If you know anything about golf, you have heard the name Titleist. They have a worldwide billion-dollar ad campaign that tells you they are the best golf ball in the world. If you watch an ad or open any golf magazine, you will see the best players in the world smiling with a Pro V1 or Pro V1x in their hands.
Titleist currently holds the title of the most popular ball in the U.S. and holds a massive lead over whichever “johnny come lately” is trying to topple this giant. Yes, Titleist is the iPhone or McDonalds of the golf ball world. However, just because you outsell the other guys, does that mean you are the best available product.
Callaway ChromeSoft and TaylorMade TP5 are trying their best to unseat the reigning champ, with Srixon and Bridgestone rounding out the current top 5 sellers. Mizuno RB Tour is a brand new addition to the market and made a huge splash with their first North American offering in over a decade.
Without getting into the weeds of ball data and overall performance, let me apply simple and easy logic to a discussion that can be more volatile than an Adidas-Nike debate. Find a ball that fits your budget, and you enjoy playing and stick with it.
Unless you have a single-digit handicap, you do not consistently deliver the golf club the same way. That means variation in ball flight, spin, and distance has more to do with your swing than your ball. So if that’s a fact of golfing life, why does the ball matter?
Easy, finding the best ball for you means you can remove a variable. If you play a lake ball or a ball found in the rough, can you blame your swing because it flew short or left? Upgrade your game by playing new balls and the same type of ball every time. You will start to understand when you made a mistake; you will become better just by knowing what to expect.
If your budget or feel allows you to play a tour ball, pick the one that you enjoy the most. Some studies show that a high greenside spin ball with tour characteristics will lower your scores. So unless you still send them into the water or OB regularly, play a tour ball. If a $4 ball is out of the question, most manufacturers make a middle-level ball. Titleist has TourSoft, TaylorMade has Tour Response, Callaway has ERC. Then again, maybe that Ram, Warbird, or “lost and found” ball is all you’ll ever need.
Titleist, Bridgestone and Volvik all have online ball fitting systems. These are based on several characteristics of ball flight and can be a great way to narrow down what ball you might like to play. In the modern golf industry, the biggest names in golf don’t really have bad products. Every driver from the top 10 companies will perform pretty well. The same can be said for the top 5 or maybe even 10 golf ball brands. Without question Titlest Pro V is the gold standard, but the lead on the field is no longer a chasm, but perhaps a tiny crack.