Soft vs Hard Golf Balls: Which Type Should You Hit?

We’re reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Deciding if you should play with soft or hard golf balls is a common question among golfers, and each golf ball style has pros and cons.

In this guide, I will go over soft vs hard golf balls in detail and let you know the difference between them and some of the best of each golf ball on the market to buy.

If you have played both, let us know below what you prefer hitting and why!

Check out the best golf balls you can buy today.

Soft vs. Hard Golf Balls: Club Comparison

Driver

Whether hitting a soft or a hard golf ball, there are two ways to tell the difference: the feel and the sound of the ball off the club face. When hitting the driver, the feel of the ball will be the number one indicator.

A soft golf ball will travel further in the air, but stop faster when it hits the ground. A hard golf ball is the will not travel as far in the air, but will roll along the ground much further.

Most average golfers have a  slow or moderate swing speed under 100 mph, meaning a softer golf ball will work better for them. Soft golf balls have a lower compression rating, which means you don’t need to have as hard of a swing to compress the ball on your shots properly. This means you don’t have to swing as hard to hit a softer ball as far as possible.

However if you are a more experienced golfer or just someone with a very fast swing, you may want to look at hard golf balls to get the most compression and extra distance out of them.

Golf balls aren’t made today like they used to be.

With technology and performance nowadays, you can hit a soft and a hard golf ball off the tee and see the same results. The type of ball you use with a driver is mostly personal preference.

Irons

When hitting irons, there is a more noticeable difference between hitting a soft vs. hard golf ball. Soft golf balls have a lower compression rating, so it doesn’t take as hard of a swing to compress the ball properly off the club face.

When hitting a hard golf ball, the sound of the ball is very noticeable. It will louder clicking noise on impact.

The other indicators are much the same. A soft golf ball will land on the green softer than a hard golf ball. This means that you can be a little more aggressive when going after a pin, as you know the ball will land smoother and not bounce as far.

If you are using a hard golf ball, you can use the green more to your advantage to land the ball short and have it roll up to the pin. This all comes down to personal preference and what feels better to hit.

taylormade kalea premier review irons

Wedges

When hitting a wedge, the primary indicator between hitting a soft and hard golf ball will be the amount of spin put onto the ball. Softer golf balls can generate much more spin due to the softer core and easier compression.

However, technology comes into play here again.

Wedge technology is very advanced from where it used to be, meaning the grooves and faces will be able to generate spin on just about anything. You will still be able to generate spin on a hard golf ball, but the ball won’t land as smoothly on the green as a soft one.

On top of the wedge technology, the golf ball technology has also gotten much more advanced. For the most part, choosing which golf ball is right for you depends entirely on personal preference and budget.

Soft vs. Hard Golf Balls: Detailed Comparison

Next, I’ll teach you about all of the different components within a ball. You will learn exactly how the manufacturing of soft balls differs from firmer golf balls.

Core

Firmer balls typically fall under the two-piece construction model. The core is a solid material, typically made from acrylate or a material called resin. Two-piece golf balls are extremely hard and will offer maximum distance.

Soft golf balls will typically have a solid rubber or liquid core. This is a much softer material that can be compressed easily when hit. Soft golf balls usually fall in the 3, 4, and 5-piece construction models. Premium balls have more layers so that you can place more control on your swing.

soft vs hard golf balls material and composition

Outer Cover

Hard golf balls are covered by a tough, blended cover which helps to offer more distance on the golf ball. Hard golf balls are typically covered in a material called Surlyn, which offers a firmer feel on the ball. This firmer feel helps to provide more distance on the ball, but also comes with less control over the ball.

The one nice thing about hard golf balls is that they are highly durable, and you don’t have to worry about them breaking down.

Soft golf balls have a layer of enhanced rubber over the top of the softcore, which is then covered with either Surlyn or Urethane, another popular material when creating golf balls. This 3-piece construction helps make the ball softer and offers more spin, providing more control over the ball.

soft vs hard golf ball types

Materials

Both hard and soft golf balls are made from many different materials. The one thing to keep an eye out for is the type of cover used on the ball’s exterior. The main ones that are being used nowadays are either Ionomer or Urethane covers.

