Is Your Golf Ball Worn Out?

Golf balls are just another expense that golfers have to deal with to keep themselves involved in the game. Many players feel that playing golf requires a brand new ball each time they head out to the course.

Although it can’t hurt to play with a brand new golf ball, sometimes playing with a ball that you have used for a few rounds is completely acceptable. Let’s take a look at how long it takes for a golf ball to wear and what you can expect to get out of a box of golf balls.

How Long Does It Take A Golf Ball To Wear Out?

On average, a golf ball should last between six and eight rounds of golf. Not all golf balls are made of the highest quality materials, and you may see that there are some issues with performance a bit sooner. Used golf balls start to lose some of their performance after about eight rounds of golf. The way you strike the ball and the surfaces the golf ball encounters will impact overall performance.

For an average golfer who hits the ball 90 times per round, the golf ball handled about 700 strikes. One of the questions that most golfers have is whether or not a golf ball is still good.

How can you tell if a golf ball is a good choice to use on a golf course or if it should become a practice ball? Let’s take a look at some things you should know about golf balls and whether or not they are still fit for play.

How To Tell If A Golf Ball Is Still Playable

When you find a golf ball on a course or make it through a round of golf with the same ball, you may be wondering whether or not you can use it again for another round. Here are a few things to consider about the golf ball construction and overall look to determine if it is worth putting into play for one more round.


The cover of a modern golf ball needs to be fully intact to get the best performance. If you see a scuff or a cut on the cover, this ball is done. A ball’s performance will be impacted by the wear and tear on the cover, and you may notice differences in ball speed and distance. In addition, the ball will not feature the same spin characteristics that it did before it was damaged.


Premium balls have a fresh coat of even pain on the outside cover material. You will not be able to see any imperfections in the paint, and this is done to protect the golf club and keep the ball more aerodynamic. The ball will lose performance as soon as you see scuffs in the paint or even a chip in the paint. These imperfections tend to have a major impact on ball flight.


The brand and style of modern golf balls should be considered. For instance, if you find a golf ball on the course that hasn’t been produced in the last ten years, this golf ball is done and should be used for practice balls. When you find a golf ball on the course, only play with a model that has been around for the last few years.

Test It

The best way to find out how a golf ball will manage on the course is to try it out. Hit a few shots and see if it goes as far or as high as it usually does. Balls that have hit cart paths or spend some time in the water will not fly as well as they should. However, most regular golfers can easily get 7 or so rounds out of a golf ball.

Swing Speed

Golfers with very high swing speed tend to need new balls more often than the slower swinging golfers. The high swing speed means that you will hit the clubface with enough force to cause damage or cuts from time to time. Choosing a golf ball with a durable outer layer is quite important for high swing speed players.

What Is The Shelf Life Of A Golf Ball?

The shelf life of a golf ball can be more than five years as long as the golf ball has been stored properly. Excessive heat and excessive cold are not good for unused golf balls. If the golf ball sits in a temperature-controlled environment, the ball should last for many years.

Golf ball researchers have found that most of the time, golfers will pull a ball out of play well before it’s useful life. However, many golfers lose golf balls due to an errant shot before they get the chance to use them for several rounds.

Overall you will aim to use your golf ball for at least seven or eight rounds before switching to a new golf ball. This is going to save you quite a bit of money.


Now that you have a better idea of how long a golf ball lasts, let’s take a look at some of the questions golfers have about their golf ball and its performance.

Do Golf Balls Get Water Logged?

If a ball spends more than a few days in the water, it can decrease performance due to exposure to water. If there are any cracks or scuffs in the golf ball, even if they are microscopic, the ball gets waterlogged. However, if you hit a shot into a pond and grab your golf ball out, there will be little or no loss in performance.

Are 20-Year-Old Golf Balls Still Good?

The problem with using golf balls that are 20 years old is that the technology is no longer relevant. Golf ball technology, the materials used, and the overall performance has changed so much in the last 20 years. Using these older golf balls, even if their performance was still good, will be a disadvantage.

How Often Should You Replace Your Golf Ball?

If you are a good enough player that you don’t lose a golf ball during the course of a round, we recommend playing for about 5 rounds of golf before replacing your golf ball. However, if you are playing in a tournament situation, it does make sense, to begin with, a new golf ball to get your round off to the proper start.


Replacing a golf ball simply because you want to start rounds of golf with a new ball is not really necessary. As long as you don’t see any paint loss, visible scuffs, or cover damage, you can easily play with a used golf ball. A used ball in mind condition can last for six or more rounds of golf. Keep your golf shots away from the cart path and try to hit it as solid as possible, and you will get more than 12 rounds out of a dozen golf balls. For more information be sure to check out the rest of

Steven Clark

My name is Steven, and I am the person behind this website. I am a high-single digit handicap and I am obsessed with the game of golf. This website was started so I could test and use new clubs, balls, and other golf accessories, and now, it has become my business. I hope you enjoy and check back often.

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