Friday, March 1

Kirkland Golf Balls: A Manufacturing Mystery


Kirkland golf balls are a brand of golf balls manufactured by Costco, a large American multinational corporation that operates a chain of membership-only warehouse clubs. Costco’s in-house brand, Kirkland Signature, includes a variety of products, among which are the Kirkland golf balls. However, Costco does not manufacture these balls themselves; they contract the manufacturing to third-party companies. The specific manufacturer(s) of Kirkland golf balls have been a subject of some speculation and might change over time, as Costco could switch suppliers based on various business considerations.

The Company that Makes Kirkland Golf Balls

The Kirkland golf balls, sold under Costco’s private label, are manufactured by Qingdao SM Parker, a company based in China. Qingdao SM Parker is known for its involvement in sports equipment manufacturing, particularly focusing on golf equipment. Kirkland golf balls are their headline product, offering quality performance at a competitive price.

costco kirkland golf ball

Kirkland Performance Plus

The Kirkland Performance Plus golf balls have garnered a range of opinions and reviews. Here’s a summary of the key points from the recent reviews:

  1. Feel and Performance: The latest version of the Kirkland Performance Plus golf balls is appreciated for its softer feel, which has improved over previous versions. This makes it more responsive and offers good control for golfers.
  2. Durability: Users have reported that the durability of these golf balls is commendable, standing up well to extensive use.
  3. Comparison with Premium Balls: While the Kirkland Performance Plus golf balls are often compared to premium brands like Titleist and Callaway, they may fall short in certain aspects. For instance, they are noted to be excessively spinny and might not perform as well in windy conditions. However, for their price point, they offer good value.
  4. Value for Money: One of the most significant advantages of these golf balls is their cost-effectiveness. They provide a good quality urethane ball experience at a price much lower than comparable models from other brands.
  5. Suitability for Different Golfers: The ball is a reasonable option for golfers looking for a urethane ball experience on a budget. It’s particularly suitable for low-spin golfers and those who don’t want to invest heavily in premium golf balls.
  6. General User Experience: Some users have compared them favorably with more expensive golf balls, noting no significant loss of distance and appreciating their performance on the greens.

In conclusion, the Kirkland Performance Plus golf balls offer a good balance between price and performance, making them an appealing option for golfers who seek quality without a high price tag.

Costco Golf Ball Review

The reviews for Costco’s Kirkland golf balls, particularly the Kirkland Performance Plus (Version 3), provide insights into their value and performance:

  1. Value for Money: The Kirkland Signature Golf balls are highly appreciated for their consumer-friendly pricing, which is expected to continue with the new generation. They offer solid quality at a reasonable price, making them an attractive choice for golfers who want a urethane ball experience on a more modest budget​​.
  2. Performance Characteristics: The latest version of the Kirkland Performance Plus golf balls seems to offer improved performance over previous versions. The balls are described as having good durability, with a user mentioning their satisfactory experience even after extensive use for several weeks. The ball’s control around the greens and consistency are highlighted as positive aspects​​.
  3. Comparison with Other Brands: While the Kirkland golf balls are compared favorably with more expensive brands like Titleist, some golfers note that there can be differences in performance. For example, a golfer who typically uses Titleist AVX balls found the Kirkland balls to be equally good, highlighting their neon color for easy visibility​​.
  4. Spin and Distance: There are mixed opinions about the spin and distance characteristics of the Kirkland balls. Some users have noted that they perform well with irons but may offer less distance with drivers, especially on mishits. The latest version (V3) seems to have addressed this issue to some extent, with a user noting improved performance compared to previous versions​​.
  5. Putting Feel: In terms of putting, the Kirkland golf balls are described as being in the “middle ground” – not overly soft or too firm. This makes them a versatile option for various putting styles and preferences​​.

In summary, Costco’s Kirkland golf balls, particularly the Performance Plus Version 3, are well-regarded for their value and reasonable performance. They are a suitable choice for golfers looking for a budget-friendly option without significant compromise on quality. However, individual preferences and playing styles might influence how well these balls suit different golfers.

Credit: James Robinson Golf

Four-Piece Kirkland Golf Ball

The four-piece Kirkland Signature golf ball from Costco has undergone some changes over time, and the most recent information available provides insights into its current performance and characteristics.

