Even though golf has gone a long way from being a rich man only sport, it can still be an expensive hobby. Between golf club sets worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars, the price rates of golf club memberships, and rentals of golf courses there’s still the heart of the game which we can’t forget: golf balls. In this Kirkland golf balls review, we break down everything you need to know about this Costco branded golf ball:
- Who makes Kirkland golf balls?
- How do these golf balls compare to options from Titleist, Callaway, and other top brands?
- What is the difference between 3-piece and 4-piece golf ball versions?
- How do you buy Kirkland golf balls today?
Golf balls are the least expensive part of the required equipment to play golf, however they are the highest importance. You could own the best golf club, however, using it to hit a “cheap” low-quality ball can render it virtually useless!
Also, you’ll be needing a lot more than just a couple of balls since golf players are bound to lose quite a few on the course, particularly beginner golfers. All of which adds up to some hefty cash spent on golf balls.
So when Costco dropped their own take on golf balls, namely the signature Kirkland Golf Balls, the significant affordability took the golf ball market by storm. From beginners to avid golfers people were all over them.
Today, we’ll put Kirkland Signature golf balls in the spotlight and take a closer look. Let’s hop in!
Who Makes Kirkland Golf Balls?
Kirkland golf balls are currently manufactured by Qingdao SM Park, who specializes in making golf equipment. Qingdao licenses their product to Costco, who sells the golf balls under their in-house Kirkland brand new. Kirkland golf balls are Qingdao’s most popular product.
A lot of people incorrectly think that Titleist manufactures Kirkland golf balls because of the similarities in the products. While the two balls do have similar features, Titleist has no part in the manufacturing of Kirkland golf balls.
What about Kirkland Golf Clubs?
Kirkland golf clubs are not manufactured by Qingdao SM Parker. Those are manufactured by the Southern California Design company. Again, SCDC licenses the product to Costco, who sell those golf clubs under the Kirkland brand name.
WHAT ARE THE BEST KIRKLAND GOLF BALLS?
There are 2 varieties of Kirkland Golf Balls that you can find out on the market as of this date. These include the legacy 4-piece Kirkland Signature Golf Ball and the current 3-piece Kirkland Signature Golf Ball.
Kirkland Signature 3-Piece Golf Ball
Best Choice for Most
The currently available version of Kirkland Signature Golf Balls is the 3-Piece Performance Plus ball. It was originally intended as a sort of comeback after some legal issues between Costco vs Acushnet. However, the ball was a hit as well and so it stuck around and made Costco forget the disaster with the 4-Piece ball. This time around, the design was directed at the average golf player looking for a decent spin on the course.
The high-performance ball is marketed as suitable for both recreational and competitive play, thanks to its dependable construction.
While many loyal golfers who swore by the incredible quality of the 4-piece ball received Costco’s reiteration with positive feedback, there were others who weren’t very welcoming due to the fact that the 3-piece golf balls were missing “something”. However, let’s not forget these balls have an exceptional price point compared to any other.
They offer medium spin capabilities, falling a bit short behind the Tour ball qualities. However, they provide a superb responsive putting feel along with impressive control around the greens owing to the durable yet soft polyurethane cover. And the mantle works with the cover to enhance the spin for iron and wedge shots.
The core is engineered with highly elastic soft rubber that allows for speed, while the cover bears a 338-dimple pattern delivering a penetrating and stable ball curve.
If you’re a mid or high handicap player trying to find a golf ball to improve your shot accuracy from off the tee, as well as help you gain control on course, the Kirkland 3-Piece Performance Plus would be a perfect fit.
The affordability is another appealing aspect of these balls, taking value for money to a whole new level. Moreover, they were manufactured in conformation will USGA and R&A rules.
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Kirkland Signature 4-Piece Golf Ball
Best Choice for Collector’s & Fans
Officially the Kirkland 4-piece golf ball is not being manufactured anymore. Supply has been getting low since 2019, so price has moved up and this is more of a collector’s item and for people who really dread changing their golf balls. 4-Piece Kirkland Golf Ball was the first to be made available for purchase, clearing off the shelves in record time.
Built to closely mimic a Tour golf ball (the Titleist Pro V1 to be a little more specific), the 4-piece Kirkland Signature golf ball generates a high spin which amounts to a top-class performance.
The 4-piece is meant for more advanced players looking for excellent feel and control on the green. When it came out, it was extensively compared to the wonderful performance of the Titleist Pro V1, which says a lot about the kind of quality you’re getting at a much more affordable price.
Titleist’s parent company sued Kirkland for knocking off their golf ball, which led to it being removed from the shelves. Kirkland has switched up manufacuters in order to try to revive the ball, but the quality is simply not the same. Between the Kirkland 3-piece vs 4-piece golf balls, most people will not notice the difference.
If you do get your hands on the Kirkland 4-piece ball, you have some good quality hardware.
