White Out: Why playing a yellow golf ball makes sense

Titleist is now selling yellow ProV1s.

I'm teeing up this unpopular opinion for all to see - I love yellow golf balls. And I'm hardly alone in my thinking.

Brian Cairns has been laughed at, teased and harassed for using a yellow golf ball in competition for more than a decade. Cairns, a long-time PGA pro from Michigan who spends winters teaching in Florida, began using Srixon’s yellow golf balls 11 years ago.

“They used to laugh … until you win with them,” said Cairns, who has won the Michigan Open four times.

The 54-year-old pro -- who has played in seven PGA Tour events, including three PGA Championships, and multiple majors on the PGA Tour Champions circuit -- might eventually get the last laugh. He’s predicting a yellow golf ball revolution after the announcement that the Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x – the most popular balls in golf -- are now available in high optic yellow.

“I was surprised it took Titleist so long,” Cairns said. “I guarantee that 25 or 30 percent of golfers will start playing yellow golf balls (right away). I think it will change practically overnight, without a doubt. It won’t be so funny anymore.”

Brian Cairns hits a tee shot on the 16th hole at the 97th PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in 2015.

This is a trend I can support. I’m a huge fan of playing a yellow golf ball, especially from Srixon and Bridgestone. I tend to score lower, and feel more comfortable, playing with a yellow ball. I don’t have any scientific data why, other than the fact that I seem to make more consistent solid contact and tend to make more putts. It must be psychological. Cairns agrees.

“The color itself portrays a different mood,” he added. “I don’t know if it is right or wrong, but if you see yellow in the air, it will change your attitude. That’s what Srixon told me. Whatever the case, I’ve always been able to see it (better).”

Golf ball companies are competing to find more visually stimulating golf balls to cater to the aging population of the stereotypical golfer. Volvik has introduced all sorts of colored balls. Callaway’s soccer ball-patterned Chrome Soft Truvis golf ball has been popular. And most recently, TaylorMade released the TP5 Pix golf ball, a model that features “advanced visual technology”, a white ball that appears to have red-yellow-black Xs on them. | Browse and buy the TP5 Pix on GolfBalls.com

The TaylorMade TP5 Pix golf ball features “advanced visual technology”.

My colleague, Mike Bailey, played the yellow Srixon Z-Star religiously for six years.

"I loved the way they looked in the air, and you could always identify your ball from the rest of the players in the group," Bailey said. "But then one day, I just grew sick of it and started playing white again. I've dabbled with the Callaway soccer ball -- I like that you can see the way the ball spins around the greens -- and I'm intrigued by the new TaylorMade pattern."

George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, just landed his first ace with a yellow ball.

Whether yellow or any other color or pattern goes mainstream probably depends on how many Tour players jump on board. After all, tennis used to play nothing but white balls before yellow became the standard. Using a colored ball on the PGA Tour isn’t a new phenomenon. Jerry Pate used an orange ball to win the 1982 Players Championship. It led to his memorable jump into the water along the 18th hole with then-Tour Commissioner Deane Beman and architect Pete Dye.

No stranger to colored balls himself, Bubba Watson put the yellow Pro V1x immediately into play this year and currently sits second on the Tour in driving distance at 314.4 yards. Kyle Jones and Rory Sabbatini have also teed up yellow Titleist balls on Tour. Scott Gutschewski and Zac Blair have followed suit on the Web.com Tour. Kirk Triplett won the PGA Tour Champions’ Hoag Classic with a yellow Titleist. Fellow old guys Mark Calcavecchia and Ken Tanigawa have tried them, too.

Bubba Watson chips during a practice round for The 2019 PLAYERS Championship on The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

“I’m loving the new Pro V1x Yellow," said Watson, who used to play a pink ball by Volvik. "There’s just something about that bright yellow finish where I feel like I can see it better. For me it was a no brainer.” | View the lowest price for the Titleist Pro-V1x on GolfBalls.com

Cairns has convinced several fellow PGA pros his age to use yellow balls. None of his younger students have taken the bait, however.

"(My friends) play with yellow balls and say, 'Why didn’t I do this years ago?'," he said. "They couldn’t believe how much easier it is. It’s so easy to see the ball. The juniors try it but no one is willing to go off to college with a yellow ball. The peer pressure is too great."

GolfBalls.com has created a landing page of all colored golf balls. Browse the full lineup and see their lowest prices. View Colored Golf Balls

(Editor's Note: GolfPass may earn a commission on certain purchases made via links posted in our articles. GolfPass does not receive compensation for product reviews.)

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,100 courses and written about golf destinations in 25 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
Default User Avatar

I have just started experimenting with the yellow ball. Its definitely easier to see when playing into the sun.

Default User Avatar

Some years back I started playing with orange balls because my game wasn't that good and I needed to see them when they were off in the woods... LOL... I continue to play them even though my game has gotten better. Currently I'm playing the Callaway Supersoft with Matte finish. I love the feel of the ball and I beat several of my friends on a regular basis with it.

If you score better- who am I to say anything.

Default User Avatar

Yes! I’ve used yellow for years!

Default User Avatar

I bought a box of yellow balls two years ago by mistake. I was mad that i had done it. I was playing a round ( just a beginner at 60 ) the next day and could not exchange them. Now its all I buy. Easier to see when striking the ball, different than the young lads I play with (my Sons) and just darn snappy.
I love them and would not play with anything else.

Default User Avatar

The best reason for playing yellow comes from a study that did in the 90’s about dyslexia and on reading yellow paper. The “white” can act as negative space which then causes the body to look 2D but with yellow in the case of reading can make the word appear more 3D which makes it easier for someone with dyslexia easier to read and same with yellow golf ball the ball looks more 3D and not negative space.

Default User Avatar

What ball is bush using in the pic? Looks like the Calloway, but it looks different...

Default User Avatar

Whenever someone laughs at me i ask them, "When's the last yime you saw anyone playing tennis with a white ball?" There's a reason they call it Optic Yellow! The only negative to Yellow gaining popularity is I'm losing my advantage of always knowing which ball is mine. Now one of my best buddies started playing yellow and I have to start being more careful again.

Default User Avatar

I love yellow balls and can see them better, like Sabatini, I like Titleist. I can also differentiate my ball from others too.

Default User Avatar

I'm 70 and an avid golfer. I can't see a white ball more than about 100-150 yards which takes a lot of fun out of the game when you cant see your shots. Yellow is simply easier to see.

Now Reading
White Out: Why playing a yellow golf ball makes sense