Playing the ideal golf ball for your game can make a big difference. Here we highlight the best golf balls 2020 has to offer to help you make your selection
Best Golf Balls 2020
Our selection of the best golf balls for 2020 showcases that, despite generally similar appearances on the outside, different brands’ designs and philosophies are perhaps growing further apart in the quest for optimum performance.
Each top brand’s latest line of premium golf balls has witnessed some drastic re-designs and innovative new technology. This guide will help steer you to the best golf balls for your game from these premium lines.
Soft or firm?
Practising with the same golf ball you play in competition will improve feel for a more reliable short game. Most premium golf balls come in alternative versions that spin slightly less for players who prefer a firmer feel or more control off the tee. Try both from various distances to find your preference.
Urethane-covered balls offer the best spin control and feel but do cost more. Experiment to see if you notice enough of a difference to justify the extra cost, or whether mid-price golf balls might be an option.
Long game or short game?
Ball fitting messages vary from brand to brand. Weigh up whether your game might benefit more from extra distance or better feel and control around the greens.
Here’s our take on the best golf balls that 2020 has to offer…
Best Golf Balls 2020
Titleist Pro V1 & Pro V1x golf balls
+ Greater longevity and tour-validation than any premium golf ball
+ Latest models deliver more ball speed for more distance
– Unwavering demand makes bargain prices hard to find
The latest Pro V1 and Pro V1x models have undergone significant design changes in the pursuit of greater ball speed for more distance.
This has been achieved by a reformulated 2.0 ZG Process core and larger mid casing layers in both Pro V1 and Pro V1x. The cast urethane cover is now 17% thinner too.
The overall result is higher ball speeds without compromising the Pro V1’s renowned soft feel and greenside controllability.
The Pro V1 flies slightly lower than the Pro V1x with a more penetrating trajectory. The Pro V1x feels slightly firmer and spins more, especially with irons.
TaylorMade TP5 & TP5x golf balls
+ Complex five-piece design for optimal performance
+ New ‘high-flex’ material improves energy transfer
– Only faster swing speeds will get the most out of the TP5x model
TaylorMade’s TP5 and TP5x balls feature a five-piece design boasting a new woven-in ‘high-flex’ material called HFM. HFM improves energy transfer and rebound at impact.
The new Tri-Fast core consists of an extra-large inner core that is then wrapped in layers of increasingly stiff materials. This results in more speed without adversely affecting spin rates.
The TP5 has a softer feel, launches lower on iron shots and spins more in comparison to the TP5x.
TaylorMade TP5 & TP5x Pix golf balls
+ Tour-proven visuals co-designed by Rickie Fowler
+ Provides immediate feedback on how the ball is rolling
– Graphics may be overly fussy for some golfers
The TaylorMade TP5 and TP5x Pix balls are enhanced by their ClearPath alignment markings, co-designed by Rickie Fowler.
The pixellated, triangular graphics are strategically placed to provide immediate feedback as to how the ball is rolling. Line up using the TaylorMade logo, and the dark orange markings should form two straight lines on perfectly struck putts.
The two contrasting colours in the graphics are said to make them more visible in different light conditions.
Callaway Chrome Soft & Chrome Soft X golf balls
+ Premium level performance at a more affordable price
+ New softer cover for better short-game control
– Chrome Soft X model will feel too firm to some
The latest Callaway Chrome Soft model features a Graphene Dual SoftFast core. A 34% larger inner core delivers the ideal high launch/low spin combination for longer drives. The thinner, firmer outer core – reinforced with graphene – promotes greater durability and wedge spin.
An improved urethane cover delivers increased ball speed on full shots while providing even softer feel and more control around the greens.
The X model features two mantle layers between the core and cover rather than a dual core. The softer inner mantle combines with a firmer outer mantle to increase ball speed for those with faster swing speeds, and therefore total distance.
Chrome Soft X still promises high levels of greenside spin and control, but isn’t quite as soft as the Chrome Soft. However, its firmer feel and lower driver spin promise up to seven yards more than the previous Chrome Soft X.
Both Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X are available with or without Callaway’s Triple Track alignment system (photo below).
Honma TW-X golf ball
+ Attractive price for a good all-round performer
+ Soft urethane cover means good greenside spin and control
– Low penetrating flight may not suit all
The high-velocity core in the three-piece Honma TW-X ball promises a blend of high ball speeds with good short-game control. A high-repulsion mid-layer creates low driver spin, while its soft urethane cover helps deliver more greenside spin.
The 326 dimples have been engineered and arranged for a low penetrating ball flight. This makes the TW-X particularly good in windy conditions.
Srixon Z-Star & Z-Star XV golf balls
+ New Slide-Ring (SeRM) cover material is more scuff- and scratch-resistant
+ Spin Skin coating improves short-game spin
– Only fast-speed players will reap maximum benefit from the FastLayer core
The latest Srixon Z-Star balls are the first to use the macromolecule Slide-Ring (SeRM) material in the cover. Its many benefits include helping the ball restore its shape more proficiently post-impact, while absorbing impact vibrations better. It also makes the ball less susceptible to damage.
