Many high handicappers are tired of losing golf balls. We can’t say we blame you, but the golf ball is an important part of your game. As frustrating as it can be to spend money for something that you know will eventually end up at the bottom of the pond or in the middle of the woods, it really does help your game to have a great golf ball in play.
To create this article we spent a good few weeks testing on a launch monitor, chipping, putting and playing some rounds of golf. Let’s take a look at some of the best golf balls for high handicappers across several different categories.
Best golf balls for High Handicaps: Top picks
- Wilson Staff Model – Best all-around ball for high handicaps
- Titleist Tour Speed – Best for distance
- Mizuno RB Tour X – Best for spin
- TaylorMade Tour Response – Best value
- Srixon Z Star – Best for longevity
- Also worth considering
Wilson Staff Model – Best All-around
If you are after a great all-around performing golf ball, and money it’s standing in the way, the Wilson Staff Model is a great choice. Try not to confuse Wilson (the value brand) with Wilson Staff (the tour-level golf ball). When you fully grasp the technology and performance that Wilson Staff puts into their products instead of the traditional Wilson brand, you may be pretty surprised. The Wilson Staff Model golf balls are our top pick for the best golf balls for high handicappers.
Using a combination of four layers of technology, a seamless urethane cover, and a unique core composition, Wilson Staff surprised us with the capabilities of this golf ball. The Wilson Staff Model is long, as long as any other premium golf ball on the market, generating 3-5 yards of extra roll and carry compared most golf balls.
High handicappers should look for a low spin off the tee (reducing drag through flight) and increased spin around the greens (improved control). As a fair warning, it is going to take a golf ball with a slightly higher price tag and a few extra pieces to provide you with this spin characteristic. The four layers of the Wilson Staff helps stop iron shots and chips around the green but allows for plenty of roll off the tee.
Not that golfers should do this, but many compare the feel of every golf ball to that of the Pro V1. The Pro V1 is sort of a standard for a golf ball that we know feels great and performs at the same time. The Wilson Staff Model is slightly harder than the Pro V1 but still has plenty of workability.
With a seamless urethane cover, we did not notice any issues with the ball scuffing easier than any other. Of course, a few bounces on a cart path will probably scrape the cover, but you can get several rounds of this ball.
The Wilson Staff Model is not the cheapest golf ball on the market. In fact, it is priced near the top with other premium golf balls. However, for the results it still provides great value.
Golf Insider verdict
The only thing we don’t like about the Wilson Staff Model golf ball is the pricing. It’s hard for many high handicappers (especially those with a large slice) to invest this kind of money into a golf ball. However, if you want a ball that compliments your performance abilities, this is the one. If you don’t want to pay for it, keep reading, there are other options.
Titleist Tour Speed – Distance
If we are being honest, most high handicappers are not high handicappers because of a lack of distance. As fun as it is to hit a great golf shot off the tee, the short game is where many easy shots can be gained. However, plenty of golfers still want to get the ball to travel a long way off the tee, and the Titleist Tour Speed is an excellent choice for that.
The Titleist Tour Speed is the best golf ball is a top choice for high handicappers who are seeking distance. Titleist make some of the best golf balls in the game, but they are not all focused on getting players’ distance. In fact, some are more about feel and precision. In testing, the Tour Speed gave us 5-6 yards more (carry and roll combined) than most golf balls on the market, across a range of swing speeds, cementing its position as the winner here.
The spin for the long game is quite good from the Titleist Tour Speed; we don’t love it around the greens, this is an inherent trade off for its great distance. However, the soft feel helps you hit shots that stop and land a little more precise on the greens, but we didn’t really notice the ball zipping back across the greens. This is to be expected with a distance ball.
The Titleist Tour Speed feels soft. It’s an excellent soft, not mushy when putting, and the ball still allows you some control around the greens.
Most distance balls like the Titleist Tour Speed have a pretty strong cover. We did not notice any issues with the cover cutting or marking after an 18 hole round of golf. If you can keep this one straight, expect to get four to seven rounds out of it before it starts to look a little worn.
We never really expect a cheap golf ball when it comes to Titleist. The Titleist Tour Speed are less than the Pro V1 and more than the Titleist Velocity. We find them to be a good value for what you will get—certainly a better value than the Titleist Velocity golf balls.
