How Long Do Golf Balls Last? From Tee to Green

Golf is a game that requires precision, patience, and skill. Every aspect, from choosing the right club to executing the perfect swing, demands careful attention. But what about the golf balls? Do they play a crucial role in the game, or are they merely a minor detail?

Well, the truth is that golf balls are vital to the game, and their lifespan can significantly impact your performance on the course. So, how long do golf balls last? This question often crosses the minds of many golfers, and you might be surprised by the answer.

In this article, we’ll closely examine the lifespan of golf balls. We’ll explore the factors that influence their longevity and learn how to determine when it’s time to retire them. Whether you’re a golf enthusiast or simply curious about the sport, this article is for you. Keep reading to discover more.

How long do golf balls last? This golf ball last landed right next to the hole.

How Long Do Golf Balls Last?

On average, a high-quality golf ball used by an average golfer can last for several 18 hole rounds of golf, or more. The lifespan of a golf ball can vary depending on several factors, including the quality of the ball, how often it is used, and the conditions in which it is played.

High-quality golf balls made from durable materials, like Surlyn, tend to last longer than cheaper ones made from urethane. Each time you hit a golf ball, it experiences wear and tear, which can affect its performance over time.

Additionally, the environment in which you store your golf balls can impact their lifespan. You probably keep your golf balls zipped up inside your golf bag, which is as safe a place as any depending on where you keep you golf bag. In the garage or inside the house? Extreme temperatures can have adverse effects.

High temperatures can cause the ball’s core to expand, while extreme cold can make the cover more brittle. Therefore, it’s important to keep your golf balls in a cool, dry place to preserve their lifespan.

Understanding Compression in Golf Balls

One of the factors that affect how long golf balls last is their compression rating. Golf ball compression refers to the amount of force needed to compress the ball’s core. You can find the compression rating displayed as a number on the ball, with lower numbers indicating softer balls and higher numbers representing harder balls.

Softer golf balls with a low compression rating are best suited for golfers with slower swing speeds. They are more forgiving and can travel a greater distance. On the other hand, harder golf balls with a higher compression rating are more suitable for golfers with faster swing speeds. They offer greater control and precision but sacrifice some distance.

The lifespan of golf balls is also influenced by their compression. A golf ball with a softer core will compress more and deform more easily over time, resulting in a loss of elasticity and distance. In contrast, harder golf balls tend to endure better, as they can withstand more wear and tear.

Factors That Affect the Lifespan of Golf Balls

Now, let’s look at some other factors that can influence how long your golf balls last:

  • Impact Velocity: The speed and force at which you hit a golf ball can affect its lifespan. When a ball is struck with high velocity, it undergoes more deformation and wear, leading to a shorter lifespan.
  • Spin Rate: The spin rate of a golf ball also matters. Excessive spin can cause the ball’s cover to peel or scuff, making it less aerodynamic and reducing its lifespan.
  • Type of Course: The type of golf course you play on can impact your golf balls. Courses with harder surfaces can cause more wear and tear, resulting in a shorter lifespan for your balls.
  • Ball Retrieval Methods: How you retrieve your golf balls can also make a difference. Using ball retrievers or other tools to retrieve balls can cause more wear and tear, reducing their lifespan.

As you can see, the lifespan of golf balls can vary based on factors other than just ball quality and frequency of use. You also need to factor in such things as impact velocity, spin rate, type of course, and retrieval methods. By considering these factors, you can make well-informed decisions to not only extend the lifespan of your golf balls but to improve your game as well.

The office is a great place to practice your putting.

Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Golf Balls

Knowing when to replace your golf balls is crucial for maintaining consistency and accuracy in your game. Here are some indicators that it’s time to get new golf balls:

  • Scuffs and Scratches: If your golf balls have visible scuffs or scratches on their covers, they can affect how the ball flies through the air. This can lead to inaccurate shots. To ensure optimal performance, it’s important to replace any golf balls with noticeable scuffs or scratches.
  • Loss of Elasticity: When golf balls lose their elasticity, they won’t travel as far as they used to. To check for elasticity, drop your golf ball on a hard surface. If it bounces high, it still has good elasticity. However, if it bounces low, it’s a sign that it’s time to replace it.
  • Cracks or Dents: Cracks or dents on a golf ball can alter its trajectory and accuracy. If you notice any visible cracks or dents, it’s best to replace those golf balls to maintain consistent performance.

