2021 Golf Ball Test Results
Golf Balls

2021 Golf Ball Test Results

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2021 Golf Ball Test Results

The golf ball is the only piece of equipment you use on every single shot. For that reason, there’s an argument to be made that the finding the best golf ball is the single most important item in your bag.

Our 2019 golf ball test was an eye-opener for golfers and a reckoning for golf ball manufacturers. It was the largest independent study of its kind and some of the results were shocking. We learned that “soft” is slow, performance differences are more significant than many golfers believe and a poorly made ball can fly significantly offline, even on a perfect swing.

Those findings provided the spark for our Ball Lab initiative and, not surprisingly, golf ball performance testing shot to the top of our most requested list.

Two and a half years later, armed with the knowledge from the first test, we headed out to the desert, reconnected with our robot friend and conducted another ball test featuring the latest urethane models on the market.

Our goal is to help you find the best golf ball for your game.

About the 2021 Golf Ball Test

The 2021 MyGolfSpy ball test was conducted at Scottsdale National Golf Club. Testing took place over five days and included nearly 60 hours of test time. In total, the robot hit just under 4,500 shots. We tested 37 premium balls models (35 of the most popular urethane offerings, refurbished golf balls and Pinnacle range balls).

For this test, we again used a Golf Labs robot. MyGolfSpy designed the test with the help of ball industry experts but the operation of the robot was left to PXG’s highly qualified test engineer.

We tested at three driver speeds and their 8-iron equivalents:

  • High: 115 mph driver, 87 mph iron
  • Mid: 100 mph driver, 77 mph iron
  • Low: 85 mph driver, 65 mph iron

To try to quantify greenside spin, we conducted a wedge test to a distance of approximately 55 yards.

In each scenario, the goal was to replicate as best as we could the launch conditions for golfers within the target range.

Here’s a breakdown of the clubs used for the test:

  • Driver – Fast: PXG 0811X GEN4 9° with X-stiff shaft
  • Driver – Mid: PXG 0811X GEN4 9° with stiff shaft
  • Driver – Low: PXG 0811X GEN4 10.5° with regular shaft

PXG 0311P GEN4 irons and a 56-degree 0311T Sugar Daddy wedge were also used.

To capture the full flight of the golf ball, including the impact of dimples/golf ball aerodynamics on the full flight of the ball, the published data was collected using a Trackman launch monitor. A Foresight GCQuad was run in parallel for comparison purposes and to confirm target lines.

Golf Ball Models Tested

best golf balls

Key Findings

1. Soft is Slow, But …

As we found during our 2019 Golf Ball Test, there is an absolute correlation between compression and ball speed but there are conditions under which softer balls can keep up with firmer balls. For slower players (sub-85 mph), the speed differences are so small that there’s a case to be made for not worrying about it. Among mid to high swing players, those who fall in the high spin category (ballpark 2,800 rpm or more with a driver), lower spin can compensate for the speed lost to lower compression.

Notably, as speed declines, particularly with iron shots, low-compression balls can be a touch faster than firmer ones. Soft is still slow but, under those conditions, it’s the comparably softer covers and mantles of high compression balls that explain the speed differences.

With this in mind, it’s certainly possible that a soft ball could be right for you but also consider that …

2. Soft Doesn’t Spin

While there is not an absolute correlation between compression and spin, the same design principles that make a ball soft invariably lead to a ball that’s lower spinning.

It’s telling that at all three speeds off both driver and irons and with the wedge, the lowest spinning balls were low-compression offerings.

If you’re looking for a bit straighter flight with the driver or to cut spin out of your iron game, soft can work. If you’re looking for more spin on approach shots, it won’t.

best golf balls 2021

3. If It Spins Off The Driver, It Spins Off The Wedge

While ball manufacturers often differentiate between driver and iron/wedge spin, the reality is that, if a ball spins of a driver, it’s going to spin off irons and full (and even partial) wedge shots, too.

For this year’s test, we switched from a 7-iron to an 8-iron and moved our wedge distance to 55 yards. Our hope was that with the higher-lofted clubs and shorter wedge shots, we’d see greater spin differentiation through the bag.

We didn’t.

While there is some movement in the middle of the table, the highest-spinning balls off the driver were consistently the highest-spinning off irons and even with the shorter wedge shots.

The notable exception was the ionomer-covered Pinnacle Practice ball we added to the test. It was the highest spinning ball on iron shots but the lowest on the wedge. This suggests there is a point where the cover has a more significant impact on spin performance but it’s closer to the green than you probably think.

4. Forget About Launch Angle, Trajectory is The Thing

Nearly every box of balls provides some description of the launch characteristics of the balls. Low, mid and high are what golfers understand and expect but, as with many things in golf, those descriptions are grossly over-simplified.

Across the test, we found very little difference in launch angle, especially off the driver. However, when other aspects of trajectory are considered—things like how high the ball flew, how far downrange it reached its peak height and how steeply (or shallow) it fell back to the ground—significant ball flight differences emerge.

The point is that a golf ball can fly any number of ways that defy the limitations of simple descriptions like “low”, “mid” and “high” so, when looking for the right ball, it’s important to consider the full flight of the ball.

We’ll be taking a closer look at trajectory in a future post.

5. For Many, The Best Answers Are In The Middle

Throughout this report, we’ve highlighted some of the fastest and longest golf balls as well as those at the extreme high and low end of the spin scales. As golfers, that’s the info we naturally gravitate to, but there’s a reason some of the most popular balls can be found in the middle of the chart. While some golfers can benefit from the extremes, especially when it comes to spin, for most golfers the best options will be somewhere in between.

6. Golf Ball Models Are Significantly Different

We know many golfers believe all golf balls perform basically the same but few ideas in golf are more detached from reality.

Our data reveals that, while there are similarities to be found between any two golf balls, across the entire pool there are significant differences in key metrics like ball speed, trajectory (the combination launch angle, height and descent angle) and spin.

While some balls like the Kirkland Performance+ and Mizuno RB Tour X are unquestionably a better fit for a niche segment of golfers, that doesn’t mean they’re inherently bad. As with your driver and irons, golfers should look for a ball that provides the optimum combination of ball speed, trajectory and spin.

HIGH SWING SPEED RESULTS

Our Top Recommendations for High Swing Speed Golfers

Low Spin Snell MTB-X, Titleist Pro V1x Left Dash, Vice Pro Plus
Higher Spin –  Callaway Chrome Soft X, Titleist Pro V1x, Wilson Staff Model
Balanced PerformanceSnell MTB Black, TaylorMade TP5x, Titleist Pro V1

High Swing Speed Driver

longest ball off the tee

Robot Averages

  • Club Speed: 115 mph
  • Ball speed: 167.52
  • Launch Angle: 13.70
  • Spin: 2,927
  • Carry: 298.85
  • Total: 319.82

Total Distance

longest golf ball

Observations (Distance Off The Tee):

  • While the Titleist Pro V1x Left Dash was the longest ball and the best ball for distance, the Top 10 shows a mix of high-, mid- and low-compression offerings.
  • The lower-compression, low-spinning Titleist Tour Speed was surprisingly long as were other low-compression balls like the Bridgestone Tour B RX and Callaway Chrome Soft.
  • For golfers who produce 2,800 rpm or more spin with the driver, the presence of these softer balls near the top of the distance chart suggests that low spin properties of low-compression balls can help offset the significantly lower ball speed for high spin golfers.

best golf ball

Top 10 Fastest

Observations:

  • At driver speeds, the firmest balls were the fastest which suggests the greatest potential for distance for most golfers in the 115 mph range.
  • The absence of the 100-compression Callaway Chrome Soft X LS from the top of this group is perhaps surprising, though the higher-spinning Chrome Soft X made the list.

Driver Spin

Observations:

  • The Kirkland Performance+ V2.0 was the spinniest ball on 115 mph driver shots (and just about everywhere else).
  • From our previous test, we expected the Mizuno RB Tour X to be one of the spinner offerings but the higher spin rates of the TaylorMade TP5 caught us by surprise.
  • With the exception of the 83-compression MG C4, the lowest spinning balls are all sub-75 compression offerings.

High Swing Speed Iron

Robot Averages

  • Club Speed: 87 mph
  • Ball speed: 122 mph
  • Launch Angle: 20.16
  • Spin: 6,381
  • Carry: 185.64
  • Total: 197.54

Total Distance

Observations:

  • The Top 10 for distance includes a mix of low and mid spin.
  • At these speeds, trajectory and spin properties play a more significant role in total distance.

Top 10 Fastest

Observations:

  • As we slow to iron speeds, high-compression balls lose their speed advantage.
  • The fastest balls include a mix of high-, mid- and low-compression offerings.
  • With the core being less of a factor, the outer layers of the ball have a greater influence on speed.

Iron Spin

Observations:

  • As we’ve noted, spin properties are consistent throughout the bag.
  • The balls that were high spinning off the driver (most notably the Kirkland Performance+ and Mizuno RB Tour X) are also spinny off the irons.
  • Low compression means lower spin so we’d expect to see five low-compression offerings produce the lowest spin rates.

MID SWING SPEED RESULTS

Our Top Recommendations for Mid Swing Speed Golfers

Low Spin Bridgestone Tour B X, Srixon Z-Star XV, Titleist Pro V1x Left Dash
Higher SpinTaylorMade TP5, Titleist Pro V1x, Wilson Staff Model
Balanced PerformanceBridgestone Tour B X, Snell MTB Black, Titleist Pro V1

Mid Swing Speed Driver

Robot Averages

  • Club Speed: 100 mph
  • Ball speed: 147 mph
  • Launch Angle: 12.96
  • Spin: 2,422
  • Carry: 247.90
  • Total: 277.13

Total Distance

Observations:

Top 10 Fastest

Observations:

  • The firmest balls are the fastest balls as the top 10 is filled with 95+ compression offerings.
  • Notably, the Top 10 is a mix of high and low to mid offerings, suggesting little direct correlation between speed and spin.

Driver Spin

Observations:

Mid Swing Speed Iron

Robot Averages

  • Club Speed: 77 mph
  • Ball speed: 108 mph
  • Launch Angle: 20.89
  • Spin: 6,052
  • Carry Yards: 158.69
  • Total Yards: 173.54

Total Distance

Observations:

  • The longest balls at mid-iron speeds are, by and large, lower-compression models.
  • The distance comes with reduced spin and shallower descent angles, suggesting stopping power could be an issue for some.
  • The only high-compression ball in the Top 10 is the Snell MTB-X at 96 compression.

Top 10 Fastest

Observations:

  • The firmest balls in the test have disappeared from the top of the speed chart.
  • At 100 mph-equivalent iron speeds, the fastest balls are a mix of high- and low-compression models.
  • This suggests that, under these conditions, golfers may no longer be fully compressing the core.

Iron Spin

Observations:

  • Spin is spin and it’s consistent throughout the bag so the top and bottom five should look familiar.
  • The extreme spin of the Pinnacle Range balls is a great example of why they shouldn’t be used in a fitting environment.

SLOW SWING SPEED RESULTS

Our Top Recommendations for Slower Swing Speed Golfers

Low Spin Bridgestone Tour B RX, TaylorMade Tour Response, Titleist AVX
Higher SpinCallaway Chrome Soft X, Titleist Pro V1x, Wilson Staff Model
Balanced PerformanceBridgestone Tour B XS, TaylorMade TP5x, Titleist Pro V1

Slow Swing Speed Driver

Robot Averages

  • Club Speed: 85 mph
  • Ball speed: 126 mph
  • Launch Angle: 13.85
  • Spin: 2,782
  • Carry: 197.44
  • Total: 230.78

Driver Distance

Observations:

  • With exception of the Titleist AVX and Tour Speed, the longest balls for this group were largely above 85 compression.
  • Golfers in this swing speed range often benefit from higher launch with more spin so low-compression balls are not always the best option.

Top 10 Fastest

Driver Spin

Observations:

Slow Swing Speed Iron

Robot Averages

  • Club Speed: 65 mph
  • Ball speed: 92 mph
  • Launch Angle: 21.09
  • Spin: 5,577
  • Carry: 123.81
  • Total: 140.93

Total Distance

Observations:

  • At our lowest speed, the longest balls are almost all low-compression offerings.
  • The notable exception is the Snell MTB-X.
  • While the distance is intriguing, the low-compression offerings fly only moderately higher but spin significantly less than mid- and high-compression models.

Top 10 Fastest

softer feel

Observations:

  • Across the entire table (not just the Top 10), there’s less than a 2 mph difference between the fastest and slowest balls.
  • The speed leaders are lower-compression offerings with firmer cover and mantle layers.

Iron Spin

long distances

Observations:

  • For slower swing speed players, higher spin on iron shots is often desirable so, while low-compression balls can provide more distance, the low-spin properties may not be ideal.
  • While we think the Kirkland is too spinny for most, the presence of the Wilson Staff Model, Mizuno RB Tour X and Titleist Pro V1x on this list suggests that lower swing speed players shouldn’t rule out firmer balls.

WEDGE – 55 Yard Shot

Robot Averages

  • Club Speed: 50 mph
  • Ball speed: 56 mph
  • Launch Angle: 28.28
  • Spin: 7,270

Wedge Spin

dimple pattern

Observations:

  • Balls that we would classify as spinny off the driver and irons also produced high spin rates on 55-yard wedge shots.
  • The lowest wedge spin was found among the low-compression offerings.
  • Across the entire test, spin rates varied by more than 1,300 rpm.
  • While the Pinnancle Range balls were among the spinniest off irons, it’s the one ball that showed a significant decrease in spin at 55 yards.
  • This is almost certainly due to its thicker ionomer cover.

Ball Speed Versus Compression

We’ve discussed that there is a strong correlation between ball speed and compression (the firmness of a golf ball). When the collision between club and ball occurs at high speed as it does with a driver, a softer ball is a slower ball.

What you may find interesting is that, as the speed of the collision decreases as it does for irons (especially for slow to moderate speed players) and on wedge shots, the outer layers of the ball play a more prominent role in the speed equation. As those outer layers tend to be firmer for lower-compression balls, they can actually be a bit faster off irons and wedges because the part of the ball being struck is firmer.

The chart below details the relationship between compression and ball speed for each condition under which we tested. Use the provided filters to move between club and speed options or filter to see only the balls you want to see.

