Nitro Golf Balls Review – Are These Budget Balls Any Good?
Written by Matt Stevens

Matt Callcott-Stevens started playing golf at the age of 4 when Rory Sabattini's father put a 7-iron and putter in his hand. He has experienced all the highs and lows the game can throw at you and has now settled down as a professional golf writer. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf for 28 years. Current Handicap: 8

Updated on January 22, 2024

I’ve long been intrigued by Nitro golf balls for their affordability, ball speed, traceability, and distance. In this post, I conduct an honest review of 5 of the top Nitro golf balls to help you find the design best suited to your swing.

Specifically, we’ll be looking at:

  • Nitro Pulsar
  • Nitro Max Distance
  • Nitro Crossfire
  • Nitro Tour Distance Soft
  • Nitro Ultimate Distance Ball

If you’re satisfied with entry-level, low-spinning, fast, and easy-launching golf balls, you’ll appreciate the Nitro setup. Slower swing speeds seeking speed and extra long game distance are in for a treat, as are bargain hunters.

Why listen to us? Our team has tested dozens and dozens of the top balls on the market (you can read in-depth review of each here). We keep detailed notes and findings about each one to come up with our recommendations for you.

nitro golf ball lineup

 

Comparing Features

I dive into the different covers, compression scores, dimples, and constructions of popular Nitro golf balls in the section below. This gives you a clearer picture of which composition will respond best to your clubhead speed for optimal distance, accuracy, and control.

Construction

The majority of Nitro golf balls on offer are simplistic 2-piece golf balls designed to maximize long game distance. I find the affordable, 2-layer construction a suitable design for slow and moderate swing speed mid and high handicappers.

In my experience, the best non-2-piece ball from Nitro is their prized Pulsar design. This 3-piece ball is Nitro’s attempt at crafting a more rounded ball that delivers distance, feel, and control from tee to green.

  • Pulsar: 3 pieces
  • Max Distance: 2 pieces
  • Crossfire: 2 pieces
  • Tour Distance Soft: 2 pieces
  • Ultimate Distance Ball: 2 pieces

nitro golf balls 1

Core

Nitro golf balls are popular for their titanium-infused cores, designed to bolster energy transfer on high-impact shots. The brand’s entry-level balls like the Maximum Distance, Crossfire, and Tour Distance Soft all sport a Super Reactive Titanium Core to accelerate velocity and restrict spin off the tee and on approach.

Conversely, the Pulsar is equipped with a resistant polybutadiene rubber, a common feature in most golf balls. In my experience, the Polybutadiene core worked well with my swing speed. However, the added energy transfer from titanium is golden for slower-swinging high handicappers.

  • Pulsar: High Energy Speed Core
  • Max Distance: Super Reactive Titanium Core
  • Crossfire: Super Reactive Titanium Core
  • Tour Distance Soft: Super Reactive Titanium Core
  • Ultimate Distance Ball: Super Reactive Titanium Core

nitro pulsar

Compression Rating

I find that most Nitro golf balls carry low to mid-compression scores, making them ideal for slow and moderate swing speeds. Although balls like the Tour Distance Soft and Pulsar score 90, I still found them highly compressible.

A score of 90 typically places the ball on the medium to high side of the scale. However, the soft core prompted increased rebound, explosive speed, and low spin for an effortless launch.

  • Pulsar: Mid
  • Max Distance: Mid
  • Crossfire: Mid
  • Tour Distance Soft: Mid – High
  • Ultimate Distance Ball: Low – Mid

nitro ultimate distance

Cover Material

Nitro golf balls are typically covered in Surlyn, which I find is more responsive and feels better off the clubface than a standard ionomer cover. The downside of Surlyn is the lack of greenside spin you generate, relinquishing an element of control.

The Pulsar golf ball carries a more advanced cover design infusing ionomer with titanium. However, it did little for my short-game spin rate. The design delivered limited friction on wedge shots, reducing my spin rate and control.

Ultimately, the spin-restricting, velocity-accelerating covers are built for the average golfer seeking extra long game yardage.

  • Pulsar: Hybrid Ionomer
  • Max Distance: DuPont Lithium Surlyn
  • Crossfire: DuPont Lithium Surlyn
  • Tour Distance Soft: DuPont Lithium Surlyn
  • Ultimate Distance Ball: DuPont Lithium Surlyn

nitro crossfire

Dimple Pattern

I’ve noticed that Nitro applies a Symmetrical dimple pattern to most of their 2-piece golf balls. I find the design highly aerodynamic as it resists drag on takeoff and improves lift at the backend of the flight. The result is an elevated launch angle, medium to high flight and a sharp landing angle for greater shot-stopping power on approach.

The Pulsar was the only ball with a different pattern, sporting 352 Large Diameter Dimples. It sent my ball along a medium to high trajectory and stabilized my ball in flight.

  • Pulsar: 352 Large Diameter
  • Max Distance: Symmetrical
  • Crossfire: Symmetrical
  • Tour Distance Soft: Symmetrical
  • Ultimate Distance Ball: Symmetrical

nitro maximum distance

Color Options

Nitro caters to golfers with visual impairments, 20/20 vision, and stylish individuals who enjoy playing colorful golf balls. Yellow and white covers are permanent fixtures in each range, with pink, red, and orange also on offer.

I’ve always played traditional white-covered golf balls, which I automatically gravitate towards. However, I would happily play the yellow finish on any Nitro ball given how easy it was to trace the balls in the air.

