You just started learning the sport of golf.
You walk into a sporting goods store or a golf store and you go to the aisle of golf balls. You’re probably faced with 100 choices and have no clue which ones are right for you.
In fact, if you just choose the most expensive ones like a Pro V1, you’re going to make the game more difficult for yourself.
There are certain things you should be looking for in a golf ball as a beginner. This list of the best golf balls for beginners will give you some great options to get started playing this awesome sport.
If you’re in a hurry and just want to get the top pick…based on our tests the best golf ball for beginners is the Srixon Q-Star…you can CLICK HERE to check out the latest prices on Amazon.
If you’re looking for more options in other categories, CLICK HERE for our Complete Golf Ball Buying Guide.
Srixon Q-Star (Best Overall For Beginners)
The Srixon-Q Star (5th Gen.) is a very good, inexpensive golf ball that has almost everything a beginner should look for in a golf ball.
Compression Rating: 75 | Two-Piece | Ionomer Cover | Ideal Driver Swing Speed: 80-95
Off the tee, this ball is designed to fly straight and help with distance. It has a great combination of high launch and low spin. The high launch is usually helpful for beginners that have trouble getting the ball high enough off the tee. This ball will help with that.
Despite the high launch it doesn’t seem to balloon up at higher swing speeds so you don’t lose too much distance. On a good strike with the driver, the ball tended to get up quick and then flatten out a little bit. I think that is because of the spin characteristics of the ball. However, if you already hit the ball too high, then maybe this is not a great choice. The best way to figure it out is to pick up a box and give it a try.
At this point in your golf journey, you should be trying out different brands and styles of golf balls anyway and the price is relatively low.
I mentioned spin above and that is definitely one of the positives when it comes to this ball. Off the tee and longer shots (like fairway woods) this ball has low spin. That is exactly what you need as a beginner because those are the shots that are most likely to curve left and right unintentionally. A lot of beginners also tend to “flip” the longer clubs at the ball and generate a lot of unnecessary backspin.
Unnecessary backspin can cause a lot of distance loss. By minimizing that on the longer clubs, the Q-Star helps you hit straighter and more consistent shots with the driver and longer clubs. In addition, the softer compression allows all but the slowest of swing speeds to compress the ball to get the best distance from their swing speed.
On the short game side, it still has decent control. It won’t give you the spin and stopping power of the more premium golf balls. But, for a ball that is designed to minimize spin on the longer shots, it does give you good control around the greens. That is why I think it’s my top pick for beginners. It will help you keep the ball in play but has just enough spin to let you learn the right way to hit shots around the green.
Cheaper, harder balls may fly farther but have no control around the greens. As a beginner, that will not only hurt your chances of scoring well, but will prevent you from ever learning how to hit good short game shots.
Putting all these specs together, I think the Q-Star is great for beginners.
Titleist DT TruSoft (Runner Up)
The Titleist DT TruSoft is a jack of all trades as far as the things we are looking for in a beginner golf ball, but it isn’t a stand out in any one category. It does carry the top name in golf balls, so you know it’s not going to be terrible.
Compression Rating: 60 | Two-Piece | Surlyn (Inonomer) Cover | Ideal Driver Swing Speed: 65-80
The new 2018 version of this ball has a larger core that Titleist claims reduces spin on longer shots.
I thought it performed well off the driver, fairway woods, and long irons. Just not quite as good for me as the Q-Star. I would attribute that to the DT TruSoft being a little softer than the Q-Star. I think a golfer with a slower swing speed may benefit from trying the Titleist.
With a putter, it did have somewhat of a soft feel that I like on the green while putting.
On the greens, the DT TruSoft also fell short of the Q-Star and the Supersoft. Though it was not terrible. I thought the feel was good, but it just didn’t have the spin that the others did.
None of the balls on this list are going to spin as much around the greens as a ProV1 or a Z-Star, so it’s all a matter of degree. The DT TruSoft and the next one on the list, Wilson Staff Duo, just didn’t have the same bite as the first two.