Observations:

  • At all three driver speeds tested, the highest-compression golf balls (Titleist Pro V1x Left Dash and Wilson Staff Model) produced the fastest ball speeds. This suggests slower swing speed golfers are still able to compress the core with a driver.
  • The notable exception is the Reload (refinished) Pro V1. Despite an average compression rating that’s closer to Pro V1x than a real Pro V1, it produced ball speeds at or below what we saw from the softest balls in the test.
  • At iron speeds where the collision is slower and less efficient (lower smash factors), even at higher speeds a number of low-compression offerings, like the Vice  Pro Soft and OnCore Elixr, match and even better the ball speed of the high-compression balls.
  • As you would expect, ball speed differences aren’t nearly as significant as they are with the driver.
  • As iron speeds drop into the mid-range of our test, the low-compression balls are faster. Soft is still slow but context matters. The softer outer layers of the high-compression (firm core) golf balls are responsible for a modest speed deficit while the lower-compression balls gain speed because of the firmer covers and mantles.
  • At our slow iron speeds, low-compression balls like the Elixr, Pro Soft and Tour B RXS lead in speed while firmer balls like the Chrome Soft X LS and TaylorMade TP5x fall to the opposite end of the chart, though they’re only about 1.5 mph slower.
  • On 55-yard wedge shots, the firmest balls are almost invariably slower (again, due to the comparably softer outer layers). You’re probably not going to buy a golf ball based on an additional 1 mph on a partial wedge shot but it’s interesting to see a complete picture of the correlation between compression and speed.

“Soft” Ball Recommendations

Low compression isn’t for everyone and, frankly, we believe they’re not the best fit for most golfers. That said, we understand many of you prefer the feel of a soft golf ball. With that in mind, here are our top picks in the low-compression space:

Test Notes

This section details some additional observations made during the 2021 Golf Ball Test.

Offline Balls Given what transpired with our first ball test—specifically balls flying significantly offline and, in one case, even duck-hooking—we were on constant watch for the big miss.

While there was a handful of shots that raised an eyebrow or two (and those balls went back to our Ball Lab for closer examination), generally speaking, balls were less squirrelly this time around.

Durability  In our first test, we had two models scuff severely during the wedge portion of our test. This year, we didn’t note any significant durability issues, nothing more than a modest paint scuff.

Callaway Chrome Soft The “ball that changed the ball” was closely watched during this year’s test. Suffice it to say performance was significantly better this time around. We found no notable issues with the standard model which held up well alongside the other low-compression offerings.

Kirkland Performance+ V2 Always a curiosity because of its price point, the Kirkland Performance+ V2 was surprisingly consistent but easily qualifies as the spiniest ball in the test. It’s an inexpensive though decidedly niche offering. Golfers often want more spin but probably not this much.

Pinnacle Practice Balls  In the driver portion of the test, the range balls performed admirably enough that we started to wonder if we were wrong about their usability in a fitting scenario. Their performance on irons (excessively spinny) and wedges (frighteningly not spinny) provided further evidence that you shouldn’t be hitting range balls during a fitting (or anywhere else … other than the range).

Titleist Tour Speed Often left out of the discussion, Titleist’s other ball was one of the big surprises of the test. The low-spin, low-ish-compression offering was consistently among the longest. Like most other low-compression balls, the reasonably extreme low-spin properties mean it won’t be for everyone.

Reload Pro V1 (Refinished)  We were shocked by the poor condition and lackluster performance of the refurbished golf balls we purchased for this test. We’re going to run them through Ball Lab and can’t wait to share the results.

TaylorMade TP5 While we expected the TP5x would be a tick slower this time around given its lower compression, it was the spin of the TP5 that caught us by surprise. Across the board, it’s one of the spiniest balls within its compression range. Not only is it the higher spinning of TaylorMade’s two TP5 offerings, the spin profile is closer to what we find in many competitors’ “X” balls.

Value Golf Balls - Top Picks

For golfers on a budget, these are our recommendations:

Data

The chart below details the key metrics collected during our 2021 ball test. Use the provided filters to move between club and speed options or filter to see only the balls you want to see.

RAQ (Reader Asked Questions)

Q: What’s the right compression for my swing speed?

A: There isn’t one.

Just like your golf clubs, the key ball fitting variables are ball speed, trajectory (launch, height, descent) and spin.

Did I say compression or feel? No. Sure didn’t.

While there are some near absolutes related to compression (for example, softer balls are slower off longer clubs and lower spinning across the board), despite some of the industry’s best efforts to convince you otherwise, compression (which is closely correlated with feel) is not a fitting variable.

Speed, trajectory and spin determine the best performing ball for any individual golfer. So while many believe high compression is for fast swingers and low compression is for slower ones, the truth is that some high-speed golfers can benefit from the low spin properties of low-compression balls while some slow swinging golfers will benefit from the higher trajectory and added spin offered by some higher-compression offerings.

Q: Does handicap matter when choosing a golf ball?

A: The short answer is no. In simple terms, handicap isn’t a measure of your swing properties. It’s a measure of your ability and consistency. Just as with low-handicap golfers, higher handicaps come in all swing types and the same fitting rules apply.

There is the practical matter of cost. If you’re losing more than a couple of balls a round, it probably doesn’t make sense to spend $45 on a dozen balls. While used balls are an option, we highly recommend avoiding refurbished.

Q: Does temperature change the results of the test?

A: It’s a fact that golf balls fly farther when it’s hot and humid so those are the days when you can expect more carry and more distance. While we did experience some changing conditions, we took measures to minimize the impact of environmental factors on our results.

Q: Should I always play one ball (model) per round?

Our recommendation is to play 100 percent of your shots with the same ball (model). Given the variation between models, it only makes sense to minimize every variable you possibly can.

Q: How does water affect my shots?

A: When water gets on the ball, it reduces friction. The result is that a wet ball will launch higher with less spin than when it’s dry. Matte-finish golf balls are less efficient at repelling water so, relative to a glossy finish, they’ll launch higher still and spin even less.

Q: How do I find the right golf ball for my game?

A: In a perfect world, knowledgeable ball fitters would be as prevalent as club fitters. If you’re lucky enough to have a ball fitter near you, take advantage. If not, here are our recommendations.

Finding the right ball is a process so start with a few you think might work. If you’ve got a launch monitor, use it to trim the list. If you don’t have access to a launch monitor, our data should help you narrow the field. Test on the course and side by side. For the best comparison, don’t test more than two balls at a time.

The conventional wisdom is to start around the green and work backward. The idea here is to see how the ball performs on relatively short shots (partial wedges). From there, move to your irons. That’s where the biggest differences are and where you’re most likely to notice them.

Chances are you have an adjustable driver so once you’ve found the ball the performs best through the rest of the bag, take advantage of the driver’s adjustability and tune it to fit the ball.

Q: If I swing X, will my results be the same as the robot’s?

A: For the swing speed closest to yours, the speed, launch and spin relationships between balls should translate reasonably well. The fastest balls will be fast. The spiniest balls will still be spinny. How those factors come together in the total distance equation depends on other factors in your swing (attack angle, loft and impact).

Q:  If the cover of my ball is damaged, will it affect performance?

A: A little bit of missing paint won’t have any impact on ball flight but if the cover itself is damaged, even if it’s just a little scuff, it’s probably best to replace the ball. We did some scuff testing during this test and will be sharing the results later.

Q: Do the pros play the same golf ball I buy off the shelf?

A: For the most part, yes. While balls played on the PGA TOUR often pass through additional checks to ensure they’re conforming, nobody is sitting on a secret stash of high-performance Tour-only balls. Ball manufacturers want their Tour staff playing the retail ball and that’s mostly what happens. That said, nearly every manufacturer has a couple of secret menu offerings. These are typical niche balls that won’t be a good fit for the majority of golfers.

Q: Who provided the balls for the test?

A: MyGolfSpy purchased at retail nearly all of the balls used in this test. Due to COVID-related inventory issues, Snell and Inesis balls were provided by the manufacturer.

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      Mary

      2 years ago

      Thanks for putting this testing online! In the future, would you consider testing a 70 mph swing speed for driver? Golfers come in all ages and the elderly swing speeds do not seem to be represented in the testing. We all grow old and slow down.

      Reply

      WSnyder

      2 years ago

      Spin data for drivers: please explain why the average spin rate for the mid-speed driver is lower than for the slow speed? Could it be that the two spin-rate data sets were interchanged?

      Reply

      Ryan

      1 year ago

      Could be just that the mid spin driver is 9° and the low is 10.5°

      Reply

      Jeff Dillon

      2 years ago

      The variety that Maxfli offers will fit the need of every athlete that chooses the product

      Reply

      BeTheBall

      2 years ago

      Would LOVE to see a mini version of this for each top brands best $25 +- ball. Have heard great things about Bridgestones all time best seller the E6 and would love to compare those to TM Response, Scrixon A333?, etc…

      Reply

      Mark

      2 years ago

      Will there be any tests in the future for the Wilson Triad golf ball?

      Reply

      Richard Lambert

      1 year ago

      Wilson triad golf balls

      Reply

      Joe Ambrose

      2 years ago

      Great articles

      Reply

      Dr Tee

      2 years ago

      lots of data, but bottom line–just like club fitting, you need to ball fit yourself with your clubs, your usual playing conditions-wet/dry, altitude, temperature etc. obviously your swing is your own, but even that may vary from day to day what you find may not correlate with all the data gathered by MGS. appreciate the effort though ! for most “hackers” though, $ should be a significant consideration depending on how many balls you lose per round.

      Reply

      AtitG

      2 years ago

      Why is it that the carry distance/total distance ratio for 8 irons and wedges are almost the same for low spin and high spin balls? I was expecting the urethane balls to stop signifanctly faster than the range ball.

      Is it possible to quantify the effect of compression and dimple design on accuracy? For example hitting the robot 5 degrees out to in, and then compare the average distance to the average distance of those hit in a straight path.

      Reply

      brandy mccarthy

      2 years ago

      none

      Reply

      Nocklaus

      2 years ago

      I liked the 2019 Ball Test Better. Easier to comare different balls. Also nothing about accuracy this time around …

      Reply

      WVC

      1 year ago

      In the Data section of this article there is an interactive chart that allows you to pick and choose what balls to compare with their speed/spin/carry.
      What could be easier than that?

      Reply

      Spencer

      2 years ago

      Great test, thanks MGS! Just a heads up though – the Wedge data in the Tableau table seems to be messed up. Not able to get it to load, even though Driver/8-iron data is working fine.

      Reply

      Kyle

      2 years ago

      You have to change the ‘speed’ section to ‘wedge’. There is no different speed categories for wedge results.

      Reply

      Eric

      3 years ago

      Good Job

      Reply

      Barb

      3 years ago

      You need to have a great feel for your game. The older you get the more it changes

      Reply

      stephanie ryan

      3 years ago

      Thank you learned a lot

      Reply

      JL

      3 years ago

      Just out of curiosity, is there a particular reason the Volvik S4 and S3 balls didn’t make it into the test?

      Reply

      Shannon Greco

      3 years ago

      Thank you

      Reply

      Charles Colborn

      3 years ago

      Thank you for the thorough testing. It was very helpful.

      Reply

      kevin russell

      3 years ago

      Good Stuff!

      Reply

      John Tavares

      3 years ago

      I work for Dicks Sporting Goods. .I’m waiting for my customers feedback . Overall id say this is an impressive ball .The price is fantastic. Will be able to play them in a few weeks. Great article, data information , cant wait to try them out on the course

      Reply

      Mike Perski

      3 years ago

      Will you be doing a review of lower cost DTC balls, like Trust, Cut, Quantix, Sugar et al? As you know, these are lower cost alternatives, yet still offer Urethane cover ball. I know it’s a big ask as it seems there’s a new one every week. But many of us are looking for a lower cost alternative to commercially available brands. I am retired (11 hdcp), play a LOT of golf and I played Trust and Cut balls this year. I am going to try Sugar Golf balls.

      Reply

      Don

      3 years ago

      Great info thanks

      Reply

      james muldoon

      3 years ago

      wilson staff great lesson

      Reply

      stephen Rose

      3 years ago

      Updated ball seems to be able to compete with the major golf balls at a lesser price.

      Reply

      Brian

      3 years ago

      I found the data on the Srixon Z-Star to be interesting. Its low spin on driver and 8-Iron in the test (Mid swing speed is my target range), but then higher spin among many of the other balls in the chart for Wedge Play. I don’t see other balls move in the chart that way..

      Reply

      Kyle

      3 years ago

      I’m not sure if it’s been covered in the past, and it could honestly be too small a detail to be concerned with – but have you ever studied how well balls retained their spin off the club face? I would bet the correlation between initial spin and final spin is somewhere in the 0.95-0.99 range, but who knows, maybe it’s not. Assuming dimple pattern/depth has more impact on spin retention than compression does (?), maybe the results follow a different pattern than expected.

      I am purely curious about this and I’m not good enough for it to affect my game or ball choice. I appreciate all the work you all do to provide us with these results. Maxfli caught my eye in last year’s results, and this year you’ve only validated my loyalty to them (but again, probably doesn’t affect my scores as much as my general ability).

      Reply

      Kerry

      3 years ago

      The 2019 ball test was my go to for info until this. Thanks so much for all of the hard work. Time to donate again!

      Reply

      MyGolfSpy

      3 years ago

      ????

      Reply

      Bernard

      3 years ago

      When looking at all the premium balls, only ball to finish in the top 5 with 8 iron and driver for both ball speed and carry distance was the vice pro plus. Those are the 2 most important parameters to compare for each ball. Peak height also very important for irons.

      For 8 iron with high swing speed, vice pro plus was 1st in carry distance, 1st in peak height, and 1st in ball speed.

      For 8 iron, Pro V1x left dash was 2nd in carry distance, 11th in ball speed, and 10th in peak height.

      For driver with high swing speed, vice pro plus was 4th in carry distance and 5th in ball speed.

      When looking at prices of the Vice Pro Plus with the Pro V1, Pro V1x, and Pro V1x left dash, there is no comparison. On Titleist website a dozen balls of left dash are $50. On Vice website you can get a dozen Vice Pro Plus golf balls for $29.

      On the podcast you stated the Vice Pro Plus balls were “just ok.” Care to explain?

      Reply

      Kyle

      2 years ago

      Going through the data, I think I can see why. All Vice balls are some of the lowest spin balls with a wedge. Even lower spinning than low compression balls.

      Reply

      Mg

      3 years ago

      So the golf ball model I have used for years is no longer available. I read your analysis of the best golf balls in 2021 and selected 5 potential new balls to try. I researched again and ranked the top three that might work for me. I am a 6.0 hcp, female, driver speed 85. I was worried about losing distance from my old ball to a new one from your list. I selected the Bridgestone Tour B RXS as my first choice with the Bridgestone Tour B RX as my 2nd choice. I have never used Bridgestone before. The RXS is just as long, maybe a touch longer off my driver AND it grabs the green which is getting me more looks at birdie. I never thought I would be this excited about a golf ball! Thank you for the analysis.