These balls offer a good distance boost for your shot. They’re an ideal choice for low handicappers looking for this sort of efficiency without spending loads of money. The 4-piece Kirkland Signature carries a 360-degree dimple design on a urethane cover wrap. It’s both durable and soft so you won’t have to sacrifice distance for “feel” again.
The outer core is specially engineered with the goal of maximizing energy transfer upon impact to serve both golfers with high club head speed, but particularly for players with low swing speeds.
How Are Kirkland Golf Balls Made?
The construction of a golf ball is crucial when it comes to its performance on the golf course. The materials used should be of impeccable quality and the process of manufacturing and assembling must follow strict standards and rules in order to ensure the integrity and legality of the ball. You don’t want to play with a ball that is not USGA approved.
Generally, golf balls are divided into categories depending on how the ball is built, or more specifically, the number of layers it consists of. Golf balls can have a solid one-piece construction, however, these are usually only intended as toys and for mini-golf courses. They’re nowhere close to being considered a type of ball you can use on a real golf course.
Schematic view of sliced golf ball layers isolated with clipping path
A huge step up from one-piece golf balls are two-piece constructions which are essentially a solid rubber-like core wrapped in a synthetic rubber layer (such as polybutadiene), providing a better distance outcome compared to other types. This holds true even against more advanced 3, 4, and 5 piece golf ball designs, which trade some of the distance in favor of control as well as spin.
That being said, the star of the show today is the Kirkland Golf Ball design comprised of 3 layers: the core, mantle, and cover. Such a build is ideal for players seeking improved feel and control over their hit range, while not trading away too much of the distance.
Let’s take apart the Kirkland Signature Golf Ball to find out what made it so popular and undeniably in-demand.
If you’re a high handicapper or a starting amateur struggling with slow swing velocity, you’ll particularly appreciate how the core of the Kirkland ball is made. It is a soft structure that comes slightly oversize. Both qualities aid in increasing the speed of the ball as it flies away from your golf club.
The large size of the core ensures all the energy resulting from the impact of the golf club reaches the ball without getting lost, while the softness guarantees maximum compression. The core is also highly elastic to boost the distance traveled by the ball.
Have you ever felt like you’re hitting a rock rather than a ball while practicing your shots? Well, that’s a common problem among many golfers and Kirkland Signature definitely noticed that. They offered a great solution in the form of a mantle that is tightly connected to the soft cover generating additional spin. This is particularly noticeable on iron and wedge shots.
This optimum spin action is generated once the golf club hits the ball. This significantly prevents the ball from taking off in a straight line up in the air.
The exterior layer of the Kirkland Golf Ball is designed to deliver long-lasting performance. It consists of durable synthetic rubber, polyurethane in this case, which boosts control on the green, as well as spin.
The overall design gives an enjoyable experience, with outstanding playability that lives up to elite brand golf balls such as the renowned Titleist Pro V1. Do you notice a pattern? This is exactly the ball that Titleist accused them of copying.
As for the original 4-piece Kirkland Golf Ball design, there’s an extra speed-boosting outer core that worked for maximizing impact energy transfer. However, this is only available as pretty expensive leftover stock items, more like a collector’s item.
How Do Kirkland Golf Balls Perform?
Now that we’ve put the Kirkland Signature golf balls under the microscope, let’s take a look at how they perform regarding different aspects of the game.
The distance of the drive is one of the most critical features to consider when choosing your favorite golf balls.
Such a quality is nothing to worry about with Kirkland Golf Balls thanks to their sizable core which retains more of the energy from the golf club impact than other golf balls and translates it into as far a distance as possible. This is particularly handy for amateurs stuck with a slow swing speed to boost distance without compromising on the control.
That doesn’t necessarily mean professionals can’t enjoy these balls. After all, the Kirkland balls are meant to be high-performance balls.
Another factor that can make or break your shot is golf ball spin. How the ball behaves while suspended in the air can very well be the difference between a brilliant show stopper shot and sending a search team into the woods.
Costco understands this, focusing the structuring process in a way that lets you deliver a professional-grade spin under outstanding control without sacrificing the distance, which is sadly how most golf balls of high-end brands typically resolve the “spin vs distance” trade-off issue.
Levels Of Experience
There’s no doubt that Costco designed their original set of balls to target the market of professional (or at least advanced) golfers who are seeking a way to pursue their passion without breaking the bank. It was well-intended, but many of the newer players, who wanted to try out these golf balls that everyone seemed to be talking about, found that the balls required a certain time of practice to master its technologies.
Of course, this dilemma concerned the Kirkland Signature 4-piece Golf balls, so when the 3-Piece version came out a couple of years later, the matter was already taken into consideration with a less “overwhelming” design that suits both amateurs and veterans.
Originally, durability was definitely the only “real” drawback when it came to the construction. It wasn’t necessarily poor or anything, it just wasn’t quite on the same level as some other famous brands were. Again, talking about the 4-piece golf balls, the shell is made of urethane rubber which is rather smooth or maybe too smooth. This meant you end up noticing scrapes, scratches, or perhaps a tiny crack after a couple of rounds of play. Given the bargain price, golfers didn’t really mind.
