One of the most famous brands in the game, Wilson make some superb golf balls, including one specifically designed to help club golfers break 80. But which Wilson golf ball is best for your game?
While Wilson might not have the lustre of some of the other major golf brands, it is one of the most famous in the game’s history, and still makes elite-level golfing equipment and offers tremendous value for money. Its balls and other bits of golfing kit constantly show up well in tests.
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They suffer from a lack of stellar pros using their balls but don’t let that put you off. Wilson’s range of balls provide golfers of all standards with excellent options and the American company is also not afraid to break new ground.
For example, the Wilson Staff Model R is golf’s first unpainted, tour-level, four-piece, urethane-covered ball. Wilson say the lack of paint improves aerodynamic consistency… this is how.
For the last two years how golf balls are produced, and the consistency of their construction from ball to ball, has come under greater scrutiny than ever before.
Thanks to the #Finditcutit hashtag, consumers have been urged to cut open the golf balls they find on the golf course to see for themselves that golf balls are not all made equal. And because of this inconsistency your game, at times, could be at risk.
It has been dubbed golf’s ‘dirty little secret’, because without cutting a ball open golfers never know whether a core is perfectly centred, the mantle layers are uniform or if the cover is consistent and blemish-free. But now brands are now taking it upon themselves to demonstrate quality control and ensure the 850 million golf balls sold globally each year are up to scratch.
Wilson was the first to strike out on this ‘improved quality control’ line and thanks to having a decent foothold in the super popular low-compression golf ball market, and its growing forged iron reputation on tour, in 2020 Wilson created its ground-breaking four-piece, urethane covered Staff Model ball (and Staff Model R).
Let’s take a closer look at that model, and the rest of Wilson’s golf balls.
Wilson Staff Model / Wilson Staff Model R Golf Balls
After looking at the paint on competitor balls, Wilson found pooling in the dimples, which it says leads to inconsistency. So the Staff Model R (Raw) eliminates the problem as it’s unpainted.
In our opinion it makes perfect sense to play the raw R Model if you can stomach its slightly duller appearance. The unpainted cover also adds a little more wedge spin and flattens out driver and iron flight slightly.
Data from our recent tour balls test showed how both are very good at both ends of the bag. So while they gave up six yards with the driver and 7-iron combined against our very longest, with a wedge the Staff Model and Staff Model R were just 7rpm and 93rpm respectively behind our very highest spinning wedge models.
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Wilson Staff Triad golf ball
This is the ball for golfers seeking to break 80, so the ideal mid-handicap model. Wilson designed the Triad to hit more fairways (3) and greens (5), as well as to sink more putts (5).
It achieves its goal by relocating some of the ball’s mass (the core), away from the centre to the outer edges, which improves MOI and accuracy. Wilson says the Triad will work particularly well for golfers who don’t list more distance as their first priority when choosing a new ball.
There are two models – the standard Triad, or the Triad R, which is an unpainted (Raw) model – to ensure there is no risk of paint pooling in any dimples and affecting the aerodynamics.
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Wilson Duo Soft+ Golf Balls
With more than 60% of Wilson’s golf ball sales coming from mid-handicap and high-handicap golfers, it’s no surprise a ton of effort has been put into optimising a ball for this particular market. Wilson says that in every test it has ever run there’s always 65-75% of golfers that prefer a softer feeling ball.
So the Duo Soft+ (35 compression) is optimised with a very soft but energetic core, under a firmer cover, to be the softest feeling golf ball on the market. Wilson’s ball guru Frank Simonutti also says club golfers need to be in the fairway to score, so the Duo Soft+ ball targets low spin, as this gives a straighter flight.
At £19.99 a dozen the Duo Soft+ is brilliant in the hands of club golfers who don’t see the benefit in paying more for a urethane ball. One of the best balls value golf balls and perfect for beginners and high handicappers.
