The Best Golf Balls for Beginners and High Handicappers
Picking the best golf balls for beginners and high handicappers isn't easy, because no two high handicap golfers are the same. Some have slow swings, others fast. Some want a soft feel from their golf ball, while others aren't fussed about feel and just want the most distance possible. Some want to be able to generate lots of spin on their short shots, while others want a ball that spins as little as possible to minimise their hooks and slices.
How much should you pay for golf balls?
One thing is fairly certain: as a beginner or high handicapper, you're likely to lose your fair share of golf balls. That means you should think carefully about how many balls you lose during an average round, and how much you're therefore willing to spend on the golf balls you choose. If you're spending £4 per ball and losing half a dozen per round, the cost adds up pretty quickly.
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Why you should use the same golf ball all the time
And one thing we can say beyond all doubt is that the absolute best thing beginners and high handicappers can do when it comes to choosing the best golf ball – whatever they opt for – is to use the same one consistently. Far too many amateurs believe they're not good enough for it to make any difference what ball they use, so they're happy to use a completely mixed bag. They'll lose one and put a completely different ball into play on the next shot. This, without doubt, is making the game harder than it needs to be.
Some balls fly further than others, some spin more, they feel different off the putter, some fly high and some low. By regularly switching ball you're robbing yourself of what most beginners and high handicappers are desperate for – consistency.
So, we've established that beginners and high handicappers should pick one golf ball and stick with it (as should all golfers), but which one?
The replies to this tweet include some great suggestions:
Here are the golf balls we think are the best for beginners and high handicappers:
If we had to pick one ball from our robot golf ball test that performed really well for everyday club golfers – at a price that doesn’t make you wince when you knife one into the water – the Callaway ERC Soft would be it.
It offers excellent driver distance at slow and medium swing speeds, and a good combination of distance and spin with iron shots. It doesn't spin as much as some balls with wedge shots, but beginners and high handicappers aren't usually expecting to spin shots back towards the pin anyway.
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The ERC Soft also offers Triple Track technology which can be a huge help with alignment when putting, something lots of beginners and high handicappers struggle with.
All in all, the Callaway ERC soft is a great golf ball for beginner golfers and high handicappers, particularly for those with slow or average swing speeds.
Snell MTB X
Lots of equipment savvy beginners and high handicappers would like to use premium balls like the Titleist Pro V1 and TaylorMade TP5, but resent paying £45 for a box as they are likely to lose a few balls during the round. That's where mail order brands like Snell, Vice Golf and Seed come in. They sell direct to the consumer, which means they save on retail costs and can therefore offer cheaper prices.
We're repeatedly found the performance of these mail order balls more than comparable to the established brands in a series of tests.
The Snell MTB X is one of the longest golf balls available at all swing speeds and is a great alternative to traditional tour balls for the budget conscious golfer.
The Srixon AD333 has been a hugely popular golf ball for many years and it's easy to see why.
It's a great all-round offering at a very competitive price point, and the performance is good enough that many beginner golfers continue to use it even as their game improves.
It may not be quite as long off the tee as some balls, but we're only talking a difference of a few yards at most; for beginners and high handicappers, consistency of strike will be a far greater factor in distance than the golf ball itself.
Pinnacle had a bad rap from golfers for many years, with jokes about their golf balls being as hard as rocks. But for those willing to judge them on their own merit, Pinnacle offer some excellent golf balls, particularly for beginners and high handicappers.
The Pinnacle Soft offers excellent distance, particularly at "average" swing speeds, and gives a soft feel that belies the price and typical brand perception.
TaylorMade Tour Response
TaylorMade created the Tour Response to satisfy the needs of amateur golfers wanting tour-caliber perfomance from their golf ball without paying the high price associated with premium balls. It's fair to say that when it comes to hitting that brief, they've knocked it out of the park.
We recently tested the TaylorMade Tour Response head-to-head against the Titleist Pro V1 and found it produced almost identical driver distance and greater iron distance than the Pro V1. The only area where the Tour Response fell short against the Pro V1 was on wedge spin, but that's an area most beginners and high handicappers will be less worried about.
The Tour Response has a urethane cover, which is what you'll find on all premium golf balls. Cheaper golf balls – especially those aimed at beginners and high handicappers – typically have a surlyn cover, which can be more durable but doesn't feel as soft.
There isn't a golfer in the world who wouldn't like to be able to hit the ball further, and that typically applies even more so to beginners and high handicappers.
Titleist are the market leaders when it comes to golf balls and their Titleist Velocity golf ball is all about maximising distance. It won't spin as much as other golf balls, but the majority of beginners and high handicappers will happily accept a little less spin for a ball that maximises distance from tee-to-green.