Titleist has made some of the most popular golf balls out there for a number of years now, with the Pro V1 leading the list. Costco has come out with its own ball, the Kirkland Signature, which has similar specs to the Pro V1. That said, how did they actually perform for an average player?
After comparing these two golf balls, the Pro V1 is longer and feels better than the Kirkland Signature. Both balls were similar in terms of forgiveness and spin rates while the Kirkland is much cheaper. This makes Kirkland good for mid-to-high handicaps and Pro V1 good for low handicaps.
The difference in price is pretty big, but that being said, the extra cost could be worth it for certain golfers. Scratch golfers might get different results if they compared the two balls, but if you want to see how they compared for an average mid-handicap golfer, continue reading.
|Swing Speed||Under 105 MPH||98-105 MPH|
|Long Game Spin||Higher||Mid|
|Short Game Spin||Lower||High|
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Layers & Cover
Both the Kirkland and Pro V1 are 3 piece golf balls with a urethane cover, which means they’re on the premium side. In most cases, 3-5 layers balls are used by low to mid handicaps because they offer better performance on the course, especially with the spin rates.
Since 3 piece balls spin more, that means that you probably shouldn’t use them if you’re a beginner or high handicapper.
I’m sure you’ve hooked or sliced the ball two fairways over before. We’ve all done it. The reason that happens is that the ball has too much sidespin. A ball that spins more can make that worse. You can see how backspin and sidespin affect a golf ball here.
On the other hand, 2 piece balls are normally used by people who shoot in the 90s and 100s. They’re cheaper, should fly a little straighter, and will most likely perform the exact same for high handicappers.
The main difference between premium and value balls is the spin rates around the green. You need to ask yourself, can you actually put backspin on the ball? Most people who shoot above 90 can’t, not even with the highest-spinning ball.
You could also find 3 piece balls that aren’t quite on the premium level. These might be a good choice for people working their way into the 80s. You can see our article on 2 vs 3 piece golf balls here.
The easiest way to see if a ball is premium or value is by looking at the cover. Premium balls have a urethane cover while value balls have an ionomer or surlyn cover. See urethane vs ionomer vs surlyn for the complete details.
Long story short, urethane feels a bit softer and should spin more. It’s more expensive as well, which is why the balls cost more.
Both balls have a similar compression rating, the Pro V1 is somewhere around 87 while the Kirkland is closer to 90. These would be considered to be high compression, which means they’re golf balls for fast swing speeds (over 95 MPH).
Basically, high compression balls take more force to fully compress. If you don’t compress the ball enough, you might not get the performance you’re after. We did a test to see if high compression balls go further than low compression balls, which was pretty interesting.
Long story short, compression only made a difference when your swing speed gets over 100 MPH. That being said, there are more factors to consider than just distance. Price, spin, and ball flight are all examples.
Kirkland Signature vs Titleist Pro V1
Everyone knows about Pro V1 balls and how they’re the most popular ball out there. I have heard for a while that Kirkland balls are actually quite similar, so I wanted to put them to the test to see if I could actually tell the difference.
People have done comparisons where they hit each ball on the simulator and looked at things like distance and spin rates. I prefer taking them to a real course and playing both.
I know it’s not the best or perfect way to compare them because I’m not good enough to hit the same shot twice in a row. That said, I wanted to see if an average player could tell the difference or not.
What I did was play 9 holes, hitting two balls on each hole. I wanted to see which ball went further, which one hit more fairways, which one felt better, and which one had better short-game spin. Let’s jump into the hole-by-hole comparison.
Hole #1 (Par 3)
Drive: The Pro V1 went perfectly straight, hit the green, and stopped right away. I struck the ball really well and the ball felt solid. The Kirkland had a bit of a fade to it and missed the green.
Since it missed the green, I wasn’t able to tell how quickly the ball stopped. One thing I noticed was that it didn’t feel quite as good when I hit it. The distance between the balls was essentially the same.
Hole #2 (Par 3)
Drive: The Kirkland was hit really well and landed on the green and stopped right away. The Pro V1 was hit well too, but it ended up flying around 15 yards longer. That’s pretty good, but it also released about 7 feet, which isn’t the best. I also noticed that it flew higher than the Kirkland.