As a third choice, I’d opt for an orange golf ball, as I noticed they were simple to follow in flight. However, it wasn’t the easiest colored ball to find in the yellowish-brown winter rough on my home golf course. Although stylish, my eyes found the pink and red finish blindingly offensive. I also didn’t find them too easy to spot in the cabbage patch.

  • Pulsar: White, Yellow, Orange
  • Max Distance: Yellow, Pink, White
  • Crossfire: White, Orange, Yellow
  • Tour Distance Soft: White, Yellow, Red, Orange
  • Ultimate Distance Ball: White, Yellow, Pink, Orange

nitro tour distance soft

Comparing Performance

Now that you know what components drive Nitro golf balls, let’s look at how they perform for different golfers.

Distance

My moderate clubhead speed delivered the best distance results with the Nitro Pulsar. This stemmed from the optimally rebounding core, low spin, and rapid velocity I produced with the easily compressible golf ball.

I also find the 2-piece distance golf balls easy to launch, but the higher flight didn’t work for my game. I came up 3 to 5 yards shorter off the tee with the Maximum Distance, Crossfire, and Tour Distance Soft compared to the Pulsar.

Now, I’d recommend slower-swinging seniors and high handicappers play the easier launching distance balls if I remove my experiences from the equation.

Driver Spin

Overall, Nitro golf balls delivered impressively low spin rates. I attributed these measurements to the high energy transfer encouraged by the responsive cores on the golf ball. The Pulsar worked the best for my swing, keeping my spin rate below 2600 rpm.

I found myself producing less spin with the Tour Distance Soft ball, where my metrics dipped below 2400 rpm, the lowest of the test. I was satisfied on the whole with the figures.

Irons Spin

Low spin persisted on my long, mid, and short iron shots, owing to the spin-busting core and covers. I was clocking low 5000 rpm readings across the board, resulting from a lack of friction, increased rebound, and rapid ball speed.

I didn’t produce the levels of backspin required to zip the ball back to the cup, but I was satisfied with the shot-stopping power. I attributed the higher flight and lift enhancement to helping my ball descend sharply and bite rapidly.

Wedge Spin

Short game shots are not the forte of Nitro golf balls, owing to limited spin, stiffer covers, and a high rebounding core. The 2-piece Nitro balls struggled to generate any meaningful friction or spin around the green, increasing the challenge of controlling shots. However, it’s not a train smash for mid or high-handicappers who lack short-game distance control.

Although the Pulsar produced increased spin revolutions over its 2-layer relatives, it still left much to be desired. If you’re interested in an affordable, ionomer golf ball that spins, learn about the TaylorMade Soft Response.

Budget

What Nitro golf balls lack in spin, they make up for in value for money. Besides the Pulsar, most balls fetch less than $1 per unit, making them highly accessible and affordable to all golfers. I think it’s brilliant for high handicappers prone to losing multiple balls every round.

The Nitro is a budget-friendly way to play brand-new balls without breaking the bank like you would with a TaylorMade TP5 or Titleist Pro V1.

 

Ranking These Balls

Best Overall – Nitro Pulsar

The Pulsar is the best Nitro ball based on its speed, medium launch, and improved feel over its peers. I enjoyed optimal energy transfer, limited long-game spin, stable flight, and the longest distance of all Nitro products. Finally, I was impressed with the price tag, with a dozen balls fetching less than a box of Callaway Warbirds.

Best Budget – Nitro Maximum Distance

The Nitro Maximum distance balls are the best budget range, fetching under $10 for a dozen golf balls. It’s perfect for budget seekers or high handicappers who frequently lose golf balls. The affordable price tag will take pressure off your wallet and leave you additional capital for lessons or other training aids.

Best For Beginners – Nitro Crossfire

Nitro Crossfire golf balls are affordable, fast, low-spinning, and long. These are ideal characteristics for a high handicap golfer who needs assistance getting the ball airborne and increasing distance.

Best for Slow Swing Speeds – Nitro Tour Distance Soft

I found the 90-compression Nitro Tour Distance Soft a breeze to launch, thanks to an ultra-soft 40-compression core. The core increased energy transfer and sped the ball up as it left the face, making it a suitable design for slow swing speeds searching for a consistent launch.

The Straightest Nitro Golf Balls – Nitro Ultimate Distance

Wayward hitters prone to hooks and slices may appreciate the stabilizing technology employed into the Ultimate Distance. I noticed the ball marginally corrected its line when I sliced the shot, but it didn’t completely prevent a slice. It just gave me a better chance of staying in play on mishits.

 

Final Verdict on Nitro Golf Balls: Who Do They Suit?

My Nitro golf balls review revealed an array of entry-level priced golf balls that blow products from traditional manufacturers out of the water. From a price perspective, they’re definitely worth testing, with most balls fetching less than $1 per unit.

As for performance, I was impressed with the ball speed, low spin, launch, and distance on long-game shots. However, they produced limited spin around the green owing to their firmer ionomer covers.

Nitro golf balls are superb distance golf balls that work for mid and high-handicappers after increased distance. In my experience, the Pulsar is the overall best ball from Nitro, especially for moderate-swing speed golfers seeking increased speed, low spin, and a mid-to-high launch.

 

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Matt Stevens

Matt Callcott-Stevens started playing golf at the age of 4 when Rory Sabattini's father put a 7-iron and putter in his hand. He has experienced all the highs and lows the game can throw at you and has now settled down as a professional golf writer. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf for 28 years. Current Handicap: 8