Everyone who plays golf knows that losing golf balls is all too common when playing golf, and the cost of purchasing new golf balls can really add up.
Therefore, to save money, you may want to make your golf balls last as long as possible, but how long do golf balls last?
In this article, we will tell you exactly how long golf balls last, how to know when your golf balls are no longer good, and give you tips to make your balls last longer.
How Long Do Golf Balls Last?
Golf balls can last up to 7 or 8 rounds of 18-hole golf without losing performance, assuming they do not get damaged, scuffed, waterlogged, or deformed by extreme temperatures. However, most players lose their golf balls before they reach the end of their shelf life.
Golf balls are designed to deliver strong performance as long as possible. Thanks to the ingenious engineering behind golf ball technology, golf balls can last as long as 7 or 8 rounds of 18-hole golf without losing performance.
What exactly does it mean if a golf ball has been used for 7 or 8 rounds of 18-hole golf? 7 rounds of 18-hole golf represents a total of 126 holes, and 8 rounds totals up to 144 holes.
Each golf hole has a par number usually between 3 and 5, so let us say that each golf hole will require 5 shots to complete, since most players score over par. This means that for 7 rounds of 18-hole golf, you will take on average 630 shots, and for 8 rounds, 720 shots.
This means that after using the same ball for 7 or 8 rounds of 18-hole golf, or in other words, 630 to 720 shots, the golf ball will start to deteriorate in performance.
Beyond the point of using the same golf ball for 7 or 8 rounds of 18-hole golf, it will start to feel unresponsive, and travel less far.
Therefore, if you shoot the same golf ball over 700 times, it is time to replace it with a newer ball.
However, a golf ball can go bad before it has been shot 700 times, through cracks, waterlogging, and deformation. Read the next section to learn more about when you need to replace a golf ball.
How To Know When A Golf Ball Needs To Be Replaced?
Through normal usage, a golf ball needs to be replaced after being shot over 700 times. However, a golf ball also needs to be replaced if it is cracked, waterlogged, permanently deformed, or if it has lots of scratching, scuffing and paint removed.
If you use the same golf balls at home, shooting them from a mat against a net, then you will eventually have shot them over 700 times, making them too bad to expect good performance out of them while on a golf course.
However, you do not need to throw them away just yet. You can keep using those balls as your practice balls to shoot against a net. Since the balls barely travel any distance before hitting your net, you will not feel the loss of performance in the balls when you practice against a net.
On the other hand, while playing golf on a course, it is very easy to lose golf balls, and most people will not be able to keep a ball before it reaches its expected performance loss after 700 shots.
A golf ball can go bad before you use it 700 times.
If you notice your golf ball is heavily scraped, cracked, deformed, or has lots of paint missing, it is likely your golf ball’s performance will be affected.
Any crack, deformation, or change of surface on the golf ball can dramatically change how it reacts to getting hit, to the wind, and to travelling in the air. A new golf ball is better than a damaged golf ball because it is optimal, and predictable.
If you can visually inspect your golf ball and see there is lots of scraping, cracks, deformation, or paint scrapped off, replace your golf ball.
To know if you need to replace your golf ball, use the Pinky Rule:
If the total amount of paint scratched off of your golf ball through normal usage is more than the surface of the last section of your pinky, you need to change balls.
Another way to know if you need to replace your golf ball is to use the Bounce Test:
Drop a brand new golf ball next to a used ball. Compare the bounces; they should be of similar height. If the bounces are very far off, it is time to replace the used golf ball.
An interesting fact to know is that some professionals switch balls every 3-5 holes, but others have won tournaments using a single golf ball. Golf balls can last a long time if they do not get damaged, up to about 700 shots of use.
One final caveat to consider is that if you buy lake balls or refurbished balls instead of new balls, you might be playing with bad golf balls.
In fact, lake balls or refurbished balls have a high chance of already having been shot 700 times, of having micro-fissures, or of being waterlogged.
All these elements make lake balls or refurbished balls gambles in terms of the performance you will get out of them. If you are a beginner or on a budget, lake balls or refurbished balls can be a great way of saving money.
However, if you are a serious golf player, and care about optimal performance, stay away from lake balls or refurbished balls. Buy new golf balls to ensure you get optimal performance out of them.
How To Make Golf Balls Last Longer?
The shelf life of golf balls can be extended up to 5-10 years by storing them indoors in temperature-controlled environments, as well as by cleaning water off of them. Do not leave golf balls outdoors, wet, or in extreme temperatures.
Golf balls can be stored for a long time and retain their performance, but they need to be stored right.
While not playing with your golf balls, store them indoors, in a temperature-controlled room that is around living room temperature.
In extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, golf balls can permanently deform, which annihilates their ability to travel as far as possible once shot. A golf ball relies on its ability to deform and bounce back to its initial shape like a slingshot in order to maximize its carry distance.
Never leave your golf balls outside in rainy weather because the cold temperature can deform them, and the water can potentially waterlog them. If your golf balls are dirty with mud, it is a good idea to clean your golf balls to get the most performance out of them.
In addition, never leave your golf balls directly under the sunlight for too long, or the UV-rays from the sun can slowly make the paint chip off your golf balls.
Furthermore, do not leave your golf balls soaking in water, even if you are cleaning them. If you leave golf balls submerged, you run the risk of waterlogging them, which will reduce their performance greatly.
If you follow these tips while storing your golf balls, they can easily last 5-10 years, if unused.
If you shoot a golf ball over 700 times, regardless of how well you store it, it will obviously lose performance.
Regardless of how well you store golf balls, if you hit hard surfaces, like rocks and walls with your golf balls, they will crack, and no longer be good.
To maximize the shelf life of your golf balls, you need to avoid hard surfaces when shooting them, store them correctly, keep them clean, and not lose them until they start to naturally and unavoidably lose performance.
There you go! After reading this article, you have learned how long golf balls last, how to know your balls are no longer good, and how to make your golf balls last longer.
Use these tips wisely, and bad golf balls will never ever bottleneck your golfing performances out on the course.
Have you tried any of these tips to make golf balls last longer? Let us know in the comments down below!