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Carly's blog - news and views on the world of ladies' golf
July 7, 2011

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The big golf ball test - ladies' golf balls

Let’s face it, when it comes to choosing the right golf ball there are so many options that it can be a confusing decision. Price and performance are the two obvious factors to consider, but how do you really know what golf ball is best suited to your game?

The lady testers in the restaurant at Pachesham ParkWell, several of the leading golf ball manufacturers offer excellent golf ball fitting services, both online and through their fitting centres, to help you get the right ball for your game. But as much as we’d all love to go along and do this, time is often short, so we tend to just pick the ball we like the look of the best off the shelves in our pro shop.

With that in mind I asked a group of ladies to try out the latest women’s golf balls on the impressive short game facilities at Pachesham Park Golf Centre in Surrey.

Testing the goods on the chipping green at Pachesham Park Testing the goods on the putting green at Pachesham Park

What golf ball should you play?

The simple answer is that everyone is different. That said, in general, most lady golfers have a swing speed that averages between 70 and 80 mph and are therefore suited to playing a ladies golf ball that has been designed to perform best at these swing speeds.

I took the advice of Titleist’s "green-to-tee" ball-fitting philosophy (, which focuses on the feel and performance of the ball on your shots played into and around the green for the ladies test. The idea is that by hitting more greens and/or hitting it closer when you're attempting to hit the green, then you'll lower your scores.

Titleist Online Ball-Fitting Titleist Online Ball-Fitting

There's very little to choose between most golf balls hit at the typical ladies lower swing speed in terms of distance, so the focus is very much on short game and the 'scoring zone'. So off we went and hit the short game area at Pachesham Park armed with our selection of golf balls and here are the results…

The Testers

Sue HowellsSue Howell
Handicap: 24
Number of years playing: 18
Current golf ball: Srixon Soft Feel
Findings: I started using the Srixon Soft Feel golf ball because someone gave me a sleeve of three to try and I loved the feel. Now that I have tested balls from other brands I can honestly say the Srixon is still my favourite. For me the golf ball is all about feel, I don’t really notice much difference in distance, and some of the other balls were just too hard and clicky off the clubface.

The golf ball that surprised me the most was the Nike – it felt really solid and was so consistent off the putterface. But the one ball that would really give the Srixon a run for its money is the Precept Lady iQ, a superb soft feeling ball, the only thing that stops me making the switch is the unusual clear dimples because I found these harder to spot than a pure white ball, and that’s no good when I’m hunting for my shots in the rough!

Nicole WatkinsNicole Watkins
Handicap: 22
Number of years playing: 10
Current golf ball: Srixon Ladies
Findings: The packaging, design and look of the golf ball are big factors for me. When I walk into the pro shop I want to know instantly what golf balls are suitable for me, and the easiest way to tell that is to look for the pink boxes. The ones that are packaged in dark boxes don’t stand out as ladies balls and I would ignore them on the shelves.

That said I’m not a fan of the manufacturers trying to ‘lady-fy’ the actual golf ball itself by turning it pink or sparkly (in the case of the Callaway Solaire). I’d much sooner play a traditional white golf ball. I’ve always played a Srixon golf ball because it’s the one the pro recommended, but having tried the Pinnacle Lady today I could easily make the switch. It’s better value and offers a superb feel and great performance.

Sue ChoulartonSue Choularton
Handicap: 22
Number of years playing: 4
Current golf ball: Srixon Ladies
Findings: I used to play with any golf ball, but not long after I started someone gave me a Srixon golf ball to try and I’ve stuck with the same brand because I think it is important for consistency to get used to the feel and playability of the golf ball. I love the fact that the Srixon already has a line marked on it – this has really helped me with my putting. I noticed many of the other golf balls on test didn’t have this feature and I do think it helps.

My favourite golf ball on test today was the Callaway Solaire, the performance really impressed me as my chips checked with greater control and it felt really solid off the putterface. However I’m not a big fan of the sparkly finish and would definitely avoid the pink version, so if there was a pure white alternative I’d instantly put it into play.

