how long do golf balls last

How Long Do Golf Balls Last?

Even after countless hits, golf balls still manage to retain their shape and integrity. It makes you think, “How long do golf balls last?”

Broadly speaking, golf balls can last anywhere between five to ten years. With the right conditions, these golfing tools can still maintain their performance.

Nevertheless, there are some factors worth considering before using an old ball. For one, some golf balls may have been left underwater for too long. Too much moisture inside the ball can unfavorably affect the ball’s play.

Stick around to learn more about how long golf balls last, what affects their lifespan, and how you can maintain them for more years to come.

What is a Golf Ball’s Lifespan?

Golf balls can last a decade and sometimes even more. Others argue that a golf ball can take about seven rounds before losing its value.

Regardless of this time frame, golf balls can still go bad. Whether it’s from the weather or wear-outs, they can lose their high-performance properties.

That being said, if you open your old golf bag and find a couple of balls laying around, chances are, they’re still in good condition. Overall, a golf ball’s lifespan is not fixed. It mostly depends on where they’re stored and the damage they’ve retained over the years.

Factors that Affect a Golf Ball’s Condition

No matter how many hits a golf ball takes, some conditions may still have a more negative impact on their structural integrity.

Without further ado, here are the factors that affect a golf ball’s condition.

Water Damage

In most golf courses, there’s usually some sort of water landscaping, such as ponds. More often than not, your shot can plop into the water. Now, you can easily fish it out and that’s that, but if you leave it there for a while, that’s a different story.

It takes about 12 hours for the water to penetrate through a golf ball’s outer layer. Technically speaking, the first layer is composed of a porous polyurethane foam, which will allow moisture in.

Eventually, the water will reach the core, damaging the ball even more. That’s why leaving it for longer than 12 hours will potentially cause waterlogging.
Waterlogged golf balls mostly affect the drive distance. You can lose about five to ten yards of distance from water damage.

Having said that, a golf ball doesn’t necessarily need to be submerged in water to negatively affect your performance. To demonstrate, you can try hitting a golf ball using a wet club.

You’ll lose the needed friction to make the ball spin. Plus, the ball will also sustain more damage than when dry.

Temperature Changes

Most golfers tend to keep their golf balls safely tucked away in their garages. They can leave the balls all year long, where it becomes exposed to the extreme heat of summer and the harsh cold of winter.

The weather changes can impact the golf ball’s play. Several golf enthusiasts believe that storing golf balls in the freezer is the way to go. However, similar to the effects of waterlogging, the ball will also lose drive when frozen solid.

Likewise, too much heat can also take some years away from your golf ball. The first layer of defense of the ball is usually composed of an ionomer. This material is thermoplastic, rendering it more vulnerable to high temperatures.

The heat can easily mold the exterior and misshape it. This can heavily affect the aerodynamic nature of the golf ball. All in all, the ideal storage temperature of golf balls falls between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.


Scratches and cuts on golf balls from clubs often come from beginners. In other instances, they could be a result of hitting a tree or other objects on the obstacle course.

Beginner players may make too many thin iron shots. These shots are ones that hit the ball too high with an iron club. You’ll know when you hit a thin shot if the golf club vibrates in your hands.

If you’re unsure about the scuff marks and cuts, then you can examine the golf ball after each round to check for any irregularity in its shape. If the golf ball is chipped, then it’s best to toss it since this will affect the compression quality and the ball may lose its original bounce.

That being so, some golfers tend to ditch a ball after each round. Our advice would be to leave the hit balls for your practice sessions.

Type of Golf Ball

The type of golf ball may also influence how long it lasts. Each kind of golf ball mostly differs in the number of layers it has. The most commonly available are the two-piece golf balls. They’re also the ones that usually last the longest.

Two-piece golf balls are made of two layers, the first is the ionomer exterior and the interior is composed of hard rubber. These durable balls are best used for beginner golfers since they’re more forgiving when it comes to wrong hits.

Three-piece balls feature a rubber core, elastic mid-layer, and an outer layer which is a latex-like balata cover. These golf balls tend to last around two to five years or so.

Meanwhile, a more detailed five-piece golf ball can last a shorter amount. As the layers add up, the thinner they become. Consequently, they become easier targets for scuffing and scratches.

How to Maintain Golf Balls

The best way to store your golf balls is in a dry area with a temperature range of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Additionally, try to keep the storage area humid-free. Having said that, most new golf balls come with ethylene covers. This has allowed them to withstand temperatures as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

With that in mind, you shouldn’t worry too much about how you store the golf ball. After years have passed, you can just rinse the balls and give them a quick dishwasher detergent wash. They’ll be ready for their next round.

To Conclude

How long do golf balls last? Unless they’ve been waterlogged, heat damaged, or frozen, then they can last you about five to ten years.

Now, despite golf balls lasting close to a decade, you may not even want to play with them even if they’re in perfect condition.

By the time you use them, there’ll be better models with newer technology that’ll heighten your performance. All the same, you can still use most old golf balls for your practice shots.

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