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Can Golf Balls Be Waterlogged?

can golf balls be waterlogged
can golf balls be waterlogged

Can golf balls be waterlogged? What is a waterlogged ball? Is a waterlogged ball bad? Why do golf balls get waterlogged?

These are all questions you may be asking yourself, and they are all answered accurately and concisely in the article down below. If you have any questions, let us know in the comment section at the end of the article.

What is a Waterlogged Golf Ball?

A waterlogged ball is a golf ball in which water has entered, through cracks or fissures sustained during normal playing use. Waterlogged balls are typically found in lakes & other water hazards.

Can Golf Balls Be Waterlogged?

Yes, golf balls can be waterlogged, but that would usually require them to be in the water from multiple hours to multiple months or even years. The bigger the micro-cracks, cracks & fissures are on a golf ball, the less time it will need to be submerged in water to get waterlogged.

Golf balls are waterproof when they are new, but as they get used are repeatedly compress and decompress after impact, they start to get cracks and fissures.

As soon as there is a crack, a golf ball can get waterlogged. The longer a golf ball spends submerged in water, the higher the chance it is waterlogged. This is definitely the case with lake balls.

On the other hand, a golf ball with no cracks whatsoever, like a brand new golf ball, can spend a very long time in water without any liquid entering the ball. Without cracks, a golf ball cannot get waterlogged, and it should retain its original performance even after months in water. You can definitely get some lake balls that are not waterlogged.

In general, if you have been using a golf ball for over 10 rounds of 18-hole golf courses (180 holes), your golf ball will have lost some of its performance and gotten some micro-fissures, and is at a higher risk for waterlogging.

Why are Waterlogged Golf Balls Bad?

A waterlogged golf ball provides inferior performance to that of a new golf ball because the water inside of it makes it heavier. A heavier, waterlogged golf ball is harder to elevate in the air and shoot far away than a regular golf ball.

A waterlogged golf ball, associated with a significant loss of performance, becomes progressively more bothersome as you get better at golf and require consistent responsiveness from your golf balls.

Golf balls are meant to compress after being hit with a golf club, then to decompress to release elastic energy and increase the carry distance. When a golf ball is waterlogged, there is less space in the ball, and thus, the ball can compress much less. Because of the inability to compress as much, waterlogged golf balls travel less carry distance.

Furthermore, if the golf ball is only partially waterlogged, there is a chance that the water inside could result in an unbalanced ball. An unbalanced golf ball would result in unsteady, unpredictable, and turbulent golf shots in the air.

Should I Play With Waterlogged Golf Balls?

If you are a beginner golf player, you can definitely play with waterlogged golf balls. Your technique & feel for stroking golf balls is not yet developed enough to truly appreciate the difference between waterlogged golf balls and new golf balls.

If you are on a budget, you can play with waterlogged golf balls. However, if spending a bit more money on new golf balls does not put a dent in your wallet, you should purchase new golf balls.

It is better to get used to normal golf balls right away than to learn about different conditions of golf balls. Golf is already a sport with huge technical knowledge and understanding required, so you might as well limit the factors you choose to learn that are not essential.

If you are an intermediate, advanced, or professional golf player, waterlogged golf balls can annoy the living hell out of you. Do not buy waterlogged golf balls. You should favor new golf balls, or at least used golf balls that seem to be in very good condition, with no cracks or fissures.

Should I Play Golf With Lake Balls?

If you are on a budget, or a beginner, lake balls are a great option to buy golf balls in bulk without shelling out too much money. Lake balls are balls that were found out-of-bounds, in water hazards or lakes, cleaned, refurbished, and then sold back to the public.

However, since lake balls are golf balls that likely spent a long time underwater, there is a significant chance that some of the ones you buy will be waterlogged.

Therefore, if you have lots of money to put into golf, avoid lake balls, and purchase new golf balls instead. One of the best golf balls known to humankind that are currently on the market is the Titleist ProV1x. This exact golf ball is used by PGA Tour professionals.

Furthermore, if you are not a beginner golf player, do not risk messing up your score with potential waterlogged golf balls, just because some random waterlogged golf ball did not respond the way normal golf balls should. If you are intermediate or advanced in golf, purchase new golf balls, such as the Titleist ProV1x.

How To Avoid Waterlogging Your Balls

To avoid buying waterlogged golf balls, do not buy used golf balls, or lake balls. You do not know where these golf balls were, so they might have spent a year or more in a lake somewhere. If you care about having the best golf performance possible, favor buying new golf balls.

Another good tip is to keep your golf balls dry. Do not leave them outside in the rain, and dry them often. During play, you should be wiping your balls down after every shot anyways to get the most consistency out of hitting it.

Furthermore, check your golf balls for cracks and fissures routinely. A ball with cracks has a higher chance of getting waterlogged, and will also travel less far than intact golf balls.

If you still want to buy second hand golf balls, or if you wish to find out if your once-new balls are waterlogged, try the Waterlog Check Test:

Step 1: Fill a bucket with water and salt. You will have a mixture of saltwater.
Step 2: Dump your golf balls into the saltwater.
Step 3: Observe the behavior of the golf balls.

If the golf balls sink, they are waterlogged. We can tell this because the density of the water inside the golf ball, along with the densities of the metal and other materials of the golf ball, are denser than saltwater. The densest items sink in less dense liquids.

If the golf balls float, then you know that they are not yet waterlogged. The stock golf balls are less dense than saltwater, so they float. All golf balls would sink in normal water, but saltwater has salt in it that makes it denser than non-waterlogged golf balls.
Step 4: Remove and dry the golf balls, organizing them by whether they are waterlogged or not.


There you go! After reading this article, you learned everything there is to know about waterlogged balls, how they become waterlogged, their impact on performance, and how to avoid waterlogged balls.

If you are beginner, you need not worry about whether you are using waterlogged balls. However, if you are getting good at golf, make sure to avoid them!

How many golf balls do you lose to water hazards every year? Let us know in the comments down below!

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