Cheap Vs Expensive Golf Balls Test

In this Cheap Vs Expensive Golf Balls Test, Neil Tappin puts the Kirkland Signature 2.0 up against the Callaway Chrome Soft X 2022

Cheap Vs Expensive Golf Balls Test
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Cheap Vs Expensive Golf Balls Test

When it comes to choosing a golf ball many players understand the benefit of urethane-covered options. Offering the spin in the short game that provides control while also allowing the manufacturers to design the core of the ball to help maximise distance, urethane-covered options are always very popular. In this video and article we tested models from either end of the price-spectrum to see how the performance differs.

If you are looking for a urethane-covered ball you can either go for one of the best premium golf balls on the market, such as the Callaway Chrome Soft X. These options will cost around $50/£50 per dozen. Alternatively, you can opt for one of the best mid price golf balls but these will still set you back around £30 per dozen. If you don’t want to stretch that you far, then Costco have the Kirkland Signature 2.0 golf ball at just over $1.50/£1 per ball. It also has a urethane cover - but how does it compare?

We wanted to find out so we tested it up against the Callaway Chrome Soft X on a SkyTrak launch monitor and on the golf course at the London Club. Take a look at the video that comes with this article if you’d like to see how they both performed in a series of on course challenges. In this article, we are going to focus on the launch monitor data. 

We hit a series of 50-yard pitch shots with both balls, then we hit some 7-iron shots and we finished off with the driver. The data chart below shows the averages for the 50-yard shot with both golf balls.

50 yard pitch wedge data

(Image credit: Future)

As you can see the Callaway spun more - just over 1500 rpm - than the Kirkland 2.0 from 50-yards. However, this spin number from the Kirkland is still very good. During our on course testing this was particularly impressive. Even from very close range, it was clear to see how much spin the Kirkland was offering and when you couple that with the soft feel off the putter face, we thought the short game performance was up there with some of the best options on the market. By contrast the Callaway felt a little firmer off the putter face but the spin control was superb.

7 iron data cheap v expensive golf balls

(Image credit: Future)

With the 7-iron, you'll notice a difference in ball speed (and spin) that translated into a jump in distance from the Callaway. At this point it is important to say, the reason we chose the Callaway Chrome Soft X was because, when we reviewed it, we were very impressed by its performance at both ends of the bag. Indeed, if you opt for one of the best golf balls on the market, you are likely to have the choice of a few models to suit your game. For me, it was the X version within Callaway’s latest premium balls that worked best. If you go for a budget urethane option, like the Kirkland Signature 2.0, you are likely to have just the one option.

driver data cheap v expensive golf balls

(Image credit: Future)

The big difference in performance, both in our launch monitor testing and on the course, was noticeable from the tee. The Callaway Chrome Soft X is particularly impressive in this department. Again, there was a jump in ball speed and with a higher launch angle and less spin than the Kirkland, we saw a not-insignificant gain in distance from the more expensive option.

Cheap v expensive ball testing

(Image credit: Future)

For most regular golfers, the price of a ball is a very important factor. The good news is that if you opt for something like the Kirkland Signature 2.0, you will get some hugely impressive performance. But for us, at a driver clubhead speed of around 112 mph, you can start to see what we were giving up on in the long game. Indeed, with some of the best premium golf balls, it is the ability to separate long game and short game performance that seems to be the main benefit. 

Neil Tappin
Digital Editor

In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."


Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. In his time at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X