Something that can be an issue for golfers who are on a budget is the constant requirement to stock up on golf balls due to cost. Therefore what golfers will do is choose to buy used golf balls.
Despite wanting to still achieve top performance, golfers will be left asking themselves the question ‘do golf balls go bad?’ or ‘how long do golf balls last?’
In this guide we will uncover what you should do next time you’re considering buying used golf balls or fresh golf balls.
How Long Do Golf Balls Last?
A golf ball lasts around 7 rounds before it will show visible wear and tear that may affect the performance of the golf ball (Golf Digest). The typical signs of golf balls wear and tear that would affect the golf ball’s performance to look out for would be signs such as visible scratches, scuff marks and damage to the golf ball that may affect both the connection and flight of the ball.
Every little detail can make a difference in golf when it comes to scoring and when it comes to choosing the best balls this is no different.
Do Golf Balls Go Bad?
Golf balls will start to go bad after around 7 rounds of golf. However, they will still perform to a high level and be usable as long as the damage and marks to the ball are minor. Golf balls go bad and lose performance once damage occurs which may mean that ball flight or connection with the ball is affected.
Benefits Of Used Golf Balls
The main reason that a golfer would choose to purchase older golf balls is because they are significantly cheaper than new premium balls while still offering an acceptable level of performance.
How much cheaper are they comparatively?
Well on Lost Golf Balls you can pick up a premium golf ball such as the Pro V1 for around half the price of buying the golf ball new. Alternatively, you could choose to buy a large bag of balls such as the balls pictured. For some golfers this is a great option, especially if they aren’t the most accurate drivers of the golf ball on the golf course.
Also, starting out you may be concerned about losing golf balls. Therefore, you’re already in the market for beginner golf balls as well as looking to save money elsewhere.
New Golf Ball Benefits
For golfers looking to really invest in their game they will always be on the lookout for the latest equipment and choosing the best golf balls provides no exception to this rule.
When it comes to a new ball it is important to consider that they probably will last longer, especially if they are a premium brand. This is because golf balls that aren’t durable will go bad faster.
You may be able to get extra golf ball shelf life by storing the balls correctly as this has been seen to preserve the balls to last longer. In fact, Titleist has stated that they can last up to five years if stored correctly.
Additionally, in winter you might want to look for specific cold weather golf balls that can usually be picked up for a good price.
Used Golf Balls Vs New Golf Balls: Is There Any Difference?
So the real question is how do the two compare against each other. Well studies have remained inconclusive whether a new ball will see you perform better but Practical Golf decided to take a test and see how they performed side by side.
Using the driver as an example they found when using a launch monitor that the key balls stats were comparative when using a used golf ball vs a new golf ball. For example the golf ball speeds were similar (148 vs 149) and the spin rates were comparative (1969 vs 2028). In fact they found that the drive went slightly further with the used balls (although this can be hard to judge on a swing by swing basis). This helps to alleviate any concerns that even distance golf balls might not perform as well.
So this can leave you wondering if it is even worth investing in used golf balls.
One thing that we would say when it comes to comparing the two side by side is that despite performance being similar. Used golf balls may be likely to go bad faster than a new ball as they are further down in their shelf life. It is also worth considering when looking at a list of golf balls that not all are created the same way in terms of their construction and compression. This can especially be the case between regular golf balls and practice balls and also if they aren’t a premium brand such as Callaway, Taylormade or Titleist.
To answer the question ‘do golf balls go bad?’ we have to say that the specific evidence is unclear as technically golf balls can last a long time. As we showed above, if terms of performance of the golf balls as long as the balls are in reasonable condition the actual performance shouldn’t be compromised too much.
However your overall choice can all depend on your own specific needs when it comes to what you want out of the game. If you are always looking to get a competitive edge with no expense spared then new balls, especially the most expensive golf balls are probably a better fit for you with discount golf balls being a great way to save money. However, if you are a recreational golfer that wants golf balls that will last and if the performance dips slightly in the long term but can live with it then used golf balls are probably a better fit for you.