The best golf balls 2018: one less handicap for beginner and intermediate golfers

Increase your drive distance with the best golf balls from Titleist, Srixon, Volvik and more Fore!

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The right golf ball could make a big difference to your game. That's not because there's a world of difference between them, but because picking one that suits your game, your style and your wallet can give you a small edge. 

How to buy the right golf ball for you

Would you prefer your golf ball to have a firmer or a softer composition? A firmer ball allows for more distance up the course, while a softer orb is all about the control and additional spin, which comes into its own when trying to hit the green. 

Golf balls come in one to five layers. A 1 piece golf ball is for range practice only, while golf balls with 2 layers are a good starting point for amateurs. 

If you’re a beginner, a low spin ball will help you to practice your straight shots over distance. For amateurs up to pros, a mid spin ball provides that balance between distance and control while a high spin ball requires strong technical ability to get the most out of it. 

There’s also the science of dimples, which reduce drag to increase the distance and speed that the ball covers. The more dimples, the less drag, so bear that in mind when you’re choosing your next set of golf balls. 

The best golf balls in order

1. Titleist Pro V1 12 Golf Balls 2017

Best for distance, but with short game control

Specifications
Quantity: 12
Dimples: 338
Handicap: Everyone
Colour: White
Reasons to buy
+Great all-round ball+Also used by pros
Reasons to avoid
-…Hence not the cheapest 

Titleist boast that this is the number one ball on worldwide tours, but it's perfectly usable by non superstars.

The ball is manufactured to perfectly balance short game control with getting good yardage from the tee. Whether it achieves that is hard to quantify, but reviewers absolutely sing its praises as a great all-round golf ball. 

This box of balls is the most expensive on our list, but if you have at least some level of skill, it's worth the investment. If you're a total newbie, or a complete dunderhead, try a cheaper set to practice on.

2. Srixon Z Star 12 Ball Pack

Another great choice for distance with spin

Specifications
Quantity: 12
Dimples: 338
Handicap: Everyone
Colour: White
Reasons to buy
+Achieves great distance+Creates decent spin on the green
Reasons to avoid
-Not as much spin as the Titleist V1 

Srixon also seems to have got the balancing act right when it comes to creating a great all-round golf ball. The core has been built to generate as much distance as possible, while the outer coating of the ball has been made 13% softer than other generations of Srixon balls to ensure greater spin and control on the green. 

Reviewers largely commend the all-round performance of this golf ball, although some rate the Titleist V1 higher for those seeking a truly professional set of golf balls.

3. Volvik Vivid 12 Ball Pack

Easier to control and easier to spot

Specifications
Quantity: 12
Dimples: 350
Handicap: Everyone
Colour: Blue, green, orange, pink, white, yellow
Reasons to buy
+Easier to control+Bright enough to spot across the course
Reasons to avoid
-Not for extreme distance 

If you’re looking for a mellower ball that doesn’t require expert competence to control, this could be the best one to choose. Volvik claims that if your swing speed is lower than others, this ball still offers a good distance, while its mid-to-high ball trajectory brings greater accuracy off the tee without the need for massive manipulation. 

Reviewers find it doesn’t offer the same performance as tour balls, and clearly there’s better out there for the semi-pros among you, but for an average golfer –  particularly one who finds it difficult to spot the ball after a shot – these brightly-hued spheres could be just the job.

3. Volvik Vivid XT 12 Ball Pack

Best for long distances in a straight line

Specifications
Quantity: 12
Dimples: 392
Handicap: Everyone
Colour: Bright green, orange, pink or yellow
Reasons to buy
+Cover maximum distance+Available in a range of bright colours
Reasons to avoid
-Not as much green control as the Titleist V1 

For some golfers, it’s all about covering the longest possible distance off the tee, and Volvik claims that the dual core of the Vivid XT has been built for maximum flight. 

The balls boast a significant number of dimples (392 in fact), which plays an important part in reducing drag and extending the coverage of the ball. With this comes the slight sacrifice on green control but Volvik says you can still expect high spin.  

4. Titleist Velocity 12 Ball Pack 2016

High velocity ball for covering the course

Specifications
Quantity: 12
Dimples: 332
Handicap: Medium/low
Colour: White
Reasons to buy
+Great for speed+Spherical dimples for uplift
Reasons to avoid
-Require greater aim

If you’re looking for a golf ball built for speed, Titleist has hit the tee on the head here. Describing it as their ‘largest and fastest core yet’, Titleist say it powers velocity to cover maximum distance with every shot. With the design maximised for soaring trajectory, reviewers are full of compliments about its performance. 

With speed at the forefront, there’s less room for error, so the balls are not recommended for players with higher handicaps. 

5. Callaway Golf Supersoft 12 Ball Pack 2017

Best value for money pro-grade ball

Specifications
Quantity: 12
Dimples: 332
Handicap: Medium/low
Colour: White or yellow
Reasons to buy
+Affordable price+Soft for great spin
Reasons to avoid
-Actual golfing competence required

If you’re looking for a ball that offers similar technical qualities to the Titleist Pro V1, for less expense, these Callaways are your best bet. 

The ball is better for medium to low handicaps because control takes more technical ability, but if you nail that, the overall impression from reviewers is they’re decent balls. As the cheapest balls on our list, they certainly offer value for money. 

6. TaylorMade TP5x 12 Pack Golf Balls

Another versatile ball from Titleist

Specifications
Quantity: 12
Dimples: 322
Handicap: Everyone
Colour: White
Reasons to buy
+Great for all styles of play+Good for green and tee
Reasons to avoid
-Quite a bit of spin 

Made with 5 layers, TaylorMade intend for these balls to be compatible with every club in your bag whether on the tee or the green, with a core that supplies progressive compression to transfer as much energy from your swing to the ball and a dual-spin cover that ensures accuracy when putting. 

Some reviewers say there’s a little too much spin on the ball, but others conclude that it’s a decent alternative to the Pro V1.