Are Foam Golf Balls Good For Practice? Why You Should Use Them

If you’re someone who works long hours, has children or maybe are time poor for other reasons, finding time to get to the driving range to practice your golf swing can be pretty difficult.

Trust me, I know.

Not only that, when you do finally find some spare minutes to venture to the range, you’re often slugged up to $20 for a bucket of balls that you’ll sometimes blast through in an hour.

Doing that a couple of times a week can quickly get very expensive.

If you’re like me, you’ve spent hours racking your brain and trawling the internet to figure out a way to practice more from the comfort of your own home or backyard, without busting your bank.

No doubt, the answer you’ve come up with is to buy a practice net (you can read our full guide on practice nets here), but you’re worried real golf balls might damage it.

The solution: foam golf balls. But, the big question you’re likely now grappling with is: Are foam golf balls good for practice?

Foam golf balls are an excellent substitute for real golf balls. They allow you to practice and refine your golf swing in your own home or backyard, without the risk of causing damage to your surroundings due to wayward shots. The best foam golf balls fly like real golf balls, feel like real golf balls, and sound like real golf balls which is perfect for practice.

How do I know this, you ask? Because I’ve been using foam golf balls during practice for years.

Like you, I went out and bought a practice net and a set of Almost Golf balls (pictured above) – which I believe are the best foam golf balls on the market (keep scrolling to read more about them) – and have been using them in my backyard ever since.

I’ve been able to improve my swing without breaking my bank and, more importantly, without breaking any household items as a result of the occasional shanked shot.

Still not convinced? Don’t worry, by the time you’ve finished reading this article you’ll be confident that foam golf balls are a worthwhile investment to becoming a better golfer.

What is the difference between practice golf balls and regular golf balls?

Something I didn’t know before researching for this article is that golf balls are comprised of a rubber core, wrapped in a thermoplastic coating.

Many modern-day balls are finished with a urethane layer, which helps the ball spin more and be more receptive on the greens, particularly when hitting wedges.

The solid rubber centre also contributes to the ball flying as far as it does.

In comparison, the top-level plastic or foam practice golf balls – such as the Almost Golf ball – are created using unique cross-linking foam that compresses and travels like a normal golf ball when struck by the club.

Because of their special core construction, foam golf balls feel and behave the same as a regular golf ball but are soft, making them safe to use in the home or backyard.

In fact, YouTube golfer James Robinson did tests using a Garmin Approach G8O launch monitor in his backyard to compare how the Almost Golf ball performs compared to a regular TaylorMade TP5 golf ball.

Using a seven iron, these were James’ results from his best strikes:

 Almost Golf BallTaylorMade TP5
Club Speed (MPH)8078
Ball Speed (MPH)101109
Carry (YDS)148155

So, as you can see, the foam Almost Golf ball performed extremely similar to the TaylorMade TP5 meaning they are more than suitable to practice your swing with.

Check out the full video of James’ tests below:

Which practice golf balls are the best?

There are many foam practice golf balls that can be purchased online, but some are certainly better than others.

Below I’ve reviewed the best options for you based on performance and price.

My top pick

Almost Golf Balls

Without question, Almost Golf balls are the best foam golf practice balls money can buy.

With your purchase, you get 24 balls that are limited in flight but still draw, fade and spin the same as a regular golf ball.

I’ve been using Almost Golf balls for more than two years and they are still going strong – but more importantly, they’ve helped me improve my swing dramatically.

Check the price on Amazon

They really do feel similar to a regular golf ball, albeit a little lighter, and fly off the club face almost exactly the same as a regular golf ball also.

There have been occasions where I’ve accidentally missed my backyard practice net when swinging, but because the Almost Golf balls are made of hardened foam, they didn’t cause any damage to the fence behind my net.

If you’re looking for foam golf balls to use for practice, these are the ones I’d recommend most.

Pros

  • Only weigh 13.5 grams (a quarter of a regular golf ball) meaning they are less likely to cause damage as a result of wayward shots
  • Feel almost identical to a regular golf ball
  • Perform almost identical to a regular golf ball (they fade, draw and spin)
  • Extremely durable (mine still work just fine after two years of use)
  • Design incorporates dimples for better flight control
  • Come in both white and yellow
  • Receive five complimentary tees on purchase

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive than other poorer-quality foam practice balls
  • While close, they will never replicate the exact feel of a regular golf ball

Other options

Callaway HX Practice Golf Balls

Callaway’s venture into the field of foam practice golf balls has been a successful one, with the ‘Callaway HX’ a more than suitable option.

For little cost, you can get a pack of nine practice balls, with that cost obviously increasing the more you buy.

Check the price on Amazon

Callaway is one of the world’s most reputable golf brands, so you can buy with confidence knowing this product will be good.

