Sometimes, golf gets a bad rap. That’s because its rules are so darn complex and hard to understand for the typical golfer that just wants to get outside and have some fun. I have my own thoughts about how the rules could be simplified and have proudly shared them with the USGA. So far, I’ve yet to get any response. . . They must think I’m underqualified to offer such opinions and advice. And they’re probably right.
But that’s a conversation for another time and I’m willing to have it with anyone that’s willing to listen. So far, I haven’t had any takers.
In that light, let’s talk about illegal golf balls. We recently published an article about the best illegal drivers and it gained a lot of traction with folks that want to enjoy the game, in spite of what the “rules” say you can and can’t use for equipment.
Let’s have a closer look at some really cool golf balls you can’t use in tournaments but sure make the game a lot of fun to play.
Best Illegal Golf Balls
Bandit Maximum Distance Golf Balls
Maybe the greatest thing about this ball is the package it comes in. Designed like an Old West “Wanted” poster, this packaging doesn’t hold anything back. It claims to be the “World’s Longest Ball” and offers a “Reward” of “Illegally Long Distance”. Pretty clever stuff if you ask me.
Aside from catchy labeling on the package, the Bandit’s dimple pattern produces exceptionally little spin which affords unparalleled distance.
The cover is made from DuPont Lithium Surlyn and is especially hard. Not only does this help with distance, it makes the ball exceptionally durable.
Having long been a popular choice for Long Drive Professionals, you can’t go wrong with the Bandit Maximum Distance ball if you’re looking for some extra yards.
MG Senior Golf Balls
As we get older, we lose distance. It’s an unfortunate fact of life for aging golfers. The good news is that thanks to modern technology, the distance decline has been slowed.
While clubs have played a large part in bridging the distance gap, so has the golf ball. And for seniors that don’t plan on playing any tournaments and just want to have fun, there’s no better choice than the MG Senior Golf Ball.
MG claims that the dimple pattern of their senior ball is one of the best on the market for increasing distance. That seems to be consistent with what our senior readers have said as well.
Even though this ball doesn’t spin a whole lot, it still has a decent feel on and around the greens.
The perfect economical option for seniors with slower swing speeds, you might just want to see what the MG Senior ball can do for you.
Volvik Magma Golf Balls
Volvik Magma golf balls are larger than conforming golf balls. The thought is that this design feature not only makes them easier to see, but to make solid contact with too.
The dimple pattern on this ball is designed to produce higher shots than other balls. This is a distinct advantage for players that don’t swing the club as fast or have trouble getting the ball in the air.
Like other Volvik golf balls, the Magma is available in a wide variety of bright colors. You won’t have any problem telling your ball apart from others.
Bandit SB Golf Balls
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Bandit occupies a couple of spots on our list of the best illegal golf balls. They’re some of the most trusted on the market.
Unlike the Volvik Magma ball mentioned above, the SB is smaller than the standard golf ball. Not only does this ball’s size make it easier to get in the hole, it also helps it fly a heck of a lot farther.
The 338-dimple design also reduces sidespin. Hooks and slices are mitigated.
For golfers looking for the best of both worlds – straighter shots and more distance – the SB golf ball from Bandit is sure to deliver.
Polara Ultimate Straight Self-Correcting Golf Balls
When I first heard about Polara’s self-correcting golf balls, I thought it had to be some kind of a joke.
But after doing some of my own research and talking with a number of our readers, I realized they’re the real deal.
The company claims that these balls reduce hooks and slices but up to 75%. The science behind the ball’s design really does work. An arrow helps you line the ball at your target. The dimple pattern along this arrow through the center of the ball is quite shallow. On the ball’s perimeter, the dimples are substantially deeper. Effectively, Polara has created a true balance point in this ball.
While golfers report a minimal loss of distance off the tee, the accuracy they gain with the Polara Self-Correcting ball is unfathomed.
What Makes a Golf Ball Illegal?
The most common reason golf balls end up on Santa’s Naughty List are because they go too far.
In an effort to “protect the integrity of the game”, the USGA limits how far golf balls can go. This is determined through extensive research and testing. We could get into all the minutia, but let’s leave it at that for now.
Other reasons golf balls are deemed illegal have to do with their size or dimple patterns which can affect flight and distance.
Should I Give Illegal Golf Balls a Shot?
I say go for it! As long as you don’t plan on playing any tournaments, why not experiment with some alternatives that might make the game more fun and easier to play?
On the contrary, if you take your golf seriously, keep a handicap, and play competitively at your club, playing with an illegal ball is a sure way to be labeled a cheat and therefore ostracized at best, and exiled at worst. Proceed with caution if this sounds like you.
Does Dimple Pattern Really Make a Difference?
You wouldn’t think so, but the answer is a resounding yes. Dimple patterns dramatically affect a golf ball’s aerodynamics.
Although manufacturers are still trying to figure out which dimple patterns perform the best, there are some designs that clearly fly a lot farther than others.
Many illegal golf balls have dimple patterns that are drastically different than their legal counterparts.
Will Illegal Golf Balls Help My Short Game?
On the whole, the answer is probably not. Most illegal golf balls are designed with maximum distance in mind. For that reason, they tend to spin a lot less and can feel exceptionally hard on short shots where deft touch is required to get the ball close.
If you’re looking to shoot lower scores and spin those wedges in nice and tight, illegal golf balls might not be your best bet. But if you want to smoke it past your buddies and don’t care what the rules say, they can make a noticeable difference.
I know I went on a little bit of a rant in the opening about how asinine and convoluted the rules of golf are in comparison to other sports. I will give the USGA and R&A a little credit in trying to simplify the rules so they’re easier to understand and pace of play improves. With that said, there’s still plenty of work that needs to be done.
But you don’t have to play by all these silly rules to enjoy the game. Illegal golf balls are just one way to enhance your experience. As a general rule of thumb, these balls fly farther and straighter than balls that are “legal”. That sounds like a recipe for fun and success to me.
For now, I’ll be going door-to-door collecting signatures for my latest petition to the USGA about what I think they should be doing. They HAVE to listen to me this time. Anyone going to join me?