Hole #3 (Par 4)
Drive: The Kirkland was a pretty good shot that had a slight fade to it. It ended up on the right edge of the fairway, which set me up for a good second shot.
The Pro V1 definitely curved more to the right and ended up missing the fairway by about 8 feet. I was surprised that this ball ended up 20 yards shorter than the Kirkland.
Wedge: I hit the Pro V1 pretty well, so the ball landed on the green, released 1-2 yards, and then stopped. I didn’t hit the Kirkland ball as well, so it landed on the green and released quite a bit.
Hole #4 (Par 4)
Drive: I hit a 6-iron off the tee for both balls. They both had a slight draw to them, but unfortunately, ended up in a fairway pond (which I was trying to lay up in front of). That’s why I couldn’t tell which one went further.
Wedge: The Kirkland ball landed on the green and rolled out 10 feet. The Pro V1 didn’t go as high, but it went around 10 yards further. It also didn’t stop as quickly as I’d liked, so it ended up rolling off the green.
Hole #5 (Par 4)
Drive: Both balls went the same distance off the tee. What I noticed was that the Pro V1 went dead straight while the Kirkland had a slight fade.
Wedge: Both shots were pretty decent. The Pro V1 went around 10 yards further and felt a lot better. Both balls hit the green and rolled out 10 feet.
Hole #6 (Par 3)
Drive: The Pro V1 went 1-2 yards further, it flew higher, and felt more solid. It landed on the green and rolled back 1 foot. The Kirkland ball landed on the green and released 3 feet.
Hole #7 (Par 3)
Drive: Both balls landed on the green and released slightly. The Pro V1 went 10 yards further and also felt better when I hit it.
Hole #8 (Par 4)
Drive: Both balls were hit straight and they both ended up going a similar distance.
Wedge: The Pro V1 landed on the green and released 7-8 feet. The Kirkland landed on the green and stopped right away.
Hole #9 (Par 3)
Drive: Both balls ended up missing the green so I couldn’t tell which one stopped quicker. What I did notice was that the Pro V1 went 5-8 yards further.
Which Of These Balls Should You Play?
After testing these balls out, there were a few key things I noticed. This might not be the case for every golfer out there, but I think the results are pretty accurate for mid to high handicappers.
Here are my key takeaways after testing these balls:
- Both balls were similar off the tee in terms of straightness
- The Pro V1 was longer on average
- Both balls had similar results with short-game spin
- The Pro V1 felt better when you hit it
Here is a more detailed breakdown:
- Times the Pro V1 went straighter: 2
- Times the Kirkland went straighter: 1
- Times the Pro V1 was longer: 5
- Times the Kirkland was longer: 1
- Times Pro V1 spun more: 2
- Times Kirkland spun more: 2
- Times Pro V1 felt much better: 4
Obviously, the results show that the Pro V1 is the better ball. That being said, it still might not be the ball for you. The main reason is that it’s way more expensive than other balls on the market.
Considering the price and performance, I’d probably still use the Kirkland over the Pro V1. Straightness and spin rates were similar, which are more important in my mind. A bit extra distance is nice too, but I don’t know if it’s worth an extra $2.70 per ball.
If you shoot above 90 (high handicap), neither of these balls will be the best choice. The compression rating is a bit high and you might get better performance from something else. At this level, price and forgiveness are the key things to look for.
RELATED: Best Golf Balls For Average Golfers
If you shoot in the 80s (mid handicap), you could consider either of these balls. I’m a mid handicapper myself and I think I’d go with the Kirkland balls. I still lose more balls than I’d like, so price plays a big role. The performance wasn’t different enough for me to justify the higher price.
If you’d like to try the Kirkland balls there are a couple of places to purchase them above. If you want to see other balls that might suit your game, you can read our article on the best balls for mid handicaps.
If you shoot in the 70s (low handicap), either of these balls could be a good choice. At this point, you might want to consider playing the Pro V1 instead to squeeze a bit more out of your ball. You probably don’t lose many balls, so it’s fine to pay more. That said, I’ve seen a few good golfers say they also liked the Kirkland ball.
Note. This post is part of our series on how to pick the right golf ball for you. If you’re still unsure about what ball is right for you, I’d consider checking that out to see the full details.
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