  1. Manufacturing and Design: The latest version of the Kirkland four-piece golf ball is produced in the same factory in China that makes the Kirkland three-piece model. This factory, previously known as Fantom, is now operating as Qingdao SM Parker Golf Co. The ball features a 338-dimple cover, which is identical to the current 3-piece ball, suggesting that both models might have similar aerodynamic properties.
  2. Performance Characteristics: The new four-piece Kirkland golf ball is expected to have similar performance issues in the wind as the three-piece model due to the same dimple design. The cover used is thicker and firmer than the original Nassau ball, which may affect the spin and feel, especially around the greens. The manufacturing technique used for the cover (injection molding) tends to result in a firmer feel compared to thinner, softer covers.
  3. Potential Upsides: Despite some potential drawbacks, the new Kirkland four-piece ball is not expected to be a bad choice. It’s considered a good value, offering a four-layer, urethane-covered ball at a competitive price. This makes it an appealing option for golfers looking for a budget-friendly alternative to more expensive golf balls.
  4. Overall Assessment: The four-piece Kirkland golf ball is likely to be rated as good, suitable for golfers who don’t want to spend too much on golf balls but still desire a decent level of performance. It’s important to note that serious golfers seeking comprehensive tee-to-green performance might prefer balls rated as very good or excellent.

In summary, the Kirkland four-piece golf ball offers a reasonable option for budget-conscious golfers. It provides a balance of cost and performance, making it a viable choice for casual or recreational players.

four piece golf ball

Parker Qingdao SM

Qingdao SM Parker, a Chinese manufacturing company, is the producer of Kirkland Signature golf balls. They specialize in creating high-quality golf balls with materials like urethane, rubber, and synthetic resin, which contribute to the balls’ performance and durability. Despite being marketed and sold under Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand, the actual manufacturing is handled by Qingdao SM Parker. This partnership allows Costco to offer quality golf balls at more affordable prices due to the lower production costs in China.

Qingdao SM Parker’s expertise in producing golf balls that offer good playability and consistency makes them a prominent player in the golf ball manufacturing industry. Their focus on crafting products that combine quality with affordability aligns well with Costco’s business model, providing golfers with a cost-effective yet reliable option for their golfing needs.

In terms of product offerings, Kirkland Signature golf balls include various models, each designed to cater to different types of golfers. From balls optimized for distance and control to those focusing on providing a softer feel and increased spin control, Qingdao SM Parker’s manufacturing capabilities allow them to produce a range of golf balls under the Kirkland Signature brand that appeal to a broad spectrum of golfers, from beginners to more experienced players​.

Who makes Kirkland golf balls?

Kirkland golf balls are manufactured by Qingdao SM Parker, a Chinese sports equipment company. There have been reports of ties to Nassau Golf in Korea as well.

kirkland golf balls

Kirkland golf balls are manufactured by Qingdao SM Parker, a Chinese sports equipment company. These golf balls have gained popularity due to their affordability and decent performance, appealing to golfers looking for a budget-friendly option without compromising too much on quality. While there have been reports of ties to Nassau Golf in Korea, the primary manufacturer remains Qingdao SM Parker.

Nassau Golf Connection with Kirkland golf balls

The connection between Nassau Golf and the manufacturing of Kirkland golf balls has been a subject of some speculation and interest. While Kirkland golf balls are primarily manufactured by Qingdao SM Parker, a company based in China, there have been reports suggesting a potential involvement of Nassau Golf, a Korean corporation, in their production as well.

Nassau Golf is known for its high-quality golf balls, and some people have reported that they might also produce Kirkland golf balls in Korea. However, it seems more widely accepted that the primary manufacturer is indeed Qingdao SM Parker. This company specializes in sports equipment manufacturing, particularly focusing on golf equipment, with Kirkland golf balls being one of their headline products.

The Costco Golf Ball Range

As of 2024, Costco’s Kirkland Signature golf ball range includes the Kirkland Performance+ V3 golf ball. This ball is known for its consumer-friendly price and offers solid quality at an appealing price point. The Kirkland Performance+ V3 features a 338-dimple cover, similar to the previous model, and is designed to provide good value for golfers who want to play a urethane ball on a budget.

The performance characteristics of the Kirkland Performance+ V3 suggest it remains a niche ball suitable for really low-spin golfers. While it may not be a top-performing ball compared to some premium brands, it remains a popular choice due to its affordability and reasonable performance. The ball is expected to continue offering solid quality at a price that is hard to beat for urethane balls.

