If you’ve never played golf, it can be a little confusing when you start shopping for balls. Do golf balls matter for beginners? How much should I spend on balls? Should I invest in good balls? Are used balls ok? These are all essential questions, and we have some answers.
Choosing a Golf Ball
Golf ball quality does not matter for beginners who are just getting started. Any ball will be appropriate to start you golfing journey!
A lot of people think that expensive golf balls play better than cheap ones. The truth is, the difference between $30 and $3 dozen is pretty much unnoticeable in terms of performance for beginners.
So, how do you choose a ball? One thing to consider: what does your local course’s course rating recommend for your ball?
Here’s a quick list of what you’ll generally find on the rack at golf supply stores:
- Maximum Distance – These are really long balls. They have big, soft cores and thin coverings to maximize distance off the tee. If the course rating is “300 yards or more,” choose one of these balls.
- High Launch – These are designed to maximize carry distance. They’re generally not as long as maximum distance golf balls, but they’ll go about 20-30 yards farther than the recommended ball in terms of average carry.
- Standard Distance – This is what most beginners should use. Golf balls with this designation create a high, arcing flight that can get you out of trouble and still go pretty far when you need to hit it hard.
- Standard Launch – This is your basic, no-nonsense ball for beginners. The kind of thing they’ll give you at the course for free. It won’t knock your socks off, but it does the job in terms of carry distance and control.
- Soft – These are good balls for beginners with slower swing speeds because they give you a little cushion on contact to avoid slicing or hooking the ball too far left or right. They don’t go as far, but they’re easier to control.
- S-Series – These balls are popular for newer players because they’re easy to hit. They get a decent distance off the tee, and they don’t slice or hook too badly if you don’t have great technique—they tend to go straight if you do.
- X-Series – The big difference here is in the core. The S-Series has a low compression core that can squish down on contact to reduce energy transfer and thus increase distance potential. The X-Series has a high compression core that ensures maximum impact, which means more distance off the tee.
- Recycled – These balls come from players who can afford better. However, they’re still perfectly good for beginners, and they go just as far as the $15-30 ones you might buy at a pro shop or on Amazon.
- Top-Flite – You can find Top-Flites at discount stores. They’re fine for beginners but not quite as good as the S-Series golf balls marketed to players of slower swing speeds.
No matter which ball you choose, be sure to get one that’s the proper distance for your course.
How Much Should I Spend On Balls?
As a beginner, you shouldn’t feel bad about buying recycled balls. It’s not like you can control your swing very well yet, so a lot of the “high price equals high performance” equation doesn’t apply.
However, as you progress and learn what kind of shots you can hit with each ball, it might be worth considering investing in a good 3-piece ball instead. The $30-40 dozen pro golfers might use are nice, but they’re not necessary for someone just learning to play.
Some of the high-end brands (Taylor Made, Callaway, and Titleist) make balls with dimples that “feather” inwards to reduce aerodynamic drag. These are great if you hit the ball at high speed already and want to maximize distance. If not, they don’t make much difference. So buy a box of 12 if you’re willing to spend that much, but don’t bother with less.
So as a beginner, you should spend less than $25 on your first dozen balls, like these Kirkland balls, great for beginners. After you have a better idea of what kind of shots you’re hitting, you can either upgrade or save money by buying recycled balls.
Are Used Balls OK?
There’s no need to be afraid of buying recycled balls. As long as you get them clean, they’ll go just as far (and straight) as brand new balls. That said, it is possible to find good deals on slightly used balls if you don’t mind the possibility of finding a few dings. Of course, they may not go as far, but they should still be suitable for beginners.
The main drawback to used balls is that the wound core tends to harden over time which means you’re not going to get as much distance out of them. So if you go this route, do yourself a favor and buy from a pro shop or a trusted seller who’ll guarantee their quality.
Do Golf Balls Matter For Beginners: Final Thoughts
You don’t need to spend $40 on balls if you’re just learning golf. You can get excellent ones for less than half that price at the pro shop, discount stores, or online companies like Amazon. It makes sense to invest in a box of 3-piece high-quality balls once your swing speeds increase and you need more control over the ball.
If you find a good deal on slightly used balls, go ahead and buy them because they should still be in good shape to learn with. Just make sure the seller guarantees their quality before you hand over your cash.