Best Illegal Golf Balls
Illegal golf balls are those deemed to give any player an unfair advantage. Golf has strict criteria that ball manufacturers must adhere to. The criteria cover issues such as size, weight, distance and dimple pattern. They mean that balls should be at least 1.68 inches in diameter with no upper limit while they cannot weigh more than 1.62 ounces or 45.93 grams. Neither can golf balls travel too far during controlled testing. There are no rules governing dimples size or shape, so it is up to a manufacturer’s discretion on how many they want per ball. The pattern of the dimples must remain symmetrical.
The best illegal golf balls are going to give you either a distance advantage or a ball flight advantage over legal golf balls that do conform to the rules of golf.
What Are Illegal Golf Balls?
Illegal golf balls are, on a very basic level, those golf balls that fail to stay within the rules. This means they are known as non-conforming golf balls.
This raises the following questions. What are illegal golf balls capable of, what can they do and how do they give golfers an unfair advantage?
Certain golf balls are constructed in a way that makes them ‘hot’ off the clubface. This means they are longer off the tee than the legal limit and so can provide golfers with an advantage.
For some golf balls, the core allows for exceptional balance which in turn means wayward shots such as hooks and slices are negated. A straight or self-correcting golf ball is a huge benefit, especially to amateurs. This is often achieved by manipulating the dimple pattern on the cover of the golf ball.
Smaller than normal diameters when coupled with an aerodynamic design can also help players hit the ball further.
Regular golf balls probably won’t seem as much fun if you start to use illegal golf balls. The game of golf should be a lot easier for you if you swap from conforming golf balls to a ball that has been deemed illegal. Whether it’s straightening out your ball flight or giving you an extra 20 yards you may find them difficult to give up once you start using them.
Benefits of Illegal Golf Balls
There’s one very obvious benefit of illegal golf balls…FUN! Yes, golf has rules and regulations and yes, you can’t use these balls in tournament play and yes, it would be wrong and immoral to use them even against your friends to win your weekly friendly fourball. But imagine stepping up to the tee and piping one right down the middle far past your playing partners. It’s worth it just to see the looks on their faces.
Another reason besides fun, is playing a course in a different way than you’re used to. If the ball is going 15-20 yards longer than normal, then it means the next shot will likely be at least 2-3 clubs less than normal. Playing a course in this way helps to sharpen the mind and consider the game in a different light.
Bandit golf balls are among the longest illegal golf balls on the market. You really have to ask yourself why you play golf. If you really want to improve and get your handicap down then you should forget about this list of the best illegal balls but if you play just for fun then one of these may be the best choice for you.
Downsides of Illegal Golf Balls
The obvious downside to illegal golf balls is, well, they’re ILLEGAL! This means no using them in competition or for handicaps which will severely reduce the amount of potential playing time with them if you like maintaining a handicap or playing in competitions.
There is also the perception of having an illegal ball in the bag. Even if not using it, others may be wary about your integrity and question whether you might be trying to gain an unfair advantage over them.
A final reason is price. Golf isn’t cheap and splashing out even more money, whether that be $20, $30, $40 on a dozen balls, is difficult to justify, especially when they can only be used sparingly and as little more than a gag.
If you’re a senior golfer that wants to stay within the rules then here are some great ball choices for seniors.
Best Illegal Golf Balls
Polara Ultimate Straight Self-Correcting
There are no prizes for guessing what Polara Ultimate Straight Self-Correcting balls do. They are designed for players who struggle with slices and hooks and want to get more enjoyment out of the game. The ball’s 2-piece construction lends itself to less aerodynamic lift and thus will spin less in the air and provides a lower ball flight, something beneficial in windier conditions.
Polara Golf is so confident with its creation that they say it is 75% self-correcting. In other words, it will turn someone’s 40-yard slice into a 10-yard slice. To use it properly though, the line on the ball must be aligned with the target for every shot.
MG Senior Golf
These balls are perfect for seniors looking to roll back the clock and hit the ball as far as they once used to. The MG Senior Golf Balls fail to conform in only one aspect of their performance, initial velocity. But that’s enough to add 15-20 yards to a slower swinger’s game. The company also offers free personalization, a nice added bonus.
Using an MG golf ball will add extra distance off the tee and with your other clubs too! Even if you can only use these types of balls during friendly games wouldn’t it be nice to read again some of your lost yardage and become one of the longer hitters in your group again!
The Bandit SB golf ball is a smaller-than-normal ball with a 1.65-inch diameter versus the minimum legal minimum limit of 1.68 inches. This reduces drag and air resistance resulting in extended flight time and increased distance. The expected result is an additional 7%-10% distance per shot. In other words, a shot hit 250 yards with a traditional golf ball will go 275 yards with a Bandit SB!
The fact that the ball is smaller makes it easier to hole putts too. Many of the putts that have lipped out in the past now have a much better chance of dropping.
If you’re looking record-breaking performance then the Bandit maximum distance golf ball is definitely worth a try as well if you can find them in stock. They featured in the Guinness Book of Records several times!
Volvik Magma golf balls have a bit of everything going for them. A dual-core for explosive distance, a smaller diameter that minimizes aerodynamic drag and high trajectory dimples that create higher launch and longer distance. The ball combines the best parts of various illegal balls, making it a very sought-after choice for those looking to have some fun.
It should get you some extra yards when compared with a normal distance ball.
Volvik golf are a little unusual in this list since the majority of their golfball do appear on the conforming list produced by the USGA. Other than the magma you could use their products at any golf club.
The SaintNine X balls are smaller, heavier balls similar to old-fashioned golf balls but with New Age technology backing them up. Longer shots and easier putting are just two of the advantages. Each ball comes with an animal known as a ‘Mental Mate’ printed on them, including a Rhino, Eagle, Elephant and Crocodile. It’s just another quirk about this golf ball that makes it so cool.
When launched, the Kiwami Premium became the first non-conforming ball to have a urethane cover as well as a promise that it can go 30 yards further than a standard golf ball. These non-conforming Hi COR golf balls are a little on the steep side being priced at around $42.
Best Illegal Golf Balls: Conclusion
So there you have it, if you’re prepared to play with a ball that’s not on the conforming list there are several options for you to consider whether you’re looking for more distance or straighter ball flight. Give them a try to see if they perform the way you’d like.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]
Are Nitro golf balls illegal?
Not all Nitro golf balls are illegal. The best-known example of a non-conforming Nitro ball is the LD+20.
Are colored golf balls illegal?
No, golf ball manufacturers are free to colour their golf balls any way they want and they can be used in tournaments.
Do smaller golf balls go further?
Smaller golf balls can result in reduced drag and air resistance, thus increasing flight time and distance.
What Are The Worst Golf Balls?
This is a bit of a subjective question as the worst ball for a scratch player might be great for a 28-handicapper.
I think most people would probably rank most Top-Flites as among the worst balls, in terms of feel anyway.