That being said, this ball is on this list because it performs better overall than a lot of other options out there. Taking that into consideration with its reasonable price and it is a very good option for beginners.
Callaway Supersoft (Best For Slower Swing Speeds)
Callaway Supersoft is perfect for the beginning golfer who doesn’t have a high swing speed yet.
Compression Rating: 38 | Two-Piece | Surlyn (Ionomer) Cover | Ideal Driver Swing Speed: 60-75
The Callaway Supersoft has a lot in common with my #1 choice above but it has a much lower compression rating. If your swing speed with the driver is under 75mph then you should see a decent improvement in your distance by switching to this ball from a higher compression option.
With a compression rating of 38, this ball is one of the softest balls on the market.
Callaway is claiming that their cover isn’t just a regular ionomer cover. They call it Tri-onomer and claim that it gives you more greenside spin than regular ionomer covers. I’m not so sure about that. For me, it performed just about as well as the Q-Star around the greens. The softer overall feel gave it a slight advantage over the Q-Star for pitching and chipping feel.
On full wedge shots, it felt very soft, almost spongy, but the spin didn’t quite match the feel. I think that the soft compression gives you that feel but the cover just doesn’t quite let you generate as much spin as premium balls, which can be a very good thing for new golfers. Having the softer feel of a premium ball can help you make that transition once your swing improves.
(Side Note: Premium golf balls like the ProV1 have a urethane cover which gives them a soft feel without such a low compression…but urethane is also more expensive.)
Wilson Staff Duo Soft (Best Budget Option)
The Wilson Staff Duo Soft ball is basically a less expensive version of the Callaway Supersoft. It actually has a lower compression, though I thought it lagged behind the others on greenside control.
Compression Rating: 29 | Two-Piece | Surlyn (Inonomer) Cover | Ideal Driver Swing Speed: 66-75
The biggest benefit of the Wilson Duo for beginners is the low cost. You won’t have to break the bank if you tend to put a few in the woods every round.
For absolute beginners, I think this is a really great option.
The Wilson Duo has all the characteristics that you want as a beginner (though it doesn’t really excel in any one category). More importantly, though, it is really inexpensive. You can frequently find this ball at the same low prices as the cheaply made Pinnacles and Top Flight balls that are more suited to long drive contests than a real round of golf.
At that price though, you get a decent performing ball.
The super-low compression rating lets beginners with slower swing speeds get the ball moving decently off the tee. It performs a lot like the Supersoft, although I tended to see a little more distance out of the Supersoft.
Wilson claims it is the lowest compression in golf. With that comes some positives and some negatives. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s great if you have a low swing speed. However, when I swung a little more aggressively at this ball, it tended to balloon up, costing distance. So if you are working on increasing your swing speed, you may have to swap this out for another option at some point.
Around the greens, it had the least spin/control of this group. That being said, for the price, it still had decent greenside control. But if that is a priority of yours then you may want to spend a little more for one of the top two options above.
What Beginners Should Look For In A Golf Ball
You may be tempted to just buy the cheapest golf balls on the shelf as a beginner because you think it doesn’t matter for you. But getting the right ball can make a big difference even for new players.
The cheapest ones are usually rock hard and cheaply made. That means they might fly far but they’ll be inconsistent with your irons. They’ll also never stop rolling on approach shots. That’s a tough way to learn the game.
But you can also hurt your ability to learn the game by going with a premium ball like the Titleist Pro V1. If someone tells you that a Pro V1 is the best ball for a beginner, then go somewhere else. They are just trying to sell you on the most expensive option. That’s the kind of stuff that turns people off of the game.
Also, forget about “dimple design” or whether it is a one-piece, two-piece, or three-piece golf ball. As a beginner, that kind of stuff is mostly irrelevant to you. In fact, the only reason golf ball companies talk about those things is as a marketing ploy to make you think they are important.
So I want to break things down to the essentials for you and make it as simple as possible to find the right golf ball and get out there enjoying the game.
When I started creating this guide, I wasn’t trying to be funny with the titles of the three things to look for, but it just kind of happened that way. If you want to learn to score low as a beginner…look for balls that are (1) low cost, (2) low spin, and (3) low compression.
