Do Golf Balls Go Bad? – Golfers Medium

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I’ve been an avid golfer for many years, and I’ve noticed that golf balls can indeed go bad over time. A few years ago, I found a box of golf balls in my garage that I had forgotten about. They were probably a couple of years old at that point. Curious to see if they were still usable, I took them out for a round of golf.

To my surprise, the performance of those older golf balls was noticeably different from fresh ones. They didn’t travel as far off the tee, and their spin control seemed off. I had a harder time shaping shots and controlling the ball’s trajectory. It felt like I was losing distance and accuracy compared to when I used new golf balls.

Not only that, but I also noticed that the older balls scuffed more easily. Even slight contact with a tree or cart path resulted in visible marks and scratches, which further affected their performance. It was clear to me that the golf balls had deteriorated over time, and I made a mental note to avoid using old balls for important rounds or competitions.

Since then, I’ve made it a habit to regularly inspect my golf balls and replace them when necessary. While the exact lifespan of a golf ball can vary depending on various factors, I’ve found that using fresh, high-quality balls consistently provides me with better performance on the course.

How can I prolong the lifespan of my golf balls?

Let’s share my own experience. As a golfer, I want to make sure my golf balls last as long as possible to maximize their performance and value. One thing I learned early on was to avoid hitting shots that could cause excessive damage to the balls. For instance, I tried to avoid hitting them directly into rocks, trees, or other hard surfaces that could lead to scuffs and cuts.

Additionally, I made a conscious effort to keep my golf balls clean. After each round, I would spend a few minutes wiping them down with a damp towel to remove dirt, grass, and debris. This simple act of cleaning helped prevent buildup and potential damage that could affect the ball’s aerodynamics.

To minimize exposure to extreme temperatures and sunlight, I started storing my golf balls in a cool, dry place. I purchased a small pouch designed specifically for golf balls and kept it in a closet indoors. By avoiding prolonged exposure to heat or sunlight, I noticed that my golf balls retained their performance characteristics for a longer time.

I also became more selective about which balls I used for practice rounds versus important competitions. When practicing, I would often use older golf balls that had already seen some wear. This way, I could save my newer, higher-quality balls for competitive play when I needed maximum performance.

Overall, by being mindful of how I used, cleaned, and stored my golf balls, I was able to extend their lifespan. Not only did this save me money in the long run, but it also ensured that my golf balls performed consistently, giving me more confidence on the course.

Is there a way to determine the age of a golf ball or estimate its remaining performance?

Determining the exact age of a golf ball can be challenging unless you have specific information about when it was manufactured. Golf balls typically don’t have visible expiration dates or production timestamps. 

However, there are a few ways golfers can estimate the age of a golf ball and assess its remaining performance:

  1. Packaging: If you still have the original packaging or sleeve, it might indicate the year of manufacture or provide a general indication of the ball’s age. Manufacturers sometimes print manufacturing or release dates on the packaging.
  1. Technology or Model Changes: Golf ball manufacturers often release updated models or technologies periodically. If you know the model of the golf ball and have knowledge of when it was introduced or discontinued, you can estimate its age based on that information.
  1. Appearance and Condition: Golf balls that have been used extensively may exhibit signs of wear, discoloration, or dimples becoming shallower. These visual cues can provide a general idea of the ball’s age and may suggest potential deterioration.
  1. Compression Test: While not a definitive age indicator, you can perform a compression test to assess the firmness of a golf ball. Over time, golf balls tend to lose their compression, which can affect their performance. Comparing the compression of a used ball to that of a new one of the same model can give you an idea of its relative age.


I hope this article was helpful to you. In conclusion, golf balls, like any other equipment, may experience wear and tear over time, but let’s not get teed off about it! The beauty of golf is that even with slightly older balls, we can still enjoy the game and have a great time on the course.

Hannah Brotsky

Hi! I am Hannah, a golf enthusiast, have been perfecting my swing for over a decade, making long putts a breeze. Aside from playing, I am a professional golf writer, I try capture the nuances of the game and inspire others to embrace their love for golf. Follow me on Twitter.

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