Best golf balls 2022: The best balls for high handicappers or seasoned pros

Pete Clark
17 Feb 2022

Perfect your golf game by picking up the best golf balls to suit your style of play

You might think that there isn't a lot of difference between the best golf balls and the worst, but you’d be wrong. While lots of players will spend their money on shiny new clubs, the real pros will tell you that picking the right ball is just as important.

With games of golf often being an extremely close affair, coming down to just a couple of strokes, it’s important to take advantage of every edge you can. Selecting the best golf ball can enhance the critical areas of your game and, with the appropriate ball on your tee, you can extend the distance of your drive, master the art of putting and even play better in colder conditions.

Below, you’ll find a buying guide to ensure you get the best golf ball that suits your playing style. With our advice, you just might find that you're able to improve your game without having to fork out hundreds of pounds on a new set of clubs.

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Best golf balls: At a glance

How to buy the best golf balls for you

A brief engineering lesson

Let's start by running through the composition of a golf ball.

1. The core: Hiding in the centre of every golf ball (and comprising most of its mass) is a core. Usually made of rubber, the core is what makes the ball travel as far as it does through the air. Without a core, a golf ball is just “a Ferrari with a Ford Escape engine”.

2. The mantle: Squashed in-between the dimpled outer layer and the core is the mantle. This layer can be adjusted in tiny amounts by manufacturers to influence spin (up or down) and ball travel. It also keeps the core safe from the elements.

3. The cover: This is the bit that makes a golf ball so instantly recognisable. The outer layer of the ball is dimpled in very specific ways to reduce drag and extend flight time as much as possible. It's commonly made from urethane or an ionomer material called Surlyn.

The golf balls you'll be using on your local course will contain at least all three of these elements, but many golf balls don't – cheap balls (the sort used at a crazy golf course or a driving range) often lack the core and mantle layers.

What's the difference between soft and hard golf balls?

This is a complex question. Manufacturers who describe golf balls as either “soft” or “hard” are really truncating a long list of specifications to make things simpler. We've had a go at expanding that list for you using the most common characteristics of each ball type:

Soft golf ballsHard golf balls
Materials usedSoft rubber core; urethane coverSolid rubber core; ionomer cover
Construction typeCore, mantle(s) and coverCore and cover
Suitable swing speedSlowerFaster
StrengthsControl, spinDistance, speed

This in itself is a bit simplistic, as many golf balls mix and match these specifications using all kinds of engineering tricks, but it at least provides a rough foundation to work from.

So what type of golf ball do I need?

Based on the information we've provided so far, let's have a go at finding the best golf ball for you.

If you're a slow hitter – perhaps a beginner or a high-handicapper – you'll want a soft golf ball that will travel well in spite of your sluggish swing, whilst also assisting you with control and spin once you've reached the green. This writer falls into this category.

Average golfers – hobbyists who enjoy escaping to the fairways on a Saturday morning – might want a golf ball that offers a mix of soft and hard characteristics. We've suggested one such golf ball below.

Experienced golfers who can swing with real stopping power will find that soft golf balls compress too much off the tee. Look for a hard golf ball that doesn't hold your hand but maximises drive distance. If you're a golfing veteran who can't quite drive as far as they used to, however, stick with a softer ball.

Again, this is a mere outline. The best way to choose the best golf ball is to try as many varieties as you can using the information here as a rough guide. With that in mind, here’s our selection of the best golf balls money can buy.

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The best golf balls to buy

1. Srixon AD333: The best golf balls for regular players

Price: £23 | Buy now from American Golf

If you think you're finally getting the hang of this golfing business, you should consider graduating to Srixon's immensely popular AD333 ball. This is one of those unusual low-compression balls that defies categorisation, courtesy of a firm ionomer cover and low-compression rubber core. This jack-of-all-trades approach pays off, however, producing a golf ball that suits your long and short game.

It's definitely on the firm side – the AD333 foregoes the mantle layer that you'll find in softer balls – but you won't find yourself struggling on the green. Srixon's unique SpinSkin, a urethane coating on the cover, is purported to improve ball control and stopping power. In any event, there's one thing we can say for sure: the AD333 still feels and sounds superb to strike.