The balls fly similar to a normal golf ball, and simulate real ball flight with scaled-down distance.

Pros

  • Cheaper alternative to the Almost Golf ball
  • Available in three colours (orange, green or pink)
  • Feel almost identical to a regular golf ball
  • Perform almost identical to a regular golf ball (they fade, draw and spin)
  • Design incorporates dimples for better flight control

Cons

  • Not quite as good as the Almost Golf ball
  • While close, they will never replicate the exact feel of a regular golf ball

Shaun Webb Practice Golf Balls

As one of the other most reputable brand of foam golf balls on the market, the Shaun Webb 12-pack is extremely affordable.

This will certainly appeal to many golfers looking to save a bit of money, but keep in mind they don’t quite have the quality of the Almost Golf ball.

Check the price on Amazon

That said, the Shaun Webb practice balls are designed in a similar manner – with the hardened foam performing the same as a regular ball, while limiting flight and being softer.

There are few reviews online about these practice balls, so they may be a bit hit or miss – but at that price, it allows you to give them a go without needing to make a big investment.

Pros

  • Cheapest of the most reputable foam golf ball brands on the market
  • Feel similar to a regular golf ball
  • Perform similar to a regular golf ball (they fade, draw and spin)
  • Design incorporates dimples for better flight control

Cons

  • Not many reviews online, bringing into question quality
  • May not be as responsive as Almost Golf balls
  • Only come in yellow

What are the best indoor practice golf balls?

Almost Golf balls are without doubt my number one choice for indoor practice balls.

They perform similar to a regular golf ball, can be used to practice full swings or chip shots, and can be used indoors in conjunction with a practice net without the risk of damaging walls or household items due to their softer composition.

Other FAQs

Do range balls fly as far as normal golf balls?

Multiple studies have proven range balls have greater spin when using wedges or short irons, but showed little difference when using driver. Carry distances were also less for range balls with shorter clubs, but about the same with driver. The amount of wear and tear a range ball has will make the biggest impact on its performance and flight.

I was always told that range balls fly only two-thirds the distance of a normal golf ball, however a study conducted by 2ndSwing’s Drew Mahowald and Thomas Campbell seemingly disproves that theory.

On their YouTube channel, they hit three shots using a regular range ball and a Callaway Chrome Soft (using a wedge, seven iron and driver) and compared the data for each using a Trackman flight simulator.

Their results showed there were very few differences between the range ball and the Callaway Chrome Soft in terms of ball speed, carry and total distance – there were some differences in spin, however, especially when using a wedge.

The data from their testing is detailed below.

52 degree wedge

BallCallaway Chrome SoftRange Practice Ball
Club Speed (MPH)83.782.6
Ball Speed (MPH)97.694.3
Spin Rate (RPM)91934137
Carry (YDS)121.6126.4
Total (YDS)123.6135.7

Seven iron

BallCallaway Chrome SoftRange Practice Ball
Club Speed (MPH)9190.5
Ball Speed (MPH)128.1128.8
Spin Rate (RPM)71066805
Carry (YDS)180.3181.8
Total (YDS)186.6187.8

Driver

BallCallaway Chrome SoftRange Practice Ball
Club Speed (MPH)112.3112.8
Ball Speed (MPH)166.8168.8
Spin Rate (RPM)23212193
Carry (YDS)277.4281.0
Total (YDS)303.2299.6

Interestingly, a similar study from golf instructor Matt Fryer yielded comparable results, while another set of tests from fellow YouTube instructor Ali Taylor found range balls flew around one-club shorter with wedges and mid-irons, but around the same with driver (with only a few yards difference).

While this doesn’t completely debunk the theory range balls fly less far than normal balls, it does suggest the quality of range balls – and the significant wear and tear they get from being reused many times a day – has a significant impact on how far they travel and perform.

How can I practice hitting golf balls at home?

The best way to practice hitting golf balls at home is through the use of a practice net.

Practice nets are a cheap and effective way of improving your swing in the comfort of your own home and backyard, and using one has worked wonders for me over the past couple of years.

Check out my article on practice nets for a full guide on how to use them, and for reviews on which nets are the best ones to buy.

Does Skytrak work with foam balls?

Skytrak answered this exact question on Twitter in 2016.

According to the flight simulator manufacturer, “foam balls work (on Skytrak), but your data won’t be accurate since the data analyzes what the ball is doing”.

So, if you’re practicing your swing on a Skytrak flight simulator, it’s best to use a regular golf ball for the best possible results.

Final message

Are foam golf balls good for practice? Absolutely, they are.

If you want to hone your swing in the comfort of your own home or backyard, but are worried about the damage you might cause by using regular golf balls, then foam practice balls are the perfect solution.

Not only will they give you great feedback, they won’t break any valuables if you spray a few shots.

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