In 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 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. Still, that’s where the similarities end, as we’ll see in this list of our 18 unique options.
Depending on the expert you ask, the equipment boost of a quality golf ball can cut any number 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.
While there are many similarities between brands of golf balls, manufacturers still try to target their products to specific types of players. We broke this list down into whom would benefit from every type of construction. Find yourself in the mix and get it in the bottom of that cup.
1. Mizuno RB 566V
Best Overall / 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. New for 2020, the Mizuno RB 566V employs its titular 566 micro-dimples arranged all 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 thanks to less atmospheric interference.
We’ve tested and reviewed the Mizuno RB 566V ball in more detail, here’s the bottom line: thanks to its unique design and immediate impact on your play, it’s our top pick among the best golf balls of 2020.
2. Callaway Chrome Soft
Best for the High Handicapper / Best for Extra Distance
When reviewing the best golf balls of 2020, 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. All good golf balls work due to compression. Put simply, the golf club strikes the ball for about 1/300th of a second. For that briefest of moments, 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. New for 2020, the latest Callaway Chrome Soft employs a Graphene-infused Dual SoftFast Core to give the high handicapper an excellent, all-purpose pellet. On top of that, with minimal drag, you’ll be amazed at how far this ball flies off the tee.
3. 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 the best golf balls in the world. Available with varying core designs and coverings, Vice Golf wants to appeal to every player, from high to low handicappers, whether he or she is looking for distance, spin or soft landings. The Pro Soft compress more on impact and offer 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.
4. Srixon Soft Feel
Best for Less Accurate Greens Player
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. Srixon Soft Feel golf balls are for the target golfer looking to enhance his or her ability to aim and stop a ball on a dime. These popular golf balls are also some of the top-rated golf balls on Amazon, with a 4.7-star rating even after 1,500 reviews.
5. Titleist Pro V1
Best for the Pro Wannabe
It’s a hard reality that professional players on the PGA Tour play golf balls that the average recreational enthusiast cannot acquire. The top combatants on the temporarily suspended tournament circuit receive bespoke balls made to their specifications delivered to them by their sponsors. 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.
6. 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 new “Spin Skin” with SeRM (Srixon’s new 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.
7. 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. The 2020 version of 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.
8. Bridgestone 2020 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 2020 Tour B X 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.
9. Volvik S4 Golf Balls
Best 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, their S4s appeal on their 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.
10. 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, either. The designers made the core larger and the coating thinner. That 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.
11. Vice Drive
Best Golf Balls for New Players
Vice bases their 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.
12. 2020 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).
13. Slazenger V100 Distance
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 balls 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.
14. Callaway 2020 Diablo Tour
Best for Extra Spin
While many golf balls are two-piece units, including a soft core covered by a stickier coating, the Diablo Tour line opts for three layers. The large, soft Power Core is wrapped by an HPF inner cover layer to create more spin for control and shot-making. Outside of that, a soft Ionomer blend cover employs a HEX aerodynamic dimple pattern to reduce aerodynamic drag. And, they’re very, very red.
15. Mizuno MP-X
Best for the Fair Weather Golfer
Covered in a special, thinner urethane cover, the Mizuno MP-Xs are high compression golf balls that work especially well in warm weather conditions. While most balls work well in the heat (since the 21st-century version of the game is played mostly in fair conditions), the MP-X’s four-piece construction allows for higher compression at impact. That’ll get it flying especially well when it’s warm, though the ball might be a little more reluctant if conditions cool.
16. Top Flite 2020 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. It’s more grip it and rip it. In fact, if you’re winding up to strike your tee shot and you look the guy on the box below, good luck on your form. Still, that competition series at least has the trappings of golf. They use golf clubs. They use 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. 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. 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. Trust Bison Soft
Best for the Older Player
A more niche brand that doesn’t come up when most gofers are talking about the Titleists, the TaylorMades, the Srixons and such, Trust makes golf balls for the slower swinger. If an older golfer or perhaps one of lesser stature can’t manage the swing speeds used my low handicappers playing the Pro V1s of the world, the bouncier Trust Bison Soft can help a player pick up a few more yards.
19. Wilson Staff 50 Elite
Best Golf Ball for Beginners
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. Snell Get Sum Golf Balls
Best for the Free-Thinking Golfer
You can grab a dozen Snell golf balls for around $20 a dozen and end up with a sphere with a deep-set, soft core in the hope of limiting spin and increasing distance. Since that’s more or less the standard claim most soft ball manufacturers make, Snell adds a Surlyn cover to add some stickiness and touch around the greens. Another company looking for that young golfer market, Snell partners up with Linksoul to market their products. There aren’t a lot of top golfers playing Snell, yet. However, we think that’s due to change in 2021.