It’s important to note that while the Kirkland Performance+ V3 is a great value, it may not perform as well in certain conditions, such as in the wind, compared to higher-priced golf balls. Despite this, for many golfers, particularly those who are budget-conscious or do not require the specific performance characteristics of more expensive golf balls, the Kirkland Performance+ V3 represents an excellent choice

The No Longer Available Kirkland 4-Piece Ball

The Kirkland 4-piece golf ball, introduced by Costco under their Kirkland Signature brand, faced various challenges leading to its discontinuation. Initially, this golf ball garnered positive reviews for its performance, but it quickly became embroiled in legal issues. Acushnet Holdings Corp., the manufacturer of Titleist’s Pro V1 golf balls, filed a lawsuit against Costco over the Kirkland 4-piece balls, alleging that they violated 10 of their patents. This legal dispute was later settled out of court in 2018.

Following the lawsuit, Costco briefly halted its golf ball business before reintroducing both three-piece and four-piece offerings under the Kirkland Signature brand. However, the relaunched four-piece balls faced quality concerns, particularly regarding the durability of their covers. Users reported issues such as visible cracks in the ball covers after minor use, leading to a plummet in user ratings and numerous complaints about the ball’s lack of durability.

four piece ball

Kirkland Golf Balls in Comparison to Leading Brands

The comparison will focus on key aspects such as performance, price, and suitability for different types of golfers. Here’s a general comparison based on typical characteristics:

FeatureKirkland Golf BallsLeading Brands (e.g., Titleist, Callaway)
Performance (Distance)Comparable to premium brands, slightly lower for high swing speedsSuperior distance, often preferred by professional golfers
Performance (Spin & Control)Higher spin off the tee, good control around greensThe superior spin control and consistency preferred for precision play
FeelGenerally firmer feel due to constructionRange of feels from soft to firm, depending on the model
DurabilityReasonable durability, though some concerns with earlier 4-piece modelsHigh durability, with advanced cover technologies
PriceSignificantly more affordable, great value for budget-conscious golfersPremium pricing, reflecting advanced technology and R&D
SuitabilityIdeal for budget-conscious golfers, beginners, and mid-handicappersSuited for serious and professional golfers, offering specific performance characteristics
Comparison between top brands

Comparison of Titleists

When comparing Kirkland golf balls to Titleist, a leading brand in the golf industry, several key differences and similarities emerge:

  1. Performance and Construction: Kirkland golf balls, particularly the Signature Performance One (a 4-piece urethane-cover golf ball), were designed to offer good aerodynamics, distance, and control on the greens. However, they fell short in spin performance on the greens and had durability issues, leading to their recall. Titleist golf balls, like the Pro V1 and Pro V1x, are known for their superior performance, offering a blend of distance, control, and consistency. They typically have a multi-layer construction with a urethane cover that contributes to their speed and distance capabilities.
  2. Feel and Control: Kirkland golf balls tend to have a firmer feel compared to Titleist golf balls, which offer a range of feels from soft to firm, depending on the model. Titleist balls, especially the Pro V1 series, are known for their soft feel and high spin on short plays, contributing to better control and precision.
  3. Durability: Titleist golf balls are highly durable, utilizing advanced cover technologies. In contrast, some Kirkland golf balls have faced criticisms regarding their durability, particularly the 4-piece model which had issues with cover durability.
  4. Price: Kirkland golf balls are significantly more affordable than Titleist, making them a great value option for budget-conscious golfers. Titleist balls, being premium products, are priced higher, reflecting their advanced technology and research and development efforts.
  5. Brand Recognition and Target Audience: Titleist has a strong reputation and is a preferred choice among professional golfers, offering various options to cater to different playing styles and preferences. Kirkland golf balls, on the other hand, are more budget-friendly and target golfers who seek quality performance without a high price tag.
  6. Performance with Specific Clubs: In tests comparing driver performance, the Kirkland Signature golf ball was found to have slightly higher speed and further distance compared to the Titleist Pro V1. However, with the 6-iron, the Titleist Pro V1 flew marginally faster and further, while the Kirkland ball launched and flew higher.

In conclusion, while Kirkland golf balls offer great value and decent performance, Titleist golf balls are known for their higher performance, durability, and range of options catering to serious and professional golfers. The choice between the two would depend on individual preferences, playing style, and budget considerations.

