Best golf ball 2021: play better and drive farther with these top choices

Enhance your game by playing with the best golf balls for your style and swing

Best golf ball
(Image credit: Future)

The best golf ball could make your game an exhilarating rush where every shot just seems to go right. Granted, you may need to employ some skill and have some decent golf clubs as well, but having some decent golf balls is certainly not a hindrance – especially if their construction suits your style of play (within the rules). Golf ball brands spend thousands of hours and dollars each year working hard at the science to improve their golf balls. It's also a very profitable business, of course.

A great golf ball isn't going to immediately make you a professional golfer – but it could be the difference between an average shot and a great one. In a game where everything counts, picking up some of the best golf balls available is a relatively affordable way to improve your game.

There are a lot of golf balls out there to pick from, but luckily for you we've done all the work of going through them to find the best of the bunch. That means balls for beginners but also golf balls for those seasoned players looking to push their handicap to a whole new level. 

Since different balls are designed for different situations, you may even want more than one type for your round. Read on to find out everything you need to know about picking the best golf ball to make your game better.

There are a lot of golf balls out there to pick from, but luckily for you we've done all the work of going through them to find the best of the bunch. That means balls for beginners but also golf balls for those seasoned players looking to push their handicap to a whole new level.

Since different balls are designed for different situations, you may even want more than one type for your round. Read on to find out everything you need to know about picking the best golf ball to make your game better.

On a mission to assemble the best golf kit possible? Read about the best golf watches, best golf bags, best golf shoes and the best drivers on T3. Don't let the bad weather deter you from playing your favourite sport: the best golf waterproofs will keep you dry, even if it's pouring down on the green.

Best golf balls: a close up image of a golf ball on a green

Choosing the best golf ball for you

It's important to understand how golf balls vary, so that you have an idea of which ones are worth investing your budget in.

The main thing you need to think about when it comes to buying golf balls is 'squidge'. That doesn't sound very technical, but we're simply talking about the difference between soft and hard golf balls. 

A harder ball offers the best resilience to your impact, meaning all of the power is retained for longer drives. The trade-off is that while this enhances the power you put in, any errors will be more pronounced. 

A softer ball is more malleable to your club. This helps it absorb any slight errors you might make and offers greater accuracy, but at the cost of some power.

These differences are referred to as high spin (hard) or low spin (soft). Luckily you don't need to go with one extreme or the other, as there are many grades that let you pick the best golf ball for your game and style.

The best golf balls, in order of preference

best golf balls: TaylorMade Tour ResponseT3 Best Buy Award badge

(Image credit: TaylorMade)

1. TaylorMade Tour Response

A premium ball for average players

Specifications
Quantity: 12
Dimples: 322
Handicap: Beginner to intermediate
Colour: White, High Visibility Yellow
Reasons to buy
+Great backspin+Flexible feel+Performs like a premium ball
Reasons to avoid
-Not the cheapest

This is a great choice for mid-level golfers. In essence it is a premium ball aimed at average golfers. Whereas most premium balls cater mainly for the top level players, the Tour Response is designed to benefit golfers who don’t produce the kind of clubhead speed you will find on the PGA Tour.

The hi-spring and ultra-low compression core is housed under a triple layer with a urethane cover to ensure high spin around the greens.

For the vast majority of club golfers the Tour Response is going to give you everything a ProV1 or TP5 does and in some cases it will give you more. It launches higher and spins less than the TP5 so it will carry further and also run a little more.  

The Tour Response comes in at a lower price point than the TP5. It isn’t hugely cheaper but a little under a pound per ball is a decent enough saving, especially for golfers who lose several balls per round.

It’s also very durable and you’ll lose this ball in the woods or in the water before you’ll ever need to replace it due to damage.

If you want to know more about the Tour Response or the TP5 range of golf balls, we put together this useful guide to the best TaylorMade golf balls.

The best golf balls: Titleist Pro V1 12T3 Approved badge

2. Titleist Pro V1

The best golf ball for distance, but with short game control

Specifications
Quantity: 12
Dimples: 352
Handicap: Everyone
Colour: White
Reasons to buy
+Great all-round ball+No.1 choice for touring pros
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

Titleist likes to remind us that that the Pro V1 is the No 1 ball used by professionals on worldwide golf tours, but that it's a great ball for non-superstars as well.