      Reply

      Ian Tessier

      3 years ago

      MG it’s great to read your review. After reading the ball test, I visited Bridgestone’s ball selector page where it was recommended that I use BRX or BRXS as well. I’ll be trying them out soon and like you, I can’t remember being this excited about trying a new ball.
      MGS, another great test which we’ve come to expect but don’t take for granted. Keep up the hard and unbiased work.

      Reply

      Parker Binion

      3 years ago

      I play in SE Texas where it is usually dry but can be very windy and also very wet at times.

      Seems like a lower spin ball is best in most conditions (dry, wind) but a spin ball that carried farther might work better in wet “cart path only” conditions…

      Am I wrong?

      Reply

      Dr Chipinski

      3 years ago

      I feel this test is what everyone wants to see, but there’s one big flaw with all the data; GCQuad doesn’t take into account aerodynamics of a golf ball’s dimple pattern.

      Ball speed and spin isn’t everything when it comes to distance and choosing the right ball. If there’s a ball that has a lower drag coefficient than it’s going to get you more yards on the course when you actually play (where it counts), not on a launch monitor.

      I know I’d like to see these numbers recorded next time with the physical measurements of distance. Sure the wind can affect the ball, but guess what? that’s how the game is played; on the course. It should be fair across the board as you’d be taking averages. I can guarantee you some of these numbers would change, especially peak height which is huge determining factor when it comes to descent angle which dictates stopping power and roll.

      Reply

      MyGolfSpy

      3 years ago

      We used Trackman and Foresight ;)

      Reply

      Bernard

      3 years ago

      Vice pro plus was the only ball in the top 6 for ball speed and carry distance for both 8 iron and driver in the high swing speed category. I would argue based on your test results, it was obviously the best ball for high swing speed, especially if looking for lower spin. It was better than pro v1x left dash for sure. Not sure why you stated in the video that they were just ok. Doesn’t really make sense.

      Reply

      Bill D.

      3 years ago

      This is a great test. Question – Is there any way to test how true a golf ball putts? Most of our shots are putts so it would be a very valuable comparison. Thanks!

      Reply

      Art

      3 years ago

      Yes, Bill, you just need a putting robot. See: “How Golf Balls Affect Your Putting Accuracy” by Ralph Maltby on Youtube.

      You could also float test and spin balance you golf balls, which would ensure they will roll true, a cheaper approach to address the issue.

      Reply

      Alf.S

      3 years ago

      I’ve always been an Pro V1 player and would occasionally stray to other premium balls but ultimately returned to the Pro V1. After reading the article and the recommendation of Bridgestone Tour BX I bought a box 1st round out scratch 73 net 67. Best scratch score ever on my home course. Of course not all due to the ball but definitely contributed. Keep up the good work

      Reply

      Kyle

      3 years ago

      Seems like the newest Tour B XS has become a more playable ball VS the super high spinning previous model. Very similar numbers to Pro V1. Is that an accurate thought or not?

      Reply

      Jeff

      3 years ago

      1. What was the loft of the driver and 8 iron used? (The distance for the 8 iron suggests a very strong lofted club, a 7 iron or 6 iron in loft most likely). Please specify.
      2. Is roll out a tabulated number by trackman? If not, where did that data come from?
      3. If trackman tabulated the data for roll out, how can it differentiate as spin decays down range to the point of being meaningless? In addition, the calculated roll value is based on a number of assumptions which render it pointless.
      4. Were the same 8 iron and driver used for all data points?

      Reply

      Benny

      3 years ago

      Jeff you obviously didn’t read the article. Right at the top you will find the clubs used. At 125mph driver speed an 8i will go this long. 2014 Open watch it. Rory hit into both par 5’s on the back. 236y 5i and 252y 4i. Landed like my 175 7i. Welcome to the real world

      Richard

      3 years ago

      I did a lot of my own testing on a number of balls. Until awakened by MGS testing, I always used “X” and “X-LS” balls for my best results. Sadly, I have now found that my hand injury issues (old man) were very related to the hardness of such balls.

      MGS testing showed me that I should try more medium firmness balls like the Bridgestone BXS or the Pro V1. I now use the BXS and find it does better than the “X” balls without the hurt.. It flies higher for me than the Pro V1 and has an impressive ability to hold the greens.

      As to putting, yes they putt significantly different. I found it took some practice to get used to the BXS but now it putts very well for me and using other balls causes different and worse results.

      So yes, putting is a major factor, but I have adjusted to it and have found my new play ball. Not hurting my hand, giving great distance and accuracy, and now improved putting is obviously nice. (Nope, the BX is too hard for me and I feel it in my hands.)

      Now clean up some of your language and you will have a “great” website.

      Reply

      aaron wallace

      3 years ago

      great work as always

      Reply

      Ed Bailey-Mershon

      3 years ago

      Great Stuff

      Reply

      Frank Wood

      3 years ago

      Loved the data! Think best bang for buck though is the Vice Pro though, not Snell like you’ve listed. To each his own, but other than that, this is the best golf ball test to date anywhere in the world.

      Thanks guys!!

      Reply

      Lash

      3 years ago

      I really bought into your reviews when you exposed or revealed the Callaway Chrome Soft a few years ago. This is a very comprehensive research effort with a great deal of comparable swing speeds and other pertinent considerations.

      Cheers, MyGolfSpy

      Reply

      Jeff

      3 years ago

      Does the data for total yardage use calculated total distance based on descent angle and calculated roll distance? Or, did you physically measure the roll out?

      Reply

      Tkopa

      3 years ago

      I think the most illuminating comment Tony made was to look at peak height distance and descent angle. When comparing a Maxfli Tour CG X with a Bridgestone B RXS, you can see the Maxfli almost fall out of the sky while the Bridgestone glides down (using the driver). The Bridgestone comes down quicker with an 8 iron. (Medium speed). Bridgestone has some engineering in the different models worth looking at. Tony is right, however, the Titliest Pro V1 looks good all around.

      Reply

      Luis

      3 years ago

      Will you publish the tables so we can combine speeds? I’m right in the middle of swing speeds tested (93 mph driver). I believe the 2019 test allowed it. Thanks Tony and MGS team.

      Reply

      Brian L

      3 years ago

      What a thorough test. Will definitely consider the test on my next ball choice.

      Reply

      Claytongolfer

      3 years ago

      So your recommendation for slow swingers in the previous ball test were totally wrong?

      Reply

      Joe Tirrell

      3 years ago

      I have a similar question to one above. How is is that longer lower spinning balls end up ranking behind shorter higher spinning balls. I assume there is some preference for a minimum amount of spin for the wedge test. What is the formula for determining the overall score?

      Second question. How much does spin contribute to offline shots – for example if you hit two balls with say a 5 degree difference between face and path, does the brand with an extra 100 rpm of spin go 5 yards, 10 yards, 25 yards more offline?

      Reply

      Lynyrd

      3 years ago

      Thanks for doing these tests and fantastic job as always! My question has to do with the Drop Down Menus in the Graphs. Sometimes you include a “Selector” tool and as in this, you don’t. I can understand the theory that by looking at all, one may discover something not previously considered. But… many of us are brand conscious or maybe we would never consider a “Direct to Consumer” ball. In those cases a Selector tool would be extremely helpful – please include going forward. Thank you

      Reply

      Mike Timbers

      3 years ago

      Interesting that the AVX seemed to be consistently higher peak height than the Pro V1 yet Titleist promote the AVX as having “low piercing flight”.

      I play the AVX because I feel that it is more stable in windy conditions than the Pro V1 but it’s just my perception.

      Reply

      Rob

      3 years ago

      Why is TaylorMade Tour Response not a recommended ball for mid-swing speed, low spin? It was 2nd in distance with the driver and 3rd with iron. And the lowest in spin in both categories. The ball lab review came back above average with a score of 77. When the recommended Bridgestone Tour BX came back with a ball lab score of 72 and no where to be found on the distance or spin charts.

      Reply

      Ryan Park

      3 years ago

      Absolutely you’re right. I couldn’t understand. So I bought tour response balls anyway.

      Reply

      Mario

      3 years ago

      You wrote that balls fly farther in hot/ humid air, it’s quite obvious for the temperature, as hot air is less dense that cold air, same a low pressure day has the air less dense than high pressure day, but i tought that more humidity bring more friction, and as a consequence less carry, can you please give an explanation on this subject,
      Thank you

      Reply

      Rick

      3 years ago

      Arizona is for sure not humid at all. Dry as a bone

      Reply

      Ken C

      3 years ago

      July through September are monsoon conditions in AZ. It feels like Florida.

      R. Miller

      3 years ago

      Humidity makes the air less dense which means a very slight distance gain. Albeit the difference is almost negligible. Usually doesn’t even result in a yard difference.

      Reply

      Adam

      3 years ago

      Check out Sport Science on the segment about hitting baseballs far. They concluded as well that balls fly farther in humidity.

      Reply

      Mike H

      3 years ago

      Would really like to see how a ball which you reviewed earlier like the Bridgestone e12 contact stacks up so we can decide if the price/spin/distance is worth it vs the Bridgestone B RX.

      Reply

      Kyle

      3 years ago

      Great job, love reading these!! Definitely some interesting info that comes out.

      Reply

      Kevin L

      3 years ago

      It is the best test of the year.
      I hope next time you can consider to include RZN Pro, a good urethane 4 piece ball.

      Reply

      Gus

      3 years ago

      Cost is a practical matter so thank you for acknowledging! I’d love to see a few budget balls evaluated next time in that $2/ball range. I do understand that there’s less value in evaluating them for golfers who choose value over performance in the end anyway, but it’s still a curiosity when comparing x to y.

      Could you add cost to the performance metrics table? I’m interested in sorting by cost and evaluating a couple stats relative to cost.

      Thanks team! Cool study. I enjoy nerding out on studies like this with unbiased data.

      Reply

      rick

      3 years ago

      Snell and Vice. There you go.

      Reply

      Peter

      3 years ago

      Great job as always! Don’t understand the Peak Height Distance metric – it does not seem to relate to the shot distances. Found the shot dispersion metric in the 2019 Ball Test really useful when comparing golf balls – would like to see again next time, if there’ll be a next time!

      Reply

      CrashTestDummy

      3 years ago

      I’d like to see MyGolfSpy add the test of side spin by having the robot hit fades and draws. Some balls have less side spin that can help reduce fades/draws. Whereas, some balls are easier to fade/draw the ball. Many players do not want to work the ball a lot and some do want to work the ball more. The data would be helpful to a lot of players as well.

      Reply

      Bill

      3 years ago

      It would seem to me that high spin balls would have more sidespin that low spin balls

      Reply

      James

      3 years ago

      There’s no such thing as backspin or sidespin. Only spin and spin axis/tilt. The higher spin balls will curve more.

      Reply

      Justin T.

      3 years ago

      Would you mind sharing the MGS criteria for the swing speed/spin ball recommendations? I seem to come up with little overlap between the MGS recommendations for me and my own analysis of the data. Would love to hear how these were arrive at- thanks!

      Reply

      Justin T.

      3 years ago

      Any chance we could get the criteria for the ball/spin recommendations? The MGS recs don’t quite square with my own analysis of the data provided and I suspect it’s because we may be prioritizing different traits? For instance, as a mid speed swing with too much spin, MGS recommended the BRX, Left Dash, and Z star XV. My own findings, balancing low spin and total distance, suggest different models completely. Would love to hear the MGS criteria for recs!

      Reply

      Richard

      3 years ago

      Great study, but it would have been better if you had set the launch monitors at their average settings instead of at altitude. (77 mph 8 iron averaging 159 yards of carry? Not in any world I’m familiar with.)

      Next time, normalize the data to average conditions. Granted it doesn’t make the clubs look as good and it somewhat reduces the materiality of the study results, but it’s the intellectually honest thing to do. Hopefully, this was just a coincidence and not something you planned with PXG.

      Reply

      rick

      3 years ago

      It’s all relative, so who cares? Also, the PXG 8 iron is a 34 degree head, or what golfers like to call a 7 iron.

      Reply

      Mike

      3 years ago

      You must be talking about a true player iron. There’s almost no 7i in these days at 34°

      James

      3 years ago

      7-iron lofts:
      Titleist T200 = 31 degrees
      Titleist T300 = 29 degrees
      TM P790 = 30.5 degrees
      Callaway Apex = 30.5 degrees
      PXG 0311T = 32 degrees
      PXG 0311P = 30 degrees

      When you pack tungsten in the bottom of the club, as all these mainstream models do, it changes launch dynamics. The physics simply isn’t the same as a solid blade iron hitting the ball. It does mess up the historical spec bearings of us old-timers but it’s no different than the change to metal woods (which old guys groused about endlessly as well).

      Their choice works because the high swing speed player is likely to be playing a traditional-lofted 7-iron and low-speed players are likely to be playing 6-P in irons with hybrids above.

      Tim

      3 years ago

      what make the BRXS so good off the 8 iron in comparison to a lot of the other balls but it isnt so good off the driver? the Bridgetone balls perplex me because i know the quality of these balls but accoring to the data its hard to lock in on a ball for me……the BXS seems to check a lot of the boxes but i dont have a 110mph swing

      Reply

      MajMike

      3 years ago

      I play the Bridgestone Tour B XS and have a 80-85 driver swing speed.
      They are great performers and have shaved 6 strokes off my game. I see several sites have last years models on them at a great price point.

      Reply

      Zola

      3 years ago

      How did you guys like the PXG irons?

      Reply

      Jon

      3 years ago

      You’d have to ask the Robot….

      Reply

      Cody

      3 years ago

      What was the swing/face path and angle of attack for each club at each speed? This is needed if we are to use your data to parse out the best ball for our individual swing type.

      Reply

      rick

      3 years ago

      I’m sure neutral

      Reply

      HK

      3 years ago

      Such a great test.
      Was the balanced performance recommendation for mid-swing players meant to be bridgestone tour BXS? rather than BX?

      Reply

      George Crawford

      3 years ago

      Great testing, thanks for the hard work.

      I am trying to place some context around the results. For example, Slow swing speed driver distance are all around 200 yds give or take. If the average for one ball is ten yards different than another that is only 5 percent. But withoutknowing the sample size or standard deviation of the samples, that 5 oercent difference may be real (statistically significant) or not. If the sample sizes are small, say 5 shots each, and the standard deviation of each sample large, say 8 yards, then a ten yard difference is not really meaningful. If the sample size is large, say 15 shots, and the standard deviation is small, say 2 yards, then a ten yard difference in average distance is significant.

      Please comment on the statistical significance of your data. If you can provide a link to the raw data I would even be happy to do a statistical analysis of yhe testing and privately provide you with the results.

      At any rate, without knowing more about the sample sizes, just looking at what you reorted I would gues they are around ten, and the standard deviation of each sample, it is hard to place any signifucant cintext around the differences in averages between various balls.