Costco’s Entry Into the Golf Equipment Market

Costco’s entry into the golf equipment market, particularly through its Kirkland Signature brand, marked a significant shift in the industry. Costco, known for its wholesale model and value-based pricing, brought these principles into the golf equipment space, challenging established norms and competitors.

Here’s a breakdown of how Costco’s entry impacted the golf equipment market:

  1. Disruptive Pricing: Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand is known for offering high-quality products at lower prices. When they introduced their golf balls, they were priced significantly lower than comparable products from leading golf brands, offering an affordable option without compromising on quality. This pricing strategy put pressure on traditional golf equipment manufacturers to reconsider their pricing structures.
  2. Quality and Performance: Costco didn’t just compete on price; their golf balls, particularly the Kirkland Signature and Kirkland Performance+ golf balls, received positive reviews for their performance. These balls were seen as comparable in quality to higher-end, more expensive golf balls from established brands.
  3. Legal Challenges: Costco’s foray into golf equipment was not without challenges. They faced a lawsuit from Acushnet, the parent company of Titleist, over alleged patent infringements related to their golf balls. This lawsuit brought attention to Costco’s golf balls and highlighted the competitive nature of the golf equipment industry.
  4. Market Expansion: Costco’s presence in the golf market encouraged more people to engage with the sport, particularly those who were previously deterred by the high cost of equipment. By offering more affordable options, Costco made golf more accessible to a broader audience.
  5. Product Diversification: Following the success of its golf balls, Costco expanded its Kirkland Signature brand into other golf equipment, including golf clubs. This diversification further cemented their position in the golf market.
  6. Industry Response: Costco’s entry into the market forced other golf equipment manufacturers to reassess their product offerings and pricing strategies. It led to increased competition and potentially spurred innovation as companies sought to maintain or grow their market share in the face of this new competition.

In summary, Costco’s entry into the golf equipment market, particularly with its Kirkland Signature golf balls, has had a considerable impact. They’ve offered high-quality products at more affordable prices, challenging established brands and contributing to increased accessibility and competition within the golf industry.

Effect on the Golf Industry

  1. Increased Competition: Kirkland golf balls have stimulated competition in the industry by offering a budget-friendly alternative without compromising on performance. This has compelled other manufacturers to reevaluate their pricing and product offerings.
  2. Market Expansion: The affordability of Kirkland golf balls has made golf more accessible to a broader range of players. Budget-conscious golfers now have access to high-quality balls at a fraction of the cost, potentially increasing participation in the sport.
  3. Innovation and Quality: The success of Kirkland golf balls demonstrates that high quality and performance can be achieved at a lower cost, encouraging innovation and quality improvements across the sector.
  4. Legal and Quality Challenges: The Kirkland 4-piece golf ball faced legal challenges from Acushnet Holdings Co. (manufacturer of Titleist golf balls) for patent violations and was discontinued due to quality issues. This underscores the importance of innovation within legal boundaries and maintaining quality standards.
  5. Consumer Perception: The positive user reviews and experiences with Kirkland golf balls have shown that golfers appreciate the balance of performance and affordability. This has led to a favorable perception of Kirkland products in the golf community.
  6. Retail Expansion: Costco’s venture into golf equipment, including budget golf clubs, indicates the potential for retailers to expand into niche markets successfully. Kirkland golf clubs, produced by Southern California Design Company, offer a cost-effective alternative to more expensive brands.
  7. Industry Dynamics: The presence of Kirkland golf balls has altered the dynamics of the golf ball market. Traditional premium brands now contend with a quality, budget-friendly option, which may lead to shifts in market shares and consumer preferences.

In summary, Kirkland golf balls have not only provided a cost-effective option for golfers but have also influenced the golf industry by fostering competition, expanding market reach, and altering consumer expectations and industry dynamics.

Reviews and feedbacks

Golfers appreciate the balance of performance and affordability that these balls offer. Here are some key points from user feedback:

  1. Performance: Users commend the Kirkland Performance+ golf ball for its low launch and high spin design. The performance of these balls is often compared favorably to premium brands like Titleist and Callaway, offering similar distance, spin, and accuracy.
  2. Affordability: A significant advantage mentioned by users is the cost-effectiveness of Kirkland golf balls. They are significantly more affordable than premium brands, making them an excellent choice for budget-conscious golfers.
  3. Quality and Durability: Despite their lower price, users note that Kirkland golf balls demonstrate good longevity and maintain quality, even at faster swing speeds.