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How to Tell If Your Golf Ball Is Still Good

If you’re uncertain about the condition of your golf balls, here are a few tests you can perform to determine if they need replacing:

  • Float Test: Fill a bucket with water and drop your golf ball into it. If the ball floats, it indicates that it has a lower density, which may be a sign of wear and tear. If it sinks, the ball is still in good condition.
  • Spin Test: Place the golf ball on a flat surface and give it a spin. If the ball wobbles or spins unevenly, it suggests that it may be damaged and should be replaced.
  • Sound Test: Drop the golf ball onto a hard surface and listen to the sound it makes. A high-pitched sound indicates that the ball is in good condition. However, if you hear a dull thud, it’s an indication that the ball needs to be replaced.

By paying attention to these signs and conducting simple tests, you can ensure that you’re using golf balls that are in optimal condition, helping you maintain a consistent and accurate game on the course.

Do Different Types of Golf Balls Have Different Lifespans?

The lifespan of a golf ball can vary depending on its construction and materials. For example, golf balls with a Surlyn cover tend to last longer than those with a urethane cover. Likewise, multi-layered golf balls generally have a longer lifespan compared to two-piece golf balls.

However, it’s important to note that individual factors such as usage, storage, and impact velocity also influence the lifespan of golf balls. Therefore, considering both the type of golf ball and these individual factors is crucial when determining how long they will last.

Common Myths About Golf Ball Lifespan

There are several myths surrounding the lifespan of golf balls. Let’s debunk some of the most common ones:

  • Golf Balls Last Forever: Contrary to popular belief, golf balls do not last forever. Each time they are hit, they experience wear and tear, which gradually reduces their lifespan.
  • Golf Balls Lose Distance After One Use: Golf balls do not lose distance after just one use. However, over time, they can lose their elasticity and aerodynamics, resulting in a decrease in distance.
  • Storing Golf Balls in the Refrigerator or Freezer Extends Their Lifespan: Storing golf balls in the refrigerator or freezer can actually damage them. The extreme cold can cause the materials to crack and degrade, ultimately shortening their lifespan.

How to Make Your Golf Balls Last Longer

If you want to prolong the lifespan of your golf balls, here are some tips to follow:

  • Clean Them After Each Use: Cleaning your golf balls after every use helps remove dirt and debris that can affect their performance and lifespan.
  • Store Them in a Cool, Dry Place: Storing your golf balls in a cool, dry place safeguards them against potential damage caused by high temperatures and humidity.
  • Use Them Sparingly: Using your golf balls sparingly can minimize wear and tear, thus extending their lifespan.
  • Use a Ball Retriever Gently: When retrieving golf balls from hazards or rough, handle them gently with a ball retriever to prevent excessive wear and tear.


To wrap up, golf balls play a crucial role in the game of golf, and their lifespan greatly impacts your performance. Factors such as the ball’s quality, frequency of use, and storage environment all contribute to how long golf balls will last. Recognizing signs such as scuffs, loss of elasticity, and cracks or dents indicates when it’s time to replace your golf balls.

How Long Do Golf Balls Last? From Tee to GreenHOOA Golf on Youtube

By implementing practices like cleaning them, storing them properly, using them wisely, and handling them gently, you can extend their lifespan and enhance your game’s consistency and accuracy.

We hope this guide has provided valuable insights into the question of ‘how long do golf balls last’. Feel free to share your own experiences with golf ball durability in the comments. Happy golfing!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How often should you replace a golf ball?

    The frequency of replacing golf balls depends on factors like their condition, your playing style, and how often you play. Some golfers change their balls regularly, while others do so only when they are lost or severely damaged. Scuffs and cut marks can impact a ball’s performance, so it’s important to inspect them for damage before teeing off.

  2. Are golf balls that are 20 years old still usable?

    Golf balls that are 20 years old may not perform at their best, particularly if they have been stored in extreme temperatures or exposed to harsh conditions. Under normal storage conditions, a golf ball can last for many years, even up to a decade if stored properly. Nevertheless, as the materials in golf balls can deteriorate over time, the performance of a 20-year-old ball may not be as good as a new one.





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