      Even some basic comments by the test report on this would help provide the much absent context for ghe test and its conclusions.

      Thanks

      Reply

      Aart

      3 years ago

      Great work guys. Can you put the new Srixon AD333 (10th iteration!) in your golf ball lab ? It is one of the best sellings balls for mid-high handicappers over here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PG73TRSLLJ4

      Reply

      Kody

      3 years ago

      Tony, you mentioned the TP5 being pretty squirrely on the podcast. Any reason for concern? How about the TP5x?

      Reply

      Tony

      3 years ago

      Will their be a Podcast to review all of this?

      Reply

      Rob L

      3 years ago

      Great test! Love this kind of in depth data. I recently switched to Maxfli Tour CG balls after trying plenty of other options (worked from lower price point up through premium trying to find the right fit within my preferred budget) and was telling a friend about hitting my first ever 300 yard drives after the switch (tracked by Arccos). Nice to see the confirmation of their distance in my driver swing speed levels.

      Reply

      Ryan C

      3 years ago

      Were all the balls tested specifically 2021 packs? How much of a difference does it make comparing a 2019 Srixon Z-Star vs a 2021 Srixon Z-Star, for example.

      Reply

      Les

      3 years ago

      Anyone know what the best ball would be for a junior golfer then looking at these stats – have a 7 year old swing at about 56 to 60 mph on the driver and everything I’ve seen indicates low compression until I have read this – any advise please

      Reply

      Adam

      3 years ago

      Would make sense to go with the low club speed recs.

      Reply

      Kevin C

      3 years ago

      Great report! From reading this I probably have a few balls I can pick from, but I most assuredly need some PXG irons for my Mid speed swing!

      Reply

      Rick

      3 years ago

      Their 8 iron loft is 34 degrees, or what us golfers used to call a 7 iron.

      Reply

      mikeanthony

      3 years ago

      Glad to see Wilson’s DUO Professional golf ball getting some recognition in this test.

      Bought a dozen when they first came out about 3-4 years ago and noticed a significant difference with extra distance from my driver and iron game. Many of my approach shots flew over the green by 7 or so yards.

      But alas, discovered Snell shortly thereafter and have been playing them, along with the occasional ProV1, ever since.

      May have to revisit the W/S Duo Pros the next time there’s a bulk sale at DSG.

      Reply

      Ed M.

      3 years ago

      I agree. The DUO Pro has been my top choice for two years now with no plans to change. I notice the price listed here is $38.99, but I’ve never seen them for more than $34.99. I’d probably pay the higher price though. I believe Wilson has found the best balance between low spin for distance/accuracy while providing enough playability with its U cover to keep the ball on the green. Wilson is the Rodney Dangerfield of golf — no respect despite being one of the best in his day.

      Reply

      Kirby

      3 years ago

      Good info, as usual! I was surprised at how well the Wilson ball fared vs how much you all discussed it. It appears that it performed very well but not much attention was given to it, especially with it being a much less considered brand.

      Reply

      Webster

      3 years ago

      What, if any, measures were put in place to help negate environmental conditions such as wind, temperature, and/or humidity? Between early morning and late afternoon in Scottsdale you are looking at about a 20* temperature increase and a 25% humidity decrease. Trackman studies have shown about a 1.5 yard loss for every 10 degrees cooler at a ball speed of 150mph. 35 unique models is a lot and depending on how testing was conducted these differences would effect the ball flight and resulting distances. Take the 100 mph driver test for example. Did you perform all the tests for a given ball model before moving on to the next.? Or, did you rotate through the 35 models so that each would be hit within similar times throughout the day?

      When I see two balls with almost identical launch numbers but one is the #1 ball in carry distance (100 mph swing) and the other 6 yards shorter I’m left believing there were environmental factors at play in addition to any aerodynamic differences due to dimple design:

      Callaway Chrome Soft X LS had Ball Speed of 147.53, Launch 12.90, spin of 2,541, and 253.10 carry compared to the Snell MTB Black at 147.55, 12.93, 2,584, and 247.63. .

      Reply

      Walsh

      3 years ago

      Should the Bridgestone tour BX be in both the low spin and balanced categories for mid swing speed?

      Reply

      Brandon

      3 years ago

      I’m guessing that was a typo since there is no space between the B and X and they meant to put the Tour B XS as the balanced choice.

      Reply

      Tim Root

      3 years ago

      Tremendous amount of work on this! Huge thanks to MGS and PXG for supporting the tests with the equipment. I know that it is hard to cover all the bases, though I am surprised not to see a few ball options in the test list, like the Callaway Supersoft, but that isn’t a criticism, just interested it wasn’t in the list since it is one of the lower compression balls available (no doubt would have further proven the point made about soft/lower compression balls in the testing). All in all an updated bible for ball data and fitting for a variety of swings. THANKS!

      Reply

      Tim Root

      3 years ago

      I should say that I would be very interested in a similar test that includes non-urethane covered balls in comparison – I realize this was a test for urethane.

      Reply

      James Hunt

      3 years ago

      Incredible job MGS. Thank you for this. Just collecting the data is quite the undertaking, but then the in depth analysis of each? Just amazing stuff. Lol my wife has asked me a few times, over the last couple days, what I was reading, and each time it was “the MGS golf ball test results.” It blew her mind that I, or anyone, would be that interested in golf ball performance. Non golfers just don’t get it. It’s like the slogan with Jeep. “It’s a golf thing, you wouldn’t understand.”

      Reply

      JasonA

      3 years ago

      in other words SOFT IS FAST except for the 14 drives a round where the ball gets over compressed. ;-)

      Reply

      Paul O'Neil

      3 years ago

      On most courses, there will be 2 or 3 Par 4s where Driver isn’t hit because it is either a dogleg or a short Par 4 – thus most average/good golfers won’t hit driver 14 times but 10-11. When hitting 3wood/hybrid/driving iron on those holes, Softer Balls will NOT be over-compressed – they will be equivalent. Thus, the calc everyone has to do is 10-11 slightly longer drives vs potentially 18 iron shots that are at least as long, potentially longer, with mid compression balls. This is the logic behind AVX and similar-type balls. Finally, if you don’t have the long game (most don’t), to go at Par 5s in 2 (also need a bunker a ruff game), then another 4 Drives are not relevant – so that brings you down to 6-7 Drives being ‘potentially’ longer being weighed against 18 irons into the green – and this is the actual stats that most have figured out, without actually knowing what they figured out, is actually the real question about how you should choose a golf ball. For the Tour guys that can carry 290 bunkers and attack Par 5s, and if they don’t their competitors will, then this is almost their only decision that they have to make. If you don’t have that speed and accuracy in your game, then I would argue statistically, that you want to play the longest ball possible off your irons, AS LONG AS, they hold into the speed of greens you play – and, there is at least 80% of golfers, that don’t generate enough clubhead speed, to achieve 100+ peak heights, and 45-degree+ land angles on any iron, that high spin into greens is superior in any way to a ball that just carries further off their irons and hybrids. Finally, even if you are a good player, let’s say sub-8-handicap, if you do not spend hours practicing your high spin checking, pitch-shots for up & downs, and knowing this play a more chip and roll to the flag shot (98% of golfers do this), then the premium high compression & high spinning balls are not even being used by the golfer for what they are designed for – and thus absolutely not worth it.

      Reply

      derek gzaskow

      3 years ago

      Nice thoughts on this Paul

      Tim Root

      3 years ago

      Very compelling take Paul.

      Issard Olivier

      3 years ago

      that makes a lot of sense Paul. Thank you for sharing +

      Danners

      3 years ago

      They did address this in the video at the end. Some solid advice.

      Bob Davine

      3 years ago

      Great points. I am playing the AVX for the reasons you mention – however according to the numbers on the graph, AVX is at the top for distance on both driver & iron (for low swing speeds). That said – I don’t see it on the driver – I am defintely losing a bit of length. But the irons for sure go longer. If these numbers were accurate – AVX should be by far THE ball for low swing speeds.

      Not disputing the numbers you got are what you got but looking at 10+ yards of roll out with an 8 iron for a high swing speed player. What were they hitting to? Also looking at the spin rates for high speed swings with the driver. I don’t think that anyone with that high a swing speed should be playing a club/ball combo producing over 3,000 RPM. Even the lowest spinning balls were showing a high spin rate..

      Reply

      P0ppl3R

      3 years ago

      Can I just mention how useful the combination of Peak Height, Peak Height Distance and Launch Angle data is?
      Such a great way to visualize what’s important, i.e for me Decent Angle with an 8 iron (Steeper is better…) as traded off against Flight Profile with a Driver (Flatter is better for me).
      Out of all of that, I’ll be flipping over to the Bridgestone Tour B XS, from Tour X or TP5X.
      Thanks for all of the excellent work and solid data.

      Reply

      Shawn

      3 years ago

      Were any yellow versions tested? Would you expect to see any performance differences from white vs yellow version of the same ball?

      Reply

      Joe

      3 years ago

      Alot of good info here! Great job on the test! I look forward to seeing the results on scuffed/damaged balls. Also on a side note I was playing the bridgestone Tour B RXS, just recently switched to Vice Pro and found them to be very similar and the reults from the test confirmed that! Thank you, Looks like I’ll be saving 10-20 a dozen!

      Reply

      Rick

      3 years ago

      what shaft was on the x stiff driver? the spin was almost 3000, which is quite high

      Reply

      Ben Smith

      3 years ago

      Thanks for the continued great work. I’m somewhere between your high and mid profiles. I played a friends Kirkland ball last week and thought (on a small sample size of 18 holes) that it might be the spinniest ball I have ever played. Not bad, just very spinny.

      One thing that I think might be on interest for this or future studies, is to address wind conditions. While I am not golf robot, I generally find that lower trajectory balls perform better on soft greens and/or in the wind, where higher trajectory balls perform better on firm greens and/or calm conditions. To me this is the quintessential difference between the Pro V1 and V1X and Snell MTB balls.

      Reply

      CD Osborne

      3 years ago

      Love the data. Been waiting on it to buy more balls. I download the raw data, put it in a spread sheet then sort the data on one of the data fields and then color code the numbers as to the importance and significance to me. I do this across several factors, such as carry and spin for driver, 8I and wedge. Then each color is assigned a score and I sum of the score by color for each ball. This provides a sorted list tailored to what I want to see in a ball for my game.. I have been playing Vice Pro several years based on the 2019 data, but this data shows the OnCore Elixr and Maxfli Tour CG are better balls for me. for the price I used of about $30 or less per dozen.

      Reply

      Jesse P.

      3 years ago

      I know they just came out, so not expecting you would have put them through Ball Lab yet or have included them in the test. What do you think about the Vice Pro Zero? Not sure what their “Fused Urethane Cover” is in comparison to cast urethane covers, but I’m interested to see the performance. With the Zero’s at $4-5/dozen cheaper than the Pro Plus, feels like it’s a better value than the Surlyn cover Vice Tour balls or other Surlyn/Ionomer options.

      Reply

      Matthew Swanson

      3 years ago

      Guys – you killed it, again – spectacular stuff. Thanks for getting the article out so quickly – I’m sure this was no easy task to wade through the mountains of data. I spent a few days watching the live-feed and being an ass trying to make people laugh in the comments, so very happy to see it all come together.

      I see the Vice balls (pro + and pro, in particular) are FAST, and seem to stack up well, and yet aren’t recommended – curious as to why, given their price-point. Full disclosure, I just got 6 dozen Pro + at a net cost of about $23/dozen, and have used them twice now, and am very happy with their performance, so not looking to change, just curious as to what about them doesn’t get them a rec?

      Thanks again for all the work. Really impressive and helpful stuff.

      Reply

      Dave Henderson

      3 years ago

      I was curious about that as well. It seems like the Vice Pro would be a good recommendation for mid-speed players. I switched to that ball early this spring (from Pro V1x) because of price point and I really have not been able to tell much difference other than a little less spin on chips but I have adjusted my landing target and it all seems to work fine. Not that I really hit my target all that often!!

      Reply

      Bill

      3 years ago

      In my opinion, which is limited to a sleeve of Vice Pro balls, they are too inconsistent and they are not great around the greens. I personally wasn’t a huge fan of the “feel” but I know that’s subjective and doesn’t really matter.

      If it flies 2 yards further than my Srixon or Snell ball, but I’m not confident watching it in the air after a full wedge shot, those 2 yards just aren’t worth it. I’m around 108-110 with the driver so that will give you a little more context. At that price point for Vice I just think there are better and more reliable options out there.

      rick

      3 years ago

      I’m a Snell MTB-X user, since they aren’t offering 5 packs right now, I’m going to try the Vice Pro plus and see how they compare. Looks like they’re pretty similar balls.

      Reply

      Evan

      3 years ago

      i used Snell MTX-B in 2020 (50 rounds of golf), then I switched to Vice Pro Plus 2020 models in Fall 2020/2021 (75 rounds so far) and I like the feel of the new Vice Pro Plus better. The MTX-B is a firmer ball. Both balls are excellent very similar properties for higher swing speed and excellent around the greens. I’ve had no issues with inconsistencies using the Vice Pro Plus and really like the Lime Green color. I am not sure why Snell was recommended of Vice considering that Vice balls are cheaper in bulk.

      Christophe

      3 years ago

      Ok looking at this as a new golfer not completely sure what to take out of it. Let me explain my unique situation. My club head speed is really high and I had just started playing last year. I put my PW 160 and don’t know my driver speed but with a huge banana slice i hit I am usually around 270+ in yardage. So hitting cheaper balls should I hit a higher quality ball and if so which one. Normally only lossing 2 balls a round. Thanks for help as I am trying to improve my game someone said “find a ball and stick to it”. So trying to figure this thing out!

      Reply

      Brad

      3 years ago

      did this test provide side spin and offline metrics vs. simply backspin?

      Reply

      WYBob

      3 years ago

      Excellent article and awesome information. A big thank you and shout out to Tony, Harry, and the MGS team that conducted this current ball test. Plus a thank you to Scottsdale National and PXG for allowing MGS access to their robot for a week to conduct these tests. Now I have a great starting point to evaluate my ball selection for 2022. I live in the Mountain Desert region of the country (6200 feet ABSL, 15% humidity), so I will need to test balls on my course to select the best ball for me here. But this test gives me an excellent starting point. Two points in closing- 1) please don’t wait another 2.5 years to do the next test, 2) like several others I’d appreciate y’all publishing the dispersion ( data and proximity charts at some point down the road. Thanks again for all the excellent work.

      Reply

      El

      3 years ago

      Greatly appreciate the test – especially the 85 mph info – so sent a few bucks in support..

      Would echo others who are interested in something similar for less expensive 2 piece balls.

      Thanks for the terrific work.