The ball is manufactured to perfectly balance short game control without sacrificing good yardage from the tee. Whether it achieves that might be subjective, but our testers sing the Pro V1’s praises as a great all-round golf ball with consistent results.

This model is one of the most expensive in our round-up of the best golf balls, but if you have at least some level of skill it's worth the investment. If you're a total newbie, consider one of the cheaper options here to hone your skills first.

The best golf balls: Callaway Chrome SoftT3 Approved badge

3. Callaway Chrome Soft Golf Balls

Weekend warriors, this is the best golf ball for you

Specifications
Quantity: 12
Dimples: 332
Handicap: Everyone
Colour: White
Reasons to buy
+Made from super-tough graphene +Longer carry distance

For golfers looking for more distance without paying a premium, there’s Callaway's four-piece Chrome Soft, designed with a Graphene Dual SoftFast Core. Graphene is the strongest and thinnest material on earth. At just one atom thick, it weighs a seventh of the weight of air yet is 200 times stronger than steel. 

This means that Callaway's Chrome Soft golf ball has the thinnest possibly outer core, and a larger inner core. That all works to enhance the ball’s speed, while it still retains a soft feel for around and on the greens. Thanks to aerodynamically designed Hex dimples, the Chrome Soft also provides longer carry distance off the tee and long shots into greens.

The Chrome Soft has several variants, including the Chrome Soft X and X LS, and all are available in triple-track design as well as the distinctive 'truvis' soccer ball pattern.

For a more detailed look at all of the above you should check out our extensive guide to which Callaway golf ball is best for you

Wilson Staff Model R Golf BallT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Future)

4. Wilson Staff Model R

The world's first unpainted urethane ball

Specifications
Quantity: 12
Dimples: 362
Handicap: Low
Colour: Unpainted
Reasons to buy
+Premium golf ball+Straighter flight, more consistency
Reasons to avoid
-Discolours quickly

The Staff Model R is unpainted, or ‘raw’, because Wilson claim that paint application can be inconsistent and that sometimes there will be more paint in one dimple than others. 

In theory those imperfections can affect how the the golf ball flies and so Wilson brought out an unpainted, ‘raw’ golf ball with no paint ‘splodges’ to promote an ultra consistent performance from each and every ball produced. 

Paint is the only thing lacking with this ball as it has everything else you’d expect in a premium golf ball. Four layers, including a V-COR for increased distance and a urethane cover for maximum control. When it comes to performance it can hold its own with anything at the top end of the market.

Durability is certainly an issue though. It turns out that there’s actually a very good reason why golf balls are painted! This ball will quickly pick up grass stains, mud marks and will generally become discoloured in no time at all. This does not impact on performance at all but visually it may be off-putting to some. 

Most golfers like a shiny, brand new looking golf ball so this dirty, used look won’t appeal to the majority and they would be better served with the painted version of the Staff Model. The 'raw' version is one for the golf hipsters really. 

For a more in depth look at the Staff Model and Staff Model R, check out our handy guide to find out which Wilson golf ball is best for you.

The best golf balls: TaylorMade TPX5T3 Approved badge

5. TaylorMade TP5x

The celebrity endorsed TP5x works for pros and amateurs alike

Specifications
Quantity: 12
Dimples: 332
Handicap: Everyone
Colour: White
Reasons to buy
+Great for all styles of play+Good for green and tee
Reasons to avoid
-Too much spin for some

Famously used by former world No.1 golfer Rory McIlroy, who says: "I started hitting the TP5x ball and I was like, 'This is what I've been missing'." Made with five layers, leading manufacturer TaylorMade intends for these balls to be compatible with every club in your bag, on the tee or the green.

A favourite in our best golf balls round-up, the TP5x's core supplies progressive compression to transfer as much energy from your swing to the ball. A dual-spin cover ensures accuracy when putting. You might find there's a little too much spin on the ball, but we think it’s a decent alternative to the Titleist Pro V1. 

