It sounds to me like you didn’t give them a fair shake because you think you know more than they do.
As a 24 handicap player, I doubt putting is your biggest issue.
If you want to beat your golf buddies consistently, you need to be a better ballstriker than they are. Age is not a limiting factor. I know guys in their 60s who are single digit players. Hell, I know a guy who missed shooting his age at 76 by two strokes.
I personally don’t think it matters much between most balls, except the really cheap ones from Walmart (I forgot the brand).
I have a decent handicap and have been playing used balls I got from my instructor a few years ago. I played a few rounds with new ProV1 and my distances/scores remained the same.