Which Golf Ball Is Best for Beginners?The Complete Guide 2024

Does the golf ball really matter for beginners – surely all golf balls are round!
It may seem unimportant, but choosing the ‘best’ golf ball for a beginner can have a real impact on their fragile confidence as they start what is hopefully a long and rewarding journey.

By the way, when I said ‘best’ I didn’t mean the most expensive – find out more below.

Golf Balls for Beginners
My own personal collection!

Key Takeaways

  • Golf is expensive. When you are just starting out, it is much better to enjoy the game and worry less about losing golf balls – something that we all do. In the beginning, plan on losing two balls per hole at a cost of US$2 to US$5 a ball!
  • Choose a cheaper ball so you don’t get too dishearted when they inevitably get lost.
  • Consider secondhand balls – sometimes called ‘lake’ balls, as they have been rescued from another person’s wayward shot into the water!
  • Choose a brightly colored ball sot more easily as it flies through the air (hopefully!). You can also find it more quickly in the rough and amongst the trees! My favorite color is orange, but you may prefer yellow!
  • Your swing will be slow at first. Look for golf balls with a softer feel, which will give you more distance, forgiveness, and more confidence as they produce less side spin. This means a straighter ball flight and fewer lost balls!
  • A Golf Ball will a low compression rating (something closer to 30 rather than the maximum 110) will also give a golf ball a softer feel and more distance.
  • Don’t start with the very best ball you can buy. Starting with a cheaper ball will give you plenty of encouragement when you get better, and reward yourself at each stage with a better ball each time. Enjoy the journey – you have only just begun …

Choosing the Right Golf Ball

So, what types of golf ball should I consider as a beginner?

Understanding Golf Ball Construction

You might think all golf balls look the same, but they aren’t inside. Golf balls are made from two to five different layers.

two-piece golf ball is typically best suited for beginners. Why?
Primarily because they are cheaper!
Secondly, they have a larger inner rubber core and a more durable cover (ionomer). This leads to longer, straighter drives with less spin. which is good – see below:

A three-piece golf ball will have an extra thin ‘mantle’ layer outside the core which is designed to give the ball more spin. It also allows the outer cover to be thinner and have more ‘grip’ (urethane) – again allowing the ball to spin more.

There are golf balls with four or even five layers to cater for the specialists who want to have the ultimate feel and control.

Factors to Consider for Beginners

When you’re starting out, the sheer number of golf ball brands might overwhelm you. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Price: You will lose lots & lots of balls! Plan for losing two balls per hole, which equates to over US$70 per round, even at US$2 a ball. Don’t give yourself extra stress by paying US$5 a ball when you don’t need to. Enjoy your golf, and don’t get frustrated when you lose a golf ball.
  • Compression / Distance: All golf balls compress (have a look at a slow-motion video). Each ball will have its own optimum compression. The faster the swing, the more compression force there will be on the golf ball. If the swing is too fast, it may actually cause too much compression (which can mean loss of energy transferred to the ball and loss of distance). Beginners will naturally start with a slower swing, so to compensate, you will need a ball with a low optimum compression rate to get the maximum distance.
  • Spin Rate: Golf Balls that spin less have more consistent ball flights. If your club doesn’t connect with the ball at exactly the right angle, it will impart some side spin (change the spin axis). This side spin will make the ball curve through the air. The more side spin, the greater the curve (think of a baseball). Choose a ball with a low spin rate to avoid those slices curving even more to the right!
    Backspin – too much of this will make your ball travel higher and shorter.
  • Durability: There are two main types of ball covers – ‘Soft’ urethane covers for the more skilled player who wants the ball to ‘grip’ the green and spin. ‘Hard’ ionomer (surlyn) covers impart less spin, are more durable and cheaper – best for beginners.
  • Color: Choose a brightly colored ball. Orange is more favorite as it can be easily seen in the air and in the rough. I find it stressful if my playing group is holding up players behind me, so finding my ball easily & quickly is good!

