The golf ball is the only piece of equipment you use for every shot – so playing with the right model for your game is crucial. We profile the best golf balls 2017 to help you make your selection.
Best Golf Balls 2017
It’s a pretty simple premise that using the same golf ball in practice as you do in competition will help heighten your feel for a more reliable short game.
But as our selection below showcases, despite their similar appearances on the outside, different brands’ designs and philosophies are rapidly growing apart.
What do you need to consider?
Soft or firm?
A lot of golf balls 2017 come in alternative versions that spin slightly less for players who prefer a firmer feel or more control off the tee. Try both types from a range of distances to find your preference.
Urethane covers offer the best spin control and feel but do cost more. Experiment to see if you notice enough of a difference to validate the extra cost.
Long game or short game?
With conflicting fitting messages from different brands, consider if your game will benefit most from extra yards off the tee or better feel and control around the greens.
Titleist Pro V1 & Pro V1x
The number one ball in golf performs for every level of golfer. The difference between the two has arguably reduced in 2017, with the Pro V1 now offering lower driver spin than before, while maintaining supreme short game feel and control, and durability.
The Pro V1 features a Next Generation 2.0 ZG Process Core that benefits from a new formula that generates lower spin and faster ball speeds, with the biggest spin reductions noticeable in the long game. The Pro V1’s cover delivers superb short-game performance thanks to a soft Urethane Elastomer precisely formulated to deliver control with soft feel.
The balls differ in terms of flight, feel and spin. The Pro V1 flies lower with a penetrating trajectory and feels softer, while the Pro V1x flies higher, has a slightly firmer feel, and spins more on iron shots.
View now: Titleist Pro V1 at Amazon
View now: Titleist Pro V1x at Amazon
Srixon Z-Star & Z-Star XV
Srixon upgraded its premium ball range in 2017 to offer more distance and spin, plus greater consistency in windy conditions. Both models feature a new 338 Speed Dimple pattern, which uses five different dimple sizes – resulting in a more powerful trajectory. The Z-Star also features a ‘super-soft’ Energetic Gradient Growth core which is softer in the middle, then progressively harder towards the outside, making it softer than its predecessor. It generates a higher launch with lower driver spin.
The Z-Star XV, played by Hideki Matsuyama, will provide more distance off the tee as a result of a new ‘high-repulsion’ EGC large-diameter dual core design. A new 13% softer Spin Skin coating aids greenside control, while the urethane cover provides more consistent spin control on approach shots. Both are high-performance Tour balls aimed at golfers seeking more distance and spin control.
View now: Srixon Z-Star at Amazon
View now: Srixon Z-Star XV at Amazon
TaylorMade TP5 & TP5x
Both of these premium, tour-calibre balls came to the market in March 2017 – and they’ve made some impact. The TP5 is softer, while the TP5x, played by Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson, is lower spinning. The five-layer construction sees each layer customised to suit a different area of performance, covering driver and iron distance, iron control and spin and greenside performance and feel. TaylorMade claims there is no compromise between distance, control and feel as a result of this construction.
The biggest gains will be for higher swing-speed players. Overall, a strong challenger to the Titleist Pro V1.
View now: TaylorMade TP5 at Amazon
View now: TaylorMade TP5x at Amazon
Callaway Chrome Soft & Chrome Soft X
The Chrome Soft X has been added to Callaway’s range following the success of the Chrome Soft. Both balls share the same four-piece design, speed-boosting Dual SoftFast core for added distance and HEX Aerodynamics to reduce drag and keep it airborne for longer, but the X model is lower-spinning and firmer. This means stronger swingers can harness more of the energy they create than with Chrome Soft for extra ball speed and more distance. A similar version of the Chrome Soft was played on Tour by Phil Mickelson, which tells you this is a ball offering superb feel.
View now: Callaway Chrome Soft at Amazon
View now: Callaway Chrome Soft X at Amazon
Mizuno MP-S & MP-X
These are the two models in Mizuno’s growing range aimed at the better player. The four-piece MP-X features a dual core design that reduces spin from the driver, so stronger ball strikers gain more control. Its urethane cover also enhances initial ball speed, while the 330 dimple configuration helps create a penetrating flight.
The three-piece MP-S is Mizuno’s softest and most responsive ball. The cover is just 0.5mm thick to help increase ball speeds from the tee, while a 330 dimple configuration aids a stable flight.
View now: Mizuno MP-S at Amazon
View now: Mizuno MP-X at Amazon
You may just have noticed Bubba Watson using a pink golf ball – it’s the Volvik S4, a soft feeling premium Tour level golf ball. It suits Bubba because it has been designed for fast swinging golfers, while offering tour-level control around the greens. Its tour urethane cover offers accuracy and optimum spin rate for more performance-based shots, and the core provides longer distance and increased roll. Besides white, pink and green versions are available – if that’s your thing.
View now: Volvik S4 at Amazon
Vice Golf Pro & Pro Plus
German ball manufacturer, Vice, believes that high-performing balls don’t need to have such a sizeable price tag – which sounds appealing, right? For example, if you purchase 60 top-performing Vice Golf Pro balls, you’ll get them for £1.79 per ball (£21.49 per dozen).
The Vice Golf pro is designed for golfers with moderate-to-high clubhead speeds, and features a cast urethane cover and the manufacturer’s ‘Stick To The Green’ (S2TG) technology that assists greenside spin. The Pro Plus offers lower spin and launch for very high swing speeds.
View now: Vice Golf Pro at Amazon
View now: Vice Golf Pro Plus at Amazon
Hopefully this will help you with your golf ball selection. Browse the Golf Monthly website for the latest equipment news and video reviews.