AN EXPANDING UNIVERSE OF POSSIBILITIES
When we asked golfers to evaluate golf balls for this year's Hot List—during testing at Marriott's Grande Vista Resort in Orlando—our overarching guidance was: "Rate these balls based on how much you would want to play them compared to your current ball." Turns out they found an expanding universe of golf balls highly acceptable for full shots, and many that felt soft on full and partial swings. But as we got closer to the green, certain balls separated themselves with higher spin on chips and pitches. In most cases these balls had a urethane cover and tended to be more expensive. Does that mean you have to make compromises with less-expensive models? Probably, but depending on your skill level, those compromises might not matter as much. (For example, a more expensive ball that spins a lot on chips might not be the wisest choice if you're losing a sleeve or two a round.) So decide which part of your game—full shots, short game, feel, price—is most important in terms of what you're looking for in a golf ball. Then review the 32 entries on this year's Hot List. The results might open your mind to a new world.
On the following pages, we break down the market into three categories: Over $35, $26-$35, and $25 and Under.
Illustration by John Ritter/Balls: Dom Furore