      Reply

      MattH

      3 years ago

      Wow, just wow – I have just read this and to be honest, I have a bit of headache – so much data and simply brilliant – THANKS!!

      Reply

      Justin

      3 years ago

      You say you didn’t see as much variance on balls that went way offline like the last time you did this. I know from reading ball lab results there were defects that you found with many manufactures that you considered would impact performance. Does this maybe clear up that we don’t need to have a perfect golf ball anymore with core etc? The 8 iron spin was quite low even for the high spin balls, does this have to do with the loft thats being used? My 8 iron spin is routinely around 7600-8200 and its at 39* with virtually any premium ball. Appreciate the work you guys do to bring about these results to the golfing community!

      Reply

      Jelopster

      3 years ago

      This test shows that there are a number of balls that perform similarly in the various categories of spin and compression profiles.. One of my takeaways from the 2021 test is that (assuming Ball Lab doesn’t show a ball to be a clunker) things like marketing, feel, graphics, alignment aids, brand perceptions, and price can have legitimate role in the purchasing process. As long as you get a ball that fits your profile, pick one you like based on those more individualized factors. You are going to get good performance. Otherwise we’d all just buy the corresponding Titleist. What fun is that?

      Reply

      Jim

      3 years ago

      Great test as always guys. Again makes me appreciate using the Snell MTB balls. Terrific results and performance at an affordable price. No reason to play balls that cost almost $50 per dozen that I can see when there are other alternatives. As others have mentioned it’s curious why the MTB-X ball speeds were down from last year though as the ball is unchanged?

      Reply

      TR1PTIK

      3 years ago

      The test setup appears to be different. As Tony states in the first few paragraphs, “In each scenario, the goal was to replicate as best as we could the launch conditions for golfers within the target range.”

      After plugging numbers from both tests into Excel, what I see (at 115 MPH) is a slight increase in launch angle, a decrease in ball speed, and an increase in spin across the board – which yielded an increased carry of almost 20 yards. Since most golfers would probably want to maximize carry and play a shot that’s easier to control, this makes sense (at least to me).

      Reply

      Max Houck

      3 years ago

      Outstanding effort, as always. I was thrilled to see you use Tableau, one of my favorite visualization systems. My only gripe: Why not start the graphs at zero? Starting graph axes beyond zero is misleading and skews the impression of the data. I know you’re trying to show the differences but if you re-plot these with the axis at zero, it would be obvious that many of the ball performance data were very close and the difference minimal. Thanks again for all your hard work as the guardians of golf!

      Reply

      Christian Nelson

      3 years ago

      I work in data analytics, and the reason you wouldn’t start the axis at zero is that you wouldn’t be able be able to easily tell differences with the naked eye. Their method is preferred because it allows you to see the relative difference between balls clearly.

      Reply

      ACS

      3 years ago

      Great work guys, very useful information. Was disappointed to not see the Sugar ball in the test, why?

      Reply

      TR1PTIK

      3 years ago

      Tony, any chance you could detail differences in setup vs. 2019 test. Just looking at the data for high swing speed and the averages for nearly every metric (across all ball models) are notably different – especially spin (up) and ball speed (down).

      Not to suggest there is anything wrong with the test, but for those wondering why the results (Snell MTB-X in particular) are so different, a look at test setup could help explain why – obviously you guys weren’t testing with PXG Gen 4 clubs in 2019.

      Reply

      OttawaP

      3 years ago

      My head is spinning more than a kirkland ball.

      Reply

      PJ Murrieta

      3 years ago

      So if the Wilson Staff Model ball speeds at 115mph were equivalent to the ProV1 Left Dash then how come it didnt fly as far?

      Reply

      Handymn

      3 years ago

      The Wilson Staff spun more off the driver.. I currently play that ball (Staff) and after seeing this test, it confirmed that it spins more around the green. However, I have to trade that for more spin on the driver. = a little less overall distance (although not carry distance).. I’m guessing if you can offset this attribute with an ultra-low spin driver, then you can approach the best of both worlds.. Longer off the tee but more spin around the greens.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      launch and spin properties, dimple aerodynamics…

      Ton of factors, it’s not nearly s simple as if speeds are the same, distance is the same.

      Reply

      Lefty- not left dash

      3 years ago

      I too, have been in on the Wilson Staff Model- since it arrived on the scene last summer. I tend to be a little low spin on my driver anyway so I think the little extra spin- and its only a 100 to 150 revs than a ProV1 x may keep it in the air a little easier for me by just a fraction. I like how it has behaved off irons like the 8 used here and wedges and on greens..

      Reply

      Christopher S. Odell

      3 years ago

      One thing that kills md on this test is that a mid swing speed player should be getting near 180 yards on an 8 iron! I get 135-140 and my driver swing speed is 98-102 average, so the swing robot must know a few things I don’t. Seems I need to put some time into improving my iron contact.

      Reply

      Matt

      3 years ago

      The carry on the 8i mid-swing test was 159 yards which matches what I see on the course, from a well struck shot. I play my 8i to carry 150-155y, can exceed that if I catch one perfect. My 7i swing speed averaged 80 mph at a fitting last Summer so guessing I’m right in line with their setup of 77 mph for an 8i.

      I would recommend getting fit to see if there’s a better iron setup for you., 140y carry with that driver swing speed seems really low..

      Reply

      Christopher S. Odell

      3 years ago

      Thanks for the reply and stats there. My swing speed on an 8 iron is usually lower 70s so that must be part of the problem. Also I play Mizuno MP20 HMBs which I was fit for but I’m sure an easier to hit club would go further, my old Callaway Rogues did but still not a 159 carry on an 8. I am excited to think I’m leaving 30+ yards out there, time to get to improving the irons!

      Christopher S. Odell

      3 years ago

      Note: I see now that trackman reports average carry on the PGA tour for an 8 iron is only 160 with an 87mph swing speed. This makes me think this robot is still swinging far better than a pro and these distances are a bit long, don’t you think?

      Harry P.

      3 years ago

      My swing speed is a little lower but with my 30.5* 7i I get 108-110 ball speed and carry of 157-160 so this was a good match for me.. Would like to know the loft of the 8i used in the test.

      Lefty

      3 years ago

      First off this is amazing, love all the data. Can you clarify the mid swing recs? Is the BX an all around and low spin rec or is that a typo for a different Bridgestone? Didn’t see that for the other swing speeds so was curious, thanks again.

      Yanni The Greek

      3 years ago

      Sorry, the PXG iron lofts are juiced. That 8i is actually a 7i.

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      Improved contact will help, but altitude is all a factor here.

      Reply

      JasonA

      3 years ago

      Was wondering the same:
      1. The PXG 0311 P GEN4 is loft jacked (just 1 degree off my 7 iron).
      2. Ball speeds are similar to my 7 iron.
      3. Altitude increases carry (enough to match 7 yards extra carry?)
      4. Roll out given is eye watering: 14.85 yards on average (?)

      Reply

      PJ86

      3 years ago

      Cut Golf must be taking a big sigh of relief they weren’t tested. Terrible ball, terrible customer service. Snell looks to be my next the ball of choice based on word of mouth and this testing…thanks!!

      Reply

      Ken Barczak

      3 years ago

      Thanks for the great information (including the April ’21 golf ball quality test).
      The Vice Pro Plus and Bridgestone Tour BX did very well in the slow swing speed driver stats. MGS recommended the Bridgestone for balanced performance. However, the ball makers’ websites state that the balls are recommended for very fast swing speeds (110+ and 105+ respectively). Why should an 85 mph player buy one of these balls? I would think that the manufacturers know their products better than anyone, right?
      Also, should the average golfer avoid any lower QA scoring ball such as the the Bridgestone Tour BRX (2020 score only 59) or the Srixon Q-Star Tour (2020 score only 49).
      Thanks !!

      Reply

      JD

      3 years ago

      8 irons for slow swingers had 16-20 yards of roll out?

      Reply

      Gabriel

      3 years ago

      Yeah saw that too, I find it disturbing…

      Reply

      Bob

      3 years ago

      Checked around. The price of a Wilson Duo Professional is 34.99. Your stated price appears to be the one for personalized balls.

      Reply

      Bob

      3 years ago

      BTW, this is great work. I’ve been digging into it over breakfast, and yep, it’s good stuff. Basically, I’m just looking at what I have now and seeing if other balls that I was considering trying out would make a difference. Looking at the data … not really.

      On a whim, I picked up a box of Wilson Staff Models because the store ran out of Duo pros. I was able to compare the two during a couple rounds before the purchase, and at my level, I couldn’t really see feel the difference. The other ball I would have like to try is TaylorMade’s Tour Response. The one thing I’ve found is, I like urethane over ionomer.

      Just an FYI, prices in my part of Europe differs somewhat from what’s found in US. Duo Pros are definitely the cheaper lot, and WS Models are cheaper than Pro V1s/V1xs and TaylorMade TP 5s/5xs. Even Vice Pros are more expensive.

      Reply

      Aidan WA

      3 years ago

      Very well done – congrats and thanks!
      Great info, worth its weight in a MGS donation!
      To help you keep it coming I’d suggest anyone who values this donate too!

      https://http://mygolfspy.com/donate/

      Reply

      pauls

      3 years ago

      ditto

      Reply

      Rob L

      3 years ago

      Donated. Thanks

      Reply

      Andrew

      3 years ago

      This is really cool but the data seems a bit suspect.

      I’m a mid swing speed guy but I don’t carry my 8 iron anywhere near 173 yards.

      Even looking at the slow swing speed data, you’re telling me someone with a driver carry under 200 yards is hitting their 8 iron 140 yards with a 21 degree launch angle? That doesn’t add up.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      Hi Andrew,

      I think what you might be missing is the elevation. Scottsdale is a just a bit below 1300 feet. Plug the numbers into the Flightscope Trajectory Optimizer and you’ll find carry numbers are exceptionally close. The rest comes down to ground conditions.

      Reply

      Andrew

      3 years ago

      1,300 feet elevation is nothing. The typical elevation yardage increase is 2% per 1,000 feet. For an 8 iron that normally carries 120 yards at sea level, it would carry 123 yards at 1,300 feet.

      What was the loft on that 8 iron? Was it close to something traditional or jacked way down in the low 30’s?

      Comparing the “mid” numbers to the average LPGA Trackman data, it doesn’t add up. The robot swung the club a little bit faster and generated more ball speed than the average LPGA player, yet somehow came up 7 yards shorter on carry distance despite having way less spin.

      Launch angles are the same as LPGA but the testing landing angle is very different despite similar peak heights.

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      Here’s the thing…the data may not look right to you and feel free to beat that drum OR you can plug the numbers into the Flightscope tool and you’ll see that the data checks out. Either way man…it’s your time.

      Chris

      3 years ago

      I could be wrong but I thought the actual course where you tested at is more like 2700 feet. That would be more significant and explain a lot.. That and I think you said it was very, very warm so the air would be less dense thus contributing to carry and total distance.

      Chris

      3 years ago

      I could be wrong but I think the course itself is at higher elevation than the city. Scottsdale National Golf Club is at 2700 feet of elevation or so I think.

      Jonathan S.

      3 years ago

      In addition to altitude, those PGX irons are springy and go far. When I bought similar, hollow clubs by TaylorMade, they went about a club further.

      Reply

      Paul

      3 years ago

      Of course you don’t because an 8 iron doesn’t get 15 yards of roll. You’re looking at “total”, not carry. Big difference. Carry was 158….

      Reply

      Joe Wieczorek

      3 years ago

      Where’s the test results on the 2021 Golf Digest Hot List Award winning RZN Distance golf ball?

      Reply

      Steve Smith

      3 years ago

      As stated many times, these were tests of urethane cover balls (except the range ball. The RZN has an isomer cover.

      Reply

      Bill

      3 years ago

      Regardless, never trust anything from Golf Digest.

      Reply

      Albert

      3 years ago

      Congratulations on such a great test. A well stroked 8 iron for me is 170 yd, usually the ball spins back, I used to play TP5X and changed to ProV1 newest version, longer on driver and woods, about the same on short irons. The only times I get that roll is on miss hit shots, how can it be? I play in a course with receiving greens mostly about 10 in stimpmeter.

      Reply

      Nocklaus

      3 years ago

      No data on accuracy this time?

      Reply

      Mark Bresky

      3 years ago

      Unbelievable. Did something change that the ProV1X spins more than the ProV1?

      Reply

      Chris

      3 years ago

      Titleist changed the urethane ball lineup to a more linear progression back with the 2019 lineup.

      Avx = low compression low spin
      ProV1 = mid compression mid spin
      ProV1x = high compression high spin

      And the Left Dash = high compression low spin

      Reply

      Doyle

      3 years ago

      Based on the numbers above, the left dash spins more than the regular ProV1. I was thinking if switching to the left dash to reduce spin, but it’s higher. How is that a low spin option? I’m lost.

      Bill M

      3 years ago

      It has been that way since the 2017 model release. Many players switched models after that to capture the spin profile they wanted. I stayed X, but -left dash has me curious. Eventually I will get around to actually trying it.

      Reply

      Adam B

      3 years ago

      switched from tp5x to the left dash pro v1x. shot my lowest round 78 with it. Been firing low 80s last few rounds with them. Enjoying them very much.

      Dave Vardon

      3 years ago

      Quite amazing – I have been doing my own test on top tier balls in the last 2 months (I had already tried most of the low – mid tier balls in the last 5 years) as I noticed a much better overall performance with the higher tier ( price point over $45 ) balls. I am a slower swing speed golfer (70+) and my final consensus was that the Bridgestone Tour XS and TP5x were my preferred balls. I was pleasantly surprised by the Titliest Tour Speed as well ! So you did a fine damn job picking out my best balls . Great to have it confirmed though, lol. Thanks !!

      Reply

      Nick

      3 years ago

      Thanks for all the hard work. Out of curiosity, even though the Staff Model and the Staff Model R are priced similarly to the best of the best, they are rarely regarded as elite. Their performance was impressive though. Was that a surprise? Would you consider their results to be unexpected in relation to their reputation? They seemed like one of the more surprising results until I discovered they cost nearly as much as the Pro-V.

      Reply

      Lou

      3 years ago

      What a great ball test! It was worth the wait. MGS tested only urethane balls and no blended covers like Titleist and Callaway offer. Is this because the predominance of your readers are high swing speed, fast ball speed and low handicap players? I was once in this category but now, being a Super Senior, I am a slow swing speed player today. There are some really good non-urethane balls, like the Titleist TruFeel, Callaway ERC and Titleist TourSoft. But no tests. I wish you had considered some of your “other” readers who are not great golfers like the readers you like to target.

