So you're an absolute beginner to the game of golf. You'll need golf balls, and - because you'll probably be losing them quickly - a lot of them. But golf balls can get expensive. An absolute beginner can certainly start at the top by purchasing top-of-the-line balls - but why? The technology that makes those ball expensive will be lost on beginners. Most newbies will want something affordable and easily replaceable. So here are some suggestions for budget-conscious beginners.
1. Range BallsNo, we're not being snarky (not this time, at least). Every newbie should spend plenty of time at a driving range, shelling out a few bucks for bucket after bucket of balls. Practice is how you improve, natch. Going to a driving range and hitting range balls - whether chipping or hitting full shots - is one of the two most effective ways for any newbie to improve (the other is taking lessons, which will include hitting range balls).
X-Outs are golf balls produced by the big-name companies, but balls that suffered some sort of slip-up in production. Usually the slip-up is merely cosmetic, rather than a real problem with the ball. But exhibiting quality control, the companies don't release the balls under their brand names - instead, they stamp a row of X's over the brand and sell the balls at a steep discount. X-Outs can commonly be found with the sporting goods in major department stores.
3. Used BallsOK, so playing golf with used golf balls isn't very glamorous. But as a total newbie, your golf likely isn't very glamorous either. Used golf balls can be found at garage sales, at most on-course pro shops and at many online golf shops. You'll save a ton of money playing with used balls as you start out. Obviously, you'll want to stay away from used balls with any clear signs of defect (cuts in the cover, bulges, discoloration, etc.).
4. Refurbished BallsRefurbished balls are used balls that are in very good condition. Refurbished balls are often repackaged by resellers into attractive boxes complete with branding. They'll be more expensive than the used balls you might find when you check in at the golf course, but much less expensive than that brand's new price. Online retailers and online closeout retailers are good places to find refurbished balls.
5. Closeout BallsGo to just about any major online golf retailer website and you'll be able to find a link for closeouts. Click it and see what you find. Companies are always introducing new brands of golf balls; as they do, they often discontinue older brands. Those older, discontinued brands can be had on the cheap if you find them in a closeout bin.
6. Logo Overrun BallsAnother item common at online golf retailers, especially those focusing on golf balls. Companies often purchase custom orders of golf balls with their company logo stamped onto the ball. Logo overrun balls are such balls that the company has either returned or never took possession of. Often, they are top-of-the-line balls, almost always good, name-brand balls. Depending on brand, they can be more expensive than "value" balls, but always sell at a good discount to the same brand's new price.
7. Value Category Balls"Value" golf balls are those name brand balls that are marketed at the lower price points, usually sub-$20 per dozen. Dunlop, Top-Flite, Maxfli, Precept, Callaway, Titleist - in short, most of the major ball manufacturers - produce balls in the value category. These balls are generally built to minimize spin, maximize distance and resist wear and tear. For absolute beginners who don't want used, refurbished or x-outs, but want brand new, name-brand balls, value balls are the ones to choose.