Golf Digest Logo Hot List

The best new golf balls of 2024

*All products featured on Golf Digest are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.*
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Photo Illustration by Lisa Sheehan. Golf balls photographed by Dom Furore and Ben Walton.

Finding the right ball shouldn't be like looking for a needle in a haystack. What you need is a magnet. Consider the Hot List your lodestone. The goal with our annual review of the best-rated golf balls is to help you take the first step toward better defining your playing needs and how certain balls might meet those requirements. We also know it’s only a beginning. A golf-ball fitting, something formal with a qualified fitter or more informal with you and a few sleeves, might change your mind, or even better, confirm that what you have been using is the right one.

Our process focuses on two categories. Golf balls with a Urethane Cover generally appeal to the best players and those with a certain level of competency from driver through wedge. These balls offer a greater variety of shot-making options in terms of trajectory, spin control and feel, particularly near the green—all without sacrificing much of anything in terms of full-swing distance. These are the best balls by far in our evaluations, scoring on average a full point higher across all performance aspects on our five-point scale, according to our players, and spinning an average of 31 percent more on a half-wedge shot in our robot testing. Golf balls with a Non-Urethane Cover typically provide less spin on full shots through the bag for better distance and improved accuracy than higher spinning balls. Relative to most urethane-cover balls, non-urethane models lack the same degree of wedge spin, but the nine balls that made our list showed above average grab on those short-game shots.

First, consider which characteristics best support your game—distance, spin, feel. Matching what you need with the array of options available is a personal process. We’re just here to help. In a landscape in which everything looks essentially the same, a little intel can go a long way. —MS

HOW WE GOT HERE

In 2024, we embarked on our most comprehensive golf-ball Hot List process ever. It combined both player and robot testing to narrow a field of 75 candidates to these final 46 models. Robot testing was conducted by Cool Clubs in Arizona, under the direction of Tom Mase, Ph.D., retired professor of mechanical engineering at Cal Poly and a member of the Hot List Technical Panel. The robot test used half-wedge shots for the spin and launch characteristics of each model. In player testing, elite golfers (5-handicap or less) put finalists through a full range of shots, scoring them on a five-point scale (1 for “poor” to 5 for “excellent”) with the short game, half-wedge, 7-iron and driver. Players also assessed scores in Feel from 1 (“Soft”) to 5 (“Firm”). The graphics reflect our judges’ assessment of the collective players’ ratings. Throughout player testing, all logos and distinguishing marks were blacked out. —MS

Gold Urethane Golf Balls

BRIDGESTONE TOUR B RX/RXS/X/XS

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WHAT’S SPECIAL: The four models are made for different swing speeds (the “R” versions are for players with average swing speeds, and the “S” versions target players who are looking for more spin on all shots). All four feature a new combination of additives in the cover and mantle layers. These compounds increase the resiliency of the cover for distance on tee shots and longer contact time with the face on short shots. They also stiffen the mantle layer for more energy on tee shots and provide a firmer backing to help squeeze the softer cover for spin on shorter shots. All four offer a “Mindset” optional visual pattern to improve pre-shot focus. $50

Bridgestone Tour B RX
Bridgestone Tour B RX

IS IT FOR YOU? 

• For swing speeds of 105 mph or less 

• Preference for distance over workability 

• Low spin for straighter shots but also yields slightly less greenside spin vs. other Tour B balls

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$50 | Golf Galaxy

CALLAWAY CHROME SOFT/TOUR/TOUR X

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WHAT’S SPECIAL: Callaway’s most extensive overhaul of its premium ball lineup includes two models targeting the best players (Chrome Tour, Chrome Tour X) and its familiar lower-compression urethane model (Chrome Soft) that works for all golfers. The fundamental changes start with a new chemical mixture in the core to produce higher ball speeds than previous models. The lineup also includes a new collection of aerodynamic dimple patterns (including selectively located circular dimples for the first time in two decades) to improve consistency of flight and deeper downrange flight. $55

MAXFLI TOUR/TOUR S/TOUR X

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WHAT’S SPECIAL: Making golf balls is not as easy as it sounds, particularly if you are interested in consistency from ball to ball and dozen to dozen. That is why these designs all use the side stamp as a graphic reminder of the location of the center of gravity. Lining up that spot with the center of the clubface will produce the most consistent energy transfer off the driver and a truer roll on your putts. The mantle’s resilient feel dials down driver spin for better distance. The array of models covers three types of feel preferences, all at a bargain price. $40.

