What is a used golf ball?
A used golf ball is a golf ball that is hit once (or more) but then is lost somewhere on the golf course. These golf balls are then recovered and sold at a discounted price. Don’t look now but used golf balls are growing in popularity every day. Playing golf with a used golf balls was once compared to wearing dirty underwear, dirty socks, or dirty clothes.
Fast forward a few years and we now have used golf balls being sold at astonishing rates. They have much become the norm for many golfers because they offer great quality golf balls at half the price. It’s very important to understand the differences between all the different golf balls under the “used golf balls” umbrella so we will dig into all of them now.
You will hear multiple terms which refer to used golf balls – refinished golf balls, recycled golf balls, refurbished golf balls, and of course used golf balls.
- Refinished Golf Balls – A refinished is a very low quality golf ball that goes through an aggressive surface preparation by chemical and/or mechanical stripping the original paints from the golf ball. The stripped used golf ball is then repainted and reprinted and a clear coat applied.
- Refurbished Golf Balls – These golf balls are restored in a pretty advanced way. Instead of blasting the cover clean and then re-coat and re-paint, these balls are improved cosmetically based on need. Basically, if there is an arrow that needs painting or a logo that’s fading the refurbished process will make them look as good as new.
- X-Out Golf Balls – X-Out golf balls are also conforming products. However, they usually have a cosmetic blemish and/or occasionally have a minor physical defect that should not significantly affect its performance. More often than not, the physical condition causing the ball to be stamped as an X-Out is so minute that it is not recognizable by the player. Although these balls have no performance issues we will never add them to our EAGLE Quality.
- Practice Golf Balls – Practice golf balls are conforming products that differ only due to a cosmetic blemish such as paint, ink or registration of stamping. Pro V1 Practice golf balls do not have any construction or performance deficiencies. Although these balls have no performance issues we will never add them to our EAGLE Quality
- Recycled Golf Balls – See used golf balls, same thing. Some like to claim that they are truly “recycled” but they are not.
- Used Golf Balls – Do you realize that all pro golfers play with used golf balls? Wait….WHAT?! Yes they do. Because after they hit the ball once, their golf ball is now a USED golf ball. Just like buying a new car. Once you drive off the lot, it is now a “used” car. This is a regular golf ball that has been recovered, the entire reason why we are here. These balls that are hit once or twice and then lost are, many times, in PERFECT condition!
Are used golf balls just as good as new golf balls? YES!
We have done numerous golf ball tests as well as others in the industry and the results are always very similar. The key is to make sure you are comparing the same golf ball and the same QUALITY. (Check out our grading scale here)
A 2019 Titleist Pro V1 brand new golf ball vs a 2019 Titleist Pro V1 compares like this:
- EAGLE quality – Here the performance is identical if not better. How can it be better? Well…you didn’t pay 5 bucks for the ball so you feel so much better and won’t be nervous about losing one
- BIRDIE quality – performance is so close to EAGLE quality and brand new golf balls but you may lose a few yards here and there. Losing a few yards but paying a 3rd of the price will probably help you to not lose sleep over those few yards
- PAR quality – you will see a little less performance here but nothing crazy. Since you will have significant scuffs or markings on the cover performance will be affected. Overall, you may lose about 5-10 yards using these golf balls. But they are still good golf balls and played by many golfers, at a quarter of the price of new.
There are so many confusing grades of used golf balls online, how do I make sense of them?
This is a great question and we have the answer right here. Industry standard is EAGLE, BIRDIE, and PAR but since many companies try to confuse us golfers we will spell it out for you below:
- EAGLE – 5 Diamond, 5A, Mint, Best, AAAAA, A Quality
- BIRDIE – 4 Diamond, 4A, Near Mint, 2nd Best, AAAA, B Quality
- PAR – 3 Diamond 3A, Good, 3rd Best, AAA, C Quality
What does the USGA say about used golf balls?
How much are used golf balls compared to new golf balls?
There are many general guidelines that you can used answer this question, but overall if you think “I can pay half as much for a used golf ball than a new golf ball” that’s a pretty good rule of thumb. EAGLE quality is just like new so paying half as much seems like a pretty good idea, don’t you think?
What should I do now?
Buy some used golf balls! Seriously, why not? You have nothing to lose. The fear of losing a $5 ball along is a reason to give used golf balls a try. Losing a $2.50 ball is much easier to stomach rather than $5. On average a golfer loses 5 balls per round so you just paid your next green fee!
Remember, there are many different names to identify a used golf ball. The most important thing to remember when choosing which golf ball to buy is to make sure that the integrity of the golf ball as not been impacted. Golf ball manufacturers have the highest performance standards, when a golf ball is sandblasted, re-painted, or refinished the integrity of the golf ball is compromised and it is our advice that you stay clear away from those!
Check our Featured products!