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Golf has boomed in popularity in recent years, and the momentum is still going strong. So far in 2022, we’ve seen a few of the best golf ball manufacturers roll out new designs and ample stocks of last year’s most popular offerings to keep all players stocked on busier golf courses.
At its essence, golf is a very simple game. The point is to propel a little white sphere across an expanse of grass until that pellet sits at the bottom of a cup 4.25 inches wide and 4 inches deep. Then again, the golf ball a player chooses to smack around all of that turf can make a significant difference in how successful and enjoyable a round of golf proves. As experienced players know, the best golf balls are essential to play at your best.
A well-made golf ball is expected to travel long distances in a straight line, to land soft and roll smoothly on the greens. It usually comes together in layers, starting with a soft rubber core and finishing with a tacky, dimpled coating. That’s where the similarities end, as you’ll see in this list of SPY’s favorite options. We’ve tested many of the golf balls below on actual greens, and have kept up to date on the latest releases from the top golf ball brands.
How We Chose the Best Golf Balls of 2022
Over the years, we’ve tested a lot of golf balls, and we’ve gathered our top picks from brands such as Titleist and Mizuno.
Depending on the expert you ask, the best golf balls can cut any number of strokes off a golf score. To that end, some balls are designed to travel farther. Others are built to spin more or stop more accurately on a green. Taking all of that into consideration, we put together a collection of the best golf ball options aimed at multiple categories of players.
In our time on the green, SPY product testers and golf experts have reviewed nearly 100 different types of golf balls from every major golf equipment company, and we’ve learned which balls are best for distance, spin, precision and a host of other factors. In addition, we recently introduced the SPY Pinseeker Award, an award series reserved for the truly elite golf products. So far, only one golf ball has been named a winner in this franchise, and you’ll have to keep reading to find out which one.
Before trying out a new ball, remember that the best golf balls may not be the right golf balls for you. You should select your ball based on what aspect of your game you most want to improve.
While there are many similarities between brands of golf balls, manufacturers still try to target their products to specific types of players. We tried to do the same, matching our recommendations to the types of players we think will benefit most from each particular option. Find yourself in the mix and get it in the bottom of that cup with the best golf balls for sale right now.
1. 2021 Titleist Pro V1
Best Overall / Best for the Pro Wannabe
It’s a hard reality that professional players on the PGA Tour play golf balls made to their exact specifications and delivered to them by their sponsors. To give the rest of us a taste of such rarified golf air, Titleist offers the 2021 Pro V1s. Completely redesigned from 2020, these new Titleist golf balls offer longer distance, very low long game spin and Titleist’s signature “Drop-and-Stop” technology.
We awarded the new Titleist Pro V1 the 2021 SPY Pinseeker Award, which is reserved for the most elite golf products. Of course, we aren’t the only ones who love these golf balls. Since their debut in January 2021, Amazon customers have given the 2021 Titleist Pro V1 a 4.9-star rating, which is an elite rating rarely seen on golf equipment (or any product, for that matter).
2. Mizuno RB 566V
Best for Hooking & Slicing
Not every player can lay a drive out 300 yards or more; however, those folks can get some legal distance help if they pick the right golf ball. The Mizuno RB 566V employs its titular 566 micro-dimples to reduce aerodynamic drag and optimize spin rate, which means this low-compression ball is designed to travel farther with better accuracy. You’ll have to head to Mizuno’s online store to buy the RB 566V, but you can get its sister ball, the RB 566 via retailers such as Amazon. The RB 566 has a 2-piece rather than 3-piece construction and isn’t quite as buttery soft, but it’s also a phenomenal ball designed for less drag and optimized spin.
3. Callaway Chrome Soft X
Best for the High Handicapper / Best for Extra Distance
When reviewing the best golf balls of 2022, there were a lot of high-quality Callaway balls to consider. We ultimately selected the new Callaway Chrome Soft for the incredible distance it provides. Updated for 2022 with precision technology for ultra-tight dispersion, the latest Callaway Chrome Soft is designed to give the high handicapper an excellent, all-purpose pellet. It has a new Hyper Elastic SoftFast Core for tour-level speed, spin and control right out of the bag, and is designed for a wide range of golfers.
4. Vice Pro Soft Golf Balls
Best for the Distance Challenged
Vice Golf doesn’t have the longstanding reputation of Callaway or the high-tech reputation of Mizuno, but this newcomer to the golf scene is already making some of our favorite balls. Available with varying core designs and coverings, Vice Golf wants to appeal to every player, from high to low handicappers, whether they are looking for distance, spin or soft landings. The Pro Soft compresses more on impact and offers more length off the tee. Like most soft golf balls, they can be more difficult to control around the greens. So, high handicap players get more distance, but low handicap players might have more trouble with shot-making.
5. TaylorMade TP5X
Best for All-Purpose Game Improvement
Hyped up by TaylorMade for its “complete performance,” the 2021 TP5X uses a new dimple pattern to improve ball flight and five-layer construction to provide a soft feel. When you see a golf ball described as “soft,” that doesn’t mean it’s a stress toy or something a dog chews on when it’s bored. It means the ball is designed to land and grab. The physics of a ball designed to be “soft” means it’ll still take flight with good compression, but it’s not looking to bounce firmly skyward when that flight terminates.
