Tired of playing golf and want to step up your game? You may consider switching to a low compression golf ball. Many golfers know there are differences between high and low compression balls, but exactly what these differences are is a little more complex than you may think.
In this article, we’ll discuss the truth behind low compression golf balls and cover the best low compression balls based on your golfing needs.
- Titleist Tour Speed – Best low compression golf balls for distance
- Bridgestone Tour BRXS – Best low compression golf balls for iron carry
- Callaway Chrome Soft – Best low compression golf balls for spin
- Vice Pro Soft – Best value low compression golf balls
Key information before buying low compression golf balls
Most golfers jump towards low compression golf balls because they are told that they will result in extra distance. This is true in some cases, but not in others (read our top facts below).
You should also consider how low compression golf balls will react with your irons and wedges – your clubhead speed is lower with these clubs and your attack angle changes, meaning a low compression core will work differently. In these situations, the ball that gave you precious extra yards off the tee may not work as well.
It is also important to consider how the ball feels and reacts around the green. The golf ball is the only piece of equipment that you use for every shot – consider the bigger picture.
As a general rule of thumb, low compression balls work best for golfers with an average or lower-than-average swing speed, but as we’ll see below there are a few ‘it depends on…’.
Top facts about low compression golf balls
- At higher swing speeds with driver (100mph+) low compression golf balls produce a slow ball speed and don’t travel as far as high compression balls.
- At slower swing speeds with driver (under 85mph) lower compression golf balls are well matched to high compression golf balls but don’t always guarentee higher ball speeds and distance.
- Low compression golf balls start to gain on high compression when we look at performance across the bag for slower swing speeds – they can give you a few extra yards of carry with irons and hybrids.
- Low compression golf balls spin less across the bag, driver and wedges. This is can be a positive or a negative, but is something to consider when selecting your choice.
Titleist Tour Speed – Best low compression balls for distance
The Titleist Tour Speed is made with a multilayer, thermoplastic urethane cover, which provides excellent distance in the long game and sound control in your short game.
Compared to high compression golf balls the ball speed is slightly lower, but the Titleist Tour speed has a slightly higher launch and lower spin, meaning it still carries a long way with driver and the reduced spin means an extra yard or two of roll.
The Titleist Tour Speed comes in around average when it comes to spin with wedges – this is a good thing as it gives you more distance and still maintains good control when approaching the green.
The Titleist Tour Speed comes in slightly firmer than most low compression balls, but it still has a soft feel off the putter face which makes chipping around the green nice and easy.
The Titleist Tour Speed has a firmer cover than other low compression golf balls meaning it will last a little longer if you choose to venture into a few trees and bunkers whilst out on the golf course.
This golf ball comes in at the lower end of the market, offering great value for money. Compared to other low compression golf balls the Titleist Tour Speed offers more value than most.
Golf Insider verdict
The Titleist Tour Speed golf balls are a great choice if you value an extra yard or two off the tee above other areas of your game. The benefits you will see are not game-changing, but if you’re after 2-3 extra yards in carry, possibly 5-yards when adding on roll give them go.
Bridgestone Tour B RXS – Best low compression balls for iron carry
The Tour B RXS features a new innovative REACTIV cover technology, which allows golfers to get more distance and spin out of the same ball. Bridgestone suggests this design offers the best performance across the bag, and it does a solid job of living up to that claim.
The Bridgestone Tour B RXS is one of the lowest compression golf balls on the market (along with the Vice Pro Soft). Despite this, it still manages to perform above average and only loses a few yards on the longest balls.
Where the Bridgestone Tour B RXS starts to really work is with your hybrids and mid-irons. Here it launches higher and will offer players with slower swing speeds additional carry yards.
Lower compression golf balls spin less, but again, the Tour B RXS comes in above average with irons and will almost keep up with the premium balls (TaylorMade TP5 and Pro V1x) when hitting wedge shots. Impressive work for a low compression ball.
Again, the Bridgestone Tour B RXS really does surprise you when you first chip and putt with them. They feel really soft and comparable with the top golf balls on the market.
The soft cover does mean thinned bunker shots and cart paths will not be so forgiving. However, if these are avoided, the Bridgestone Tour B RXS will last a good number of rounds.
The Bridgestone Tour B RXS is one of the most expensive low compression balls on this list but still offers great value when compared with similar premium golf balls.
Golf Insider verdict
If you are looking for extra carry with your irons and great control around the green, the Tour B RXS is a must-try. They are a pricier low compression golf ball, but great value when considering their all-around performance.
Callaway Chrome Soft – Best low compression balls for spin
It’s important that we open by saying if you really want more spin, opt for a high compression golf ball. However, if you want the benefits of a low compression ball but still demand spin the Callaway’s Chrome Soft is for you.
The Callaway Chrome Soft comes in right on average for distance off the tee and marginally ahead when we get into iron carry compared to most golf balls on the market. Therefore if distance isn’t your sole focus when looking at low compression balls then it’s a solid choice. Also a very slow swing speed it will likely pick up its performance against other firmer golf balls.
The Callaway Chrome Soft delivers a high flight with irons and very good levels of spin for a low compression ball. It further elevates its performance when we get to wedge and pitch shots. Here it will never keep up with a Pro V1x, but offers the best spin out of the low compression ball choices.
With its name being Chrome Soft you would expect a soft feel and the Callaway Chrome Soft delivers this. It’s not as good as its premium counterparts but still offers great performance for those looking great feel in a low compression ball.
