If you’ve ever visited a pro shop in search of golf balls, you’ve likely been presented with a dizzying array of options. Thankfully, the best golf balls for beginners are usually not the most expensive or the most high-tech. Beginners are going to benefit from a soft golf ball that will be forgiving to a variety of swing errors. Anyone with a relatively low swing speed will see an obvious benefit as well.
Beginners should avoid diving into the expensive balls that will cost nearly twice that of the golf balls recommend here. You’ll get no benefit from the fancier balls until you perfect your swing. When you are making side-spins, back-spins, and curls intentionally, then explore high-tech options. Few people fit that bill, so stick with a simpler ball that will definitely improve your confidence in the game.
The Lowly Golf Ball
Golf balls are often not given much consideration when acquiring golf equipment. Most golfers take our first swings on the driving range when learning how to play. As such, our first exposure to the golf ball is those mangled balls dispensed from a vending machine. If all balls are the same on the driving range, then why play the game with a different ball then the ball we hit in practice?
Durability. Golf balls designed for the driving range are inexpensive and designed for repeated abuse. Hit over and over again by those clowns that have watched Happy Gilmore one too many times. Course owners have to purchase thousands of these balls, so they need to be cheap and last a long time.
However, the range ball is not designed for distance, spin, roll, or feel. When developing golf balls with these traits, they can get a bit more complicated. More complicated means more expensive. The downside to some of these superior balls is they are nowhere near as durable as the range ball. But the performance and feel of
Don’t Be a Redneck Golfer
As we take our first swings on the golf course, beginners often watch their ball sail off into a random direction, never to be seen again. Even more aggravating is watching the ball splash into a course pond. Such experiences discourage many beginners from spending any more than the bare minimum on golf balls. After all, the golf ball has a short life expectancy in the hands of a novice.
When first starting out in the game, beginner golfers suffer large expenses in buying clubs and accessories. Then we learn how quickly green-fees can drain a wallet. Being asked to spend a little more money on a box of a dozen golf balls seems rather extravagant. In fact, many would go out of their way to avoid paying any money for a golf ball.
This particular mindset is not just for beginners. I’ve seen non-beginners balk at the idea of paying for a golf ball. People have been known to take balls from the driving range and use them on the course. Sacks of used balls that course managers fish out of their ponds are often on sale super-cheap. Each and every ball are different than the next. Buckets of old golf balls can even be found at yard sales.
Get a Feel For Your Balls
In my opinion, golf has a lot to do with “feel”. As you develop some consistency, you will know when you strike the ball how far it is going to go and how it’s going to behave upon landing. Then you can adjust the tempo of your swing as necessary based on how the ball feels coming off of the club.
You’re not going to develop that consistent feel if you are routinely changing to a different brand of a ball. Each ball is going to come off the club differently, go different distances, and perhaps have a different hook or slice that you were not expecting.
Using the same golf ball long enough to develop a feel for it will allow you to improve your game by making predictable shots. You will be more accurate and your scores will certainly improve. What you may find interesting is that different models of golf balls will behave differently between the driver, iron, and putter. Your job is being able to find the balance that best suits your overall needs.
Using a quality golf ball will generally result in longer straighter drives as well as accurate iron shots and puts. While a technically sound swing can accomplish the same thing, some types of golf balls can actually be somewhat forgiving to flaws in your swing common to all beginners. As a beginner or occasional player, you should be using a ball that can absorb some faults in your swing.
Give a Ball a Chance
I mentioned previously you should not be changing the type of ball you are using often. By often, I mean making changes throughout the game. Ideally, you would stick with the same ball for several rounds to develop that feel. However, if you are exploring to find the ball that best suits your style of play, you may want to change to a different ball every game.
You will have a good frame of reference to compare different balls when you are accustomed to shooting your current ball. For example, if you have played with the same brand and model of a ball for several rounds, you’re likely to have a good feel for the ball and know how it behaves. When switching to a different ball, you should know within a couple of holes if you’re going to like that new ball better than the one you have been playing.
Don’t Get Bogged-Down in the Hype
A surprising number of options are available in golf balls. The marketing behind them is probably more intense than the marketing is for golf clubs. When searching for a ball, you are going to be inundated with a bunch of specifications. The number of dimples, shape of the dimple, range, spin, layers, compression, color, high-tech polymers, manufacturing technologies, and finally price.
The vast majority of these specifications are nothing more than marketing hype to the beginner or any non-professional player. In the end, it comes down to how a particular ball works out for your own style of play. The specs are meaningless beyond that. Are you really going to not play a ball because its specs don’t look good on paper, even though you play your best game with that ball? I think not.
The specs you should review are compression, color, and price.
The Best Golf Balls For Beginners Have Low Compression
It might seem backward, but beginners and players with a slow swing speed are going to want a ball with relatively low compression. These days, the compression rating generally applies to the core of the ball, regardless of how “soft” the outside layer of the ball feels.