6. Honma D1
Best for the Exotic Player
You won’t find a lot of these on the course. They’re a little more on the exotic side, just like the elite clubs that Honma makes. When it comes to their golf balls, multilevel construction and a 326-dimple design make for refined performance. One additional rare feature of the Honma D1 is the glossy paint job, offering a little more glint in the sun.
7. Srixon Q-Star Tour 3
Best for the Golfer Looking for Bite
If a hacker isn’t the best with the blade out on the greens, it’s best to stop the ball closer to the hole. It’s easier to avoid three-putts if the ball lands nearer to the cup or rotates back toward the pin. The Srixon Q-Star Tour 3 wraps itself in a “Spin Skin” with SeRM (Srixon’s urethane coating with flexible molecular bonds). That wrap allows the grooves on the face of short clubs to dig deep into the ball for maximum spin in the air and greater stopping power on the green.
8. TaylorMade Tour Response
Best for the Touch Play Guru
Amongst amateurs, there are power players, and there are touch players. The power types are of the “drive for show” club who bang the golf ball like a gorilla but add strokes with ham-fisted shots from 100 yards or closer. The touch player can shape shots and deftly judge both distance and terrain. This ball also features improved elasticity. The best golf balls complement your particular style of play, which makes the TaylorMade Tour Response the perfect surgical tool for those touch play gurus. This is their most recently updated 2022 model, designed for shear resistance with a low 40 compression core.
9. Bridgestone Tour B X
Best for the Aspiring Low Handicapper
Even veteran golfers always have an element of the game that needs work. You’ll find courses and driving ranges across the country full of players working on everything from driving to chipping to putting, chasing the dragon and looking to perfect whatever element is out of whack. The rookie golfer faces the different problem of needing to work on all aspects of the game. The Bridgestone Tour B RX offers a Reactiv Urethane cover allowing the ball to react to the face of each club and shot — offering the best overall performance and flexibility to the player learning the game. The new and improved 2022 version of the ball has a REACTIV iQ with smart cover technology that reacts upon impact, enabling more distance and control.
10. Volvik S4 Golf Balls
Best Golf Balls for a Faster Swing Speed
Yes, Volvik makes white balls, too. While the company gets a lot of attention for its bright, fluorescent offerings that you more or less have to put in a water hazard to lose, the S4 appeals on quality alone. The S4 is designed for players armed with a faster swing speed — 105 mph and above. The ball will feel heavier and more solid for the average player, but that mass helps the stronger golfer utilize strength and swing speed more accurately.
11. Titleist AVX
Best for the Pop-Up Artist
While the Pro V1s get all the hype when golfers talk Titleist (and understandably so), the AVX offering is no slouch. The designers made the core larger and the coating thinner, which creates a ball that should generate more distance and maintain a lower ball flight. A player with an accurate game looking to pick up more yards would be well served with the AVX. The upgraded version of the AVX is made for delivering low flight and low iron spin for increased distance and a softer feel. It has a new core construction, a casing layer made with urethane elastomer for reactivity and a spherically-tiled dimple design.
12. Vice Drive
Best Golf Balls for New Players
Vice bases its entire image on being young and hip — inviting the millennial and post-millennial generations into the game. We should applaud them for that effort. Sure, they chose the tactic to draw what you could consider an underserved golf market, but anything that draws the technology-centric generations outside and onto the fairways is to be applauded. The Vice Drive balls are the basic, entry-level Vice options for the young player on a budget. He or she can play a well-made ball for about $20 per dozen, or well less than a buck a ball.
13. Volvik Vivid
Best for the Deep Grass Lover
If a player can’t control his or her shots, it means plenty of golf balls in the woods, the long grass, the mud, the bunker, etc. If such miss-hit balls can’t be located, it’s not only a stroke and distance penalty — it’s expensive. Buying the best golf balls can get expensive if you keep losing them. Aggressive optics go a long way toward avoiding lost balls, and Volvik’s products are synonymous with the sort of bright, neon colorations that are impossible to miss (unless you shank one into the water).
14. Slazenger V300 Soft Golf Balls
Best for the Budget Challenged
Also well known for making tennis balls, Slazenger remains one of the classic legacy brands. Their golf balls are still made in the United Kingdom, where this game evolved. Made with similar build quality to any number of American golf ball brands, a Slazenger ball comes with all of the history you’d expect from a company founded in 1881. It was the transformation of a Slazenger 1 into a Slazenger 7 that allowed James Bond to beat Goldfinger, and there’s a touch of class about playing these balls on any course.
15. Callaway 2021 ERC Triple Track
Best for Reduced Spin
While many golf balls are two-piece units, including a soft core covered by a stickier coating, the Callaway ERC Tour line opts for three layers. This multi-layer, multi-material construction allows for fast ball speed from high launch and low spin. The advantage of low spin is increased control as a high spin rate on longer shots increases the chances of hooks and slices. In addition to that cut-down spin, the ERCs bring a soft feel for useful green-side control.
