Game

These golf balls are all great selections for low handicap players, but you’ll notice there are some differences in their intended trajectory and the construction of the ball. Let’s take a look at how these factors influence a golf ball’s performance to help you decide which ball is best for you, or which few you’d like to test.

Construction

The golf balls on this list are all multi-layer balls, meaning there are additional layers beyond the baseline 2-piece, core and cover design. But what does that mean for you? Each additional layer of a golf ball caters to a different area of your game. 

The core of any ball has the biggest overall influence on performance, and largely dictates the ball’s compression, driver spin, and feel. However, the more layers, the more the ball can help manipulate performance in other areas of your game.

Each outter layer is designed for a specific purpose. The mantle on a 3-piece ball influences launch and spin with irons. The outer mantle, and its relationship with the other pieces of the ball, influences short game performance. For example, a 4-piece ball with a soft cover and hard outer layer produces a lower-launching, higher-spinning short game shot, which many low handicap players desire.

It’s fair to say that 3-piece golf balls have a layer built to optimize iron performance, but since the size and firmness of each layer and its relationship with the layers around it influence the overall performance of the ball, there’s no hard-and-fast rule of thumb to correlate the number of layers a golf ball has with the type of player or area of the game it’s designed for.

Cover

There are two predominant materials used on golf ball covers, ionomer and urethane. Most premium golf balls, including all 11 of our recommendations for low handicap players, feature urethane covers. Urethane is more durable and will influence the ball to spin more, which is typically preferred by low handicap golfers who want to hold greens with every club in the bag. 

On the other hand, mid- and high-handicap players might prefer a ball with less spin, which would help them gain some distance and reduce penal side-spin, and those players would benefit from an ionomer-covered ball.

Dimples & Flight

Dimples on a golf ball reduce drag, which increases distance. Dimples also influence lift, and launch. The number of dimples is not as important as their purpose. A ball that intends to fly higher can achieve its desired trajectory by utilizing shallower dimples, while a ball with deeper dimples will fly lower.

The more important characteristic to note is the ball’s intended trajectory, and how that matches up with your preferences. Note your trajectory, whether it’s low, high, or medium, and whether it’s working for your game or not. You may have a low ball flight, but you can control it and it works for your game, so why change? Or you may want the exact opposite trajectory than what you currently have. Either way, find a ball that caters to what you want.

Test, Pick and Commit

By now you should know everything you need to know about how the construction of a golf ball impacts your game, and which balls are likely to perform the best for you. 

The best thing to do next is to test the top two or three balls that you think would make the biggest impact on your game, and see how they actually perform on the course. Once you determine which of those is best for you, commit to playing that ball for the medium to long term. You’ll notice improved consistency when you play the same ball, and if it truly is a great ball for your game, you’ll appreciate the benefits it brings.

About the Author

Nick Heidelberger is the Editor of GolfLink. He has a degree in journalism from the University of Idaho and has been an avid golfer for more than 10 years. In the years prior to joining GolfLink, he worked for the New England Section of the PGA of America.