Welcome to the second annual Ball Lab Quality Awards.
Crafted by MyGolfSpy, Ball Lab was born from our curiosity about how the construction, consistency and quality of your golf ball were affecting your performance.
So many times we hear players exclaim they are “not good enough” to tell the difference between different models. When performance is concerned, we beg to differ. It wasn’t until our first-ever Ball Test in 2019 that we began to urge the consumer to question the industry’s standards on the balls they were playing. The reward? Knowing that bad shot might not have been your fault.
Below are the champions of the categories when it comes to setting the standard for your golf ball. From DTC (direct-to-consumer), Best Under $30 and our highest-ranked models—there is a quality golf ball for any golfer.
NOTE: These awards are based on total Ball Lab scores of current models. Only urethane models were considered and a minimum of two ball models were required to qualify for brand quality awards.
Best Brand Quality
Despite some competitors raising their game, four of the top 10 in the Ball Lab Data Base remain Titleist products. The company’s current urethane offerings set the standard with an average quality score of 89.6/100. The 2022 AVX and Tour Speed showed promising improvement from their prior generations. Sure, Titleist offers more models than anyone else but with that comes a greater opportunity for average quality to be derailed by a sub-par offering. With the new Pro V1 lineup making its way to the market in the near future, can Titleist hold the top spot?
Best DTC Brand Quality
With so many good DTC options available for golfers right now, it’s not a total surprise that DICK’S Sporting Goods’ Maxfli Tour line still flies a bit under the radar. It shouldn’t. In addition to stellar performance in both of our robot tests, with an average score of 88, the latest generation of the Maxfli Tour series is among the most consistent in golf.
The No. 1 ball at retail is also the most consistent ball in the Ball Lab database. The 2021 Pro V1 has an impressive current overall score of 97. Our sample was nearly perfect and the only ball we’ve tested to rate as Excellent for compression consistency.
Best DTC Ball
With the 2021 version of the Tour X, Maxfli changed both the core formulation and basic construction of its four-piece ball, moving from dual-core to dual-mantle construction. The result is the most consistent ball in the database without a Titleist logo. With only a single bad ball in the sample and compression, diameter and weight consistency scores all solidly above average, the Tour X should be near the top of the list for bargain hunters. Although we haven’t dived into more of the DTC field quite yet, a score of 91 will be one of the tougher ones to beat.
Best Soft Ball
The TaylorMade Tour Response may not be the first model to come to mind when golfers think of a “softer” option. It’s important to note that a soft ball is categorized by a compression number that remains below 75. Coming in at 73, the Tour Response is not only the best “soft” or non-tour urethane ball tested to date scoring a 93/100 but it remains one of the top five balls we’ve seen in the Lab. Period.
Best Value Ball – Under $20
With the small caveat that it’s only sold in two-dozen packs, the Kirkland Performance+ V2, with a score of 84, is a runaway winner for the best-value golf ball. With a per-dozen under $13, Costco’s current three-piece offering is more consistent than many higher-priced balls. At a minimum, for golfers who want to play the same ball on every shot without fear of lost balls breaking the bank, the Performance+ V2 is a significantly better option than buying refurbished.
Best Ball Above $40
Above the $40 price point is the near-exclusive domain of the mainstream manufacturers and many, including Titleist, have raised prices over the last season. It goes without saying that the Pro V1 isn’t the cheapest but if you believe quality and consistency are important, there’s still value to be found at the premium level.
Best Ball $30 to $40
The $30 to $40 range is where the overwhelming majority of DTC balls live (though volume discounts can push prices below $30). While there are numerous good options in this space, the current generation of Maxfli Tour X stands out as the most consistent of the group and arguably the best balls without a Titleist logo.
Best Ball $20 to $30
Admittedly, unless you’re buying in bulk, the $20 to $30 price range is a bit of a dead zone for urethane-covered balls. Still, it’s a bracket that the Cut DC fills admirably. It’s not the cheapest ball on the market but it strikes what many will see as a sensible blend of cost and quality.
4 seconds ago
I think the people that want the tallest midget testing need to just be honest with themselves. They are buying by price and don’t need a quality test just the lowest price. They would hate it if Tony came back and said the True value price of a topflight was $42 because so many are bad. They play what they find in the woods or the discount bins. I work at a tight course and it is a regular thing on a weekend for someone to come into the pro shop at the turn and say I need more balls. When we ask what kind of ball they play they almost always say what is the best deal. IE what is the cheapest. We put all the cheapest balls on a table in the corner for them.