Ionomer is a type of polymer and is the harder and more durable of the two. Because it is a harder material, it will offer less feel and spin on the ball. Ionomer-covered golf balls are geared more toward beginner golfers because they are a little more forgiving off the tee.

Balls with urethane covers are not quite as durable as Ionomer, but they offer more spin and control over the golf ball . Urethane is geared more towards high-swing speed golfers. Most professional golfers will use a Urethane covered ball for maximum control.

Dimples

Not all golf balls are manufactured with the same amount of dimples. The dimple pattern on a golf ball, along with how many there are, plays a huge factor in how the ball travels through the air. The dimple pattern on a golf ball creates a thin layer of air around the ball, which helps to cut down on drag. They also help lift the ball into the air due to the backward spinning motion from impact.

Choosing which golf ball you want to hit all comes down to personal preference. Every brand and manufacturer has a different amount of dimples on each ball, and you are better off hitting each one to find out what works best for you and your swing. The number of dimples on a ball has no correlation to soft vs hard balls.

Compression

Hard golf balls have a higher compression rating than soft golf balls. Most golf balls will have a compression rating between 50 and 100.

Soft golf balls have lower compression, meaning the club compresses the ball more to create more distance. These are great for slower swing-speed golfers because you don’t have to swing as hard to compress the ball and get the most distance out of it.

Hard golf balls have a higher compression rating and are great for golfers who can produce faster swing speeds to compress the ball. This will help offer more control over the ball and maximize distance along the ground because the hard golf ball will roll further than a soft one.

golf-ball-compression-chart-example

Spin

With up to 5-piece construction on golf balls, you may get a different answer regarding spin on a hard or soft golf ball. In reality, it is close and comes down to preference.

Soft golf balls are made of softer material, meaning they will land softer on the greens. This should make it easier to spin and control the ball as it lands softer.

Other people may say that a higher compression rating on hard balls allows you to control the ball more and control the spin.

Golf ball technology has come a long way since the introduction of golf. Manufacturers try new things daily to get the most performance out of their balls. The best thing you can do as a golfer is hit multiple balls from different brands and figure out which works best for you and your swing.

What are the Best Soft Golf Balls?

If you are looking to add some more to your golf bag, here are some of my favorite popular golf balls to try.

Callaway Supersoft

  • Perfect soft-feeling golf ball for average swing-speed golfers
  • It comes in 6 different colors
  • Boosted distance with a new hybrid outside cover
2021 Callaway Supersoft Golf Balls , White, (Pack of 12)
  • Supersoft has been one of the most popular golf balls for years, and we’ve combined incredible cover, core and flight technologies to make it even better.
  • The new Hybrid Cover features an innovative PARALOID Impact Modifier made by DOW Chemical. This multi-material construction allows for an incredible combination of fast ball speeds from high launch and low spin, soft feel, and excellent greenside control.
  • The High Speed Soft Compression Core maximizes energy transfer to increase ball speeds, while also promoting high launch and low spin in your longer clubs for more distance.
  • HEX Aerodynamics is optimized to reduce drag and enhance lift for increased carry and higher flight.

Taylormade Soft Response

  • One of the best softest golf balls on the market (3-piece)
  • Provides excellent spin on greenside shots
  • Great feel off the putter face
TaylorMade 2022 Soft Response Dozen
  • Shallower U-Shape dimples: Increases volume ratio
  • Seamleass 322 Dimple Pattern: Increases dimple coverage

Srixon Soft Feel

  • Great durability
  • One of the best budget-friendly soft golf balls available
  • Piercing ball flight off impact, which means further distance
Srixon Soft Feel 12, White
  • FastLayer Core - With a soft center that gradually transitions to a firm outer edge, the FastLayer Core gives SOFT FEEL incredible softness and great distance off the tee.
  • 338 Speed Dimple Pattern - To get more distance overall and better performance in the wind, Speed Dimples reduce drag at launch and increase lift during descent.
  • Soft, Thin Cover - Provides more greenside spin and softer feel on all pitches, chips and putts.
  • Included components: No

What are the Best Hard Golf Balls?

