Do Golf Balls Go Bad? How Long Do They Last?

The worst thing you can do to yourself on a golf course is play the wrong shot only because your golf balls have gone bad. 

Wait what? Do golf balls go bad? Honestly, it depends! 

As they don’t come with an expiry date, the life of a golf ball is often unpredictable.

However, there are certain factors that affect their lives, and in today’s article, I’m gonna discuss everything about them. 

Let’s hop into it!

The Lifespan of Golf Balls: How Long Do They Last?

Golf balls witness a lot of action on the golf course! 

As you play a round of golf, the ball is continually being struck by your club and, many times, hit’s rough surfaces and hard objects. 

This makes your golf ball get old. However, that doesn’t directly impact its performance.

In simple words, your golf ball can be old but still perform well and last for a long time. 

On average, the lifespan of a golf ball is up to 10 years, but yours can go bad before this if you don’t take proper care. 

For more insight, have a look at this youtube video by HOOA Golf;

That sums up everything! 

Factors Affecting the Life of a Golf Ball

1. Build of Golf Ball

Golf ball is made with strong plastic and rubber material; however, its build quality is determined based on its cover layers. 

Generally, there are two types of golf balls that are most used by golfers;

#1: 2-Piece Golf Ball

These golf balls have a large rubber core and a hard outer cover layer to provide low compression, which makes them favorable for the beginners and high-handicap players.

In addition to this, they also have maximized travel distance and durability so you don’t have to try hard while playing golf. 

Because of their simple 2 layered construction and low manufacturing cost, 2 piece golf balls are prone to damage if you smash them hard.  

#2: 3-Piece Golf Ball

3 piece golf balls provide greater spin rate and ball control, and are often used by skilled golfs to play high-speed shots.  

It’s made possible with their three layered construction which includes a solid core, a hard cover and a soft cover over it.

Due to their solid build, they’re capable of taking a lot more damage, compared to the 2-piece balls.

2. Playing Environment

While you’re playing golf, your golf ball is constantly getting smashed! 

Just look at this hot youtube video by kraftygolf22;


Whether it’s your golf club, the putting green, obstacles or the holes…all the stuff in your playing environment affects the life of your golf balls. 

Whenever the golf ball hits an object, it takes some wear and tear!  

3. Water Damage

Water can be hazardous to your golf ball but it’s not always the case. 

Most golf balls come with a water resistant outer layer which saves them from water damage. 

However, if your golf ball is old enough to have some cracks in it, water can easily seep through them. 

To check water damage, see if your golf ball has become heavier after contacting it. 

If yes, you may need to replace your golf ball! 

4. Storage Conditions

The life of your golf ball also depends on its storage conditions. 

Usually, a golf ball can survive for 3-4 years at room temperature if stored in a proper environment. 

If you have unused golf balls, you can keep them at 70-80 Fahrenheit in air tight bags for about 10 years.  

How to Tell if Your Golf Ball has Gone Bad?

Wanna check whether your golf ball has gone bad or you can still play a round with it? Just apply these easy test on ‘em; 

1. The Coin Test

The coin test is considered as a rule of thumb to check paint loss, marks, crack and routine damage on your golf balls.

Simply grab a coin or a dime and rub your golf ball with it to judge the condition of the ball.

Not only this, but the test also gives you enough information about the spin rate and deformity of the ball.

2. The Bounce Test

This is the simplest way to check your used golf balls!

All you need is to grab a new golf ball and throw it on a hard surface such as tile floor to observe its bounce. 

Repeat the same process with your old golf ball and compare the bounce of both balls.

The newer one will definitely bounce higher but if the older one bounces close to it, you’re safe to play with it.

While you’re performing the test, make sure to stay away from the ball so you don’t get hurt by the bounce back.

3. The Float Test

Generally, the cracks and splits on a golf ball oare pretty obvious and you know it’s time to change the ball simply by seeing it. 

However, in some cases the ball may look clean but still compromises the performance! 

This is because of the tiny fractures in your golf balls that cause leakage. 

To check for leakage, submerge the golf balls in a tank of salt water and leave for one hour. 

After that, see If the balls aren’t giving bubbles, the cover is unharmed. If there are bubbles, then there’s a leakage. 

Take out the balls, dry them and check for the weight. If the balls feel heavy, the fracture is big enough to allow water seepage which means… Well, you know what it means!   

4. The Chipping Test

Checking your golf balls for chipping is important before you decide to play because it affects the compression of a ball. 

Generally, you won’t be able to notice the micro spits and cracks but if you take a closer look at the dimples, you may find some signs of chipping.

Although the float test is more reliable for checking a golf ball for chipping, you don’t have that facility on the course. 

In that case, go for a bounce test as low compression won’t allow your golf ball to pass it. 

5. The Distance Test

Sometimes, it’s all about hitting a larger distance and to check if your golf ball can do that, head to a golf course and try hitting! 

The test works in a simple way. All you need is to grab your old golf ball and a new one. 

Hit them one after one and then note the distance traveled by each ball while collecting them. 

Compare the traveled distances by your old golf balls while keeping the new one as standard.    

How to Restore Old Golf Balls

Old golf balls are commonly refurbished on a large scale using an industrial approach but you can also do it for yourself.  

Whether you have abandoned golf balls at home or you like collecting them on the golf course, you can restore them via. DIY approach at home. 

Let’s look at the process;  

Cleaning the Balls

The first step is to take your dirty old golf ball for a bath!

Using a soap solution or a golf ball washer, rub the ball with a soft plastic brush for about 20 minutes. 

Make sure that there’s no dirt or grime left in the dimples and then wash it with warm water.

Polishing the Balls

To bring back the golf ball in a brand new condition, you need to polish it well.

Although it doesn’t make much impact on the performance of the ball, it’s important for the aesthetics purpose. 

Get a white polish and apply it all over the ball using a soft brush until you notice a new-like shine on it. 

Applying the Logo

This step is only for the custom freaks. You can modify your golf ball using your personal favorite logo or create a new one if you want to.  

Testing the Golf Ball

Lastly, you need to test the golf ball for its performance.

Performing the test described above in this article is the best way to tell if the ball will hold up or not. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How far do golf balls go? 

Usually, the maximum distance golf balls can travel is 300-320 yards depending on their build, weather conditions and your gameplay.

How many hits can a golf ball take?

Normally, a golf ball is designed to take 100 hits at 125 mph before cracking. Depending on your playing style, your golf ball can either expire before or after that limit.  

Do golf balls go bad in heat?   

The normal temperature for storing golf balls is 70-80 Fahrenheit. If it rises, the balls can definitely go bad. 

Conclusion: Do Golf Balls Go Bad?

Now that we have discussed every important detail on the subject matter, I think it’s time to give the final verdict for which I’ll get straight to the point. 

Do golf balls go bad? Yes! They do but again, it depends on various internal and external factors that I’ve encompassed in this conclusive guide. 

However the good news is, that the odds of your golf balls going bad are less if you handle them with care.

Happy golfing! 

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