Sugar Golf is one of the newest entrants into the direct to consumer (DTC) market for golf balls that wants to deliver a simple ball with a simple message – eliminate all of the fluff, frills, and unneeded costs for a lower consumer cost. In fact, they are singularly minded on the low-cost, quality golf ball and offer a single product on their website currently – the Sugar Cube. The Sugar Cube is a no-frills, bulk package box of 27 urethane golf balls that are true to the company mission. Priced even lower than some other DTC balls, Sugar Golf hopes that you will give them the chance to pour some sugar on your game and let you hit some sweet shots. Ok, enough sugar puns – let’s dig in.
Sugar Golf may not be the first company to take this general low-cost, no frills approach but they also make some impressive claims about the performance for their ball compared to many market leaders. If these claims are true, the Sugar Cube is pretty intriguing at its price tag of $69.00 all-in, with taxes and shipping already built into the price. Roughly $2.50 per ball is a good, but not unheard of, price for a quality urethane ball.
Sugar Golf is right up front that they believe their ball is better than the best golf balls on the market and they have an entire page of their website dedicated to the results of their robot testing to that effect. The results of their robot testing showed that the Sugar balls are longer for both high swing speed players (~112 mph driver) and low swing speed players (~72 mph driver) on driver and iron shots while maintaining comparable launch angle, smash factor, and lower spin on the driver and irons. A single line from their website sums it up – “Put simply, the Sugar Golf ball is the best deal – if not the best ball – in golf.” If you want, you can see the full information on their website here.
My indoor and outdoor testing of the Sugar ball did not substantiate some of the companies claims and the Sugar Balls didn’t prove to be the world-beaters that won in every category for my game but the results were intriguing nevertheless. I compared the Sugar balls against several big name golf balls that can be purchased at or around the same price point, although only when on sale. I found that the Sugar balls performed nicely on iron and wedge shots and the difference in launch, spin, and ball speed were minimal. The Sugar balls tended to have a few hundred rpms more spin but that can be a benefit with the irons and wedges and the end result was essentially the same. The sound off a putter is also very similar to other three piece urethane golf balls and does not have a distinct “clicky” sound at impact that is so universally panned. So far, so good.
The one place I found the Sugar balls really differentiated themselves from the others was driver spin – the spin numbers were several hundred rpms higher than nearly every ball I tried. Additional driver spin could be a great thing or a massive problem, depending on your game and swing. For my game, and several of my regular playing partners, the added spin reduced carry distance and caused some ballooning of drives, particularly into a wind.
If you need some additional spin on your drives, the Sugar balls could be great for you because the rest of the performance is pretty darn good. The short game performance was rock solid – it checks up well on full and partial wedge shots and is very predictable. In fact, I would go as far as saying the Sugar ball performs as good as expected for shots inside 170 yards for my game but the additional spin on the long game proved detrimental to me, which is a bit of a deal breaker unless I fit my clubs based on ball choice. That just seems backward to me.
The DTC golf ball landscape is growing rapidly, with a lower cost being the main differentiator that make them unique, and Sugar Golf is an interesting option to add to the market if it fits your game. Sugar Golf proudly says that their balls are made in the “same factories as the big brands you already know,” but I question how much research and development and quality control is in place with true contract manufacturing. This is a general concern of mine for most DTC balls, but I am happy to say I did not find troubling visible defects in the balls that came in my Sugar Cube. The real question is, can the Sugar Cube get traction in a highly competitive market at the current price point or will seemingly ubiquitous sales on the big names hold them back? Only time will tell, but you can learn more at www.sugar.golf or by jumping in the discussion on the forum.