SRIXON Q-STAR TOUR

WHAT’S SPECIAL: Srixon believes moderate swing-speed players (75 to 95 miles per hour with the driver) get more satisfying results with a softer golf ball. This version has a slightly higher compression than past models but keeps the past models’ improvements in greenside spin. It also features a reformulated core that is designed with increased firmness of the outer edges to boost resiliency. The center of the core remains soft to help average golfers launch tee shots with less spin for better accuracy. $40

SRIXON Z-STAR/Z-STAR ◆/Z-STAR XV

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WHAT’S SPECIAL: Changes to the rubber cores in these three balls target the needs of three player groups. The core on the standard Z-Star is softest for higher spin on short shots and iron approaches but is slightly firmer for better ball speed. The XV is built for higher-swing-speed players seeking a higher flight. This is accomplished through a single-core design that features a greater transition from the soft center to the core’s extra firm outer edges. The Z-Star ◆ uses its core to bring the speed and distance of the XV with the softer feel of the standard Z-Star for better middle-iron spin. $50

TAYLORMADE TOUR RESPONSE

WHAT’S SPECIAL: A urethane cover is one way to give average golfers the kind of spin control on short shots that elite players enjoy with their style of ball. That is why this ball uses the same cast urethane cover as the TP5/TP5x and emphasizes what average golfers need more: speed. Borrowing the same high-reflexive intermediate mantle layer and the same dual-radius dimple found in TaylorMade’s tour-level balls lets average golfers get the same distance benefits. $43

TAYLORMADE TP5/TP5X

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WHAT’S SPECIAL: These new tour-level models for 2024 upped their speed potential by developing a new core chemistry that creates extra energy for better distance. The more aggressive resilience comes without altering the ball’s softer feel. On top of that, the distinctive five-layer design better tunes the intermediate mantle layers to maximize energy transfer. The key is that the firmness varies from the softer center to the firmer outer layers by a greater range than before, leading to lower spin off the driver and higher spin off the wedges. $55

TITLEIST AVX

WHAT’S SPECIAL: This new generation of Titleist softer-feeling, flatter-trajectory, tour-level, urethane-cover ball gets an influx of improved iron distance and short-game spin for 2024. The latest upgrade to AVX is designed to provide a little more distance on middle irons and more greenside spin than past versions. The key changes involve more velocity from a high-gradient core combined with short-game spin from a thicker, softer cover. The core has a firmer outer range to add velocity, and a new firmer, high-flex mantle works with the core to produce better ball speed. $50

TITLEIST —PRO V1X/PRO V1/PRO V1X

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WHAT’S SPECIAL: The Pro V1 and Pro V1x (the specialty high-speed -Pro V1x is unchanged) found more energy in the design of the cores. The key improvement came from firming up the outer regions of the rubber core to increase ball speed. That turned the single-core Pro V1 into the same core-stiffness range as the old dual-core Pro V1x. On the dual-core Pro V1x, that outer core is stiffer, and the soft, lower-compression inner core is larger, helping to further reduce spin for distance.

VICE PRO/PRO AIR/PRO PLUS

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WHAT’S SPECIAL: Vice’s three urethane-cover balls embrace a collection of attributes (and we’re not talking about the array of colors, fades and drip patterns that have become a fundamental part of the company’s overall aesthetic). The three designs use four- (Pro Plus) and three-piece constructions and alter the core firmness and compression to meet the needs of different swing speeds. This mostly direct-to-consumer brand uses its database of customers and millions of data points from its online fitting tool and partnership with HIO, Europe’s largest custom-fitting center to address six player types. Also central to all designs is a thin, cast-urethane cover and a spin-reducing mantle intermediate layer. $40

WILSON STAFF MODEL/STAFF MODEL X

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WHAT’S SPECIAL: Both models have four-piece constructions with two intermediate mantle layers to control spin, increase velocity and soften feel, but it’s the cores on the high-speed X and spin-control standard model that cater to specific player types. The soft but firmer core on the X enhances resilience with the softness to help high-swing-speed players control driver spin. The softer core on the standard model can help those players just shy of ultra-elite swing speeds reduce spin on tee shots to boost distance. Both balls have the softest cast-urethane cover of any Wilson ball ever. $50

Silver Urethane Golf Balls

HONMA TW-S/TW-X

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WHAT’S SPECIAL: These two cast-urethane-covered balls are popular in Japan. The TW-S emphasizes spin and a softer feel and features a larger core than past Honma models. The intermediate ionomer layer is soft and flexible to enhance backspin and feel. The TW-X’s large core is surrounded by a high-flexing intermediate layer to maximize ball speed. The 326-dimple design was developed over a rigorous three-year design process and helps produce a stable trajectory in windy conditions. $36

MIZUNO RB TOUR/RB TOUR X

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WHAT’S SPECIAL: Dimple design in golf balls is a tedious, underappreciated process. Their designs involve near-microscopic changes in shapes, curves, angles and edges. However, chief among the reasons a dimple pattern is routinely overlooked might be the fact that the everyday golfer likely doesn’t know what those differences mean. For these two urethane-covered balls, a 272-dimple pattern features a slightly skewed bottom, tilted at every turn. The intent is to produce higher flying shots with the driver mixed with flatter trajectory wedge shots. $43

