Are All Golf Balls Made In The Same Factory?
The short answer is that no, not all golf balls are made in the same factory!
They all look the same so they probably all come out of the same golf ball plant in China, right? Wrong!
Many of the top golf ball brands are still made in the United States. The direct-to-consumer brands are generally made in Asia though.
Let’s find out where those little white pills are made and how they differ before they end up in the lake or woods at your local club!
Is The Golf Ball Important?
To many of you, the golf ball is probably not that important. You might just play with any ball you come across on the golf course or you might just buy the cheapest you can find.
Well, that’s probably a mistake. Even if you’re a casual golfer, the golf ball you choose could make a difference to your game. Play with one that’s too spinny and you might hook or slice more than you need. You might lose distance too!
Should you have an ionomer or urethane cover? How many dimples should it have? Do I need hexagonal dimples?
Every company produces balls designed for different types of golfers based on their swing speed, spin and feel.
Better players will gravitate to premium balls that allow them to shape the ball and spin it on the greens. Less accomplished golfers look for low compression balls to play golf with. Different balls will be engineered with different dimple patterns and depths to alter ball flight.
Different materials will be used in the core to affect ball speed and feel.
Where Are Golf Balls Manufactured?
The biggest names in golf balls are Titleist, Callaway, TaylorMade, Bridgestone and Srixon who account for about 60% of the global ball market. The US alone makes up around 40% of golf ball sales annually.
A wide range of sources suggests that a whopping 1.2 billion golf balls are produced every year. For the 2021 financial year, Titleist Ball Sales were around $670 million! Let’s break down where the various ball companies produce their goodies.
Titleist is the colossus of the golf ball market and rightly first on our list. It is the most popular ball on the PGA Tour and that translates into retail sales. The “Number 1 Ball In Golf” has been made in New Bedford, Massachusetts since Phil Young got fed up with misbehaving balls and set out to produce something better back in the 1930s. A subsidiary of Acushnet the whole company is now part of Fortune Brands.
Titleist golf balls are designed and produced in three separate plants in Massachusetts. The Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls are among the best in the game. You can even take a tour of their production facility to experience first-hand how golf balls are made although you might have to make do with a virtual tour.
After some heavy investment Callaway has managed to grab 20% of the lucrative golf ball pie. While many will know of their Carlsbad headquarters not so many will know where the golf balls are put together.
Callaway acquired a ball plant in Chicopee, Massachusetts when they brought it and a whole lot more after Spalding/Top-Flite was declared bankrupt and a total of nearly $160 million was paid in 2003. During their quality control process balls are x-rayed to check for defects.
Interestingly Callaway did a sale and lease back deal on the site.
TaylorMade has managed to make significant inroads into the golf ball business over the past few years. They are another company that still makes their golf balls in the United States. A new factory was built in Liberty, South Carolina in 2013. This was about 28 miles east of its previous plant.
“Our R&D team’s innovation, the passion of our South Carolina workforce, and the increased adoption by the world’s best players have improved considerably our stance in the golf ball classification,” said TaylorMade Executive Vice President John Kawaja. “As a result of our success, we needed a new ball plant to enhance our industrial packaging, reliability, and margin position.”
Bridgestone is a Japanese company that has been producing golf balls since the 1930s. Their US subsidiary produces their high-end balls at a facility in Covington, Georgia. Bridgestone is probably more famous as a tire producer.
Srixon, a Japanese company, has many talented individuals on tour using its premium Z-Star and Z-Star XV models, including 2021 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama and 2019 Open Champion Shane Lowry. However, the brand also provides a wide selection of some of the best golf balls on the market, to suit all standards of golfer. The ever-popular AD333 model has been a top seller for nearly 20 years and the Soft Feel is another perennial favorite.
The company has ball facilities in Japan and Indonesia.
Do Direct-To-Consumer Brands Have Their Own Factories?
Over the past few years, a number of golf ball companies have sprung up that are trying a new way of doing business. The direct-to-consumer model means they cut out the retail channel entirely and also avoid endorsement contracts and massive marketing budgets. The resulting cost savings are passed on their customers.
This was due in part at least to a number of patents lapsing and entering the public domain.
Vice Golf’s mission, like that of other upstarts in its space, is to produce premium golf balls, sell them directly to consumers, and save golfers money in the process by eliminating the middlemen. Their balls are designed in Germany and manufactured at a plant in Taiwan. It appears they use the Foremost factory which has also produced balls for Wilson, Dunlop and Disk’s Sporting Goods.
Dean Snell became one of the industry’s most knowledgeable golf ball developers during stints at Titleist and TaylorMade (after starting his career in the aerospace industry for BF Goodrich). He launched his own company in 2015 and now his balls have a reputation for excellent quality at a substantial discount to the big boys.
Nassua of South Korea manufactures the balls for Snell. This plant has also produced the Kirkland Signature and used to manufacture some of the older TaylorMade tour balls.
This company is based in Carlow, Ireland although they use a production plant in Taiwan to manufacture balls to their own design.
The Sugar Golf range of balls is manufactured by Launch Technologies in Taiwan.
Appears to be another ball made in at Foremost in Taiwan
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]
Who Makes Kirkland Golf Balls?
Kirkland is one of Costco’s in-house brands. The balls are manufactured by Qingdao SM Parker, a Chinese conglomerate.
Are Golf Balls Manufactured in China?
Yes, some golf balls are manufactured in China. However, plenty are made in the USA as well as a number of other countries such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia.
Where Are Callaway Golf Balls Made?
Callaway has a ball plant in Chicopee, Massachusetts. The Chrome Soft, a popular golf ball on the PGA Tour is among the balls produced there.
Where Are Pro V1 Golf Balls Produced?
The Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls are produced in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Are All Golf Balls Made In The Same Factory: Conclusion
Nope, all the golf balls aren’t manufactured in the same factory. They are made in several countries around the world. Some produce better results than others though! Golf balls is one product where American manufacturing still seems to be doing well.