Dot HolmwoodDot Holmwood
Handicap: My age, oh sorry 36!
Number of years playing: 11
Current golf ball: TopFlite
Findings: Distance is a big factor for me as I don’t hit the ball a long way, so I’m always looking for a few extra yards. The firmer feel of the TopFlite ball suits me around the greens too as I find it easier to get my putts up to the hole. I struggled to adjust to the softer feeling balls on test.

The Wilson Staff DX2 took me by surprise. I didn’t know Wilson made golf balls and I loved it! The combination of a slightly firmer but great feel off the putter with obvious control on my chips was very impressive. I’m definitely going to give this ball a try on the golf course.

Jo WhiteJo White
Handicap: 32
Number of years playing: 2
Current golf ball: Srixon Ladies
Findings: I started using the Srixon golf ball when I first took up golf because virtually every golfer I asked said it was the best golf ball for ladies! I’ve never really tested golf balls from other brands so today was a real eye-opener for me.

As a new golfer it’s quite intimidating to go to a pro shop and buy golf balls without knowing what you’re asking for, so you look for the ones that are clearly signposted as ladies, and the ones in the pink boxes are the obvious choice. So my eye was drawn to the Pinnacle and the Precept balls on test and it just so happened that I loved the performance of both balls. The only thing I’d say is there was too much writing on a few of the balls – I mean what does Precept Lady iQ Plus mean? Does it mean if I’m intelligent I should use it?!

Helen WisdomHelen Wisdom
Handicap: 30
Number of years playing: 4 ½
Current golf ball: Pinnacle Ladies
Findings: I tend to alternate between using the Pinnacle and Srixon Ladies golf ball, but I like the fact that the Pinnacle supports a good cause (the Pink Ribbon breast cancer charity) so I tend to use this golf ball the most. The golf balls with easy alignment arrows already printed on the side scored points with me, like the Srixon.

But by far my favourite golf ball today was the Callaway Solaire. I love the pink version, it really stands out from the rest and it’s also easier to spot than a white ball, handy when you’re hunting in the leaves.

Margaret ChamberlaineMargaret Chamberlaine
Handicap: 19
Number of years playing: 10
Current golf ball: Srixon Soft Feel
Findings: My club pro told me the Srixon Soft Feel was the best feeling golf ball on the market and I can’t fault it for that. It’s great for putting, but it had some competition today. The Precept felt like putty off the putterface and the Callaway Solaire had a great feel too.

The golf ball that impressed me the most was the Titleist DT SoLo. I wouldn’t normally use a Titleist golf ball because I associate them with the men’s game, perhaps because the packaging is quite masculine but also because all the professionals on TV using the ball are men, but I have to say I’d definitely buy this ball now. It’s reasonably priced and felt fantastic.

The golf balls we tested

Pinnacle Lady White Golf Balls (box of 15)Pinnacle Ribbon Golf Ball
Price: £11.99 (15 ball pack)
Contact: 01480 301114,
They say: Designed to provide value-conscious women golfers with superior distance and soft feel in both a clear white and pearlescent pink cover option. A two-piece ball it features a soft compression, fast core with soft Ionomer cover – all combine to give distance, control and great feel.

Pinnacle Lady Pink Golf Ball Pinnacle Lady Pink Golf Balls (box of 15)

We say: Fantastic value and a great all-round performer! We love the fact the Pinnacle supports a good cause and the pink packaging makes it really obvious as a choice for us ladies.

TaylorMade Burner W Golf Ball for WomenTaylorMade Burner W
Price: £19.99
Contact: 0800 0728624,
They say: The TaylorMade ball is designed to help lady golfers with a slower clubhead speed get a higher launch on their shots for more distance. The phenomenally fast yet incredibly soft REACT Core combines with a special Low Drag Performance (LDP) dimple pattern to improve lift for more distance. Great feel comes from the soft, resilient and durable cover.