You’re going to lose golf balls, potentially a lot of them, as a beginner. So unless money is no object, then you want to be a little conservative on cost when selecting your golf ball of choice. At this point in your game, you’re better off spending the money on lessons, club fitting, and playing more.
Despite what the commercials say, you simply don’t need expensive golf balls as a beginner. You don’t have the skills yet to even take advantage of the technology in the premium balls.
Once you can control the ball (in other words know where it’s headed) 80%-90% of the time and even start to be able to work the ball left and right, the golf balls on this list will work just fine for you. In fact, as a beginner, many of the less expensive golf balls will actually help you score better. So there really is no reason to spend more money.
You also don’t want to get the absolute cheapest balls out there. So I tried to pick balls that were good quality and low cost without being cheap.
Spin is great when you can control it. But spin is also what causes your ball to slice into the woods.
A low spin ball will never completely eliminate the slices and hooks, but it can make them less severe. During any given round that can make the difference between slicing into the lake or landing on the bank. It can also make the difference between hitting a green or landing in a greenside bunker.
Better players prefer balls with high spin because it lets them move the ball side to side during a shot on purpose. As a beginner, you can’t do that yet. Better players can also control that spin and hit it straight when they want to.
You can also hit the ball farther when it spins less.
But we should also talk a little about greenside spin. Another reason better players like balls with a soft cover (usually made out of urethane) is that they can spin them a lot on shorter greenside shots. As your game improves, control around the greens becomes more important and has a much more significant effect on your scores.
But as a beginner, you’ll see better scores simply by keeping the ball in play off the tee and getting it on or close to the greens more often. Cutting down on side spin helps both of these factors. There is no such thing as the perfect golf ball, so you have to sacrifice greenside spin to help control side spin.
It’s all about identifying what factors as most important for your skill level at this moment and choosing the appropriate ball to compliment your swing rather than choosing a “better” ball that actually works against you.
If you’re a beginner, then you may not know what golf ball compression means.
In simple terms, compression is a measurement of how hard or soft a golf ball is. Depending on your swing speed, you will benefit from different compression levels.
If you have a slower swing speed then a low compression ball will let you compress the ball more when you hit it which helps transfer more energy to the ball and hit it farther. Players will higher swing speeds can take advantage of higher compression balls and hit the ball even farther.
As a beginner, you probably don’t have a really fast swing speed. So most likely, you’ll benefit from a softer compression golf ball.
That being said, I don’t want to ignore the fact that some beginners are athletic and can have high swing speeds. If that’s you then our top pick on this list is probably the perfect ball for you as the others do have softer compression ratings.
Are Pro V1 good for beginners?
Not really. The Titleist Pro V1 is designed for players with relatively fast swing speeds and is also designed to give players more spin to control their ball flight side to side. This means that a beginner will likely see more slices and hooks with a Pro V1 than a ball that is better suited for them.
Should I use new or used golf balls?
Golf balls can be reused until they are either worn out or lost. So you don’t need a new ball every hole or even every round. But you should inspect your ball frequently during a round to make sure there are no noticeable cuts in the cover. This will cause the ball to fly erratically and result in poor shots even if you hit it well.
However, golf balls are made of rubber, so they don’t last forever, especially if left out in the elements. If a ball is in the water for a while, that will negatively affect the distance it travels.
If you are looking to save money when buying golf balls, look for “x-out” versions of your favorite brand rather than used balls. X-outs are the same as full price balls. They just have imperfections in the words or logo which made them unable to be sold normally.
What golf ball should I use for my swing speed?
In general, you want the compression of the golf ball to be lower than your swing speed with a driver. For example, a Pro V1 has a compression rating of 90 so you won’t get the most out of your swing unless you are swinging your driver around 95mph or faster.
Do I need specific golf balls for the driving range?
Most driving ranges provide the golf balls for a fee. You shouldn’t be using the same golf balls you play with because you usually can’t walk out onto the range and get them back.