Ball Lab Golf Ball Quality Awards
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Ball Lab Golf Ball Quality Awards

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Ball Lab Golf Ball Quality Awards

In this, our second annual MyGolfSpy Golf Ball Quality Awards, we showcase the best of Ball Lab – the brands and models offering the best quality and consistency.

We realize not everyone wants to spend $50-plus on golf balls so we’ve highlighted top-quality options at various price points.

These awards are based on the total Ball Lab score (at the time of review posting) of balls measured (both published and non-published) since the beginning of 2023. This time, we only considered models with urethane covers (that will change moving forward), and a minimum of two ball models were required to qualify for brand quality awards.

The Winners

Best Brand Quality

While. again, we only considered urethane-covered options for the Ball Lab awards, it’s notable that nine of the current top 15 models in the Ball Lab database bear a Titleist logo. Equally as notable, no Titleist golf ball produced at Ball Plant 2 (Pro V1, Pro V1x, AVX) has ever scored below 85.

This time around, Pro V1x led the way with a Ball Lab score of 89,while the Pro V1 came in at 85. It’s perhaps circular logic but the strength of the Titleist premium lineup is that there are no weaknesses.

Compression, diameter and weight consistency are always average or better and we find exceedingly few bad balls. Within the ball category, and especially at the premium end, Titleist is the most consistently dependable brand on the market.

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Best DTC Brand Quality

Once the best-kept secret in quality golf balls, golfers are starting to find their way to the DICK’S-exclusive Maxfli brand which continues to impress in Ball Lab and robot testing.

Notably, the latest edition of the Maxfli Tour series (the Tour S) produced the highest score of the three Maxfli models we tested in the last year.

In a year where some DTC favorites took a step backward, Maxfli continued what has become a tradition of producing quality golf balls.

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Best Ball

In some respects, it’s a bit of a surprise to see a TaylorMade ball at the top of the scoreboard but it’s hard to ignore what we saw with the current Tour Response.

Weight, diameter and compression consistency all stretched into the Good range and we found no bad balls in our sample.

Not all that long ago, TaylorMade purchased the factories that produce its golf balls. The sample size is small but there are signs that with ownership and oversight come higher quality.

Could this mean better things to come with TaylorMade’s other premium balls?

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Best DTC Ball

The softest of Maxfli’s three Tour offerings, the 82-compression Tour S, was the standout of the lineup. At the time of testing, compression and diameter consistency were above average while weight fell in the Average range.

No bad balls were found in the sample.

None of this should come as much of a surprise given that Foremost – the factory that manufactures balls for Maxfli – produces among the most consistent golf balls we test.

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Best Soft Ball

At 73 compression, the TaylorMade Tour Response is certainly not THE softest ball on the market but, among the competitive set, we tested none better.

We’ve already discussed the excellent Ball Lab score but it’s important to note that it’s rare for a soft ball to be among the quality leaders. Low-compression balls are more difficult to make or at least to make consistently on spec.

The top of our table is almost exclusively 85 compression and higher offerings, making Tour Response an appealing outlier.

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Best Ball Above $40

Among the most expensive offerings we tested this year, the Titleist Pro V1x rose to the top. With a Ball Lab score of 89, it was the best premium offering we tested.

With market leaders pushing prices to the US$55 range, there’s something to be said for getting what you pay for.

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Best Ball $30 to $40

At the top of this price range, the TaylorMade Tour Response separated itself from the rest with a Ball Lab score of 93.

If you’re looking for high-flying, low-spinning ball with soft feel, it’s hard to look past the ball that received the highest score of any model we tested over the last 12 months.

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Best Ball $20 to $30

The latest iteration of OnCore’s popular ELIXR didn’t have the smoothest sailing through Ball Lab. Our sample contained a few balls that were not what they were supposed to be.

Despite the hiccups, the ELIXR still managed a Ball Lab score of 75. That’s solidly average at a price point where there are few quality options, making it one of the best deals on the market.

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Best Ball Under $20

The bad news is our quality tests suggest the new Kirkland Signature Peformance+ (V3) is a step back from the previous version.

Weight, diameter and compression are all moving targets, which is to say that if consistency is the goal, we can’t promise you’ll find it here.

On a more positive note, we didn’t find any major layer defects which suggests it will fly as straight as its high-spin design allows.

The reality is that there aren’t much in the way of great options below $20 and, given its urethane cover (and the fact that inexpensive ionomer offerings have a poor record in Ball Lab), we still think it’s the best you’ll find for less than $20.

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      Philippe

      2 months ago

      Best Ball $30 to $40

      The TaylorMade tour response is above $40. Do you have a different recommendation that fits this exact window?

      Reply

      Barry Schwartz

      3 months ago

      Is the most recent Kirkland ball (v3) different from the previous (V2)? If they are made in the same plant, using the same equipment, what would cause the quality to change significantly? I often wonder if your results are caused by sampling error, in that you don’t test hundreds of each ball. Seems like there wouldn’t be much change year to year unless there was a change in materials or equipment.

      Reply

      Peter Fuller

      3 months ago

      The cost of Pro Vs in Australia is outrageous!!
      I just don’t see the logic in discouraging golfers from using the best balls available !! Why?

      Reply

      Michael

      3 months ago

      Surprised about the Taylor Made results; not surprised at Titleist.