Mizuno RB Tour X

  • Hardest golf ball on the market, with a compression rating of 110
  • Excellent for swing speeds over 105 mph
  • It still provides a great spin on green-side shots
Sale
Mizuno RB Tour X Golf Balls, White
  • High energy 4 piece construction
  • C-Dimple for reduced drag
  • Urethane Cover: Ultra soft and responsive around the green
  • Mantle: High energy Ionomer
  • Dual Core: Graduated firmness Butadiene rubber

Titleist Pro V1X

  • One of the most commonly used expensive golf balls on the PGA Tour
  • 4-piece construction, which provides a spin on irons and wedges without compromising distance off the tee
  • Easily shape the ball
Titleist Pro V1x Golf Balls
  • Longer Distance with Consistent Flight
  • Low Long Game Spin and High Trajectory
  • Increased Drop-and-Stop Short Game Control
  • Softer Feel

Kirkland Signature

  • An excellent budget-friendly hard golf ball that can be purchased in bulk
  • Provides excellent spin-off irons and wedges, but booming distance off the tee
  • Cheaper to buy compared to other comparable balls
KIRKLAND SIGNATURE Three-Piece Urethane Cover Golf Ball v2.0, 1 Dozen, 12 Count, White
  • 3-piece Urethane Cover Golf Ball
  • Conforms with USGA and R&A Rules
  • high performance​ ​ball​ ​suitable​ ​for​ ​recreational​ ​and​ ​competitive​ ​play.
  • Item Package Weight: 10.0 pounds

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which types of golf balls is better for the average golfer?

The average golfer will succeed more using a softer golf ball than a hard one. Average golfers usually have swing speeds that are lower than 100 mph. Soft golf balls are made for slower swing speeds with a lower compression rating. This means you don’t have to swing as hard to compress the ball and make it fly far.

Which type of golf ball travels further?

Hard golf balls will travel further than soft golf balls as long as you have a fast enough swing speed. Hard golf balls are made for golfers with high swing speeds of 100+ mph. The harder ball, mixed with a faster swing, will allow the ball to launch off the club face and travel further. Hard golf balls will also roll further along the ground, adding more distance.

Which type of golf ball has less spin?

Hard golf balls will spin less than soft golf balls. Soft golf balls stop faster on the green than hard golf balls. Hard balls will roll further once hitting the ground.

Do professional golfers use hard or soft golf balls?

It all comes down to personal preference, but most professional golfers will lean towards using a harder golf ball in the 80 to 100 compression rating range. Professional golfers have very fast swing speeds, meaning they need a harder ball with a higher compression rating to maximize the distance fully. Hard golf balls can also be more easily controlled on approach shots and provide more spin, which professionals want around the green.

Which type of golf ball is better for golfers with a faster swing speed?

Faster swing speed golfers will find that hard golf balls work better for them. You can maximize distance on a harder ball and get the most spin out of them on approach shots. The ball may not travel as far in the air, but due to the harder core, it will roll further on the ground than a softball would.

Conclusion

As you can see above, there are many different factors that impact ball speed, spin rate, and distance. When comparing soft vs hard premium golf balls, these features impact how the ball will travel in the air.

Try out one of our top rated soft and hard balls today and find what works best for you.

If you have a favorite, comment down below and let me know what type golf ball you like to hit!

Ryan William
Ryan William

Ryan has been an avid golfer for over 25 years. Now an entrepreneur, Ryan spends his time keeping up with the latest golf trends and trying out the latest golf clubs, accessories, and training aids. Ryan has published over 1000 articles on various websites on the internet.

Last update on 2022-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

DISCOUNT GOLF CLUBS

Save on TaylorMade, Callaway & more!

2022 Golf Black Friday Deals

X