4. Positive Experiences on the Golf Course: Golfers report consistent performance with Kirkland golf balls during their games, which has contributed to a positive overall experience on the golf course.

  1. Comparison to Other Brands: Users often compare Kirkland golf balls to top brands, noting that while they may not outperform the highest-end balls in every aspect, they offer a good balance between distance and control, making them suitable for a wide range of golfers.
  2. Impact on the Game: Some golfers have mentioned that the higher spin rate and ball speed offered by Kirkland balls have helped them achieve more distance and accuracy off the tee.

In conclusion, the general sentiment towards Kirkland golf balls is favorable among users. They are valued for their combination of performance, quality, and cost-effectiveness. This positive reception among golfers suggests that Kirkland golf balls will continue to grow in popularity, further establishing their place in the golf industry.

The Kirkland Golf Ball History

The history of Kirkland golf balls, as detailed in the web page content, reveals an interesting journey that has significantly influenced the golf industry. Here’s a summary of their history and impact:

  1. Origin and Manufacturing: Kirkland golf balls, known as Costco golf balls, are manufactured by Qingdao SM Parker, a Chinese sports equipment company. There’s also an unconfirmed suggestion of a connection with Nassau Golf, a Korean corporation, adding to the intrigue of their production process.
  2. Product Range and Development: The Kirkland Signature Golf Ball Range initially included a 4-piece ball, which was later discontinued due to legal and quality issues. Currently, the Kirkland Performance+ 3-piece golf ball is the popular choice, known for its affordability and performance.
  3. Legal Challenges: The 4-piece Kirkland golf ball faced significant challenges, including a lawsuit filed by Acushnet Holdings Co., the manufacturer of Titleist golf balls, alleging patent violations. This lawsuit was resolved outside of court, and the production of the 4-piece ball was discontinued.
  4. Comparison with Top Brands: Kirkland golf balls are often compared with top brands like Titleist and Callaway. While they don’t outperform these brands in every aspect, they offer a good balance between distance, control, and affordability.
  5. Impact on the Golf Industry: The entry of Kirkland golf balls into the market has had a significant impact on the industry. They have been a game-changer for budget-conscious golfers, offering a quality alternative to more expensive premium brands. This has not only stimulated competition among manufacturers but also increased accessibility to the sport.
  6. User Reviews and Reception: General user reviews and experiences with Kirkland golf balls are positive. Golfers appreciate the combination of performance and cost-effectiveness, leading to favorable sentiments towards the brand.
  7. Expansion into Golf Equipment: Following the success of their golf balls, Costco expanded into golf equipment, including budget golf clubs. This move further demonstrates their commitment to offering quality products at competitive prices.
  8. Current Standing and Future Outlook: The popularity of Kirkland golf balls is likely to continue growing, further solidifying their position in the golf industry. They represent a cost-effective and performance-driven alternative to other premium ball brands.

In summary, Kirkland golf balls emerged as a disruptive force in the golf market, challenging the status quo with their affordable yet high-quality offerings. Their journey reflects a blend of innovation, legal challenges, and strategic market positioning, shaping their legacy in the golf industry.

FAQs on Who manufactures Kirkland Golf Balls

Who Manufactures Kirkland Golf Balls?

Kirkland golf balls are manufactured by Qingdao SM Parker, a large company in China specializing in sports equipment manufacturing, particularly golf equipment.

What are the Characteristics of Kirkland Golf Balls?

Kirkland golf balls, particularly the Kirkland Performance+ model, are known for their 3-piece urethane cover construction. They offer a soft and elastic core to maximize distance, generate great spin for iron and wedge shots, and provide good green-side control.

How Do Kirkland Golf Balls Compare to Other Brands?

Kirkland golf balls are often compared to more expensive brands like Titleist Pro V1, offering similar performance at a more affordable price.

What is the Price Range of Kirkland Golf Balls?

Kirkland golf balls are priced significantly lower than many of their competitors, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious golfers.

Have There Been Any Issues with Kirkland Golf Balls?

In the past, Kirkland faced a lawsuit from Titleist Pro-V1 for patent violations, which was settled out of court in 2018. Additionally, there were issues with the durability of their 4-piece balls, leading to a recall.

What is the Future of Kirkland Golf Balls?

Costco, the company behind Kirkland, continues to invest in research and development to enhance the technology of its golf balls.

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