TaylorMade Burner W Golf Ball for Women

We say: Avoids the obvious pinks and goes for a subtle blue box. Printing LDP on the ball was a bit confusing for most of us who didn’t understand what it meant - a simple line would have been a better choice to help us with our putting. A slightly firmer feel on the short game was popular with some of our testers and will undoubtedly contribute to greater distances when we tee up.

Callaway Solaire Ladies' Golf BallCallaway Solaire
Price: £14.99
Contact: 0800 096 459,
They say: Designed to perform ideally at slower swing speeds, the Solaire features a soft, resilient core that has been specifically formulated to provide increased carry and distance. The low compression core produces soft feel off the clubface and patented HEX Aerodynamics produces long, efficient ball flight. The Solaire is stylishly offered in two colour options: Pure White or High Visibility Pink. Both use a luminous finish that will add a distinctive flair to any woman’s game.

Callaway Solaire Ladies' Golf Ball

We say: When it came to the pink ball and sparkly finish we either loved it or we hated it, making this a very personal choice. One of our testers asked if Katie Price had designed the pink ball! The one thing that got unanimous praise was the performance – this is a great-feeling, easy to control golf ball that is a really good value alternative to some of the more expensive performance balls for ladies.

Srixon Soft Feel Lady Golf BallSrixon Soft Feel Lady
Price: £25.99
They say: A 2-piece golf ball designed to give ladies with a lower clubhead speed at impact greater distance. The ball’s super soft dual core and soft resilient cover ensures a soft feel on all shots from tee to green. An aerodynamic 328 dimple pattern helps give a higher launch trajectory for greater carry and distance.

Srixon Soft Feel Lady Golf Ball Srixon Soft Feel Lady Golf Ball

We say: Without doubt, the star of the show. Most of our ladies were already using a Srixon, and those that didn’t agreed that it is a great feeling, great performing ball that is packaged in a way that instantly appeals to our eye.

Nike Power Distance Women
Price: £18.00
They say: The soft responsive cover provides a softer feel off all clubs and a high-lift 320 aerodynamic dimple pattern lends to a longer distance off most swing speeds for a higher launch and lift for longer carry.

Nike Power Distance Womens' Golf Ball

We say: Definitely a ball to take to the tee where we expect big distance gains. A slightly firmer, clickier feel off the putterface, loved by some, but critiqued by others. The packaging is a touch on the dark side and doesn’t leap out off the shelves and one of our testers decided that the text stamped on the side of the ball ‘PD Women’ must stand for Paid Women!

Precept Lady iQ Plus Clear Golf BallPrecept Lady iQ Plus
Price: £19.99
They say: Precept say that tests show this is the softest lady’s ball on the market. The softer touch gives added control around the green. It’s also been developed for longer distance at the typical lady’s lower swing speed. Increased climb keeps the ball in the air for longer, boosting carry distance, plus the Seamless Cover Technology means you get a consistent ball flight too. The iQ comes in a choice of clear, pink or white.

Precept Lady iQ Plus Precept Lady iQ Plus

We say: If it’s good enough for top lady professional Paula Creamer, then it’s good enough for us! The Precept was one of the top balls on test, offering a superb feel like putty in our hands. As for the looks, the ‘clear’ ball we tested was described by one lady as looking like a lump of frogspawn, but does come in a traditional white or even pink version giving you plenty of choice.

Wilson Staff DX2 Soft Womens' Golf BallWilson Staff DX2 Soft Womens
Price: £22.99
They say: Designed to deliver outstanding feel and longer, straighter drives for ladies with a slower swing speed. The DX2 Soft has a super-soft high velocity core to increase speed off the clubface for longer drives. A thin, responsive cover gives greater feel and durability. A special PhD dimple pattern encourages a high flight on your tee shots for greater carry distance. Plus traction control technology helps to prevent ‘fliers’ from the rough and gives you more precision on your approach shots from 100 yards and in.

Wilson Staff DX2 Soft Womens' Golf Ball Wilson Staff DX2 Soft Womens' Golf Ball

We say: One of the surprise performers, the DX2 scored top points for touch and control. The jury was out on the unusual PhD dimple pattern, a few of us felt it made the ball look a little cheap. Wilson Staff might want to consider a more feminine logo too, as we all decided that their company emblem stamped on the ball looked a little like a school crest.