      Reply

      TR1PTIK

      3 years ago

      Unless you’re losing multiple balls every round, you’d still be well off to play a urethane ball for the greenside performance it provides. There are plenty of options available at a reasonable price and with lower compression to match your preferences (based on the models listed in your comment). Handicap and swing speed have no bearing on whether or not you should play a “tour” ball. As long as it makes sense economically, you should play urethane.

      Reply

      Chris

      3 years ago

      I wish some of those had been included as well. I live in the Seattle area and play the e12 in the winter and would have liked to see that one tested. It’s really low compression but I like them when it’s cold and wet.

      Reply

      Harry P

      3 years ago

      Bridgestone and Srixon often have 3 for 2 sales on the Tour B and the Z Star, so if you can get a premium ball for less than $30 a dozen not much reason to buy an ionomer ball. The Z was also BOGO on Amazon during prime days, so $21.50/dzn.

      Reply

      Ryan V

      3 years ago

      I would love to see you guys do this exact test for balls under $25 a dozen. A lot of us have our good ball and then our duff ball that we shoot over water or on tight tree lined holes. I’d love to see data for the best performing cheap ball other than Kirkland.

      Reply

      GregWhoLikesGolf

      3 years ago

      I definitely second this! I would love to see the Vice Drive, Srixon SoftFeel, etc. compared to these top-tier (aka $45/dozen) balls. It would be great to see where (or if) performance is lost at 1/2 the price.

      Reply

      Ray

      3 years ago

      Definitely got my vote too. For the >$25 ball. They say always play the same ball. But my local 9 hole course beats a ball to death in a hurry with narrow tree lined fairways, hard pan rocky ground outside of fairways ( not much better) and 3 water hazards meant to kill the mid to high handicapper. (I’m a 17). So for those practice rounds a cheap relatively decent ball would be just fine.

      Reply

      Brian

      3 years ago

      Thank you for all the hard work that went into this test! Very interesting to see the results

      Reply

      gordon langseth

      3 years ago

      Love this work and most of the other stuff you guys do….Just made my 5th donation…..today.

      thank you.

      Reply

      ChrisK

      3 years ago

      I almost feel vindicated with this test — for me personally, i’ve got excellent results out of balls like Titleist Tru Feel, and Tour speed, Bridgestone E12, etc. — I tend to trend to higher spin on driver, and i do tend to be a bit steep on iron shots (and i’m a mid-speed swinger). Thanks for your hard work, and pointing out why you think a softer ball goes further with irons than a firmer ball (cover and mantle firmness, mostly). I believe the best ball for me, even though it wasn’t on the test, is the Titleist TruFeel. It may not travel quite as far off the driver, but off the approach irons, it’s way better for me (and now i know why).

      Reply

      Lou

      3 years ago

      Hard to believe that someone else has “discovered” the Titleist TruFeel ball beside me! I only tried it because of the unique aiming lines and loved it! It spins almost as much as a ProV and is longer and feels great! Saw some great reviews vs the ProV. The best part is it’s cheap!

      Reply

      BCCCGolfer

      3 years ago

      Is there any reason why the 2021 Callaway ERC was not included in the review?

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      It doesn’t have a urethane cover.

      Reply

      BCCCGolfer

      3 years ago

      Thanks for the reply; after I posted that question I read further down the comments and saw you had already answered that question.

      I’m sticking with the Chrome Soft because I like how it spins on the greens, but was curious if Callaway’s hype on the new ERC ‘hybrid cover’ provided similar spin numbers.

      Mark Liquorman

      3 years ago

      Any chance the data results could be exported? Maybe to an 1 or more Excel spreadsheets (or CSV files)? Having the data locally would be easier to sort and make comparisons.

      Reply

      PJ Murrieta

      3 years ago

      Yes please I agree with Mark!

      Reply

      Gabe

      3 years ago

      There is a download button at the bottom of the chart

      Reply

      Christopher S

      3 years ago

      Tony and all, thanks for the massive undertaking and huge amount of data. Overall, I would say that they industry has done what they could in 2 years to not repeat their results from the 2019 test. Good on you, and good on them..

      one thing you mention in this test a few times, is that trajectory plays a a big roll in distance, wind, carry, etc. I know you used Trackman / radar to measure all ball carry distances. But now I am curious, do some ball perform better on a LM that doesn’t capture their flights and vice versa, do some balls perform better in real world vice what the launch monitor calculates for them?

      I.E. CG Quad uses a baseline to determine flight characteristics with a few feet of ball flight data. Does it short change some dimple patterns and over reward others? Does that question make sense?

      Reply

      JP

      3 years ago

      Thats actually super interesting, I have wondered if you would get the same results from a LM outdoors vs into a sim, and if either would completely tell the accurate story of the real ball flight…?!

      That said, I am very close to buying a personal LM because I think there is tons of valuable data you can learn from it even hitting into a net.

      Reply

      bob

      3 years ago

      I am looking to get on more par 5’s in two and driving more par 4’s going forward, which ball suits this tee game objective? All kidding aside, I have been playing Maxfli Tour X CG all season and love them. To see how much better the Maxfli Tour CG is over the X had me run two new boxes back to Golf Galaxy to try the softer Maxfl Tour with tons more carry and roll out. Can not wait to try them side by side the next few rounds. Great test. and info. Do yourselves a favor and start playing the Maxfli balls, two boxes for $60 (and if you do the online survey from Golf Galaxy receipts you can knock your purchase down to two boxes for $50).

      Reply

      Richard Reed

      3 years ago

      @Bob

      Thanks for the tip! Call it confirmation bias, but I’ve had great experience w/ the 2019 Maxfli Tour CG and am happy to see the 2021 versions really holding their own. I really enjoy the Tour Speed as well. (mid speed swinger here)

      Reply

      Landis Boyer

      3 years ago

      You’ve confirmed the ball I chose from your ealier ball test. Will continue using Snell MTB Black. Fits a 78 year old swing speed of “whack – whew”!
      Thanks for what you do.

      Reply

      GuyC

      3 years ago

      Great work again. Thanks to you guys.
      Can we have an idea of the protocol concerning the outdoor conditions, considering the test have been made through 5 days. How did you managed the effect of wind conditions (different direction and strength) to make sure its effect was neutral on the results?

      Reply

      Joe Bales

      3 years ago

      Interesting results and, as you always note, individual results will vary. I was fitted via both Titleist virtual fitting and an in-person fitting and in both cases, the recommendation was the left dash ProV1x. I have a 99-101 mph swing so your mid-level results were of particular interest. I’ve played all three versions of the ProV, and tried both the Chrome Soft and the Bridgestone Tour B XS. For me the left dash is easily the longest and the highest flying – it’s a little firmer off my wedges and it has a little harsher feel on putting, but for me, it was the perfect ball. Since I play the new TSi3 with a HZRDUS RDX stiff shaft if this is a case of ball/club being matched better?

      Reply

      JJ

      3 years ago

      How come you didn’t provide dispersion and offline numbers as you did in the 2019 test? I found that to be some of the most useful data.

      Thank you for conducting this herculean test.

      Reply

      Cody

      3 years ago

      Huge miss not including Standard Deviations across the board and offline metrics. Probably because the standard deviations will show inaccuracies in their quality scores assigned over the last few months. Pro V1x is their baby, but it probably doesn’t have the smallest deviations, which leads you to question its quality rankings. Just a guess tho.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      Hi Cody – thanks for the thinly veiled accusation. I’m glad you brought it up.

      We didn’t include standard deviations because our objective here was to focus strictly on the performance attributes of each ball, but since you mentioned it…

      The big things we look at from a consistency standpoint are ball speed, launch angle, and spin rates. Those are determined at impact, so you don’t really have to worry about environmental factors skewing the data. But again since you brought it up, the Titleist flagship models were nothing short of excellent (as they were last time around). The Wilson Staff Model was very good as well. So was the new Kirkland. Chrome Soft was significantly improved but still has some wiggle in it. The Bridgestone Tour BXS showed a bit better as well. The Reloads were bad, Inesis wasn’t great either.

      What I will say is the performance data went a long way towards validating what we’ve found to date in ball lab. It confirms what we’re doing is worth the effort. A lot of the stuff on the edges of the pattern was what ball lab suggested would probably be there. For some it was a single squirrely ball, for others it was more (though nothing nearly as crazy as last time around).

      Regarding the Pro V1x specifically. I’m guessing you weren’t watching, but on the last day of the test, we actually did some live streaming where we used three ball models in an ancillary test. During that part of the stream, we discussed what we had observed with the Pro V1x over the course of the week. As the robot was hitting a series of shots, (Pro V1, Pro V1x, and Chrome Soft) we had the cameras on the trackman display so everyone could watch. A series of balls landed nearly on top of each other.

      Sort of funny to be accused of hiding something when we literally showed the shots in real-time.

      As far as dispersion goes, when going through the data we found we had more left to right and right to left influence from the wind this time around. We can, observationally, tell you which balls we think may have had issues (and some of those have already been identified in ball lab), but instead of speculating (albeit in an informed way), we decided to bring them back to the ball lab and see if there was an explanation to be found on the gauges.

      R. Miller

      3 years ago

      Well Cody that is called getting owned. Why would you accuse the one site or brand out there that is the most scientific and least biased of all… then accuse them of protecting the biggest dog in the room? Pretty poor taste imo.

      The reason the ProV1 and ProV1x continue to be the ball most compared is because Titleist pour money and research into design but more so quality control measures. Others try to mimic what Titleist does but Titleist control making the ball from front to end and are rightfully so the staple for quality control.

      Do I buy ProV1’s? No. Because I don’t spend that much on golf balls. If money was no object, absolutely. I will buy practice ProV’s from time to time though because they are the exact same ball with usually a small blemish. I just don’t like playing a ball that says practice on it lol.

      Duke K

      3 years ago

      Great job once again, thank you for all the due diligence, so we average golfers have great information to make our decisions on equi[ment.. Was there dispersion information to share? Thanks

      Reply

      Cody

      3 years ago

      Ball speed, launch angle, and spin rates don’t show consistency on their own. They are just standalone measurements. Standard deviations show the variance, thus showing the consistency from ball to ball within each set of balls you tested. If you kept all of the launch conditions the same, then variances would be due to variances in manufacturing quality amongst the balls.

      As you stated.. ball speed, launch angle, and spin rates are measured at impact. They are not impacted by environmental issues that you don’t want to measure. So let’s see the standard deviations for those metrics!

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      “The big things we look at from a consistency standpoint…”

      Apparently, I should have been a bit more clear.

      What I meant by that is that those are the primary metrics for which we calculate and compare standard deviations. We actually take the next step and calculate Z-Scores for simple comparisons, but whatever. Bottom line, we do the math.

      At some point, you either believe that we talk to the right people, and invest a massive amount of time and 100% effort into everything we do so we can pull off the best possible tests, or you don’t.

      I can only control my end of the equation.

      M Coz

      3 years ago

      Great examination. There is no perfect test for all speeds and conditions. We all have to be aware that the desert makes everything longer and everyone needs to consider it. But that said this gives us an excellent look into the characteristics of these balls. The ONE thing that can’t be read into these results are dispersion in various wind conditions other than thinking that more spin can mean more dispersion but dimple patterns have a huge affect on this. This can also have a great affect distance. For most of the last two decades the Titleist ProVs were usually longer downwind than the others, but they had more side drift than others of similar spin from Bridgestone and TaylorMade, the ProVs were also shorter into notable winds..
      The tests confirmed my feelings on several observations I have seen myself in testing.. I have found that the new TP5 spins way too much off of the driver for me to play, the TP5X is better. But I have found that the first generation of these the non-x was easily the best for me. The second generation the two balls were more similar. to each other. I think the TP5 has taken a huge step backwards as the increased spin has made the ball more difficult to control in the winds and lacks distance of the earlier balls. I am now testing several other balls for my own use currently..

      Reply

      John J

      3 years ago

      Great observations as always MCoz!

      Reply

      Bryan

      3 years ago

      Guys, this is fantastic work…not getting much work done on my end now! I fall in the Mid swing speed category, seems the Bridgestone BXS performs well (driver distance, iron spin etc, but doesn’t fall into your recommended list. Was this due to ball lab findings?

      Reply

      Melinda

      3 years ago

      Great job! Fun read and very informative!

      Reply

      Derek

      3 years ago

      Awesome test. Can’t wait to see the “scuff testing” results! It’s always a question of when to stop playing a ball before you lose (when you paid over $4/ball) vs. continuing to play with a scuff mark and unsure of potential performance losses. Would be great to see some pictures of the scuff marks and their associated performance.

      Reply

      Handymn

      3 years ago

      Is there a way to select say both High and Medium swing speed results to get blended data as on the first test? My swing speed is indeed right between the two categories.

      Reply

      wayne

      3 years ago

      12 yards of rollout for an 8 iron shot for the high speed guys?
      15 yards of rollout for an 8 iron for the mid speed guys?

      those were the averages, how on earth would anyone ever hold a green with numbers like that?

      Reply

      PG

      3 years ago

      The ball speed looked like a tour average 8 iron, with the landing angle of a 3 iron. It was probably how they set the robot up.

      Reply

      Andrew

      3 years ago

      I am confused about the total distance – carry distance thing. I’d bet it’s just a Trackman thing, related to how the roll out is calculated (perhaps a weird setting on ground type?). I don’t know enough about Trackman to speculate further.

      I do think Tony clarified in another comment that Trackman gave the carry distance, so i’m assuming it also gives the total; there’s almost no way the roll out was being measured from the real life. shots.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      Yeah…that’s basically it. Trackman follows the full flight of the ball, flight being the operative word. Once you get downrange – and especially if the surface isn’t perfectly flat, the algorithms start to come into play. Observationally, those algorithms (at least by default) appear to favor a firmer ground condition. It’s also true that balls roll out more than golfers think. This is especially true on the low speed 8-iron where spin properties still translate, but the balls don’t launch nearly as high, and the overall trajectory is flatter.

      Joseph Greenberg

      3 years ago

      Precise, erudite, actionable: well done MGS

      Reply

      FrankW

      3 years ago

      Wow what a comprehensive test. Can’t imagine doing this. Gonna take some time to digest the results alone. Great job MGS very informative.

      Reply

      Mitchell Heller

      3 years ago

      My driver swing speed is 88-90. I currently play the Titleist ProV1x. I am very happy with it. If anything, I might look into the Bridgestone Tour B RX, but I am not sure as I am happy with the ProVix.

      Reply

      Jay

      3 years ago

      I am also a high 80’s swing speed and I do play a ProV1x and I will probably stick with it but it is the 2019 version. Trying out the Tour Speed now and I do like the softness of it especially off the putter.

      Reply

      WBN

      3 years ago

      I have about the same speeds as you and I play the Bridgestone Tour B RX and found it to be one of the best balls for me. The B RXS is just as good but usually a few dollars higher. Bot are quality balls for mid speed swings.

