Do Golf Balls Go Bad?

Matt Henney
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Golf balls usually have a long life span. On average, they can last up to 10 years. Moreover, they should last until seven 18-hole rounds without a hitch. If you have noticed that your golf balls are not flying as far as they used to, it might be because they are going bad. 

Any golfer will tell you there are a million ways a ball can go wrong. It is not fun when your golf ball hits something and goes the wrong way. It can happen if you hit it too hard or if something is in the way. 

The question is, do golf balls go bad? Yes, they do. So, how can you tell if your golf ball is no longer performing at its peak level? We have listed the factors that can affect your golf ball and how to properly maintain them to extend its life span.

Golf Ball

Reasons Why Your Golf Balls Go Wrong

  • Lack of Proper Maintenance

One must clean and inspect golf balls after every round to ensure they are free of dirt or defects. Poorly maintained balls can accumulate dirt and grime. The dirt can cause them to fly off-course, lose distance, and spin unpredictably.

Additionally, sunlight and heat can cause damage and cracks in golf balls. Heat can also cause golf balls to expand and contract at different rates, creating uneven surfaces that can affect playability. 

  • Poor Selection

Another common reason why golf balls go wrong is poor selection. Golf balls come in different materials, and some may not suit your game or playing style. 

Even a right ball may feel too hard or soft, depending on how fast you swing play. Selecting a ball that suits your ability level and playing style is crucial. Wrong balls could affect your performance on the course.

  • Improper Hitting 

While proper golf hitting can feel like an art, improper hitting can ruin your golf game. You may be tempted to hit the ball harder for it to go far. However, this is risky and might not work as you want it to. 

While the ball might initially fly more straight than expected, a powerful hit can cause the ball to lose its spin and direction control. Try small swings and incremental changes in your technique over time to improve accuracy. 

Factors That Affect the Lifespan of Golf Balls 

  • Material of the Golf Ball

Golf ballThe material used in the golf ball plays a key role in its performance and quality. Most golf balls have a rubber center with one or more rubber layers around them. Usually, high-quality golf balls have multi-layered urethane covers. 

  • Storage Temperature 

Ideally, you should store golf balls in temperatures between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Suppose you keep the balls in higher or lower temperatures for extended periods; this could cause degradation or damage to the ball itself. If they get too hot, the material might get affected.

  • Care and Maintenance

Practice proper care and maintenance to keep your golf ball in top condition throughout its life. After each use, we recommend cleaning them with soapy water using a soft cloth or sponge. After each use, we recommend cleaning them with soapy water using a soft cloth or sponge. 

Furthermore, ensure that you completely dry them before storing them again in their original packaging or container. Doing this regularly will remove dirt and debris stuck in the ball. 

How Can You Tell if Your Golf Ball Is Going Bad 

  • Damage 

Physical damage is the most obvious sign that your golf ball has gone bad. This includes cuts and scratches, indentations, or anything else that can affect the ball’s surface. While this damage will not necessarily affect performance every time you hit it, it may cause unpredictable results due to its uneven surface. 

  • Unexpected Flight Patterns 

Another thing you should keep an eye out for is unexpected flight patterns. If your shots are going significantly farther than they usually would, then there could be something wrong with your golf ball, even if there is no visible damage present. This could be because part of its core is damaged or worn down. 

  • Loss of Traction or Spin 

If your shots are not going as planned, it might be because the cover layer is worn down. This will hinder you from getting the best spin on your shots, even if you hit them correctly. It would be best to switch out the affected balls for new ones for better performance. 

Do Golf Balls Lose Distance as They Get Older?

As any golfer knows, the driving distance of a golf ball can greatly impact the course of a game. Hence, many want to know if golf balls lose distance as they age. Fortunately, experts agree that time has little effect on a golf ball’s performance.

Golfers may not know that golf balls can lose distance with age, but the difference is not abrupt. This loss in the distance is caused by multiple reasons, which occurs over time as the core breaks down and causes the ball to compress less on impact. 

Do Golf Balls Go Bad In Water?

On the one hand, some say that golf balls can hold up against water, so they do not necessarily expire in it. Short-term contact with water does not harm the golf ball. 

However, after repeated and extended contact with water, you can say goodbye to some of that performance power over time. So play it safe and ensure you keep the balls dry whenever possible.

Do Unused Golf Balls Go Bad?

GolfMany golfers have asked themselves if unused golf balls lose their performance over time and go bad.

Unused golf balls can last many years. It’s best to keep them in their original packaging and store them correctly. 

Ideally, it is best to store golf balls in a cool and dry place. Moreover, keep them away from direct sunlight and moisture.

Additionally, we recommend keeping them in an air-tight container to further preserve their condition. If you follow these steps, your golf ball should last a good while before needing a replacement.

Do Golf Balls Go Bad In Heat?

Yes, you can expect damage when you expose golf balls to extreme temperatures and extended periods of sun exposure. The rubber covers on golf balls will suffer cracks with prolonged periods of heat, making them less efficient when hit. 

Additionally, direct sun exposure also affects the inner components, resulting in diminished ball performance during flight. Such a decline can significantly reduce a golfer’s accuracy, making it essential to replace older balls with ones. Thus, players need to use newer, higher-quality balls when playing during the summer months. 

Tips for Storing Golf Balls So They Do Not Go Bad

It is essential to store golf balls properly if you want to maintain their quality over time. 

  • A great tip is to keep them away from direct sunlight.
  • Avoid exposing them to high temperatures and moisture. 
  • Put your golf balls in a sealed plastic container to keep out harmful elements, 
  • Place them in a cool, dry spot that does not get too hot. 
  • Clean the golf balls after playing so that no dust stays on the ball. 
  • Take advantage of regular inspection so you can detect early damages. 
  • Carefully transport them from one place to another. You should use the original containers for transport purposes. 
  • Ensure that you do not let golf balls come in direct contact with water or exposure for long periods. 
  • It is also wise to store your golf balls off the ground in an area like a shelf or closet. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Can you fix a golf ball that is starting to go bad, or is it better to replace it altogether?

While some golfers may need to replace their ball if it starts to go bad, others can fix it and continue using it. There are a few common but simple fixes for recovering a golf ball when its surface shows signs of wear. Fine-grade sandpaper and water work well to restore a worn-out cover. 

However, you must beware that the damage may be so extensive in some cases that no amount of reviving will make the ball playable again. In this case, you may have to replace them.

2. How can you prolong the life of your golf ball?

Start by investing in quality golf balls that last longer. You can keep them in the trunk of your car or a locker in the clubhouse. Ensure to contain them properly during transportation. 

Doing so will help minimize exposure to outdoor elements like heat and humidity that can wear down a ball quickly. People can take better shots with each ball if there is less friction.

3. How long do golf balls typically last before going bad?

On average, a golf ball can last between five to ten rounds before losing its performance attributes. That being said, factors such as temperature and ground contact also influence the lifetime of a golf ball. 

Thus, some may last much longer or die out in fewer rounds. To ensure you get the best out of your game, check your balls for signs of wear and tear after each game.


Do golf balls go bad? Yes, they do, and various reasons can affect their lifespan. Prolonged exposure to heat, moisture, and other variables can cause your golf balls to deteriorate fast. 

Knowing when your golf balls have gone bad is the key if you want to get the maximum performance out of them while playing on the course. You will know it is time to get new golf balls when you see physical damage. Moreover, they might be worn out if you notice that they are not going in the right direction, or not spinning when you hit them around the course. 

If these continually happen and hinder your game, it is best to buy a new batch of golf balls. With regular maintenance and care for your equipment, you can keep playing at peak performance levels for years to come. 

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