Expert Review: Wilson 2022 Smart-Core Distance Golf BallsPublished on 03/14/2023 · 3 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the golf balls, which I purchased with my own money in October of 2021.
Wilson Smart Core after 18 holes. All photos courtesy of Scott Bryant
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the golf balls, which I purchased with my own money in October of 2021.
Wilson Smart-Core Distance Golf Balls are marketed as a “pure distance ball”, meaning they are engineered toward golfers whose primary concern is getting the ball up in the air and downrange. Mid to higher handicap golfers will find the Smart-Core to be a good-performing ball for a relatively inexpensive price.
About the golf ball I own
- Model: 2022 Wilson Smart-Core Distance Golf Balls
- Color: White
- Average score: 90
- Handicap: 18
- Experience: 30 years of golfing
- Right/Left-handed: Right-handed
- Typical shot shape: High cut
- Typical trajectory: High
- Club swing speed: 95 mph with driver
- When I bought this: October 2021
- Days tested: 60
- Where I’ve used it: Golf courses all over the Northeast US
- Weather and wind conditions: This ball was played in all ‘normal’ course weather conditions, including heat, cold, and rain
- Turf conditions: All golf course turf conditions, from lush to sparse
- Green speeds: All green speeds
How it performs
What I was looking for
I was looking for an inexpensive golf ball that had a compression rating close to the mid-80s offered by my usual ball. I also wanted it to work as a pure distance ball for the holes where I needed a little more length off the tee.
Why I chose this golf ball
I chose the Smart-Core because it matches what I was looking for and, over many years, it has been consistent. Added to that, it’s a few yards longer than my normal ball, the OnCore ELIXR.
What I love about it
- Distance: This is a pure distance ball and it does that very well. I attribute this to the fact that it is a two-piece ball with an ionomer cover and a large core. That type of construction is a proven recipe for longer distance.
- Durability: The Smart-Core is a very durable ball. This is due to the more firm ionomer material which is very scuff-resistant when compared to the softer urethane covers.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Feel: As a ball with an 85 compression rating and a firmer cover, golfers should expect it to feel “mid-firm” on full shots and just a little “clicky” on putts.
- Green Spin: This two-piece distance ball is not made for high spin. That said, well-struck full shots will generally hold on all but the firmest of greens. Pitch and chip shots will generally hit and release a little.
Best shot with this golf ball
I use the Smart-Core for holes where I need a few extra yards. My best shot with this ball was on a 525-yard par 5, where I was able to reach the green in two with a perfect drive and an equally perfect 3 wood. I had never done it before and have yet to repeat it.
Value for the money vs. other options
The Smart-Core is probably the best “bang for your buck” in the two-piece distance ball category. With a lot of two-piece ball offerings like the Srixon Soft Feel, the TaylorMade Noodle, and the Wilson Duo going the low-compression route, the Smart-Core sets itself apart by being a bit firmer and may therefore appeal to those with average to ‘slightly’ higher swing speeds. For comparison, the Callaway Warbird is around a 95 compression and I find that feels a little too firm.
The Wilson Smart-Core golf balls are a great and inexpensive two-piece distance ball. It will appeal to many mid and mid-high handicap golfers who want a ball that goes a long way and stays true to target. At 85 this is a mid-compression golf ball that will travel further than a lower compression ball for all but the slowest (or fastest) of golf swings. If distance and direction are the primary goals, those with driver swing speeds between 87 and 97 mph will be well served by this ball.