OnCore VERO X1 golf balls

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6. OnCore Vero X1

The best ball you probably aren't aware of

Specifications
Quantity: 12
Dimples: 318
Compression: 80-85
Handicap: 15 and under
Colour: White
Reasons to buy
+Delivers tour quality spin, control and feel+It's LONG too!
Reasons to avoid
-Not cheap when you add in cost of postage

The chances are you haven't heard of this ball even though it performs as well as anything out there. OnCore Golf are a direct to consumer company based in Buffalo who have developed a loyal and dedicated following since their foundation in 2011.

Aimed at intermediate to highly skilled golfers, the VERO X1 is their newest ball and was launched in 2020. It is comprised of a four piece design with a cast urethane premium cover that delivers tour level control around the greens, but the most impressive thing about the VERO X1 is the distance off the tee. 

A metal infused mantle combined with enhanced perimeter weighting gives this ball the highest allowable velocity off the club face, giving it seriously impressive length with the driver. This ball goes!

At $39.99 a dozen it comes in under the price of most premium, tour standard balls but it isn't especially cheap when you factor in postage (although free shipping is offered in the US on orders over $100). 

Loyalty packages are available whereby you get discount the more you spend and for an extra $5.99 you can customise your golf balls too, which is a cool option you don't have when buying from a store.

The best golf balls: Titleist AVXT3 Approved badge


7. Titleist AVX

A soft and long alternative to the ProV1

Specifications
Quantity: 12
Dimples: 352
Handicap: Everyone
Colour: White
Reasons to buy
+Consistent ball flight+Great soft feel on all shots 

Titleist's AVX ball is one of the best products on the market thanks to its combination of clever technology and excellent performance. It has a soft feel due to its smart core, cover and aerodynamic design, yet delivers significant distance. 

It’s a premium ball and price on a level with the Pro V1 and Pro V1x in all-round tee-to-green performance, but creates a lower spin and launch angle while still having the softest feel of the lot. 

The core is low in compression, allowing for high speeds and greater distances. Plus, the spherically-tiled 352 tetrahedral catenary designed dimples aim to create an optimal and consistent flight path.

The best golf balls: Vice Pro SoftT3 Approved badge

8. Vice Pro Soft

The best golf ball for increased visibility

Specifications
Quantity: 12
Dimples: 336
Handicap: Beginners to intermediate
Colour: White, Lime, Red
Reasons to buy
+Optimal flight trajectory+Great value for a pro golf ball

The Pro Soft has been optimised for distance for serious amateurs who have a medium-to-fast swing speed. This is one of a range of premium golf balls by Vice, available at a lower price compared to similar spec models. 

Vice says the Pro Soft is the the first matte-finished cast urethane golf ball in the world, thanks to silicate particles in the lacquer, which creates an anti-glare effect when you’re addressing the ball. 

Improved visibility in the sky and on the ground is another reason why the Pro Soft has made our round-up of the best golf balls you can buy. Also, S2TG tech in the cover has created a very thin skin, which some reviewers say creates nearly as much backspin on iron shots into greens as top tour balls.

best golf balls: Bridgestone Tour B RXT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Bridgestone )

9. Bridgestone Tour B RX

A fantastic ball for golfers that are serious about their game

Specifications
Quantity: 12
Dimples: 322
Handicap: Intermediate
Colour: White, Yellow
Reasons to buy
+Superb distance+Accurate+Excellent greenside control
Reasons to avoid
-Some might want less spin

The Bridgestone Tour B RX is a fantastic ball for golfers that are serious about their game – so not one for beginners then. This ball offers a lot of spin, which is great if you know what to do with it, of course. The Gradational Compression Core means a low compression ratio which delivers lots of speed and makes this ideal for those with a slower swing. That speed also comes from great aerodynamics thanks to the Dual Dimple design and Seamless Cover. All that means that when the ball is in flight there is far less drag giving greater consistency to your game off the tee.

The Urethane cover helps resist slipping and is also very durable for longer term use. This ball offers plenty of balance and consistency thanks to reduced side spin off the tee. But, as mentioned before, there's still plenty of spin when you want it, making this great for your long and short game. 

Wilson Staff Duo Soft+ golf ballT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Future)

10. Wilson Staff DUO Soft+

The world's softest two-piece ball

Specifications
Quantity: 12
Dimples: 302
Handicap: Mid-High
Colour: Various
Reasons to buy
+Great distance for slow swingers+Terrific value

According to Wilson, the DUO+ is world’s softest and longest premium 2-piece ball and if you are struggling with your game this might help you. 

