Kirkland Golf Ball Review: Can You Get Tour Performance at a Costco Price?
If you have played any amount of golf in your life then you are well aware that it is not the most affordable hobby to take up. Between memberships, Kirkland Golf Balls, equipment costs, green fees, cart rentals, and other golf expenses such as golf clubs, shoes, and gloves, the average golfer spends more than a couple thousand dollars per year supporting their love for the game.
Golf balls can take up a large portion of a golfer’s annual budget no matter their skill level. After all, you can’t play without golf balls and even the best players will lose a few throughout the season.
This is what made the release of Kirkland golf balls so exciting – golf balls promising tour performance on an amateur budget. Costco’s house brand Kirkland is popular for its quality in most categories but does that reputation carry over into the golf ball industry?
- An Overview of Kirkland Golf Balls
- Public Perception of Kirkland Golf Balls
- How Kirkland Golf Balls Compare With the Competition
- Final Thoughts on the Kirkland Golf Balls
The challenge for the Kirkland golf balls face
Experienced golfers tend to have strong brand loyalty and can be very difficult to sway to newcomers in the industry. Can Kirkland golf balls really stack up against the titans of the golf industry like Titleist, Taylormade, Srixon, and Callaway? We hope to cover this and give you our insight into the Kirkland Signature golf ball line.
Let’s find out if the Kirkland golf balls are a bargain option you should put in your golf bag or if they fall short of expectations.
An Overview of Kirkland Golf Balls
Costco has created two types of Kirkland golf balls for golfers to choose from. The original Kirkland Signature Golf Balls were a 4-piece construction that promised tour quality distance, spin, and feel. You might still find some for sale but they are currently not in production. More on that later.
Their latest offering, the Kirkland Signature 3-Piece Golf Balls are at the mid-range of the market with a price that should entice golfers of all skill levels. These are the balls you are most likely to find today as Kirkland is embroiled in a legal battle with the makers of Titleist golf balls over the design of their original 4-piece ball.
- The price is right in line when compared with other mid-range golf balls.
- Players with double-digit handicaps are unlikely to notice a massive difference in performance when comparing Kirkland golf balls with other golf balls on the market.
- Kirkland’s own testing shows that there is a slight difference in the performance of their 3-piece ball when compared to their popular original 4-piece balls. This is due to the effort of having the 3-piece available at an affordable price.
Kirkland golf balls and Costco
While Kirkland is not a well-known brand in the golf industry, every Costco shopper knows the brand is synonymous with quality. In fact, Costco says that the quality of all Kirkland products must meet or exceed the top national brands. That means these golf balls could be equal to or better than the brands that cost significantly more at your local golf retailer.
The Kirkland golf balls use a urethane cover which offers a softer feel when compared with other golf balls. Of course, feel can be very subjective for golfers who have varying swing speeds, skill levels, and playing styles.
What Makes Kirkland Golf Balls Unique? Overall, on the surface, Kirkland Signature golf balls are high quality and offer a lot of the features you would find in much more expensive golf balls. However, that all means nothing if the balls don’t perform like they are expected to on the golf course.
You might be wondering how a Kirkland golf ball is different from the most popular golf balls on the market. The truth is that the biggest difference comes down to the price. Since Kirkland uses a golf ball manufacturer that also makes golf balls for other brands it helps to keep their costs down.
The original 4-piece construction with a urethane cover is not at all unique with most popular makers using a similar construction. In addition, the features and promises offered by the Kirkland golf balls are similar to what you might hear from other brands.
It’s quite clear that Kirkland is positioning their golf balls as a budget-friendly option for people who are sick and tired of paying top dollar for golf balls that ends up in a pond or a forest.
How does Kirkland offer golf balls at such a low price?
There is little to no marketing budget for these golf balls. You won’t see top PGA players using Kirkland golf balls as part of a sponsorship deal or appearing in Kirkland commercials that play in between the action at the next major tournament.
Kirkland is also using a standard golf ball design so they likely have not put a lot of money into research and development.
These golf balls are not meant to revolutionize the industry or change the game. Instead, Kirkland simply wants to offer a low-budget alternative for golfers looking to lower their annual budget.
Public Perception of Kirkland Golf Balls
So, how do people feel about these affordable golf balls? Search the internet and you will find mixed reviews.
When Kirkland golf balls first hit the market, people were happy. A 4-piece golf ball that could compete with the ever-popular Titleist Pro-V1 golf balls at a fraction of the price was, understandably, major news in the golf world.
Golf forums and social media sites like Reddit vaulted the Kirkland golf balls (fondly referred to as K-Sigs) into a sort of folk hero status. People began cutting the balls in half to compare the construction with other top brands. Golf publications and amateur golfers compared the performance of the ball with other high performing golf balls to find that Kirkland Signature golf balls lived up to the hype.
People rushed out to buy the balls that became unbelievably popular overnight. Costco sold out in-store and online quickly. When the stock was available, it was gone almost immediately. This shortage only served to build the hype.
And then the lawsuit came down.