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Wilson Staff DUO Optix
RRP: £19.99 per dozen | VIEW OFFER
Golf ball construction Two-piece with ionomer cover | Colours Green, Orange, Red, Yellow
Wilson added a bolder and brighter colourways to its popular Optix range with the new Wilson Staff DUO Optix packing more distance than ever before.
Built with a smaller core and designed with a semi-translucent highly visible and colourful matte cover – which minimises glare off the cover at address – the new DUO Optix is longer and even brighter than the previous model to ensure the ball can be easily tracked in-flight or found on all types of ground.
Featuring a soft, highly resilient polybutadiene core, the DUO Optix is designed to provide players with exceptional feel and straighter shots from tee to green.
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GOLF BALLS: FAQs
Which professional golfers use Wilson golf balls?
Wilson don’t have a huge presence on Tour, but former Open champion Paul Lawrie does play the Staff Model ball on the Legends Tour.
Gary Woodland, Padraig Harrington, Kevin Tway, Brendan Steele, Kevin Streelman, Joaquin Lagergren and Paul Waring are among the players who use Wilson clubs.
How do I choose the best golf ball for my game?
Choosing the right golf ball can be a minefield. Between them, the big golf brands (Titleist, TaylorMade, Callaway, Srixon, Bridgestone and Wilson) alone have more than 40 different models to choose between… and that doesn’t include different colour or alignment aid choices.
To the untrained eye, most golf balls promise similar benefits – more speed, more distance, less spin with a driver, more spin with a wedge, along with great feel. Researching them all and testing a few to find one that compliments your game is way beyond the attention span of most club golfers.
But after years of testing and fittings, we know that identifying the right ball for your game and handicap can help lower scores. Like every piece of golf equipment, you need to test it and find out if it’s right for you before putting it into play.
However, we also know that it can be expensive and that you want the best value golf balls for your money.
So where should I start with choosing a golf ball?
Some brands even do golf ball fitting days, while others have fitting questionnaires you can fill in on their websites which will help identify the right model for you.
We’d recommend always using the same ball for every round, especially during the main season. Golf is all about consistency, from the swing to your equipment. While it’s tempting to use those balls you find in the rough, you’ve no idea how long they’ve been there, how they were treated, or if they’re right for you.
We’d also avoid lake balls and refurbished. The lure of a bag of TP5s or Pro V1s for half the price can be great, but there are plenty of tests that show the performance levels really suffer, which could cost you vital distance, spin and, ultimately, shots.
And, while you can’t pick the balls you get on the range (unless you’re a Tour Pro), you can choose the balls you use to practice things like chipping, bunker shots, and putting. If you’ve got a ball that you no longer deem fit for putting into play on the course, we’d recommend you keep these to one side for practice as they’ll still give a fairly accurate representation of the ball you’ll use on the golf course.
Ideally, when choosing a ball, you’ll identify some models that are within your category and be able to pick up some sample boxes or just buy a sleeve of three of each of those balls.
If you go to a ball fitting, you’ll be fitted for your 7-iron swing and then you should fit your driver to the ball.
Then take a selection of golf balls to the practice green and chip and pitch with them to see which model and cover gives you the best results, before putting with your favourite two to see which feels best off the putter face.
How much should I spend on golf balls?
Once you’ve worked out the level of ball that is right for you, you need to be honest about how much you can realistically commit to spending on golf balls in a season and see if that matches up. The typical club golfer gets through six dozen (72) balls a year, so even if you’re using a pretty basic two-piece, you’ll be looking at around £120 minimum. If you play one of the more premium models then it’ll be £240 or upwards.
Keep an eye out for deals. A lot of ball manufacturers do offers where you can buy four dozen for the price of three, and it’s always worth seeing if the price of the previous generation of the same ball drops once the new version goes on sale. We managed to pick up several boxes of TaylorMade’s first-gen Tour Response ball for £20 each when the new model was launched.
And while they might not be the coolest bits of kit, we’d recommend you add a ball retriever to your bag as they can save you a sizeable chunk of cash if you can get your ball back from the pond or bushes.