iron about to hit soft golf ball

Soft vs. Hard Golf Balls: What Golf Ball Should You Use?

You might be new to the sport or perhaps looking for gear to improve your game, either way, it won't be long until you're trying to decide if a hard or soft golf ball is what you need. Here at Stix, we like to keep things a bit more straightforward. If you’re struggling to tell the difference or curious about which type of ball you need in your bag, we’ve got your back. In this post, we’ll break down the differences between hard and soft golf balls, the benefits of both, and guide you through which ball to pick for your play style. Let’s dive in.

Differences Between Hard and Soft Golf Balls

The main differences between hard and soft golf balls are the feel and performance. Hard and soft golf balls tend to feel considerably different from one another when hit, with hard golf balls sometimes feeling like you’re hitting a rock rather than a ball if your swing speed is over 100 MPH. Average golfers typically prefer the feel (and performance) when hitting soft golf balls compared to hard ones.

As far as performance goes, soft golf balls are able to produce a higher degree of spin than hard golf balls, making shots easier to manipulate for skilled golfers. These golf balls also come to a stop much quicker on the green than hard golf balls, which tend to roll a bit once hitting the ground. Because of their structure, soft golf balls are easier to compress when hit, yielding a straighter shot. However, hard golf balls are better for players with fast swing speeds because they’re able to transfer that energy much more effectively than a soft golf ball can.

Hard vs. Soft Golf Balls at a Glance

Soft Golf Balls

  • Best for slower swing speeds
  • Higher degree of spin
  • Allows club to get better loft
  • Travels further in the air
  • Comes to a stop much quicker

Hard Golf Balls

  • Best for faster (100 MPH+) swing speeds
  • Travels shorter distance in air
  • Greater roll distance on landing

Choosing the Best Type Golf Ball for Your Game

When it comes to choosing the best type of golf ball for your game, consider your experience level–and, if you want to really dig deep, your swing speed. Keep in mind these features aren’t necessarily dependent on one another; a beginner might have a fast swing speed, while a professional golfer might have a slow swing speed. It’s all relative.

Best Golf Balls for New and Average Golfers

New players and average golfers tend to prefer soft golf balls for their amazing feel and superior performance. New players will enjoy soft golf balls with low spin rates because they reduce the odds of hooking or slicing shots and optimize distance. About 80 percent of golfers use soft golf balls, so if you’re a casual weekend golfer looking for the simplest solution to this question, a soft golf ball is the way to go.

Best Golf Balls for Fast Swing Golfers

If your club head swing speed is consistently over 100 MPH, a hard golf ball might be well worth a try. Softer golf balls tend to feel a bit spongey for players with fast swing speeds which is why they tend to reach for firmer feeling golf balls. A hard golf ball can properly harness the power of your swing speed to get that distance you’ve been looking for.

Best Golf Balls for Slow Swing Golfers

If you’ve been playing golf for a little while and are wondering if you’re playing with the right ball, double-check your swing speed. If you’re swinging under 100 MPH or even less than 90 MPH, a soft golf ball will be best for you. Soft golf balls will deliver the loft and distance you need along with the precision. When using a soft golf ball, you’ll start to see strokes dropping off your game and yardage increasing.

Calculating Swing Speed for the Right Golf Ball

The average golfer has a swing speed under 100 MPH, but if you are really curious there is a way to approximately calculate your swing speed on the course. Just divide your average drive by 2.3 to determine your clubhead speed. For example, your average drive is 220 yards. Divided by 2.3, that gives you a swing speed of about 95/96 MPH.

What Does Stix Recommend?

At Stix, we hold the radical opinion that golf should be fun and accessible for everyone. We also reject the idea that golf has to be complicated. That’s why we offer a soft golf ball that any player can use, regardless of skill level. Our Stix + Vice golf balls feel great and yield amazing results. Best of all, they’re affordable like all our golf gear.

Shop Stix + Vice Golf Balls


In general, soft golf balls tend to be the favorite of new and experienced players alike. Their amazing feel and performance make them a staple in virtually every golf bag on the green. Don’t overthink your golf ball choice–just pick up a set and have fun. Golf is all about simply enjoying the game, being outside, and spending time with buddies. That’s our philosophy, at least. That’s why we’ve made high-quality golf sets that are minimalistic without sacrificing performance.

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