Well, to be accurate, there are actually two lawsuits on the course. Acushnet, the parent company of Titleist, sent a letter to Costco advising them that they were infringing on existing patents. Kirkland responded by suing Acushnet who in turn responded with their own countersuit.
Perhaps wishing to avoid any further potential damages, Costco redesigned the Kirkland Signature golf balls to the 3-piece design that’s currently available. This is where the noticeable dip in quality occurred which is usually the case when a manufacturer moves from a 4-piece to 3-piece design.
From 4-piece to 3-piece design
However, this dip in quality was somewhat significant. Search online for thoughts about the new Kirkland golf balls and you will be disappointed. A once-beloved golf ball has become just another player in a crowded industry.
The appeal of a tour quality golf ball at a mid-range price has disappeared. Now the 3-piece golf ball competes with similar balls and the pricing difference is much less noticeable than when it was being compared next to the top brands available.
Online hype has died down significantly, and most discussion surrounding Kirkland Signature golf balls is about when or if the old construction will ever return to stores. Of course, with lawsuits in place, the answer to that question is still up in the air.
It seems that Kirkland golf balls enjoyed a high lofted lob shot ride to the top of the golf world and, just as quickly, saw the excitement coming up short. But has the ball improved enough to make it worth your green?
How Kirkland Golf Balls Compare With the Competition
In terms of pricing, Kirkland is still a very competitive golf ball in the 3-piece category. People who want a good golf ball at a reasonable price will still appreciate the value offered by the current offering of Kirkland golf balls.
The 3-piece Kirkland golf balls may longer compete with the tour style balls in the market, but they have improved. This is probably most evident when you look at Kirkland’s own data submitted to the USGA when registering the golf ball with golf’s governing body in the United States.
When a manufacturer registers their product with the USGA, they need to provide their own testing information and the ratings that coincide with the results they found. Kirkland submitted their new golf balls with an M-H rating.
Kirkland golf ball’s M-H rating
To the average golfer, that means nothing. There’s no way to tell an M-H rated ball apart from other balls just by looking at them. There’s no mention of this fact on the retail packaging. Even if there was, most consumers would have no idea what that means.
Essentially, M-H describes the spin rating of the Kirkland golf balls as given by golfs governing body the USGA. The first letter M represents a medium spin rating when hit with a driver. While the H stands for a high spin rate hit off of a short iron.
With a medium spin rate off the driver players who tend to hit hooks or slices may notice that the Kirkland balls could accentuate those mishits but not as much as a high spin ball. In addition, players who want stopping power around the green for accurate shots will be glad to find that Kirkland balls are rated to stop like other high spin rated balls on the market.
In two of the most important measurements of a golf ball’s performance, Kirkland might hold up to the top offerings in the industry and sits alongside if not slightly higher than most mid-range or low-end golf balls. Not exactly the tour performance a lot of people were hoping for from this budget ball but better than others in the same price point.
Final Thoughts on the Kirkland Golf Balls
Kirkland came onto the scene and took the golf world by storm. Just as quickly as that hype was built, it all disappeared. While a lawsuit convinced Kirkland to halt – at least temporarily – the production of their incredibly popular and well-reviewed 4-piece ball.
The new 3-piece Kirkland golf balls are a strong effort from Costco’s in-house brand to offer a quality golf ball at an unbeatable price. However, Kirkland’s own testing shows that there is a slight drop in performance from their popular 4-piece balls.
Does that mean that golfers shouldn’t consider buying Kirkland golf balls?
Not necessarily. There is a still a market of golfers that will appreciate Kirkland golf balls even if they don’t deliver tour performance at a weekend warrior price.
Players who don’t need the best equipment and want to save money on their beloved hobby will still enjoy Kirkland golf balls. The price is very reasonable when compared to other mid-range golf balls. Players with double-digit handicaps are unlikely to notice a massive difference in performance when comparing Kirkland golf balls with other balls on the market.
3-piece Kirkland golf balls
However, players at a higher skill level who demand the best performance from their golf balls might be slightly disappointed with the new 3-piece Kirkland golf balls. The stopping power around the greens has improved since the 3-piece came out but may not be up to tour-level expected from the original 4-piece ball.
4-piece Kirkland golf balls
If you played the Kirkland 4-piece golf balls and you’re hoping that these new balls are a worthy replacement, then you might be a little disappointed. In fact, if you are looking for similar performance to the 4-piece Kirkland balls you may want to look to another brand that will almost surely cost more money.
However, if you can temper expectations and enjoy the Kirkland golf balls for what they are: an incredibly affordable ball for players who aren’t too picky about what they play with. Kirkland might be your new go-to brand.
In any case, keep an eye on what happens with Kirkland’s golf ball lawsuit. If the 4-piece balls make their way back to store shelves, you shouldn’t think twice when deciding to grab a box. Kirkland knows how to make golf balls; it’s just a matter of whether or not legal issues will get in the way.
Of course, the best part about picking up Kirkland golf balls is stopping at the Costco food court on the way out for one of those deliciously cheap hotdogs. What other golf brands offer a deal like that?