PXG XTREME

WHAT’S SPECIAL: PXG is attempting to simplify the ball-selection process by producing a single ball that accommodates all player types. In terms of spin, speed, trajectory, approach shot, short shot and even feel, the idea is to make the Xtreme ball less about those who swing ultrafast or super slow and more about those who reside in the middle. A three-piece ball with a urethane cover that has 338 dimples, the Xtreme is designed to achieve height in the long clubs with a flatter trajectory in the scoring clubs, all with plenty of pop off the tee. $40

RENEGADE MBU

WHAT’S SPECIAL: Golfers who shop for urethane-covered golf balls under $40 a dozen are thrifty. They want not only performance but durability. That led Renegade to work with its manufacturer to develop a cover material with an additive to achieve that goal. The compound increases the flexibility of the cover material, allowing the ball to dwell longer on the face to deliver control. A firm, higher-compression (85) mantle layer combines with the thick urethane cover to reduce driver spin. $35

SEED SD-02

WHAT’S SPECIAL: A direct-to-consumer brand that has been producing golf balls since 2015, Seed has continued to evolve. The third generation of the SD-02 is a four-piece construction with a cast-urethane cover that seeks to deliver low spin and flatter flight off the driver and maintain enough greenside spin to be useful. A new core formulation includes metalloid additives to fine-tune the ball’s density and weight distribution. That optimizes the core’s compression and launch characteristics. $35

SEED SD-17

WHAT’S SPECIAL: A two-piece ball with a urethane cover is unusual but not unheard of (remember the Bridgestone e5?). To produce such a ball is complex at the price point the company is trying to achieve. Seed walked that line well with the SD-17. Adjusting the molecular weight of the rubber used for the core allowed for the use of a soft, urethane cover, and that results in a large core without the risk of the core deforming more than it should at impact, which would rob speed. The urethane cover also has the benefit of more spin than an ionomer cover around the greens. $30

VOLVIK CONDOR/CONDOR X

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WHAT’S SPECIAL: In recent years Volvik has lost its way with serious golfers by dabbling in nonconforming balls and spheres adorned with The Hulk or Captain America. These balls change that. The standard Condor is an 85-compression three-piece ball with a urethane cover aimed at golfers seeking soft feel and spin around the greens. The X is a four-piece construction but is firmer (95 compression), which helps reduce spin—and therefore promotes accuracy—with the long clubs. $43

WILSON TRIAD

WHAT’S SPECIAL: What if you could find a few more fairways? That would lead to hitting more greens and making more putts. Such an improvement could turn an 82 into a 79. It is that kind of mind-set that drove the design of Wilson’s Triad golf ball. The Triad moves weight from the core of the ball to its mantle layer. Doing this makes the density of all three layers (including the urethane cover) the same. That produces a ball that is better balanced with a higher moment of inertia to promote less movement of the ball in flight as well as less wobble on the greens. $40

Silver Non-Urethane Golf Balls

When our annual golf ball Hot List comes out, we’re often asked why we bother to have non-urethane-cover golf balls on the list. It’s a fair question. There’s no doubt multilayer, urethane-cover golf balls are technologically superior—that’s why the pros play them. To determine what benefits, if any, belong to non-urethane balls, we ran a non-scientific test. Chris Watson, a scratch who has qualified for the U.S. Mid-Am, and I (a 12-handicap but once a very good player) played nine holes with a urethane ball and nine with a non- urethane ball and chronicled our scores and observations.

Presented with a blacked-out sleeve of each in white boxes, we set out. I knew by the third hole which ball was which. It was obvious by the way the non-urethane ball slid up the face on a 50-yard wedge shot. If you want to stop the ball using height instead of spin, that works. I didn’t see much difference on iron approaches, but pitches behaved decidedly different. The urethane ball had more grab, and the non-urethane model rolled out. If you play shots along the ground, a non-urethane ball works fine. Off the tee, the non-urethane ball spun less, especially on off-center strikes. One tee shot I was certain was headed for the right trees held its line and left me with a shot from the rough.

Watson found the non-urethane ball firmer and clickier on virtually all shots. He also found distance control to be an issue, airmailing a green on an approach that left him befuddled. That extended to pitches and chips, which he found “jumpy.”