16. Top Flite Bomb
Best for the Tee Box Show-Off
The World Long Drive Tour isn’t golf exactly. It’s more of a strength competition. It lacks the variety, subtly and variation of skills needed to get a golf ball from tee to cup. Still, that competition series at least has the trappings of golf. They use golf clubs and golf balls — Top Flite Bombs, to be exact. Designed to produce maximum distance, they can prove just the right prescription for length-challenged players.
17. 2021 TaylorMade TP5x
Best for the Complex Player
We’ve seen two-layer golf balls and three-layer entries as designers look to create spheres that do everything from flying low and fast off the tee to landing soft and slow on the green. The TaylorMade TP5x up the ante with five-layer construction, unique even among the best golf balls in the world. Looking to provide maximum ball speed for the biggest possible carry, these pellets are wound tighter than a juiced baseball. Before you get to the urethane cover, the TP5x packs four, increasingly stiff layers to produce more aggressive ball flight.
18. Wilson Staff DUO Professional Golf Ball
Best for the Naked Player
While Wilson is always beginner or average player–friendly, the Wilson Staff DUO Professional is significantly more ambitious. The company defines the DUO Professional as tour caliber with a multi-level urethane construction for increased precision, speed and consistent spin. The DUO Professional arrives with a matte finish and no glossy outer paint level. The idea is the matte cover delivers a lower flight trajectory that digs into a club face for more spin.
19. Wilson Staff 50 Elite
Best Golf Ball for Beginners
Let’s stay with Wilson for a minute. For decades, Wilson served as a popular player in the golf equipment game while dominating other sports such as tennis. When it comes to golf balls, Wilson Staff stands ready to assist the young player looking to ease into the game without spending $40 a dozen. The Wilson Staff 50 Elite offers a simple, two-layer design with a rubber core to invite more compression and a bit more distance — for well less than $20 a dozen.
20. 2020 Titleist Pro V1
Best Golf Ball for Sneaky Shoppers
It’s not the same ball as the 2021 Pro V1, but it still sets the standard for professional quality pellets. In terms of design, build quality and materials, the closest an amateur can get to playing a pro’s golf ball is the Titleist Pro V1. It’s the best choice for the low handicapper looking to shoot in the 70s. The 2020 versions are still on the market, albeit frequently low in stock, and often a tick below the cost of their younger siblings.
How To Choose the Right Golf Ball for Your Game
It largely depends on the quality and needs of an individual player’s game. One golfer might need more distance and higher ball flight. Another might want a softer feel around the green. Modern golf balls have clear specifications to match those needs. In general terms, the most celebrated, professional-quality golf ball for amateurs is the 2021 Titleist Pro V1.
The Mizuno RB 566V employs 566 micro-dimples around its surface to reduce aerodynamic drag and optimize spin rate. That means this low-compression ball is designed to travel farther with better accuracy and less atmospheric interference. Its increased distance, reduced drag and three-layer construction make it a strong, all-purpose golf ball.
The Callaway Supersoft offers good distance because of its “soft” construction. A golf club strikes the ball for only 1/300th of a second. The ball compresses on impact and then expands as it begins its flight. If a ball is constructed with a soft core, it aids the compression and expansion — enabling the ball to travel higher and faster. The Callaway Supersoft golf balls give the high handicapper more distance and a softer landing.
Which golf balls go the farthest? While there’s constant competition between golf ball manufacturers to claim the longest golf balls, the serious contenders are the Titleist Pro V1, 2021 TaylorMade TP5x, the Top Elite Bomb, the Vice Pro Plus and the Mizuno RB 566V.
Overall construction and materials vary from ball to ball in golf. Simpler balls use a two-layer construction, while more expensive offerings go as high as five layers of various materials. In general terms, a golf ball has a rubber or plastic core wrapped in urethane.
It’s all about aerodynamics. Regardless of size or amount, the dimples on any golf ball stir a swirling pocket of air that stays close to the urethane cover. That controlled turbulence clings to the ball's surface and allows the onrushing airflow to pass around the sphere more smoothly.
It all depends on a player’s ability. If you’re a weekend hack and slash, just something round and white with dimples will get you there. There’s no shame in that. If you can get air under the ball with some touch into your shots, more investment is in order. A dozen golf balls can cost anywhere from around $10 up to $50, so a player should choose wisely.
Looking for the golf balls used on the PGA tour? Then we've got bad news for you. Professional players on the PGA Tour use golf balls that the average player can't acquire. That's because professional golfers play with bespoke balls made to their exact specifications and provided by their sponsors. The closest you can come to playing with the golf balls used on the PGA tour? The 2021 Titleist Pro V1s golf balls, newly redesigned to more closely resemble the balls used by pro golfers.
About the Author
As a writer, John Scott Lewinski hustles around the world, writing for more than 30 international magazines and news sites. He covers lifestyle, travel, cars, motorcycles, technology, golf, liquor, fashion and hard news. As an author, he is represented by the Fineprint Literary Agency, New York. In his time writing for Spy, he’s written about playing the world’s best golf courses, tested and reviewed golf balls from Titleist, Mizuno and Vice, and covered the latest product launches in the golf world.