What Are X Out Golf Balls?
Have you heard of X-outs?
I’m sure you’ve found one out on the course, but never really paid attention to them until now.
In this article, we’ll explore what they are and why you might want to play them.
Let’s tee off!
Key Takeaways: What Are X Out Golf Balls?
- X-outs are not quite perfect golf balls that can offer great value for budget-conscious players.
- X-outs provide similar distance and flight characteristics as brand-new golf balls.
- X-outs have visible imperfections, such as off-center marks or colors that set them apart.
What are X-outs?
X-outs are golf balls that haven’t met the manufacturer’s quality standards but still offer great value for budget-conscious players. X-out balls can be an excellent choice if you’re looking to save money while still getting good performance. They generally provide similar distance and flight characteristics as brand-new golf balls, without the high cost. X-out golf balls are available in most major brands, including Titleist, Callaway, TaylorMade, Srixon and more.
You can easily spot an X-out ball by its unique appearance – it will have X-out printed on the cover or the brand name will have X’s stamped over the top so you know what you are getting.
Obvious issues that might mean the ball can’t be sold through the normal retail stores like a misprinted logo or use of the wrong colors means you can pick up some balls for a fraction of the price of a normal new ball and still get the normal performance. There may be less obvious issues like a blemish on the cover of the ball. These types of issues may affect the way the ball performs.
Tournaments and X-outs
While they aren’t explicitly banned by the Rules of Golf you are best advised to use a regular ball if you are playing in a competition or entering a score for your handicap.
This is because during the manufacturing process, a number of things may have gone wrong but the company isn’t going to send samples of each type of failure in for testing by the R&A or USGA since it wouldn’t make economic sense.
This means that the ball won’t be on the conforming list so you can’t be sure it will behave within the parameters laid down by the governing bodies and if discovered would mean disqualification.
If you play in more elite events then it is likely the organizers will implement the one-ball rule which will definitely rule out your not-quite-perfect ball as it won’t be on the list of conforming balls. Do you know if your golf club implements the one-ball rule?
Titleist X-out Golf Balls
The market-leading manufacturer of golf balls is Titleist so here is a quote from a Titleist staff member Mike D on the subject:
“As you know, we invest significant time and effort to ensure that our products are Best-in-Class in terms of quality, performance and consistency. As such, in the rare event one of our products fails to meet USGA requirements for size, weight, velocity or any other conformance criteria we destroy rather than market such products.
As such, only products that are of a minimal defect are available for purchase. These products are available in two offerings:
1. Pro V1 Practice golf balls are conforming products that differ only due to a cosmetic blemish such as paint, ink or registration of stamping. Pro V1 Practice golf balls do not have any construction or performance deficiencies.
2. Pro V1 X-Out golf balls are also conforming products. However, they usually have a cosmetic blemish and/or occasionally have a minor physical defect that should not significantly affect its performance. More often than not, the physical condition causing the ball to be stamped as an X-Out is so minute that it is not recognizable by the player.
Both products may be used in the casual round of golf including those with scores posted for handicaps, and most competitions, with the possible exception of high level competitions invoking the Local Rule requiring balls to be on the List of Conforming Golf Balls.”
Playing With X-outs
X-outs give you the perfect opportunity to practice your swing while providing a competitive experience for any level of golfer. They have minor cosmetic flaws and imperfections which prevent them from being sold as new but this doesn’t stop you from using them in practice or casual play without breaking the bank.
While they aren’t explicitly banned from competition they are best avoided as you might end up getting kicked out!
Benefits and Advantages Of X-out Balls
Golfers can get the most out of their game while saving money. Using an X out is a great way to practice your shots without spending too much on premium golf balls. Getting basically identical performance to a new ball means you can groove your swing in your practice sessions without worrying the ball will react differently when you have a scorecard in your hand.
It gives you the opportunity of using a practice ball that is the same as the ball you usually use. Don’t tell me you just play with any old ball – do you?
Practice vs. X-outs
X-out golf balls are used by many experienced players and are ideal for practice as they’re cheaper than regular golf balls. As you can see from the Titleist quote above the difference between practice balls and X outs is generally minor and unlikely to be detectable by the majority of golfers.
While the issue with an X-out could be more than cosmetic it is unlikely you will notice unless you have a very consistent swing.
Factory Refinished Balls
If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, factory-refinished golf balls might be an option for you to consider on your next visit to the golf shop. Refinished balls are those that have been used before but have gone through a comprehensive process of restoring them to a nearly new condition.
While they will probably be around half of the cost of the same ball brand new it may work out to be a false economy. There are some unscrupulous firms out there that take any old ball and try to make it look like a Pro V1 so they can get the most amount of money for it.
Given that you can get good quality balls from DTC brands for only slightly more money I would advise you to steer clear of factory refinished balls.
Should I Use Lake Balls or X-outs?
Lake balls are used golf balls that are repackaged for sale. While they will often be recovered from water hazards they could include balls found anywhere on the course. I don’t believe there is a sufficient price difference to justify using lake balls unless you are a beginner that loses a huge number of balls.
While I’ve used them in the past there are now so many good quality balls at reasonable prices I don’t see the point in going for either lake balls or X-outs.
Who Should Play X-out Balls?
Using X-out balls should save you a bit of money compared to new tour balls. So anyone that tends to lose a few balls or spends a lot of time practicing might see the value of using them. Many golf stores will have some in stock. Why not pick up a dozen golf balls the next time you go shopping for golf gear and test them out? You might be pleasantly surprised.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
Should I Buy Titleist Pro V1 X-out balls?
If you usually play Pro V1 then buying X-outs can save you quite a bit of money. If you don’t play in competitions then this could be a good way to save some money that you could then use on green fees to actually play more golf! The balls generally only have cosmetic imperfections so they are unlikely to perform significantly different to a new ball.
What Is A Ball Hawk In Golf?
A ball hawk is someone who searches in the rough looking for other people’s lost balls. You can often find a few nice balls with a little effort if you are waiting behind a slow group.
What Are The Best X-out Golf Balls?
The best X-out golf balls are the same as the best regular balls – models such as the Titleist Pro V1, Srixon Z-Star, Callaway Chrome Soft and TaylorMade TP5. However, I think you will struggle to find stock of anything other than Pro V1 and even they are few and far between.