      Reply

      James

      3 years ago

      Relative to the other balls in the test, do you think a different angle of attack would change the results at all? AoA appears to be zero, but would typically be down with an iron. A +2 AoA on driver would kill some spin etc. Think it would be a fairly linear change for all balls, or would some perform wildly different?

      Reply

      Bill

      3 years ago

      Thank you Tony and MGS for this massive undertaking! I’m curious to see what other articles come out of this. Hoping for some standard deviation / consistency type data along with a comparison with ball lab to see if the quality control produces better results like you’d expect.

      Reply

      Stan Johnson

      3 years ago

      Love the detailed data, now to apply it to my game…

      Reply

      walter

      3 years ago

      Great test, thanks, although somewhat different than the last one with no dispersion results and no coloured version balls.

      Also, what was the loft of the 8 iron used.

      Reply

      tim yorke

      3 years ago

      what balls would you say will not overdoing or balloon in the wind med swing good player .

      Reply

      Tim Yorke

      3 years ago

      sorry over spinning

      Reply

      Nick

      3 years ago

      Thanks guys, that’s a ton of work!
      The ball that stood out to me (higher end of the mid swing speed category) was the Bridgestone Tour B RXS!
      I’m going to have to try them out.

      Reply

      devin

      3 years ago

      Is there a reason you didn’t include the ERC Soft? I was excited to get some updated data on the new version.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      Other than range balls, which we tested to better understand the implications of their use in a fitting environment, everything in this test is urethane.

      Reply

      devin

      3 years ago

      That makes sense. Thanks for the reply.!

      Lou

      3 years ago

      I think your reply shows your bias toward providing information mostly to benefit younger and better players and not those with 10+ handicaps and more modest swing speeds.

      David

      3 years ago

      Um, it seems for golfers who shoot above 89, this whole thing can be summarized as “buy the cheapest ball” because the yardage difference between the shortest and longest with drivers and 8-irons is only six yards. Once you get to better players who shoot under 90, I see the results being more pertinent because those players actually work with spin, trajectory, and feel.

      Reply

      Rick

      3 years ago

      Are there any balls out there that you feel the marketing is miss leading or just wrong.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      As taglines go, I think Callaway’s “Better for Everyone” campaign around Chrome Soft is pretty shit, but not overly nefarious, I suppose.

      There is a lot of misleading stuff out there, but a good bit of it isn’t necessarily sinister, just the result of trying to simplify things for average golfers. Golf ball performance is complicated.

      Reply

      mike wong

      3 years ago

      definitely kudos to the staff for trying to make some sense out of a giant box of noodles….. then trying to make meaningful correlations…..

      NOW i have a much better idea of knowing which balls to keep……. from the dozens I find….. make sure they are clean and don’t say re-furbished….. ;) ;)

      Reply

      Dbeyr Orsee

      3 years ago

      The comments here on refurbished balls (“we highly recommend avoiding refurbished”) are useless. It’s like a teenage male going on one date with a single girl when he was 14 and the same girl again on a break from college and extrapolating the experiences to all women – it’s
      so overtly ignorant (statistically pathetic). There are MANY refurbishing factories and so refurbished balls deserve their own effort. Reload is only one and a poor representation of the industry as a whole. I have bought from a couple places (never the Reload brand – priced too high) and see far better performance. The article states “used balls are an option” but at no point provides any basis for that statement – the first sign of a total fool / a poor reviewer is providing anecdotal personal opinions. Did you ever watch / read Moneyball? It’s about a single mathematician for the Oakland A’s embarrassing every single baseball coach using all of their combined experience, education, and common sense. A few years later, greater sanity likewise hit basketball through the Rockets. They found Michael Jordan’s birthday was more important to his athletic success than his height. I suspect you will not believe it – as your common sense won’t allow it. However, studies in every field show common sense only leads to the very worst decisions. These are the people ridiculing every other YouTube channel for hitting a few balls themselves and coming to confident decisions. Very ironic. I recall a YouTuber comparing four new drivers, three top golf brands as well as a forth secret driver. The fourth was the obvious winner. Now, it was a copy of the first one the reviewer just hit better the second time. The Nocebo Effect is when you expect the worst and find the worse (as these fools do with refurbished). They like to say many are starting with different balls to produce fakes – but notice how they never say what percentage. Simply making it up. They ask, “where are they getting the balls from? I’m not sending them.” As if their complete and total ignorance is any proof of anything. Losers. Americans lose 300 million golf balls a year; expensive if you buy new. About 3 million play 17 games a year – on average. Or, six balls a game. With top new balls, that’s $25 for every single golf game – what a joke.

      Reply

      James Shepard

      3 years ago

      I’ve found used balls with refurbished printed on the side. They were garbage.

      Bruce

      3 years ago

      Bought “refurbished balls years ago. Better off giving your money to a homeless person. They were horrible, simply worthless

      Dbeyr Orsee

      3 years ago

      I knew a Bruce when I was young – a real loser. That logically proves that all Bruce’s are losers. Everyone knows anecdotal evidence is the very best. I mean, just ask Shepard. He knows it’s true. Bruce’s are all garbage. It’s common sense. It is stated repeatedly by this MyGolfSpy crew used balls that you find on the fairway are the worst. However, James uses them anyway. And, I have fed over 10,000 meals to the homeless. Not a waste. What they generally need, though, is legal help. Whatever you do, don’t give money or attention to a Bruce. All losers. As I said, I found it ironical this crew states they hate people with personal opinions based on nothing but their own experiences making wild and unsubstantiated claims (using only anecdotal evidence). LOL!!!

      This article really doesn’t say much new. Everyone knows ProV1s are the best and most durable. And, the best price is directly from them during their buy 3 get 1 free sales. Then, there’s Dick’s Maxfli Tour X during their buy 2 for $50, $55 (now), or $60 sales. Finally, most golfers (losing over a half dozen balls a game) are better off IMHO with Bridgestone E6 or Srixon Soft Feels for $15 to $21 (or better yet, used or refurbished versions). The only truly bad choice is using found balls, like James does. Don’t do it. Everyone agrees. Always a mistake.

      The original Kirklands are long gone – sued into oblivion by Titleist (really for stealing TaylorMade patents). They only sell made in China crap today. The closest to old Kirklands (made in the same patent stealing Korean plant) are Snells (too expensive for what you get). That leaves Germany’s Vice (made in Taiwan’s famous Formosa factory – as are Maxfli’s) as the only other consideration (still too expensive at $36).

      Bottom line: If you want a top quality ball, you buy “Made in America.” Nine out of ten premium balls sold in the US come from one of these four factories (and three states): New Bedford (Titleist) and Chicopee (Callaway) in Massachusetts, Covington (Bridgestone) in Georgia, or Liberty (TaylorMade) in South Carolina. However, only Titleist has the buy 3 get 1 free sale, so it’s the only premium ball to consider, IMHO. At $37 a dozen, it can’t be touched (says 70% of PGA pros).

      The most popular at Amazon are the TaylorMade Distance Plus (long driver but won’t hold a green) and the Srixon Soft Feel as well as their AD333. Reasonable balls for $1 each – but not tested. Now, I prefer the E6 for $20 (or used E6 for $10). I have bought refurbished ProV1s from two different plants and both were good options. As I said, the article states “used balls are an option.” But, they don’t test them. So, just what do they base that on? Nothing. Much like their hate for refurbished. “Zero, zilch, zip, nil, nada, nothing.” — Joker and InfoWorld. Just like James and Bruce. The Nocebo Effect is when you expect the worst and so find the worse.

      Reply

      Jerry

      3 years ago

      FOTFLMAO!!!

      TonyG

      3 years ago

      My head is spinning!

      Reply

      Tim

      3 years ago

      soooooo….what is the best ball to play for a guy with a 90 mph driver and low 80’s on the irons? i really think my head exploded with all the pics and graphs….i cant even focus rn…..not sure how you guys got through all this without going crazy. Amazing work gentlemen….. seems like the left dash is better than people think and the Prov1 is a do everything ball…..i have been usimng chromesoft all year and knew it was a good ball. for me….hoping to see if avx works even better

      Reply

      Thomas R Brokl

      3 years ago

      When I go to a PGA Tour Super Store, I am amazed by how much golf ball inventory the store has. How can the average consumer identify if the Inventory on the shelf for each Brand & Model of ball is from 2021, as opposed to leftover inventory from 2020, 2019 or earlier? Should I be looking for the Year by the Copyright C on the back of the box? I know new balls are good, but if the Brand is advertising NEW INNOVATIONS and the Store’s INVENTORY is OLD and Predates the innovation, I would like to know this before I take a box off the shelf and go to the register.

      Reply

      Joe

      3 years ago

      The price will usually be a good indicator. They will mark down the previous generation when the new one comes out, so if you see a dozen TP5 balls for something like $35, those are from last year.

      You could also whip out your smartphone at the store and go to the manufacturer’s website and look at the box design- when the ball changes, so does the box, so if you see a different box on the shelf than what’s on their website, you’ve got an older model on your hands.

      Reply

      Will

      3 years ago

      I’m no kid, over 65 ; play the Pro V1 & Z-Star; have tried the Kirkland Original 4pc. My equioment are Mavrik Max 9.5 Driver, as 10.5 sends the ball too high; my irons are Sub70, 699 Pro & also their JB wedges. I find that the Pro V1 & Z-Star are very close in distance; the Z-star being a few yards longer, with both woods/irons. The original Kirkland does not finish far behind the other two played. My 6I will carry 160yds with this equipment. Both, the Pro V1/Z-Star provide the same amount of stopping power, from the short irons & wedges. Your article is well written; ball choice is, of course, an individual choice. Again, is it the arrow or the indian?

      Reply

      Steve S

      3 years ago

      Is it just me or when you click on the wedge data do you get a big blank?

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      When you select wedge for the club, you need to explicitly select Wedge from the speed box.

      Reply

      Freddie

      3 years ago

      I hade to inactivate the speed value all together…

      Jay

      3 years ago

      Noticed the same and glad you asked. LOL

      Reply

      Gary

      3 years ago

      Great job. Love you guys and what you do. Can’t wait for NPG podcast. Always more questions than answers at first with new data. Biggest takeaway- I want to look at iron trajectory now. My green side game is meh, so I’m not sure I get the most out of that one. But distance and traj on the irons will be a good test for me. Also the wedge from 55 yards. Question if a ball is higher spin off the driver does that necessarily mean greater risk/movement for dispersion? I’ve always understood that if it’s spinnier it’s maybe less accurate? Am I off here?

      Reply

      Arpit

      3 years ago

      Would like to understand how the recommendations were done for mid swing speed. Help a noob out :). Currently play Kirkland because of the price point,

      Looking at the data Snell MTB-X, seems to be performing better (distance) than Snell MTB.. MTB-X has a bit more spin on the irons. Is that the reason MTB is preferred?

      Also Maxfli tour seems like very similar to Snell MTB and has more distance on the driver. Is it that the spin is too low for the driver?

      Also what is peak height distance? And what unit is it in? Trying to understand what peak height of 291.83 for a 176.83 yard shot means.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      Recommendations basically boil down to everything we know about a given ball (some of that’s in the data, some of takes in mind what we know from ball lab, and some of the other metrics from the test). It’s what we think what provides the highest probability of success for the typical player in that range. So for the balance recommendation, we’re really looking for the Goldilocks balls (not too little or too much of anything…just right).

      Peak Height Distance is a really interesting trajectory metric. It’s basically how far downrange (feet) the ball was when it reached its highest point. It, along with launch angle, peak height, and descent angle paint a really compelling picture of trajectory and provide a way better sense of how a ball actually flies than any single metric we have.

      Reply

      joe

      3 years ago

      Seam or logo when aligning the ball for driver strike?

      Reply

      ED D

      3 years ago

      Nice Analysis. If someone already asked this I apologize.
      The testing site elevation is between 2600-2700 [estimate]. How does this factor in such things as spin rates, distance, dispersion, etc?

      Keep up the good work.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      Elevation has not impact on what we consider the key metrics…the stuff that happens at launch.

      Carry distances will be a bit longer since heat and humidity influence how long a ball stays in the air. For the most part, those distances should be relative regardless of altitude.

      Reply

      Arpit

      3 years ago

      ???????? thanks for the awesome work. Next step for me is to take this data and ball lab data and see how it looks like :).

      Thanks for the clarification on the peak height distance, now that i know the unit it makes sense. Any reason why that metric is not in yards? Could make it easier to follow. Or at least it would have been for me :).

      Tim

      3 years ago

      I think my head is about to explode……information overload…..holy crap……

      what ball should i be using? lol…….

      Reply

      Dave

      3 years ago

      Well said Tim. Despite the awesome work done here, there is no way to say what is the ideal ball for a given player. There are just too many variables, mostly from amateurs. that don’t consistently hit the ball well. For the low handicap, this data helps. For the total hacker, who cares. For the rest of us, it’s a crap shoot. Given that reality, folks will buy what they like (I;m a Phil guy so I”l play Callaway) or balls are too $$ so I’ll go KIrkland or ones I find in the woods.

      Reply

      Brad

      3 years ago

      Great job. Alot to digest here. I am curious though, my driver swing speed sits squarely in the 106-108 range. Should I pay more attention to the high or mid results?

      Reply

      Leo

      3 years ago

      Looks like wedge data is not working for me.. If anyone can see it can you please post wedge carry and spin for both the Titleist left dash and Vice pro plus for high swing speeds? They seem shockingly similar, and may save me ~ 23$ a dozen. Thanks!

      Reply

      Will

      3 years ago

      Thanks for all the hard work on this.

      For folks that fall fairly halfway in between 2 speeds (say 107 mph), do you recommend considering data from both speeds equally, or favoring one more over the other?

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      the key metrics are largely linear, so a high spinning ball at 100 is going to be a higher spinning ball at 115. Same for speed and many other factors. There can be some differences in how speed works with the aero properties of the ball.

      I would say focus less on your speed, and more on what you need from the ball (higher/lower flight, higher/lower spin…that sort of thing).

      Reply

      Sacha

      3 years ago

      I have the same question and I don’t understand how the Titleist Pro V1x Left Dash and Srixon Z-Star are the two balls with the longest carry for the high swing speed driver but they are one of the slowest for the mid swing speed driver. And same for the opposite with the Maxfli Tour CG and the Vice Pro. Doesn’t seem so linear to me. Is this difference only due to aero properties?

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      First to clarify…they weren’t one of the slowest. They were actually still in the Top tier for ball speed, and middle of the table for distance. You should note that metrics that aren’t influenced by environmental conditions (ball speed, launch, and spin) were relatively consistent throughout the test for nearly every ball. But yeah, I noticed the distance numbers for Left Dash as well. Environmental conditions almost certainly contributed, and it’s also possible we stumbled upon a combination of launch conditions under which the dimple pattern simply isn’t optimized. That’s speculation of course, but with the understanding that golfers like to obsess over distance, when trying to narrow down the golf ball, you’re better of focusing on the relative speed, launch, and spin attributes.

