Do Golf Balls Go Bad? How Would You Know And What Would You Do To Avoid?

Every sport has something to teach its players. There is no exception for golf. The club-and-ball sport is an exciting game that teaches two critical skills for a successful life; patience and dedication.

To strike the golf ball into a series of holes on an open field takes several attempts to get it right. And as much as it is fascinating, it is also an expensive game. This is because its accessories don’t come cheap.

If you play golf for a while, one of the things to take care of is the condition of golf balls. Although covered with a thermoplastic resin, golf balls are mostly made of rubber in their core.

Different types of golf balls exist, but the question here is, “Do golf balls go bad?” Below we see the best ways to prevent any such situations. 

How Do Golf Balls Behave Over Time?

Golf balls are of rubber. They have a cover with high-grade plastic called Surlyn, or Urethane.

The make of every golf ball is different and, some have extra layers. But the purpose of this ball is to be struck repeatedly and get scratched over a grassy field.

During the gameplay, likewise clubs, golf balls often hit other powerful objects like trees or carts. Developing too many scratches over time can affect their performance. So, it is critical to scruff them up everything time you see scratched-up bits.

What Is The Outcome When We Keep Golf Balls In Water?

Golf balls and water is a bad combination. But it depends on the duration the golf ball is in touch with water. Several golf balls end up in ponds by the course, thus remaining soaked in water for too long.

A golf ball soaked in water for half a day or more will result in the water seeping inside through the outer layer.

You can see its immediate effect on the loss of driving distance. So yes, if there is an effect on the inner core, it will lead to permanent damage.

Most modern golf balls are designed with multi-layers to attract moisture. This helps them to sustain adverse conditions. But keeping golf balls soaked up in the water is a no-no.

What Happens To Golf Balls If Kept Unused?

If you store a golf ball for years (in decades), it will still be usable. However, if you play with a modern make, then in comparison, the stored one may outshine in performance.

Golf ball manufacturers are constantly bringing in new methods. This helps in improving the equipment’s performance.

So, if you play with balls that were manufactured years ago and stored well, you will see a difference. Unused golf balls do not degrade, but they can go outdated.

Do Urethane Golf Balls Go Bad?

Most golf balls use Urethane on the external part. A common material to make golfing equipment, it is known for its durability and higher spin rate. It is a high-end material, eventually affecting the cost of these balls.

But urethane shell is designed to last long unless they end up in ponds, of course.

Is It Common For Pro V1 Golf Balls To Get Damaged Over Time?

The Pro V1 is a premium quality golf ball that features longer distance penetrating flight. It has a softer urethane outer cast, which gives a lower greenside spin and firm feel.

This golf ball is quite popular. This three-piece ball integrates new aerodynamics. You can know more about some of the longest golf balls here.

How Does Wet Clubs Affect Golf Balls?

As mentioned earlier, too much contact with water is bad for the golf ball. So a constant strike from a wet club can damage golf balls.

After a drizzle, a wet club paired with a ball will form no friction when you strike. It can lead to chips on the dimples, eventually making the golf ball useless for further play.

For How Long Can You Play With The Same Golf Ball?

A golf ball should be a resilient piece of equipment and, several modern makes are considering this.

The condition of a golf ball depends on the material of the outer covering, which has to be durable for years. If used well and not stored in harsh conditions, golf balls should last for years.

There is no precise figure that determines the exact shelf life of a golf ball. But on an estimate, a good condition golf ball can last well for 5-7 years.

Avoid The Extremes To Make Unused Golf Balls Last

Do golf balls go bad? Yes, if kept in extreme conditions. To make golf balls last long, you need the right storage environment. Unless kept under severe environments like too hot or too cold conditions, they can last for years.

Golf balls should also not be waterlogged for hours. An ideal room temperature of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit is good enough to keep a lasting condition of golf balls.

There is a myth that if you keep golf balls in the freeze, they become durable. Extreme cold temperatures are bad for the core as they can make the ball lose distance.

Read more: How To Hit A Golf Ball Straight Every Time

How To Refurbish Golf Balls?

There’s a very detailed process to refurbish old golf balls at home. But you can certainly use them for decorative DIYs for home. Either way, you have to thoroughly clean and polish them first.

In a more commercial setting, the old golf balls are given a facelift with sandblasting. The outermost sealing layer gets removed and, there is an addition of a new ethylene cover.

They imprint a new logo and test it for bouncing. After testing, they are good as new to send to the market.

Now, whether you should use a refurbished golf ball is a different ball game (excuse the pun!) altogether. Titleist Pro V1 leads the pack when it comes to reselling used golf balls.

While some refurbished stock can be hard to differentiate from new ones, always look for minor scratches or cuts when buying them.

How To Test Golf Balls?

It is always advisable to test your golf balls before you place them on the put directly. There are a few ways to test the condition of golf balls:

  • If you have a new and old golf ball, simply bounce the new one on the granite or tiled floor, or any hard surface. Compare the movement with the old ball as well. The newer one should bounce more since it’s not used.
  • Check for buoyancy. Take a golf ball and drop it in a big vessel of saltwater. Leave it for two minutes and check if it is floating. If the ball floats, it is in usable conditions.
  • If it starts to sink, there could be a microfracture. Your naked eye can’t easily visualize it, so look for bubbles in the water.
  • The aim of testing your golf balls is to see how far they go. The best way to check this distance is by hitting them in the range and comparing.
  • If you have two sets of golf balls, go to the field and try multiple shots with varying release speeds. Note the speed with which you hit and the distance the ball covered. Observe if the ball is losing distance.
  • Look at your golf ball carefully to look for splits and breaks on the surface. See for peaks on the dimples closely for scratches. If there’s an uneven surface on the dimples, try bouncing it on the hard floor again.

While you check your golf balls, don’t forget to see the 10 best golf balls for 70 mph swing speed.

When Should I Replace My Golf Ball?

If you have a bad aim, you probably have to replace your golf balls, every time you lose one. Oops! No, but statistically speaking, as per Danish Golf Union, about 300 million golf balls go missing every year in the US.

However, you need to keep in mind that you need to replace your golf ball as soon as it starts feeling rough.

Although, it takes a lot of tough swings to wear out these balls.


Your major takeaways about keeping golf balls in good condition are proper storage. Also, not soaking in water for a long time, and checking for chipping on the dimples.

Most golfers keep replacing their golf balls after a few rounds. Even if they are fit to use. Who doesn’t like playing and testing their new accessories after all? But golf balls are pretty expensive, especially the ones of the newer and durable make.

So, while losing them does hurt a bit, keeping them in a long-lasting condition is also necessary. We have tried to answer all the commonly sought-after questions in this guide on ‘Do golf balls go bad?

Read more:Chrome Soft vs. Pro V1: Which Golf Ball Is Right For You?

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