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Critical Golf: Unbiased Golf Equipment Reviews

Golf Balls - Overall Ranking

Back in the day we completed extremely thorough golf ball reviews, including evaluating distances, spin and feel of golf balls…on course no less! We would fire away from a tee box and shag balls on a fairway in the early morning, all the while fastidiously measuring distances and accuracy, and hitting enough balls to have a statistically significant number of swings. Sadly, eventually the grumpy groundskeeper decided he didn’t like us being on his course. And without the funds to buy a TrackMan, or the funds to contract use of an Iron Byron for golf ball testing, we no longer have objective performance data. So until one of the above happens, we’ll include our opinion on the best golf balls in this section, and provide additional information and links to fitting tools (both online and in-person) available from each manufacturer. Swing away!

Bridgestone Golf Balls

Bridgestone Golf Balls

Bridgestone is one of the few companies that is pushing the bounds of providing fitting tools and days. Heck, they even have online chat tools in case you need immediate help! They claim to be the “#1 Ball Fitter in Golf”, and the variety of tools they have available make this credible. For those who still think tires are all that Bridgestone makes, take note that Fred Couples, Matt Kuchar, DLIII, and Brandt Snedeker all play Bridgestone balls.
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Callaway Golf Balls

Callaway Golf Balls

Though perhaps not as many wins each year as Titleist, there are dozens of PGA and European PGA Tour playing Callaway golf balls. Callaway offers six different golf balls: The HEX Black Tour, HEX Chrome, HX Diablo Tour, HX Diablo, Solaire, and the Warbird Plus. Most professionals are playing the HEX Black Tour ball, though others including Mickelson, Jacobson, and Janzen, are still using older models (the Tour i(s) for Phil, Tour i(x) for Jacobson and Janzen).
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Dixon Golf Balls

Dixon Golf Balls

As we all learned from Kermit, it isn’t easy being green. But if there is one company that is trying to market their efforts, it’s Dixon Golf. Dixon makes golf balls that are both 100% recyclable and designed for performance (though as far as we know, there are balls from all manufacturers that are both 100% recyclable and designed for performance). Players can get a credit ($0.50 per ball) toward a purchase of a dozen Dixon Earth golf balls when bringing in their old golf balls (any brand) to a Dixon Golf retailer. The Dixon manufacturing facility is green, and features LED lights, solar panels, and boasts better air quality and lower VOC’s than other similar facilities.
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Maxfli Golf Balls

Maxfli Golf Balls

Maxfli, acquired by Dick’s Sporting Goods from TaylorMade-adidas in 2008, offers a range of urethane cover golf balls that are given names that make them easy to differentiate. Multi-piece golf balls are, at a high level, designed to give players benefits across different shot types. This includes lower spin rates and distance for drives, with higher spin rates and additional control for more lofted clubs. As Maxfli is owned by Dick’s (which also owns Golf Galaxy), these balls don’t have the same distribution as the major manufacturers.

Nike Golf Balls

Nike Golf Balls

Surprised to hear that Nike offers more golf balls than any other brand? We sure were, though I guess if you are pushing to grow in a market still relatively new to your company and have the dollars to spend, why not throw a bunch of balls against the wall and see what sticks? Also, pay massive sums to Rory. It’s all about the branding…
With so many ball choices things can get a little confusing, so it’s a good thing there is a Nike golf ball fitting and comparison tool available. The tool walks visitors through a series of questions, and then provides the “best golf ball” for them, as well as recommended alternatives (a good way to help decide which two or three balls to take to the course to test).
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Pinnacle Golf Balls

Pinnacle Golf Balls

Pinnacle, part of the Acushnet Company with Titleist (and FootJoy), allows Acushnet to have a ball line of more aggressively-priced balls (translate: inexpensive) that Titleist balls don’t address. Don’t want to sully the Titleist name! There are just three ball options under this brand: the BLING (c’mon! All caps?! Don’t do it!), the Gold, and the Gold Ribbon.
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Srixon Golf Balls

Srixon Golf Balls

If there is any company that likes yellow balls, it’s Srixon. They make eight different models, five of which come in yellow. Same as the traditional white ball, but easier to find in the thick rough or woods where we spend most of our rounds. Oh, and it’s easier to determine which is your ball when needing to fish it out of the greenside water hazard.
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TaylorMade Golf Balls

TaylorMade Golf Balls

We haven’t quite figured out the marketing plan behind the TaylorMade line of balls. Maybe its all pinned to Sergio breaking through. And what’s with the naming, anyway? The Burner? RocketBallz? The Noodle? They have a bit of work to do. TaylorMade also doesn’t have as advanced marketing material as some of the other manufacturers, lacking the online golf ball fitting tools or other information to help customers make a selection between the different models.
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Titleist Golf Balls

Titleist Golf Balls

Titleist is the brand played by most of the Critical Golf staff (specifically the Pro V1). It’s also the brand played by most professionals on Tour and has the most worldwide golf ball wins. Coincidence? Certainly. While we can (will) always dream that the Pro V1 will help us play like the pros, we like it for its feel, durability, and spin characteristics. Titleist offers a number of tools to help with Titleist golf ball fitting, including on-course evaluation scorecards, as well as their online golf ball fitting tool. Their site provides a nice range of information for the user to help wade through their options.
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Wilson Golf Balls

Wilson Golf Balls

Wilson offers a full range of balls, including six different “Staff” (high performance) balls and four additional recreational balls branded “Tour” (these have replaced the prior SL line). Wilson just released for 2013 their new Will Custom Fit Staff Center to help players determine the best golf ball for their game from their Staff lineup.
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