      Michael

      3 years ago

      So what do those of us that have a sub 85 mph swing speed do as far as golf balls per your testing? If its nothing to significant what are your suggestions ?

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      We gave specific recommendations for slower swing speeds in the article.

      Reply

      Doug Hansen

      3 years ago

      A lot of data here for sure. Thanks. I didnt see anything on tour b rxs. Perhaps I glossed it over. I’m in the slow category and it’s my current overall favorite ball. I find it goes a little further off driver and woods but spins a bit less around the greens that either Chromesoft or Chromesoft X

      Reply

      David Haughton

      3 years ago

      Given the sheer animal effort that went into this assessment, I hope this is only an initial release and that shortly, we will be able to query the data in a similar way to the 2019 report. A single table chart using the axis of ball speed and compression is not that useful… viewing standard deviation is a telling factor…

      In hope…

      Reply

      large chris

      3 years ago

      Reading between the lines, I suspect environmental conditions during the test (wind) far outweighed ball quality variation in explaining different results. I think all they can realistically do is as stated, identify a few real outliers and cut them open in the lab later.

      Reply

      MGoBlue100

      3 years ago

      First of all, THANKS for all the hard work!! The data is amazing. One question: “Peak Height Distance”. Is that measured in feet from the point of impact? The numbers look a little out of place to my eye.
      Very interested to see the Ball Lab and Trajectory results coming out of this test.

      Reply

      Alex

      3 years ago

      Great test. With a swing speed around 90mph, I use a ProV1 in the summer conditions while switching to the Bridgestone B RX when the course gets a little softer and wetter. . (I’ll play some unused old sleeves of Q star tour or Project A in the off season) I have a box of Tour Response and a sleeve of Titleist AVXs- I may break them out when the courses start softening up again.

      Reply

      Jon Silverberg

      3 years ago

      If my driver swing speed falls more or less equally between two of the three categories you chose (say roughly equally between slow and mid), would adding the parameters together and dividing by two give a good approximation? Example, ball x: Driver slow total distance 230, Driver mid total distance 260, therefore estimated halfway between total distance equals 245?

      Reply

      Mike Cochran

      3 years ago

      I just read golf balls travel farther when it’s hot and humid. Do they not fly farther when it is hot and less humidity?

      Reply

      Dustin Mantha

      3 years ago

      Humidity reduces density because water vapor is lighter than dry air, so the more water vapor in the mixture, the less dense the air.

      Reply

      Gerald Lindell

      3 years ago

      absolutely outstanding work gentlemen. Now do it on some real cheap balls like Cally Warbirds etc etc. Thanks!

      Reply

      Daryl Kariniemi

      3 years ago

      Awesome test again!!

      Is dispersion removed from this test due to ball lab being a better indicator of consistency?

      Reply

      Bulldog

      3 years ago

      Great work! A huge thank you to the dedicated team at MGS.

      Reply

      Bernard

      3 years ago

      How did you get an 8 iron with club speed of 87 mph and ball speed of 122 mph to go 204 yards? That’s a smash factor of 1.40 on GCQUAD which is usually lower than Trackman.. Also, the longest hitters on tour have swing speeds with 8 irons in the mid 90s and they are not hitting an 8 iron 204 yards. Something seems off.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      Temperature + altitude.

      Also – our averages include super low spinning balls that aren’t played on tour.

      Reply

      MGoBlue100

      3 years ago

      I wondered the same. My thoughts were that I am doing something VERY wrong.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      Again…environmental conditions + quite a few super low spin balls creating extra roll.

      And yeah…as another reader mentioned, an 8-iron loft more representative of what regular golfers, not tour players, has in the bag.

      Al H

      3 years ago

      First of all, a huge thank you for the work put towards this project! I’m sure there’s no way to fully appreciate this project without being directly involved. After all is said and done I’m very satisfied with my ball choice and will continue using my current ball.

      Reply

      RC

      3 years ago

      Excellent, in depth analysis. I would like to see a hybrid of this test that includes humans who more or less fit the robot profile just to compare real world results. Maybe a future endeavor for MGS?

      Reply

      Joe

      3 years ago

      Great job guys. Always informative. Play the left dash with less than 100 mph driver swing speed and has worked great for me.

      Reply

      frazzman80

      3 years ago

      First off, thank you for all the time, effort and literal sweat put into this test. I greatly appreciate the work done here and imagine many of my fellow golfers do as well.

      Truly appreciate you breaking down the observations, some of which carried over from a couple years ago (soft is slow) but some that are really interesting (soft does not equal short). I appreciate the Tableau data to really dive into the findings (and hopefully find the ball that makes the most sense for my game).

      Any chance we can see dispersion patterns (like with the last test)? I’d love to key in on dispersion “halos” to see if there is a more accurate ball or if spin rates = dispersion or anything along those lines. Getting a feel for “average halo width” at driver speed would be very beneficial to a consumer to determine if a specific ball may be better at hitting a fairway and especially at hitting a green with the 8 iron or scoring with the wedge shots.

      Again – love love love the work and data and will certainly use this information to help improve my ball selection and game.

      Reply

      Michael

      3 years ago

      What didyou learn from this test that you might do differently next time?

      Rather than outdoor testing, why not do indoor testing in which weather factors can be controlled?

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      You need the full flight to understand the implications of the dimple pattern/aerodynamics. And while it can be problematic when it comes to spitting out distance numbers, it’s also helpful to observe how the ball behaves in wind.

      Joe

      3 years ago

      thanks, tons of info to dig through!!!!

      Reply

      Jimmy

      3 years ago

      Are you going to add in the launch vs spin and distance vs offline charts like you had from the last test?

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      Offline & dispersion is tricky, with the volume of models and shots, it took a significant amount of time to get through a rotation, so while we checked basic calibration frequently, we know there was some impact on dispersion and offline from wind that we can’t necessarily quantify out of the data. This time around what we looked for were balls significantly outside of the pattern. As I mentioned in a previous comment, there were a few one-off offline line shots that *may* be attributable to defect, we didn’t see anything nearly as crazy as last time around.

      The stuff that was squirrely we’re going to take a closer look at on the gauges, but looking at the totality of what amounts to 7 different ball tests, the only ball we haven’t previously defined as suspect through ball lab that I’d be concerned about is the Inesis. Objectively bad this time around.

      Reply

      Randy

      3 years ago

      Could you have used the dispersion from Trackman and doesn’t it calculation that information within the first 15 feet or so from impact? (so wind wouldn’t be a factor) I might be wrong, but when I did a indoor club fitting, the Trackman data showed dispersion.

      Chris

      3 years ago

      Thanks for another great test!!

      Is the data on dispersion available like it was last year? Would love to compare those patterns as well when choosing a ball.

      Reply

      Michael Theile

      3 years ago

      Wow. It’s going to take a bit for me just to really understand and evaluate all the data you provided. I appreciate all your hard work, time, and unbiased review. My Golf Spy is my go-to for any golf equipment reviews. Keep up the good work and thank you.

      Reply

      Ken

      3 years ago

      On a quick review – outstanding work again. Interesting that dispersion didn’t seem to be as big a factor this year. Will look at everything deeper later.

      One nice thing to add to this report might be a link/links to the actual Ball Labs (or a notation that they’ve been tested) for tested balls, if someone wants to make a best overall value choice. Or were some ball lab tests done with previous year models? Otherwise – to the Search bar!

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      Hi Ken – you can check out our Ball Lab post on the TaylorMade Tour Response. It has the quality comparison tool embedded. That tool contains links to all the ball labs we’ve done so far.

      Ball Lab – TaylorMade Tour Response/

      Reply

      Brian Chapman

      3 years ago

      Kudos to MGS for the effort to test all these offerings and publish the results. No doubt this was a lot of work. We, the consumer appreciate this non-biased test to allow us to make an informed purchasing decision. Thank you MGS!

      Reply

      larrybud

      3 years ago

      How about adding cover material and ball construction (2 piece, 3 piece, etc) to your table?

      Reply

      Ralph Ives

      3 years ago

      Will you be testing any of the Non urethane balls? I am an 11 handicap- from the senior tees, 70 years young, play about 130 rounds/ year and use the Chrome supersoft as I do not wish to pay for a more expensive ball and like the distance a nd feel of a soft ball.. I would be interested in the distance and spin attributes of these type balls as well.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      Probably not going to do a test of ionomer models.

      Given how the construction of a ball comes together, it’s a reasonable assumption that the softer it is, the less it’s going to spin.

      Reply

      Joe Domill

      3 years ago

      great job

      Reply

      Ed

      3 years ago

      I’d been looking to this test. The original Ball Guide completely changed how I looked at golf balls.

      I’m especially thankful for adding the mid-swing speeds. Very few players can consistently swing 115mph, not swing 85 mphs. So the old previous study required a lot of ‘blending’.

      The biggest takeaway for me is that dispersion has improved signficantly. I’d changed balls because my old model had poor dispersion results on the last test. I have enough dispersion issues with my swing. I don’t need a ball to be another variable.

      Also interesting that some of the softer models were faster/longer than expected. Lots of good options, it’s just finding what works best for you.

      I also note the softening of the stance on used balls vs refinished balls. To me they are apples and oranges. Used balls from a reputable dealer have peformed identical to new. Refinished/refurbished balls have always been junk. (I get it though. OEMs don’t make money on used ball sales, so it’s not something it makes sense for a golf site to promote.)

      I’d switched to the ProV1x and love it’s all around performance.. I got a sleeve of the Tour Speed from a Titleist rep giving them away at the range. I was impressed. It was sneaky long and performed well in every aspect of the game. I may also give the Bridgestone B RX and RXS another try. It was a great feeling ball that performed poorly in 2019 that seems to be really good this time around.

      Reply

      Ryan C

      3 years ago

      Why no data on Shot Area, Average Offline, Average Spin Axis, and Average Backspin like in the 2019 test?

      I feel like those are key statistics for someone who worries about how straight and forgiving a ball is.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      We looked at it, quite a bit actually, but it’s really tricky when a shot or two can blow the pattern and you’re trying to determine if wind was a factor for any given shot.

      So yeah…there are a handful or two of individual balls that might be bad, and they were by and large from models that ball lab data suggests may have some issues. We’re going to take a closer look, but for the most part we didn’t find much worthy of significant discussion.

      Reply

      Ryan C

      3 years ago

      I ‘m someone with a mid-swing speed who struggles with coming over top and want to minimize slices and have better control over the power fade. Essentially I want to hit the straightest ball I can. What ball and what metrics should I be looking at?

      Chris

      3 years ago

      I’m the same as you – come over the top and create side spin. Based on what I’ve read on MGS and my ‘testing’ on the course balls that have less backspin also have less side spin. I play the B RX for that reason because they don’t curve as much for me. The problem is when I hit a better than average mid/long iron shot there isn’t enough spin to hold the green. I may be moving to a firmer ball to get a little more spin.

      Reply

      Tom

      3 years ago

      I love all of the tests but I am a firm believer in fittings and comparing. However, the ball test I think is different. It can give folks a baseline on what performance matters to them and then go from there.

      I did a golf ball fitting in the Spring and I am now playing the Bridgestone B-XS. I thought going through that process I would end up in a ProV1 or V1X but alas that was not the case. Seeing how the numbers came out in the test it aligns, for he most part, with what I found.

      Keep up the great work MGS team!

      Reply

      Chris

      3 years ago

      Great insight! Amazing effort! Congrats to the whole team for a complete test. Cold weather test in the future?

      Reply

      JC4

      3 years ago

      The Snell MTB-X was the longest ball in 2019. Any insight into it’s significant drop off from the top of the category for this test?

      Reply

      Alex

      3 years ago

      My thoughts exactly. It was in a league of it’s own, as far as distance goes with high swing speed drivers. Curious as to how the numbers dropped off. I believe the ball is unchanged.

      Reply

      John kwiatkowski

      3 years ago

      Seems like you concentrated on urathane balls. How about 2 piece surly, 20 bucks a dozen that most golfers use

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      Market data is clear on this fact – the majority of money is spent on urethane balls.

      We’re trying to help golfers find the best performing ball for their game. For all but a tiny percentage of golfers, 2-piece is a cost-driven decision decision, not one that’s made to optimize performance.

      Reply

      Graham

      3 years ago

      Tony said if you are using completely the wrong ball and started to use 1 of the more suited balls to your game it would be wow moment. Would you care to say how many shots per round a 16 handicapper could save by using the right ball. And if so – how were would they save them? Thanks

      Bill

      3 years ago

      I have a suggestion for you. Instead of spending 20 bucks a dozen on a ball that does not perform. Buy 5 dozen Snell at $28 a dozen and change the way you play golf.

      Reply

      Randy

      3 years ago

      I’m looking for the “dispersion” results for the balls tested? Was that left off or did I miss that? That helps me to determine quality.

      Reply

      progk1

      3 years ago

      Will take a while to digest but thanks for all the effort! Great read.

      Reply

      Rich McCarthy

      3 years ago

      Great stuff as always guys, the inclusion of the “Mid” swing speed i.e. most average golfers is a great addition!
      Love it!

      Reply

      Chris

      3 years ago

      Great job, and a very interesting read but I am very curious about a few things.
      1) What accounts for the carry differences vs last go around? (Venue?, Spin?, Weather?)
      2) Why the spin is so much higher? (Driver?)
      3) Why are the compression numbers so different from your previous ball test? (different testing method?)
      4) Why is the Snell MTB-X slower than last test? (Model change? LM variance?)
      5) Finally, how was carry and total distance measured? Were there spotters or was the GCQ algorithm used, or was the Trackman relied upon?

      Thanks for doing this, very fun to read through and I will be doing so over and over to absorb it all.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      3 years ago

      1) Environmental + setup conditions.
      2) Mostly setup…we got a bit more spin than I would have liked at high speed. Next time wee may use a lower lofted driver. That said, the higher spin rates provided the conditions under which low compression can work. We’ve been told that soft *can* work for high speed golfers who spin the ball more than 2800. That’s what we saw, that’s what’s reflected in the numbers, but most high SS guys will be better off with firmer balls.
      3) Different compression tool used.
      4) Good question. Don’t have a great answer. Allowing for conversations, what we tested for ball lab was softer than what we tested in 2019.
      5) We rely on Trackman to provide the carry distances.

      Reply

      Bob Saunders

      3 years ago

      Thanks so much for your contribution to this.

      Bri

      3 years ago

      Great test guys, thanks for all the effort put into this!

      Reply

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