YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
Sometimes what is obvious needs to be proved. We've been player-testing golf balls for more than a decade as part of our annual Hot List evaluations, including this year's session at Marriott's Grande Vista resort in Orlando. Although our testing is blind (all the balls' logos are blacked out), every year there is one remarkable consistency to the results: price matters.
Our testers are asked to rate balls on a 1-5 scale across a series of criteria, and without fail, the scores are higher the more a ball costs.
Why might that be? Well, the simple truth is, the more a ball costs, the more technology it has. The most expensive balls have been engineered to achieve maximum performance on tee shots and wedge shots around the green. Conversely, less-expensive balls with more simple constructions always come with compromises.
But given the results of our player-testing and our many conversations with the folks who work in golf-ball R&D, we see no need for golfers to compromise performance. That's why the balls in our most expensive category (Over $35) receive our highest recommendation. We also believe balls in the middle-price category ($26 to $35), regardless of whether they're designated Gold or Silver, perform better than the balls in the least expensive category (Under $26).
Of course, we understand that your purchase decision might be driven by price. That's why we endorse seven balls in the Under $26 category. Nevertheless, one thing is for certain: The only way to ensure maximum performance is to spend a little more. Illustration by Harry Campbell