This unique SeRM is blended into the Spin Skin coating to improve not only driver distance but also feel and spin in the Z-Star. In the Z-Star XV it improves short-game spin performance without compromising distance.
The new FastLayer Core is soft in the centre, becoming gradually firmer around the edges to boost ball speed and maximum distance for faster swingers.
Available in pure white or tour yellow.
Honma Future XX golf ball
+ Six-piece construction optimises all-round performance
+ Inner layers are cleverly engineered to assist golfers of varying swing speeds
– The promised towering ball flight may not suit all golfers
Honma’s flagship Future XX ball boasts an incredible six-piece design engineered to provide more distance and short-game spin than any previous Honma ball.
The first three layers incorporate a highly resilient core – suitable for varying swing speeds – a soft second layer and a slightly firmer third layer. This combo encourages high levels of energy that translate into faster ball speeds and more distance.
The fourth and fifth layers become gradually firmer for consistent spin. The soft urethane cover then completes the package by offering high levels of short-game spin and improved feel.
Titleist AVX golf ball
+ Softer feel than the Pro V1 will appeal to some
+ Scores highly in the durability stakes
– Lower launch and spin on full shots won’t suit all
The Titleist AVX is an alternative premium ball offering to the ever-popular Pro V1 models. Its high-performance ‘distance with soft feel’ credentials stem from proprietary core, cover and aerodynamic technologies.
Where it differs from Pro V1 is that it offers a lower spin and launch as well as a softer feel. This makes it the ideal premium Titleist ball for those who launch it too high or spin their irons and wedges too much.
The AVX’s unique catenary aerodynamic design (the dimples do look very different) delivers a piercing, low trajectory and a consistent flight on all shots.
Mizuno RB Tour & RB Tour X golf balls
+ Superior performance in the wind courtesy of the C-Dimple
+ Ultra-soft cover for greenside feel and control
– Relative lack of tour presence for a premium-priced ball
The Mizuno RB Tour and RB Tour X balls both feature the brand’s new drag-reducing Cone Profile Dimple (C-Dimple). These cone-shaped dimples help keep fast-flowing air close to the ball’s surface for improved performance.
This is particularly noticeable on iron shots where reduced drag generates a more penetrating flight and extra carry distance. A high-traction urethane cover then comes in handy around the greens.
The RB Tour offers low driver spin and will suit more downward attack angles. The RB Tour X offers mid/low driver spin for flat-to-upward attack angles.
Bridgestone Tour B X, B XS & B XS – TW Edition golf balls
+ Reduced driver sidespin for longer, straighter drives
+ REACTIV urethane cover for extra wedge spin and control
– Maximum performance benefits only for 105+mph swing speeds
Various models from Bridgestone’s Tour B X range are used by Major champions Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau.
REACTIV is a smart Urethane cover that provides shock-absorbing properties for improved wedge spin and control, while being highly resilient on high-impact drives shots for more power and distance. The cover reacts differently depending on the force of the impact.
Bridgestone’s Gradational Compression core boosts both distance and forgiveness via higher initial ball speeds and reduced sidespin, particularly with the driver.
A special Tour B XS – TW Edition has been created in Tiger’s honour. It delivers the precise specifications and requirements that Woods demands, and comes with ‘Tiger’ imprinted on the ball.
A proportion of the profits from each ball sold goes to the TGR Foundation.
Volvik S3 & S4 golf balls
+ Dimple design promotes consistent stable ball flight
+ Highly durable VU-X urethane cover
– Lacks the same level of tour presence as other premium balls
Volvik may be less well-known than other premium ball brands, but the company has been making golf balls for 38 years.
The latest Volvik S3 and S4 models share the same VU-X urethane cover for excellent durability and spin control. Both are engineered to generate low driver spin, yet high wedge spin for maximum all-round performance.
The S4 is a 95-compression four-piece ball targeting tour-level swing speeds of 95-120mph. The S3 uses a three-piece construction, and is an 85-compression ball suitable for swings speeds of 85-105mph.
The S3 is available in white or orange; the S4 in white or green.
Vice Golf Pro & Pro Plus golf balls
+ Very good value premium ball option
+ Extra-thin urethane cover for feel and short-game spin
– Pro Plus model only suitable for those with 110+mph swing speeds
Both models from this German manufacturer feature a High Energy Speed Core (HESC) for higher ball speed and more driver distance.
The four-piece Pro Plus features two mantle layers, whose elastic properties reduce driver spin and increase carry distance. It launches lower than the Pro model to give faster swingers a more penetrating flight.
The three-piece Pro model features 318 large dimples for a stable trajectory and is suitable for moderate-to-high swing speeds.
Vice’s ‘stick to the green’ (S2TG) technology promises excellent levels of control in both models. Both are available in white, lime or red
Browse the Golf Monthly website for all our latest equipment news and video reviews.