We both scored better with the urethane ball (one shot lower for me, two for him). The difference seemed magnified for the better player, so maybe there is no reason to ever play non-urethane. However, if you’re north of a 10-handicap and play the short game along the ground and need less spin off the tee (along with saving a few bucks), the non-urethane-covered balls on this list are worth your consideration. —EMJ

BRIDGESTONE E12 CONTACT

WHAT’S SPECIAL: The second iteration of the e12 Contact uses a dimple that has a raised area in the center, resulting in more clubface contact at impact than traditional dimples. The design goals are to provide more efficient energy transfer, activate the core quicker for faster ball speeds and reduce sidespin off the longer clubs. An impact modifier is used to further enhance contact, leading to more dwell time on the face so that grooves can engage more and provide additional spin. $35

CALLAWAY ERC SOFT

WHAT’S SPECIAL: Golf-ball manufacturing has been likened to baking a cake. Much like a two-layer cake uses more than two ingredients, a golf ball often has more than just the few parts that comprise it. In the case of the ERC Soft, more than 100 materials are used. Callaway developed an innovative technology that reacts with certain material groups to produce more elastic energy at impact when the ball deforms. A new urethane coating on the ionomer cover produces extra spin. $40

CALLAWAY SUPERSOFT

WHAT’S SPECIAL: This low-compression ball offers more than just a nice feel. It is also more forgiving because it spins less on long shots. The low-spin characteristic promotes distance with the driver and the irons and increases accuracy because as spin is reduced, the ball will tend to go less offline. A tweak to the core also brought significant improvements. Without getting into the chemistry and jargon associated with it, the result is that Callaway was able to get more speed out of the core at the same compression. $25

SRIXON Q-STAR

WHAT’S SPECIAL: This two-piece ball has a low compression that is designed to maximize the performance of average golfers. The low compression helps tee shots spin less for better distance and accuracy and produces a pleasing feel. It also has the same dimple pattern as the company’s tour-level balls for extra distance. An upgraded core design aims to increase launch angle, and the dimple pattern is designed to yield a more penetrating flight. The real hero, however, might be the cover coating that creates a more elastic surface that allows the grooves on wedges and short irons to grab the ball because of enhanced friction, leading to higher short-game spin. $28

SRIXON SOFT FEEL

WHAT’S SPECIAL: This lower-compression ball stays true to its name, even in its 13th iteration. The company says its “FastLayer” core is the key to providing soft feel and enough distance. The core is extremely soft in the center and gets gradually firmer as you get more toward the outer part of it. Srixon says it is one of its softest to date, and the core is highly resilient, snapping back into shape quicker after impact to deliver more distance while reducing spin off the longer clubs. $23

TAYLORMADE SPEEDSOFT

WHAT’S SPECIAL: A recent survey of avid golfers by Golf Datatech reveals that two-thirds were interested in playing a low-compression or soft-compression golf ball. The player group likely to benefit most from value-priced, low-compression golf balls is also the most interested in playing them. TaylorMade appeals to that audience with a two-piece design that features the company’s first foray into sub-50, low-compression technology. The key, of course, is not to get too soft because it can lose velocity. The core in this ball addresses that concern with an extra-large, super-low compression core that also is resilient. $25

TITLEIST TOUR SOFT

WHAT’S SPECIAL: Titleist knows that many players seek golf balls that perform more well without costing you the equivalent of a filet mignon dinner for a dozen. The focus on soft starts with the larger core (the largest ionomer-covered core in the market) in this two-piece model. The size provides energy for more ball speed, and the low compression improves feel and reduces driver spin. The flexible “FusaBlend” cover material has been reformulated to increase spin and control into and around the greens. $40

WILSON DUO SOFT

WHAT’S SPECIAL: This two-piece ball uses its soft feel to reduce spin for maximum distance. The ultra-large core provides energy for extra distance, and the firmer cover enhances energy transfer at impact. The secret is the presence of additional zinc pentachlorothiophenol in the core. For those not interested in looking that up, using more of it helps amplify the power of a player’s swing, especially for those swinging in the 90-mph range or slower. Wilson also revamped its cover with a new 302-dimple pattern with shallow dimples to provide the kind of aerodynamics that result in lower spin and thus straighter shots, especially off the tee. $23

XXIO REBOUND DRIVE II

WHAT’S SPECIAL: This three-piece ball, an overhaul of the original Rebound Drive, combines a soft, low-compression core and a softer cover with a firmer layer between. The mix of soft, firm, soft is meant to boost ball speed and provide a soft feel (the compression is in the 40s). The intent is to combine the distance advantages of ionomer-cover balls with the feel and spin of urethane-cover balls. That is achieved with a multilayer construction and a special ionomer-blended cover for more greenside spin than typical ionomer-based covers. The multilayer construction is tuned to improve energy transfer on full swings and enhance feel on partial swings and putts. $50

XXIO Rebound Drive II
XXIO Rebound Drive II

IS IT FOR YOU?

•  Low compression offers a soft feel in a distance ball
•  The 338-dimple pattern is designed to promote a higher flight
•  Also available in lime yellow and pink

See more
$50