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When it comes to picking the right golf ball, part of the equation comes down to how soft or firm the ball feels. The other half of the equation is how soft or hard the compression rating is, and in this post, we’ll talk about what you should use.
Here are the softest and hardest golf balls on the market:
- Wilson DUO Soft+ (softest golf ball)
- Mizuno RB Tour X (hardest golf ball)
- Callaway Supersoft (2nd softest golf ball)
- Titleist Pro V1X Left Dash (2nd hardest golf ball)
Each of these balls is made for a different type of golfer. The average player should avoid two of them completely, but the other two could be good options. Let’s dive into each of the balls and talk about who should use them.
What Is The Softest Golf Ball On The Market?
The softest ball on the market is the Wilson DUO Soft+, which is designed for high launch angles and limited spin. The DUO Soft+ features the softest compression rating (35) and might be the perfect ball for beginners or players with slow swing speeds.
The Wilson DUO Soft+ is currently one of the best-rated and reviewed golf balls that come in under $20/dozen at most retailers. If you’re a beginner golfer, don’t spend a lot of balls! These could be perfect for you.
Another option that is not only soft on the course but also soft on the wallet is the Callaway SuperSoft featuring Callaway’s new hybrid cover. The soft feel and compression (38) create a nice high launch angle and low spin for maximum consistency off the tee and with your irons.
If you look at any of the reviews online, you’ll see that people appreciate the soft feel and high ball flight with good distance and consistent results; exactly what you would expect from a soft ball.
What Are Softer Golf Balls Good For?
Softer compression golf balls compress more easily, which helps create more distance and lower spin for high handicaps and players with a slower swing speed. The low compression will create more distance for players with swing speeds under 90 MPH.
If you’re a player who struggles to keep the ball in play off the tee or from longer distances (I think most of us do), a softer ball may be for you.
The lower compression of a softer ball limits the amount of spin during the flight of the ball, leading to more fairways and more shots that stay on the path you actually wanted.
While softer golf balls have a number of benefits for beginners and high handicappers, they also have their downsides for better players.
The bad part about softer compression balls is that they can lead to less control around the green or when you’re trying to shape the flight of a ball (draw, fade, high, low).
What you’ll notice is that it’ll be harder to stop or put some ‘bite’ on shots near the green with a softer ball. The higher ball flight could also provide some negatives in windy conditions or in areas where players are looking for a lower path and longer roll.
Weather and temperature might play a part in deciding which golf balls to use as well. Phil Mickelson has said that he sometimes switches to a softer playing ball during colder playing conditions.
The colder the conditions the harder the ball will feel, and often switching to a softer ball during cold conditions could produce the feel of a harder ball during warmer days.
In the end, the average golfer with swing speeds under the 90 MPH mark would likely benefit from a softer golf ball during their round. You can see the best golf balls for slow swing speeds.
What Is The Hardest Golf Ball On The Market?
The hardest golf ball available is the Mizuno RB Tour X, which has a compression rating of 110. This ball produces low-mid driver spin, high wedge spin, and is ideal for better golfers with swing speeds above 105 MPH.
Another option for a hard golf ball is the Titleist Pro V1X Left Dash. Titleist designed this ball specifically to be one of the hardest golf balls (102 compression rating) and it was originally started as a CPO or Custom Performance Option only available to players on the PGA Tour.
According to Fordie Pitts, Titleist’s Tour Consultant, “CPO Models are designed to fit players with very distinct needs and preferences.”
The hardest ball that’s the most common on our local links is the Titleist Pro V1X. The V1X features four-piece construction designed to improve spin on mid-irons and around the greens, but not compromising on distance off the tee.
The V1X has a compression rating of 97, which isn’t that far off the Left Dash. It’s a bit higher than the most well-known and popular golf ball on the course, the Pro V1 (compression rating 87).
What Are Hard Golf Balls Good For?
Harder golf balls produce more spin and a higher launch angle off the face of the club. Designed for players with higher swing speeds who don’t want too much compression off the tee, or players who want more spin and control of the ball.
Harder compression balls generally aren’t the best way to go for mid to high handicappers. Every ball played on the PGA Tour has a compression rating over 80 and most are closer to 90 and above.
The ability to control the shape of a shot can be a huge win for players with harder golf balls. Being able to shape a strong fade or draw under the right conditions can lead to better players having more shot options throughout their round.
Similar advantages can be found around the green while chipping or hitting wedges into the green. If you can generate enough speed, harder compression balls will provide more spin and control over the ball.
Finally, a harder golf ball can provide players with faster swing speeds more distance off the tee. Swing speeds over 100 MPH might find more distance with a harder golf ball that doesn’t compress as much against the face of the club.
A harder ball comes off the club with more ball speed and a lower flight angle, which could be exactly what some players are looking for. We did a test to see if low or high compression golf balls go further, which I’d recommend you check out.
That being said, more spin isn’t always a good thing for all golfers.
More spin for a low handicap golfer could be a good thing, but more spin from a high handicapper probably isn’t. More spin could lead to more variables coming off the tee and fewer fairways and greens found from longer distances.
Should You Use A Soft Or Hard Golf Ball?
The choice of whether to use a soft or hard golf ball comes down to two different factors: how the ball feels and what the compression rating is.
Certain balls feel different than others at impact. You could have a ball with a firm outer shell or you could have a ball with a soft outer shell.
Soft or firm when it comes to “feel” is more of a personal preference. There are soft compression balls that are soft, but there are also soft compression balls that are firmer.
What you need to ask yourself is how do you like your ball to feel?
The bigger question is what the compression rating is. This is a lot more important and really comes down to what your swing speed is and what you’re looking for.
Beginners and high handicappers usually don’t swing fast enough to use a hard compression ball. You’ll get more distance, straighter shots, and a higher ball flight with a low compression ball. You can see the best low compression golf balls here.
Low handicappers generally swing the club faster and need a firmer compression ball. They’ll get more distance, more spin, and will have a more controllable ball flight. You can see the best golf balls for high swing speeds here.
Note: This article is part of our series on what golf ball compression you should use. If you’re interested to know about what it is and how it impacts your game, check out that guide.
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