However, Costco upgraded the materials that went into engineering the outer cover, utilizing stronger more robust polyurethane rubber for enhanced durability in the 3-piece design.
Value For Money
This is THE point of absolute merit in favor of the Kirkland Signature Golf Balls. They simply offer the best value for money deals we could find out there.
The only comparable quality to price ration can be found in Vice golf balls.
Should You Switch To Kirkland Golf Balls?
Let’s be real here. If I were to tell you should move from your current set of brand-named golf balls to Kirkland Signature golf balls solely for the better material, spin, distance, feel, durability, or any other aspect related to the performance of these balls, I wouldn’t sound very convincing.
We’ve established by now how similar Kirkland Golf Balls perform compared to other high-end manufacturers. Surely, Costco’s golf balls are a no-brainer upgrade from cheap low-quality balls, but what makes it worth the switch if you already own top-name golf balls?
The answer, hands down, lies in the price. They’re available for almost half of what you’d pay for a regular upper mid-range golf ball, ideal for golfers seeking an all-around consistent golf ball.
So bottom line, it’s not a question of “why switch to Kirkland Golf Balls?”, but rather “why not play a high-end level golf ball without having to pay a high-end price?”.
You can be the your own judge. Summing up, here are all the pros:
- The price point is beyond fair when it comes to such high-performance golf balls. It’s evident when comparing Kirkland Signature golf balls to their respective high-end counterparts. Great value for money, as well as being a truly cost-effective option.
- Both high and low handicap players can benefit from the quality offered.
- You get consistent control, a decent distance, a good spin, as well as legit soft rubber feel.
Perhaps the most prominent issue every lover of Kirkland Golf Balls seems to struggle with is the availability of the products. It’s sort of like walking on thin ice when it comes to these golf balls. Some people develop a really tight connection to their golf balls and never want to switch. This might become and issue with these.
You will have to be alert for the restocking season because these babies are known to sell like hotcakes! It’s not nearly a problem for those who manage to make a purchase, however, many have gotten frustrated in front of their computers.
This also raised the question regarding the certainty of the future of the Kirkland Golf Balls. It’s no secret the company had a setback that caused the 4-Piece Balls to be discontinued. There is no indication this might happen to the 3-piece design, however people still are concerned that history is going to repeat itself. From all the information available there is no need to be looking over your shoulder for someone taking away this amazing deal from you, though.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who makes Kirkland golf balls?
Kirkland golf balls were originally launched in 2016 by Costco. Costco wanted to sell their own Signature golf balls, in an effort to provide a low-budget yet high-quality alternative for golfers looking to cut back on the expenses of maintaining their hobby.
Kirkland Signature is the house brand of the Costco chain of warehouse stores. The 4-Piece Golf Balls were produced by Nassau Golf Co. Ltd. in South Korea. Later on, the American subsidiary of a Korean company, SM Global LLC, produced the currently still available 3-Piece edition of Kirkland Signature Golf Balls.
It was going extremely well for Costco and all the price-conscious golfers that had turned into fans. Then, Acushnet (parent company of Titleist) hit Costco with a lawsuit, notifying them of patent infringement. Costco responded by suing Acushnet, who counter-attacked with a lawsuit of their own. The companies eventually settled out of court, but the 4-Piece ball never came back. After going back to the drawing board, Kirkland came out with a redesigned 3-Piece golf ball, which is the version available for sale today.
How are Kirkland golf balls made?
The construction of a golf ball is crucial when it comes to its performance on the golf course. The materials used should be of impeccable quality and the process of manufacturing and assembling must follow strict standards and rules in order to ensure the integrity and legality of the ball. You don’t want to play with a ball that is not USGA approved. The Kirkland Golf Ball design comprised of 3 layers: the core, mantle, and cover. Such a build is ideal for players seeking improved feel and control over their hit range, while not trading away too much of the distance.
Are Kirkland golf balls the same as Titleist Pro V1s?
The originally Kirkland 4-piece golf ball was manufactured in a very similar way to the Titleist Pro V1 ball. After Titleist’s parent company sued Costco in 2019 over patent infringement on the golf ball, they were immediately pulled from the shelves. The Kirkland 3-piece golf ball is not as sophisticated but is still a very good golf ball for its price.
Who makes the Kirkland golf ball today?
The current version of the Kirkland 3-piece golf ball is manufactured by Qingdao SM Parker in China. This factory also produces golf balls for other brands, notibly the new Snell golf balls.
It’s obvious by now that Kirkland Golf Balls are worth a look. They are also certainly worth their money. They offer the design, performance, and price to make them one sweet deal. You don’t need to be a Costco member to benefit from this deal.
Between the Kirkland 3-piece vs 4-piece, the 3-piece is the most current and available golf ball. They don’t match the original 4-piece design, but they are good enough for all casual golfers.
Last update on 2022-08-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API