Best Golf Balls for Beginners

So now you know what to look for in a beginner’s golf ball.
You’ve looked at the price, compression ratings, spin rate and even chosen the color!
Here is a shortlist of balls you should consider:

Popular Brands and Models

  • Supersoft: There are a few brands which even name their ball as Supersoft! Callaway Supersoft, Wilson Duo Soft+, and Srixon Soft Feel are all good choices at reasonable prices.
  • Colorful: Volvik Vivid golf balls come in the brightest colors! A brand new study of golf ball colors by South East Technological University in Ireland found that orange golf balls instead of white, improved the scores of higher handicap players by over two strokes on an 18-hole round!
  • Best Ball from a Well known Brand: Titleist makes the most well-known (& best?) golf ball on the planet – the Pro V1. The Titleist Trufeel is the affordable option, which is also one of their softest with low spin, too! Better for beginners with a slightly higher swing speed.
  • Best Value Premium Ball (if you hit the ball straight): If you want a premium ball at a bargain price, choose the Kirkland Signature. It is a three-piece ball with a soft urethane cover, which means it can spin backward on the green like a pro – if you hit it right! Just beware of this extra spin if you don’t hit your ball straight as it will curve!
  • Best Tip! Choose a secondhand ball. These are golf balls that have been rescued from a lake and given a second chance. Choose a Grade ‘A’ ball from the ones mentioned above and save up to 50%. whilst still getting a ‘good as new’ ball.
  • Be consistent: Once you have chosen a favorite, if you can keep to the same ball, you will get the benefits of knowing how it launches off the tee and how it spins on the green. Therefore, any changes you make to your swing will be because of your different technique rather than the ball.

Whichever ball you choose, consider it your new golf partner and have fun out there!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a real difference between golf balls for a beginner?

Yes, an expensive ball is not suitable for beginners – don’t do it! You will lose plenty of balls when starting out, so don’t make the mistake of losing US$5 each time a ball goes into the trees.
An expensive 3-piece ball is also sujitable for players with a faster & straighter swing. It will make your beginners slice even more wayward as it exagerates any curves!

If you are a beginner, choose a cheaper ball …

Can playing with the right golf ball improve my game?

Yes! Choosing the right golf ball can give you extra distance (by choosing a softer ball for your slower swing speed) and make your mishits less bad (by having reduced side spin)!

Once you can hit the ball straight (!), you can choose a ball with a urethane cover to give you more spin and control around the green. Kirkand Signature golf balls would be a great next step as one of the cheapest three-piece balls.

Are there golf ball brands for beginners?

Virtually all golf brands make softer, cheaper balls for beginners. There are some, such as Pinnacle, Nitro and own brands such as Decathlon & Slazenger, who focus soley on two-piece cheaper balls.

What is the difference between a 2 & 3-piece ball?

A 2-piece ball is cheaper to produce, and because it has a larger inner core made from synthetic rubber, it will go further than a 3-piece ball which has a small inner core as it has an additional ‘mantle layer’ designed to give it greater spin. They also have different covers, which affects the amount of spin. 2-piece balls will have the harder, more durable Ionomer cover, whilst three-piece will have the thinner, ‘grippier’ urethane cover.

What do the different compression ratings mean?

Think of compression as the ‘squishiness’ of the golf ball — a lower compression rating means the ball is softer. If you’re just starting out with a slower swing speed, a lower compression-rated ball will give you better distance (and also less spin).

Compression ratings in 2024 are between 30 (softest cores) and 120 (hardest cores).

and finally …. my end of page funny golf video

We have all been there …

Geoff - everything golf cart

I’m Geoff – Short Game ‘Expert’ and Golf Coach.
(only because I play 9-hole 4 times a week, and I love passing on my favorite Pete Cowen tips to friends & family)
My most memorable golf experience – racing through the streets of Hong Kong in a golf cart to catch the next ferry!