I have a friend that is color blind and the only golf balls he’ll use are yellow golf balls. Particularly the Volvik yellow golf balls. This begs the question, are yellow golf balls easier to see, or does it just apply to certain people?
Golf balls come in a variety of colors, but the traditional color is white. Wilson first introduced yellow and orange golf balls in 1923. But they didn’t sell well at all. It didn’t help that Wilson priced them extremely high, but nonetheless, colored golf balls have been around for a long time.
So back to my friend. While he is color blind, he can still see color, it’s just typically the wrong color. Stoplights don’t look red, yellow, and green to him. I asked him about the yellow golf balls he prefers, and while he knows they are yellow, they don’t appear yellow to him. But they do stand out on the green grass better than white balls. This works to my benefit because whenever we’re out golfing and he finds white golf balls, I’m the benefactor of them. Likewise, if I come across any yellow (or orange) balls I toss them his way.
The stigma of yellow golf balls is, they are for novice or amateur players. And a real tour pro wouldn’t use anything other than a white golf ball. And for the most part, this is true. In 2017 Bubba Watson used a pink ball, and it shook up the golf community a bit. According to USGA rules as long as the ball conforms, a tour pro can use golf balls that aren’t white. In fact, behind white, pink-colored balls are the most popular.
Now that the history is out of the way, let’s talk about visibility and using yellow golf balls.
Visibility of Yellow Golf Balls
Unless you’re a tour pro, yellow golf balls are going to be easier to see. I have read studies that say yellow golf balls are three times easier to see and at a distance of 250 yards, they are spotted more frequently compared to a white golf ball. Keep in mind, not everyone sees the same, has the same eye strength, and typically the older we get the weaker our vision.
I get the feeling if tour pros didn’t have caddies, the crowd, tv cameras, and a host of other people watching their ball, they too would use a color other than white. For instance, imagine a tour pro walking around looking for his ball as the rest of us do. According to the rules, you get three minutes to look for your ball. Not a big deadline when you have officials pointing out your ball to you. If it really came down to it, they would use whatever ball is easiest to spot.
Srixon, a reputable golf ball manufacturer has stated, “yellow is the most visible color in the visual spectrum.” I’m thinking if Srixon states this, then the research has been done.
If you’re an older player, it’s highly likely that switching to a yellow golf ball will be to your advantage. It will be easier to track against the sky, easier to see from a distance, and might even prevent you from losing some balls.
Are Orange or Yellow Golf Balls Easier to See
I think this will differ from person to person. I also think the time of day and the conditions will determine which ball is better. For a brighter day that has high cloud coverage, I think orange is actually easier to see. If there are yellow fall leaves on the ground, an orange ball would be easier to see. This also works for dry grass that might have a bit of yellow in it. But when it comes to a clear sunny day, yellow is going to be easier to see than any other color.
Which Yellow Golf Ball is Best
So, now that you know having a few yellow golf balls in your bag could be to your advantage which yellow ball is best. Three come to mind.
1) Volvik Vivid Matte Finish
My colorblind friend claims the matte finish on these Volvik golf balls sticks out the best for him. And when I’m playing with him, I would have to agree, they are easy to spot. The glossy finish you find on most golf balls looks nice, but when it comes to spotting your ball in the grass, something about this matte finish makes them pop out.
2) Srixon Q Star Tour
One of Golf Digest’s hottest balls of 2021 is the Srixon Q Star. Players really like the softness of this Srixon. Plus you get the added bonus of being able to find your ball. This makes Srixon number two on my list of yellow golf balls that are easier to see.
3) Titleist Pro V1X
It’s no surprise that arguably one of the best, if not the best golf ball manufacturer has a yellow version. It really was between Vice and these Pro V1X balls. If you’re a Vice golfer, I could easily be swayed. But I decided on the Titleist.
Performance of Yellow Golf Balls
So I find this interesting. The color of your golf ball doesn’t have any technical performance improvements. But as we all know golf is a very psychological game. From a psychological stance, yellow is the color of confidence and optimism. I for one could use all the confidence in the world on the course. After shanking a shot, it can be difficult to shake it off. Pros are said to have a very short-term memory when it comes to golf. Because one bad shot could shake your confidence and low confidence can be a killer.
If you need a yellow golf ball to keep your confidence up, I say swing away and get them.
Another small item about using a yellow ball is that most golfers still use a white ball. It’s not uncommon for your ball to get confused with a fellow player in your group or another golfer who hit into your fairway. If you’re using a yellow or orange ball, it’s less likely to get used or taken by another golfer.
Conclusion of Yellow Golf Balls
Yellow golf balls or colored golf balls for that matter are becoming more mainstream. If you’re concerned with looking like a tour pro that only uses white golf balls, by all means, stick to the white golf balls. From a practical standpoint, if you’re looking to find your ball in the rough a bit quicker so you’re not holding up the game, a few yellow golf balls in your bag might benefit you. The next time you are out, just try alternating between white and yellow and see if yellow golf balls are easier to see.