Golf Insider verdict
High handicappers that think more distance could be a solution to their golf troubles will really enjoy this Tour Speed golf ball. Those who are looking for ultimate short game control and scoring precision should look elsewhere.
Mizuno RB Tour X – Spin
Some high handicappers think that spin is bad. Spin is not bad as long as it happens at the right time. Playing the Mizuno RB Tour X can ensure that you get the spin that you need when you need it the most.
The Mizuno RB Tour X is a good golf ball for distance. There is a high energy Ionomer mantle located inside the golf ball that helps players get plenty of length from the tee. This is not the longest golf ball for high handicappers, but if your main goal is spin, switching to the Mizuno RB Tour X is not going to hurt you from a distance perspective.
Spin is where this golf ball shines. The Mizuno RB Tour X has really high greenside spin rates. Ensure that you get the RB Tour X and not the RB Tour. We tried the RB Tour, and it spun, but there are better options out there for control around the green.
A four piece golf ball with a urethane cover typically has an excellent feel. We are impressed with the overall feel of the Mizuno RB Tour X and would say it’s a little better than the Titleist Tour Speed, not quite as good as the Pro V1.
When we hit poor shots or hit a shot out of a bunker, the urethane cover held up quite well. At one point, there was an unfortunate incident with a cart path and it left a pretty large scuff mark. The ball was still playable, but you will want to keep this one in play for a number of reasons!
The Mizuno RB Tour X is a very good value golf ball. In fact, it is one of the best four-piece options on the market in this price range. This golf ball kind of flies under the radar, and while it does, you should grab some.
Golf Insider verdict
This is one of the most surprising choices for us on the list. When we did our golf ball testing, the Mizuno was just not a ball that we thought would win the spin category. However, looking back and thinking about the spin you can get from a Mizuno blade iron or Mizuno wedge, maybe it makes sense! These guys know a thing or two about spin and control.
TaylorMade Tour Response – Value
The TaylorMade Tour Response is our best value golf ball for high handicappers winner. We are well aware that this is not the cheapest golf ball on the market. However, if you’re searching for performance on a budget the Tour Response a top choice. A cheaper option will likely lose 4-8 yards, spin 15-20% less, feel harsher and potentially have more manufacturing defects. These attributes are’t ruin your golf game, but we want to recommend you great gear to play your best golf.
The distance numbers from the TaylorMade Tour Response were quite good. This is an ultra low compression golf ball with a finished compression of around 70 (core compression stated as 40). For the golfers with higher swing speeds this is not the golf ball will lose you 2-3 yards off the tee. However, this will perform very well for mid to low swing speed high handicappers.
The TaylorMade Tour Response has an average greenside spin. You will notice that this ball is often compared to the TP5, the premium golf ball from TaylorMade. The better player will notice an immediate difference between the Tp5 and the Tour Response performance. However, spin rates are good for a high handicapper looking for a mix of performance from the tee and the green, while saving some cash.
The TaylorMade Tour Response has a very soft feel. For the player that is struggling with finesse and learning what it takes to become a great short game player, this softer feel is beneficial. The softer feel comes partially from the Urethane cover and the fact that the compression is so low. To us, it felt a little mushy. If you like a golf ball with more of a “hit” when you contact, this is not the right choice.
The TaylorMade Tour Response lasted for several rounds. A three piece, an affordable, low compression golf ball with a urethane cover should hold up for quite some time.
The main reason we call this the best value for the high handicappers is the fact that it addresses greenside and tee box performance for less than $40. Most golf balls on the market that do this are over $45 and even closer to $50. Again, this is not the cheapest golf ball on the market, but when it comes to the value and the numbers it delivers, it’s a good choice.
Golf Insider verdict
Aside from a slightly soft feel on the greens, the TaylorMade Tour Response is a great value option. For the higher handicapper that plays the occasional round of golf and wants to get the most out of both green and tee performance, for the best price, this would be a good option.
Srixon Z Star – Longevity
We were kind of tired of seeing the Srixon Soft Feel come up on every list of golf balls for high handicappers. Although the Soft Feel may have some golfers that it works well for, if you want better performance and longevity for a higher handicapper, the Z Star is a much better choice.
The new Srixon Z Star 7 was just released with a FastLayer Core that has really high ball speeds. The ball will feel a bit more firm, but it has a 90 compression. For higher handicappers that go after the ball, there is lots of distance here to grab.