      Reply

      MisterT

      3 months ago

      Interesting read. I recommended the Maxli Tour S to some friends and they LOVE it. I remain a Pro v1 guy based on the results I achieve with it, although the Pro v1x Left Dash is almost a club longer on every shot. I have plan to work it into the arsenal as the weather improves.

      Reply

      Joe Raff

      3 months ago

      Guys, this is a trap question/picture right?
      You labeled the picture a Pro V1x and put a picture of a Pro V1 in there to see if we were paying attention? Winner if a new Driver??

      Reply

      Ron Amy

      3 months ago

      What is the best ball for 74 year old with 65mph driver club head speed ?

      Reply

      Michael

      2 months ago

      Pickle ball

      Reply

      Darren

      2 months ago

      Rude

      George Thomson

      3 months ago

      This is bullshit. ALL USA brands and frankly I do not believe a word of it. I find Golf Spy’s reviews both pompous and arrogant.

      Reply

      Jerry Willingham

      3 months ago

      Check Volvic balls for us

      Reply

      Susan W

      3 months ago

      Yesterday I bought 4 dozen TaylorMade Tour Response balls and today I learn its the best ball. Lucky lucky me!

      Reply

      WYBob

      3 months ago

      I understand this article is a review of the 2023 Ball Lab quality’s assessments, however I think it would be incredibly valuable to see the results cross referenced with the 2023 MGS Golf Ball Performance test (done last September). For example, a new performance x quality matrix with an overall weighted score based on both. There is value in having the data in one place that presents the hierarchy of the highest performing balls that also meets the highest quality manufacturing standards/QC metrics. It would help your readers with narrowing the choices of what balls to test, and also answer the question: “am I getting what I pay for?” Just a suggestion.

      Reply

      Castle Rock M

      3 months ago

      I think this is an outstanding idea!

      Reply

      Ray Gorman

      3 months ago

      I wouldn’t consider Maxfli as a DTC ball. It’s a store brand for Golf Galaxy and Dicks. Although I think Vice or one of the ‘real’ DTC’s can be found in certain stores in certain markets. Maxfli isn’t available “online direct to consumer” like the others, only in stores or Amazon like most all ball brands are these days.

      Reply

      Lionel Fernandez

      3 months ago

      Is there a full report or all balls/brands tested and how they did for comparison?

      Reply

      Scott S

      3 months ago

      I like the summary! Thanks for the CONSISTENTLY great work folks.

      Reply

      Mike - Holland

      3 months ago

      What about the U-PRO Saint Nine ball? I’ve used it for a couple of years now and with it’s urethane cover It’s long and workable. It only costs about $25/doz.

      Reply

      David Tomkins

      3 months ago

      It’s nice to see that you rate Maxfli Tour highly, I grew up with Maxfli and like all the models for their price.

      Reply

      Robert Janick

      3 months ago

      Started playing the maxfli tourx and have noticed more spin with the wedges and a bit more distance off the tee. Purchased more before Christmas when they run a special, definitely recommend

      Reply

      Steve King

      3 months ago

      Guys, this comment is from your deals email. Don’t know where to access the 63 dollar code chaos shoes. How do I gettim. Thanks

      Reply

      CryptoDog

      3 months ago

      It does not exist. It’s only for the Green colored one, and they are basically gone. The red one was also already gone. The other colors are not on such a sale, however, if you do a search, some places are selling them for $79.99 for whatever size stocks they have left

      Reply

      Bob Jerabek

      3 months ago

      I bought the Maxfli Tour X in yellow late last year for playing on dormant Bermuda. It didn’t take long for the yellow paint to start coming off. Driver and wedges seem to skim it right off. After 9 holes the ball looks like it has been through a meat grinder. I would not recommend this ball to anyone.

      Reply

      Khfbgolf

      3 months ago

      The Maxfli Tour is a great ball! I’ve found them to be as long as Chrome Soft, Bridgestone Tour B and Srixon Z-Star. Spin is very good into the green and very durable ball.

      Reply

      Eric Gumtow

      3 months ago

      Do you really need to show an advertisement 5 times on one click?

      FYI black vice golf balls are a bad idea!!

      Reply

      Pete

      3 months ago

      I’m 76 and with driver my ball flies in the 220-250 range. I’ve tried all of your top picks over the years yet the best distance and consistency for me are the Callaway Supersoft and occasionally the Volvik Crystal golf balls.

      Reply

      ROB PERSON

      3 months ago

      Interesting. I’ve read the other ball tests, specs, result sheets previously posted. I like seeing the apples to apples comparisons with the cover materials.

      Reply

      Al

      3 months ago

      I read your latest article on best balls. I have a question. In the article Ball Lab Golf Ball Quality Awards one category has best DTC balls. This may be a stupid question but no where in the article was the acronym DTC explained. What exactly do you mean by DTC ball?

      Reply

      Dave R

      3 months ago

      I know these winners are based on the individual ball lab scores, but I wonder if there’s any general insight as to how or why all of the Taylor Made balls performed so poorly in the 2023 Ball Test. Maybe I’m misremembering, but I felt like every TM ball was well behind the others from a distance perspective, particularly in the mid swing speed.

      Reply

      Patrick

      3 months ago

      Can’t disagree with any of the winners. A little surprised ( even though I have bought 4 boxes of them) with the Taylor Made Tour Response as the best ball.
      I’m so used to seeing a Pro V1 or ProV1x in the mix.
      Amongst my buddies I see many , many Tour Response balls.

      Reply

      Steve Krandel

      3 months ago

      This is about quality, not performance.

      Reply

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