Wilson Staff 50 EliteThe Wilson Staff 50 Elite will please many senior golfers and high handicappers as it will give you a decent distance boost. For many it might be a little soft, but once you get used to it, it's a worthwhile ball to own. View Latest Deal
Let’s face it: Golf is an expensive game. That’s relative, of course. If you have plenty of disposable income, the costs to play our great game are easily overcome.
But if golf wants to be more inclusive, and if it wants to grow, people who live with lesser means need an avenue to play. For that reason, there has long been a market for less expensive equipment choices.
Among the leading companies in that market is Wilson Staff, the golf division of Wilson Sporting Goods. Wilson is not exclusively a bargain manufacturer. For many years, it was among the top names in the game. A few tour professionals still use Wilson equipment, with its putters being especially in demand.
But that gives Wilson has an edge in the inexpensive equipment market, a trusted name. Too many off-brands come from names few have ever heard of. Not true for Wilson, who has made a golf ball that is aimed at a wide market and at a low price.
We’re talking about the Wilson Staff 50 Elite. Don’t let the word “elite” in the name fool you. This ball is about one-third the price of many premium balls, and quite a bit less than the balls it is intended to compete with.
Wilson claims the 50 Elite offers “unmatched feel in a ball that is as long as any on the market.” Let’s take a closer look to see if that claim holds up.
Here we are giving the 50 Elite a mixed report. For some players, this ball will feel too soft. It almost feels as if the ball is stuck to the club before it heads on its merry way.
This could take some getting used to, as golfers are unaccustomed to such a “sticky” ball. It many ways this is a throwback to the game before rubber became the material of choice for golf ball cores. The 50 Elite gets this in large part due to its soft core, which we will discuss more in depth below.
Once they get used to it, many golfers might discover they like the feeling of the ball staying on the club face longer.
This, however, can be a disadvantage on and around the green. You want the ball to release from the putter quickly to get it on its intended target line.
There is no question this ball flies far, at least for those who are for whom it is intended. The 50 in the name refers to the ball’s compression rating. While it isn’t the softest core on the market, it is among them.
This softcore is terrific with players with slow swing speeds. Compressing the ball is paramount to get long distance, especially with the driver. There is a good correlation between swing speeds and handicap. The better the player the faster the swing speed, speaking generally.
Faster swing speeds can actually be a detriment with a ball as soft as the 50 Elite. Golfers with driver swing speeds of 90 or less will do best with this ball.
There is a good chance that you have no clue how fast you are swinging a driver. It may not always be true, but in general, if you hit your drives with a standard ball less than 225 yards, you are likely swinging at 90 miles per hour or below.
Many senior golfers and high handicappers would get a distance boost with the 50 Elite.
There is another factor for the 50 Elite that affects distance. This ball has 302 dimples in what Wilson calls a 302 PhD design. The number of dimples is less important here than the design. The 50 Elite has dimples with a flat bottom that is shallow from the surface.
This is intended to make the ball more aerodynamic to stay in the air longer, with the result being more distance.
The lower spin also means the 50 Elite is less likely to veer off course. That is a big plus since many of the golfers who have slower swing speeds often struggle to keep the ball in play.
We will get the negative out of the way first.
Yes, this ball is soft and that may help some golfers with feel. But it remains a two-piece ball with low spin. Balls with those characteristics do not magically spin more and perform better on shorter shots.
That is the big negative for the 50 Elite, as well as other similar balls. It is not going to have the same stopping power as premium balls.
But that is a perfectly reasonable trade for the good things the 50 Elite offers.
First, it most definitely does add distance for players with slower swing speeds, especially with the driver. And since the ball is designed to fly straight, it is a good choice for less skilled players who have difficulties with hooks and slices.
One other detail that some players may care about: the 50 Elite comes in four different colors: white, pink, yellow, and orange, all in a glossy finish. That does not affect performance but color in golf balls is becoming more and more popular.
And we have barely touched on one of the main draws of the 50 Elite: its price.
We are talking about $15 for a dozen balls. That is an amazing price considering the 50 Elite performs quite well when matched up with similar, more expensive balls.
If you don’t look merely at price or performance, but combine the two, the Wilson Staff 50 Elite offers remarkable value.
Is it the best ball on the market? Definitely not. But you would be hard-pressed to find one that performs as well at the same price. We can definitely recommend this one for the audience it targets.