This is a three-piece golf ball with average spin. The new Urethane cover with Spin Skin technology is supposed to increase the amount of spin that players get. Although we could stop shots, we didn’t find this to be more impressive than the Mizuno RB Tour X, our top choice for spin.
The feel is a bit hard on the Srixon Z Star. For golfers who want that firm shot where you can really feel the way the ball comes off the club head, the Z Star is a smart choice to consider.
The Srixon has a new urethane cover that features an extra durable yet flexible coating. This is a newer technology, and they are calling it the Spin Skin. We like the fact that the golf ball became more durable, yet it still has some impressive feel, spin, and acceleration through the air.
Srixon golf balls are typically considered about average when it comes to the price. They are usually a little lower than Bridgestone and Titleist but not considered a true value golf ball. Any ball that has a tough outer cover and allows for more than a few rounds of golf is a good overall value.
Golf Insider verdict
Srixon is a great golf ball manufacturer, but high handicappers still need to be careful with which golf balls you are putting into play. Just because a ball is cheap and marketed towards you does not mean you will get the best performance. The Z Star gives higher handicappers a better chance of success.
Also worth considering . . .
Vice Pro Plus
Vice offers a direct to consumer golf ball model that allows for much lower pricing. The Vice Pro Plus has really great feel and longevity and even comes in various colors. This golf ball would have made the top of our list, but it doesn’t really shine in any of the individual categories. We look at the Vice Pro Plus as more of an all-around good option, even though it won’t win best for a spin, distance, etc., in the high handicapper category.
Bridgestone Tour BXS
So many times, it is assumed that a golfer that is a higher handicapper is also a slower swing speed player. This is not the case! If you are a higher swing speed higher handicapper, the Bridgestone Tour BXS is a good choice. We liked the trajectory and the greenside feel of the Tour BXS.
The Titleist AVX is one of the lowest spinning golf balls from the tee. If you want to hit a golf driver that rolls a long way down the fairway, the AVX is a great option. However, in addition to roll, when a higher handicapper puts too much side spin on a ball, the AVX can help to cut that down. This ball has some premium pricing, and many get annoyed with the fact that the performance differences from the AVX to Pro V1 are minimal.
Do golf balls matter for high handicappers?
Golf balls matter for all golfers, including high handicappers. Are high handicappers likely going to be able to tell the difference between the two golf balls after just one round? Probably not. However, there is a major difference in greenside performance and in overall feel when the proper golf ball is used.
Can high handicappers use Pro V1?
High handicappers that have mid to high swing speeds and are looking for impressive greenside control should use the Titleist Pro V1. There is nothing that states the Pro V1 is for the lower handicap players. Low handicap players like this ball because of the feel and performance. High handicappers will like it for the same exact reasons, and it can even help promote better performance for the higher handicapper.
Are Callaway Superhot golf balls good for high handicappers?
Callaway Superhot golf balls are lower-priced three-piece golf balls that are highly marketed to high handicappers. When you test this ball on a launch monitor and on the golf course, you will quickly see that something like the TaylorMade Tour Response or Mizuno RB X has better overall performance from the tee and the green. The Superhot has a very harsh feel to them, and the spin around the greens is not the best.
Are Kirkland golf balls good for high handicappers?
Kirkland golf balls are a very good option for high handicappers shopping on a budget. In testing Kirkland golf balls spin more than most golf balls, meaning they are great for control but do lose you a few yards off the tee.
Many golfers will tell you that the Kirkland balls are similar to the Pro V1 for a fraction of the price. Many high handicappers will give this golf ball a try before putting the Pro V1 in the bag. If you have access to the Kirkland balls, we recommend giving them a try.
More golf ball reviews
- Best golf balls for beginners
- Best golf balls for mid handicappers
- Best golf balls for seniors
- Best womens golf balls
- Best low compression golf balls
At this point, you should feel a bit more knowledgeable about the best golf balls for high handicappers. Some of our picks may not be the ordinary top five or ten that you will see. However, we like to focus on the specifics of performance and the golf balls that are going to make a difference in your game.
If you are unsure where to start, give the Wilson Staff Model a try. You will be surprised by the depth of performance this golf ball can have. For more equipment guides check out our articles on the best irons for high handicappers and the best drivers for high handicap and beginner golfers.
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