The Chrome Soft fairs quite well with play. Yes, the ball will scuff if hit a path or tree, but through usual play (or good play if that’s what it takes to avoid the aforementioned) these golf balls will last you many rounds before they begin to look and feel worn.
Similar to the Bridgestone Tour B RXS, these are at the top end of the low compression golf ball market. But if you value their performance, they offer good value for money.
Golf Insider verdict
The Callaway Chrome Soft is the best low compression golf ball for spin. If you are looking for a ball with great feel, high spin and good distance then this should be your go-to choice.
Vice Pro Soft – Best value low compression balls
The Vice golf ball range has really kept the traditional ball manufacturers on their toes. The Vice Pro Soft golf ball is the lowest compression of their models. It comes in 20-25% cheaper than all other low compression balls listed here.
The Vice Pro Soft offers golfers with slower swing speeds a yard or two more than the average low compression ball. However, there are longer high-compression options with driver in hand (like the Titleist AVX).
However, when we move to iron-play the Vice Pro Soft really picks up, offering good ball speed and carry with your irons.
As we’ve stated throughout, despite the generally held opinion, low compression does not equal more spin. But the Vice Pro Soft does offer up a higher flight and more spin than many other lower compression counterparts. It is below the high-compression balls, but pretty good if you want great golf balls on a budget.
We’d feel robbed if the Vice Pro Soft didn’t feel good. Thankfully it feels great to pitch, chip and putt with. You won’t mistake this for a premium model when you try to zip chips from 15 yards away on a tight lie, but it performs well enough and above most low compression balls.
The slightly firmer feel also translates into better longevity. The Vice Pro Soft doesn’t wear too much with general use and should last you a good number of rounds.
There are slightly cheaper low compression golf balls like the Srixon Q-Star Tour, but the Vice Pro Soft is the best value when we look at how it benefits golfers across their bag. It gives you really solid all-around performance at good savings compared to the other models.
Golf Insider verdict
If you are looking for a budget-friendly, high performing low compression golf ball then the Vice Pro Soft is ideal.
Common questions when buying low compression golf balls
Below are some commonly asked questions about low compression golf balls.
Which golf ball has the lowest compression?
The golf ball with the lowest compression is the Wilson Staff Duo Professional. Its low compression generally results in a lower ball speed and less distance, even for slower swing speed players.
Who should use a low compression golf ball?
Low compression golf balls are ideal for golfers who have lower swing speeds. For this reason women, seniors and beginners are often common users but base your choice on your swing speed and preference. Low compression balls don’t always provide more distance with driver, but perform better across the bag compared to high compression balls for most slower swing speed golfers.
What is considered a slow swing speed?
A slow swing speed is considered anything below 85 mph with driver and 65 mph swing mid iron swing. This doesn’t reflect your ability as a player, but the speed of your driver swing is highly predictive of your driving distance.
What is considered a fast swing speed?
A fast swing speed golfer has an average clubhead speed over 110 mph with their driver and 85 mph with mid-iron shots.
Are low compression golf balls better?
Low compression golf balls are not better, but can offer long game benefits for certain types of players. Low compression golf balls spin less than mid and high compression golf balls.
Do softer golf balls go further?
Softer golf balls can go further for a golfer with a slower swing speed. Soft golf balls tend to have a lower compression, and the compression rating of a golf ball is something that both high and low swing speed beginners need to consider when choosing a golf ball. A softer golf ball could cost a high swing speed golfer a few yards.
Golf ball compression vs swing speed?
At higher driver swing speeds high compression balls will result in a higher ball speed and travel further. The difference between high and low compression golf balls diminishes when we move into lower river swing speeds. However, golfers should consider how a golf ball performs across all shots, not just with their driver.
What does compression mean in golf balls?
Compression relates to the firmness and softness of a golf ball. The higher the compression, the firmer it is and the less it deforms upon impact. We must note, compression can be used to describe just the core, or when the ball is fully manufactured, the latter is commonly used and is known as the ‘finished compression’.
How do I tell what the compression of golf balls?
To find out the compression of a golf ball, head to the manufactures website. As mentioned above, there are slightly different ways to measure this feature. There are some handheld compression devices, but these are not always reliable.
What are the best low compression golf balls?
The best low compression golf balls are the ones that best fit your entire game. The Titleist Velocity golf balls are a highly performing low compression ball off the tee, but it isn’t the best all around. The Callaway Chrome Soft offers great spin for a low compression ball, while the Vice Pro Soft and Srixon Q-Star Tour as two of the cheapest.
Ultimately, it’s important to find a golf ball that gives you good performance and fits your budget.
Where can I learn more about golf ball fitting?
The following video is a nice insight into how Titleist fit golf balls. The video is a couple of years old, but the process is still very valid.
Summary – best low compression golf balls
The best low compression golf balls are the ones that best fit your entire game. The Titleist Velocity is a high performing low compression ball off the tee, but it isn’t the best all-around. The Callaway Chrome Soft offers great spin for a low compression ball, while the Vice Pro Soft and Srixon Q-Star Tour offer great value.
For more on golf balls check out our guide on low spinning golf balls, best golf balls for women, the best cheap golf balls, best golf balls for beginners, the best golf balls for seniors, best balls for mid-handicappers and golf balls for high handicap guides.
Happy golfing – Will @ Golf Insider UK
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