The Titleist range
None of these are specifically labelled as ‘ladies’ balls - but that’s because Titleist say their balls are for everyone...

Titelist Pro V1 BallTitleist Pro V1
Price: £50
Contact: 01480 301114,
They say: The Pro V1 provides exceptional distance and durability with increased spin control and a more consistent ball flight; this advanced performance is a result of innovative ZG process core technology, a responsive ionomeric casing layer, urethane elastomer cover and high coverage 352 multi-dimple design. The 352 dimple pattern utilises five different dimple sizes for more surface coverage resulting in improved aerodynamics and a more penetrating ball flight, which holds its line in the wind.

Titleist Pro V1

We say: If we could afford this ball we’d probably buy it as we know it has a reputation for being the best and it certainly felt great around the greens. The fact that it’s boxed and packaged like a men’s ball puts us off and attracts us to other more feminine packages.

Titleist Pro V1x BallTitleist Pro V1x
Price: £50
Contact: 01480 301114,
They say: Delivering lower spin off the driver and long irons, the Pro V1x provides longer distance and a more consistent flight along with its renowned Drop-and-Stop greenside control. A four-piece multi-component design, Pro V1x features a large, high velocity dual core with a soft centre, responsive ionomeric casing layer, urethane elastomer cover and a new tiled 328 multi-dimple design. This high coverage dimple pattern with seven different dimple sizes has three axes of symmetry, which produces a higher trajectory synonymous with Pro V1x's longer distance and consistent flight. The Pro V1x features a urethane elastomer cover for soft feel and durability.

Titleist Pro V1x

We say: The firmer feeling of the two ProV’s is not as controllable in the hands of most of our testers. This is not a ball ladies would usually pick due to our lower swing speeds as it’s really optimised for players that generate greater clubhead speed. That said it may suit some of the stronger ladies out there, and if you can spare the time to get custom-fitted at the Titleist Fitting Centre it could be a real eye-opener.

Titleist NXT Tour BallTitleist NXT Tour
Price: £31
Contact: 01480 301114,
They say: The Titleist NXT Tour golf ball represents the Next Generation of Performance for golfers seeking long distance with the driver and long irons, yet who also demand consistent shot stopping short game control. A Soft Centre, large Multi-Layer Core, plus Soft and Thin Fusablend nCover make this ball suitable for players of all ability.
We say: Stamping ‘Tour’ on a golf ball instantly makes us think it’s not for us but only for the top lady professional golfers we see on TV. The feel was great, really soft, and this ball certainly spun, but at a higher price it’s probably not our first choice.

Titleist NXT BallTitleist NXT
Price: £27.50
Contact: 01480 301114,
They say: The NXT® golf ball represents the Next Generation of Distance for golfers seeking extreme distance and durability with straight ball flight. A High Velocity, Low Spin Solid Core, and Resilient, Low Spin Ionomer Cover, make this ball long, straight and durable.
We say: Despite being labelled as distance ball this actually offers a really great feel. The cover and finish looks a bit cheaper than the ProVs (but then it is half the price) but actually offered greater durability. At the end of the test it was one of the balls that looked like it had hardly been hit. Handy, if you’re the sort of player that rarely loses a ball and likes to tee up with a used ball time and time again.

Titleist DT SoLo BallTitleist DT SoLo
Price: £21
Contact: 01480 301114,
They say: The New DT SoLo golf ball is designed for a broad range of golfers seeking the combination of long distance, exceptional feel, responsive short game control and cut-proof cover durability.
We say: Definitely the best value of the Titleist balls on test and several of our ladies absolutely loved it. The fact that the DT SoLo is designed for a wide range of golfers gives it universal appeal and the bright red packaging, although not particularly for us ladies, does stand out, making it easy to spot as we walk into the pro shop.

Golf Today thanks the managment and staff of Pachesham Park and all the ladies who kindly helped us to conduct this test for their time and efforts.


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