Key specs – Quantity: 12; Material: Ionomer; Feel: Soft/hard; Dimple count: 338

Buy now from American Golf

2. Callaway Chrome Soft: The best golf balls for distance

Price: £38 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re looking for the perfect ball to improve your long game, the all-new Callaway Chrome Soft golf balls might fit the bill. Built with hard-hitters in mind, these balls feature an incredibly soft inner core surrounded by a rigid outer core to allow for maximum elacisity. The four-layer construction is surrounded by a soft urethane cover, making for extra grip off the club face and meaning the Chrome Softs are ideal for big hitters.

Of course, you will have a tougher time of it on the green: spin control has definitely been sacrificed in favour of pure distance, so don't expect a controlled landing. Like an American muscle car, the Chrome Softs are all about going ridiculously fast in straight lines – and that's fine by us.

Key specs – Quantity: 12; Material: Synthetic; Feel: Hard; Dimple count: Unspecified

3. Titleist Pro V1: The best golf balls for high handicappers

Price: £50 | Buy now from Titleist

These Pro V1 golf balls, used by many pros, are among the very best on the market. They have been engineered to be true all-rounders, which makes them the ideal choice for high handicappers who are looking to improve their game as much as possible in every imaginable area.

Made with a urethane cover, the Pro V1 balls are soft and high-compression, with oodles of control and a “casing layer” that reduces excessive spin when driving from the tee or fairway. Titleist also claims that the Pro V1 balls are “faster from core to cover”, and the firm promises long game performance to rival that of much harder golf balls. For those in dire need of some assistance, these might just be the perfect balls.

Key specs – Quantity: 12; Material: Urethane; Feel: Soft; Dimple count: 352

Buy now from Titleist

4. Second Chance Callaway Warbird: The best cheap golf balls

Price: £25 | Buy now from Amazon

Buying a second-chance golf ball is a great way to save some cash. These balls have been rescued from lakes, woods and adjacent roads before being scrutinised by an expert and graded for resale. We all shank the occasional shot, so why not make the most of other people's golfing misfortune?

We've chosen the Callaway Warbird because they're good for newcomers – soft and stable. You'll have no trouble on the green and, even though you’ll be sacrificing some yardage on the fairway, you'll be less likely to add some unintentional spin as you make contact. That's a good thing, too: these balls don't deserve to spend any more time at the bottom of a water hazard.

Key specs – Quantity: 24; Material: Ionomer; Feel: Soft; Dimple count: 382

5. Bridgestone E12 Soft: The best golf balls for winter

Price: £24 | Buy now from Amazon

The dual dimple technology within these soft Bridgestone balls gives them reduced drag and increased lift, which makes them perfect for zipping through the dense, cold winter air. They also have an anti-side spin inner layer that’s designed to reduce hooks and slices, which could also help your putts stay on target when you’re playing in frosty conditions.

They also come in yellow or green, which could be useful if you’re worried about losing a white ball in frosty grass. Even when the weather clears up and the sun’s shining, these are top quality balls that will help you drive straight and putt consistently.

Key specs – Quantity: 12; Material: Ionomer; Feel: Soft; Dimple count: Unspecified

6. Vice Pro Plus: The best golf balls for visibility

Price: £42 | Buy now from Amazon

Engineered for distance, Vice's new Pro Plus ball features a large High Energy Speed Core (HESC) and an extra-thin urethane cover to help you increase your distance off the tee without compromising on feel when it comes to your short game. Advanced players with high swing speeds also benefit from a highly durable 336 dimple design, as well as an elastic dual mantle for increased carry distance.

The Pro Plus is available in white, “Neon Lime” and red, meaning you'll be able to find your ball more easily both in wintry conditions and on those rare occasions when you do stray into the rough.

Key specs – Quantity: 12; Material: Urethane; Feel: Soft; Dimple count: 336

7. Srixon Z-Star: The best golf balls for control and spin

Price: £35 | Buy now from Amazon

A soft urethane cover and a thin urethane coating combine to create a very effective “SpinSkin” on these Srixon Z-Star golf balls, giving them an excellent feel on the green. This makes them the perfect balls for sprucing up your short game and perfecting your putting technique.

Your long game will benefit too, thanks to a new dimple pattern that’s designed to enhance speed and reduce drag. And, as if that weren’t enough, the outer core of these balls has been through a temperature process in a vacuum, giving the balls an added firmness that will help improve the speed of your shots.

Key specs – Quantity: 12; Material: Urethane; Feel: Soft; Dimple count: 338

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