It is far from being the 'best' golf ball on the market but for many golfers the better ball is not the expensive one that is played by so many players on the PGA Tour, it's the cheap 2-piece. low compression ball. For a tour pro or even a single figure handicap amateur player, a ball like the DUO would harm their game but for most average players it’s the opposite.

Senior golfers or mid-high handicappers with a slow to medium speed golf swing will not find a better ball to suit their game and with it being such a great price it is a definite contender for the best all around value for money golf ball on the market.

OnCore ELIXR Golf BallT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Future)

11. OnCore ELIXR

Accuracy, control and feel all in an affordable package

Specifications
Quantity: 12
Dimples: 318
Compression: 80
Handicap: : Sub 18
Colour: White / Yellow / Matt Green
Reasons to buy
+Great performance and feel+Tour quality yet affordable

Along with OnCore’s other offerings, the AVANT 55 (2-piece low compression ball) and VERO X1 (see above), the ELIXR offers strong performance at an affordable price. 

The ELIXR was launched in 2017 and when two years later Gary Player became an OnCore ambassador, he played the ELIXR at the Masters which really put this ball on the map.

The ELIXR has a premium cast urethane cover which delivers soft, pure feel off the club face and great control around the greens, while a unique polybutadiene core ensures maximum velocity and distance.

Best golf balls: Honma TW-XT3 Approved badge

12. Honma TW–X Golf Ball

Meet the golf ball designed to boost your driving game

Specifications
Quantity: 12
Dimples: 326
Handicap: Everyone
Colour: White
Reasons to buy
+Enhanced speed+Good game control

You might not have used a Honma ball before but when you do you'll wish you had sooner. The TW–X is built not only to offer enhanced speeds for your driving game but also offers short game control too. 

How? No, not magic. This is thanks to a three-piece urethane ball that features a high–speed core for power, high–repulsion mid–layer for low spin and a soft cover so you can add more spin should you need. The 326-dimples mean low penetration when in flight, making this your best buddy even on a windy day.

Best golf balls: Srixon Z-StarT3 Approved badge

13. Srixon Z–Star

A spin–friendly golf ball for your short game

Specifications
Quantity: 12
Dimples: 338
Handicap: Low
Colour: White
Reasons to buy
+Super tough+Low driver spin

This is a one–of–kind when it comes to smart technology, thanks to its macromolecule Slide–Ring (SeRM). It sits in the cover of the ball and uses a moveable cross–link, which means the ball's shape returns better than traditional balls. 

It also means this golf ball can withstand more damage, is impact resistant and, crucially, absorbs vibrations better. All that gets you a ball that's really helpful when it comes to the green thanks to lots of lovely spin. You can also enhance spin without losing distance off the tee. 

Since they're tougher, you'll notice these balls last longer, looking like new too, presuming you don't spin too much and send these beauties off into the rough.

What's the best golf ball right now?

From the tee to the putting green, the TaylorMade Tour Response is our current choice for the best golf ball. It's packed with plenty of aerodynamic tech for covering greater distances at speed, with a soft core and lower spin to ensure optimum shot accuracy, and the real beauty of it is that it is aimed at average golfers and not just the cream of the crop. Read on for an in-depth look at this, and the rest of our top picks.

Do layers and dimples make a difference?

The one-piece golf ball, which has a single layer, is used for pure power. This makes it ideal as a range ball. But unless you're a pro, you'll want something softer with less spin for a full game. A two-layer ball is more forgiving and can be a good place to start for newbie golfers.

If you're a really good golfer, you'll be able to take advantage of a high spin golf ball for maximum drive power. Beginners should stick to low spin to ensure shots are straight. Anyone in between those two are best served with a mid spin ball that helps eke out distance from shots while also keeping them on target.

You may also notice dimple variations between balls. This is also a part of that power to control variance. A ball with more dimples will create less drag and travel further than one with fewer dimples, so it can be a good way to enhance your drive.

Expect some variation between brands, with Titleist, Taylormade, Callaway and others all offering something tailored to your style – and wallet. Let's now take a look at the best golf balls these brands have to offer.