If looking at compression numbers, you’ll want a ball rated between 70 or 80. A high-compression ball would be considered higher than 90.
Pick Your Favorite Color
The color of the golf ball you choose is all about personal preference. Most of the time I tend to stick to the classic white golf ball. On occasion, I may shoot one of the newer matte red balls that some manufacturers have. It looks awesome. I have found orange balls seem easier to track in the sky on an overcast day but are just as hard to find in the rough.
I mostly play with white because most other colors seem to distract when I’m setting up my swing. Not sure why, but that is just me. In the end, pick a color that you like and go with it. Nothing magical about it.
Choose a Price Point That Keeps You Playing
You are going to have to stick to your budget to play golf on a regular basis. Don’t let the price of slightly better golf balls keep you from playing more rounds. If you find a ball rated with a compression of 70, but it cost double that of a ball rated with 75, buy the 75. You are not going to tell any difference between the two ratings.
Stick with a price that allows you to play more golf and don’t get bogged into the specs.
When in Doubt, Choose a Ball Advertised as Soft
In the last decade or so, the term “soft” has been used to describe a golf ball in any number of ways. This is especially true now that more expensive balls are made up of several layers with varying degree of softness between the laters. Want a ball with a firm outer layer but soft on the inside? No problem! Want a ball stiff on the inside but has a soft shell? We got you covered!
Too many choices present a problem for the beginner. If you are lost in choosing if a ball is soft enough for you, this is one area where the marketing can be helpful. For the truly soft golf ball that we beginners want, the box will usually be clearly marked as being soft or extra soft.
From what I can tell, many manufacturers do not advertise extra soft golf balls when targeting the experienced player looking for the tiny competitive advantage a different ball may provide.
So for you, find a ball clearly advertised as being soft.
Durability is an Issue, But…
There is a significant downside to soft golf balls in that they are not particularly durable.
Generally speaking, beginners with high-handicaps will make more strokes in a round than someone more experienced. As such, a soft golf ball will start to show some wear after a couple of rounds. Someone with a lower score might get a ball to last 3 or 4 games. If you’re a beginner that can go 2 to 4 rounds of golf without losing the ball first, you are a much better golfer than I am.
Given the ball is likely to be lost within a couple of games, as is usually the case for beginners, don’t worry about soft golf balls not being as durable as one of the harder balls. Having a more enjoyable golf game is worth having the ball wear out on you.
Recommendations For The Best Golf Balls for Beginners
1. Callaway Supersoft
The Callaway Supersoft Golf Ball is the best selling golf ball for good reason. The ball performs great all around, it’s affordable, and is available in a whole bunch of colors. This is our clear choice for the best golf balls for beginners.
I switched to this ball last year and have not looked back. For the last several years I played the Pinnacle ball and loved it (see below). But when I tried the Callaway Supersoft, I have not even thought about trying a different ball. I wish this great ball from Callaway crossed my path years ago.
My initial impression is that I’ve been hitting a little farther with this ball off the tee. My iron shots feel about the same in distance as the Pinnacle, but the Supersoft bounces less on the green. The ball responds well to my slow swing speed and feels great when the club strikes it, even on those cold mornings.
For you folks that like a colored golf ball, the Callaway Supersoft comes in six color options, so one is bound to suit your tastes. There are your standard white and yellow balls, but then there are four catchy matte colors. Green, orange, pink, and red. The matte color balls are really neat. My current favorite is red.
2. Pinnacle Soft
The Pinnacle Soft Golf Ball was my first soft golf ball and I immediately fell in love with it. I played this ball for many years and it helped take my game to the next level. I played with more confidence and didn’t think of going to another ball for a long time.
Another benefit to the Pinnacle ball is they are generally the most affordable soft golf ball of quality. The price of the Pinnacle makes this a no-brainer purchase for those people that are on a tighter budget.
There are not a lot of color options with this ball. You get the standard white, but a nice pink ball is also available. My wife likes the pink on this ball in that the color is more of pastel color and not the gaudy fluorescent pink often seen on the pink lady balls.
3. Honorable Mention – Srixon Soft Feel
When I had run out of my beloved Pinnacle Soft golf balls, I went to the store only to find they didn’t have any in stock. Annoyed my go-to ball was not available, I gave the Srixon Soft Feel a try. As it turns out, it was a great decision for me to try a new ball. The Srixon paved the way for me to look at a number of different soft golf balls to expand my horizon.
Although the Srixon was priced a bit more than the Pinnacle Soft, I could immediately tell a difference in the quality of the ball off of the tee. I’m not sure it went any farther, but I did feel that it flew a bit straighter.
When approaching the green, the ball didn’t have much run to it and tended to stay on the green more often. Overall it was close, but I stuck with this ball for a couple of rounds and really enjoyed playing it. I probably would have stayed with this ball had I not discovered the Callaway Supersoft. I rank the Srixon as an honorable mention due to the price when compared with the Pinnacle Soft.