When you first start playing golf, those lost golf balls start to add up fast. And if you’re golfing on a budget, that’s the last thing you want. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to this problem: refurbished golf balls. With refurbished or recycled golf balls, you can get high-quality, brand-name golf balls for a fraction of the retail price. But is it worth it? Can you still play a good game of golf with used golf balls? In this guide, we take a look at refurbished and recycled golf balls and whether or not they’re worth the hype.
What are Refurbished Golf Balls?
Refurbished golf balls are used golf balls that have been collected, cleaned, and restored to a condition that closely resembles new golf balls. Refurbished golf balls are generally available at a lower price than brand-new golf balls, making them a cost-effective option for golfers.
The refurbishing process involves cleaning the balls to remove dirt, grass stains, and other surface blemishes. Some companies also apply a new coat of paint to improve the appearance of the balls. However, refurbished golf balls are rarely perfect, and they might still have some minor cosmetic imperfections or wear.
Additionally, while refurbished golf balls are generally a budget-friendly option, they may not perform exactly like new balls. The refurbishing process can affect the ball's characteristics, such as spin and distance, to some extent. As a result, some golfers prefer using new balls for optimal performance.
Refurbished Golf Balls in Mint Condition
Many refurbished golf ball retailers have golf balls available in mint condition. Mint-condition golf balls typically have minimal signs of wear and may have been played for only a few holes or not at all. These balls often look pristine, with minimal scuffs, scratches, or other cosmetic blemishes.
Golf balls in mint condition are highly sought after by golfers who want the performance benefits of a new ball but at a lower cost. They are usually collected from golf courses, where players lose balls that are then retrieved, cleaned, and inspected for quality. Some companies specialize in selling used golf balls in various conditions, with "mint" being the top tier in terms of quality.
While mint golf balls can provide good performance and value, it's essential to keep in mind that they are still used balls, and the refurbishing process may not fully restore them to their original factory condition. Golfers who are less concerned with minor cosmetic imperfections and are looking for cost savings often find mint-condition golf balls to be a suitable option for their game.
Refurbished vs. Recycled Golf Balls
As established, refurbished golf balls are used golf balls that have been collected, cleaned, and subjected to a process to restore them to a condition that closely resembles new golf balls. With refurbished golf balls, it’s very difficult to determine what condition they were in before the restoration process.
Recycled golf balls are also collected from golf courses, cleaned, and then sorted for quality. Unlike refurbished balls, however, recycled balls do not undergo the same extensive restoration process–what you see is what you get. Cosmetic blemishes are more common, as well as sun bleaching or paint fading. The condition of a recycled golf ball is very easy to determine.
Both types of balls can offer cost savings compared to new golf balls. When purchasing, it's important to check the specific details provided by the seller regarding the condition and processes involved in preparing the golf balls for resale.
Do Used Golf Balls Lose Performance?
You might be asking, “Cheaper golf balls? What’s the catch?” The truth is, used golf balls can experience a decrease in performance compared to new golf balls. But unless you’re a professional golfer or really serious about dialing in your golf game, the difference in performance is usually negligible.
Scuffs, scratches, and cover wear are the most common surface-level imperfections found in used golf balls. These imperfections can alter the aerodynamics of the golf ball, making it harder to control compared to a brand-new ball.
If a golf ball spends an extended period in water (such as in a water hazard), it may absorb water through microfractures or imperfections in the cover. Water absorption can lead to changes in weight, balance, and flight characteristics.
While some golfers may not notice a significant difference in performance with used golf balls, others, especially those with higher skill levels, may prefer the consistency and predictability offered by new golf balls.
Refurbished Golf Balls Pros and Cons
Here’s a rundown of the pros and cons of buying used, refurbished golf balls.
Pros of Refurbished Golf Balls
- Cost Savings: One of the primary advantages is cost savings. Refurbished golf balls are generally more affordable than new ones, allowing golfers to get quality balls at a lower price.
- Performance: Refurbished golf balls can offer good performance, especially for casual or recreational golfers. While they may not be in perfect factory condition, they can still perform well for a wide variety of players.
- Environmental Impact: By purchasing and using refurbished golf balls, golfers contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach. It helps reduce the demand for new golf balls and minimizes waste.
- Variety: Refurbished balls often come in various brands and models, providing golfers with a range of options to choose from without breaking the bank.
Cons of Refurbished Golf Balls
- Cosmetic Imperfections: Refurbished golf balls may have some cosmetic imperfections or signs of wear, even after the refurbishing process. Some golfers may find this less appealing, especially if they prefer the pristine look of new balls.
- Performance Variability: While refurbished balls aim to replicate the performance of new balls, there may be some variability in terms of spin, distance, and other characteristics. Serious or competitive golfers may prefer the consistency offered by new balls.
- Limited Shelf Life: Refurbished golf balls may have a shorter lifespan compared to new ones, especially if they've undergone extensive refurbishing. The restoration process may not fully rejuvenate the ball's durability.
- Perception: Some golfers may have reservations about using refurbished balls due to perceptions about their quality or performance. However, this perception is changing as more golfers recognize the value of refurbished options.
What is a Good Price for Used Golf Balls?
The prices for used golf balls can vary depending on the brand, model, condition, and quantity being purchased. Additionally, prices may be influenced by the reputation of the seller, whether it's an individual, a golf course, or a specialized company.
Here are some general price ranges for used golf balls:
Recycled golf balls, which have been cleaned only, can be found in the range of $0.50 to $2 per ball. That means you could be paying between $6 and $20 or more for recycled golf balls depending on the condition and brand.
Mint or Refurbished Balls
Mint condition or refurbished golf balls, which have undergone a more extensive restoration process, may be priced between $2 and $3 per ball, depending on the brand. Mint and refurbished golf balls usually go between $20-$30 per dozen.
Top Used Golf Balls to Buy
Even among used golf balls, not everyone is created equal. Here are some of the best used golf balls to buy for their value.
Titleist Pro V1 and V1x
The Titleist Pro V1 golf ball is one of the most popular and widely used balls on the planet for good reason. Pros and casual golfers alike are obsessed with this ball for its superior performance and soft feel against the clubface. The Titleist Pro V1 and V1x don’t lose out on much performance at all once recycled or refurbished, which is why used versions of these balls make a great investment for golfers who want to play with the best without spending a ton of money.
A brand-new set of Pro V1 golf balls goes for about $55 a dozen, while you can find a mint-condition set for around $30 and a good recycled set for about $25.
Callaway Supersoft balls are the runner-up in terms of the best golf balls out there. Available in both white and neon colors, Callaway Supersoft balls are hugely popular not only for their appearance but also for the long, straight-distance golfers can achieve.
The price point for Supersoft balls is much lower than the Pro V1 balls, available for $25 retail. You can find Callaway Supersoft balls for about $20 mint and $10-11 recycled.
Callaway Chrome Soft Truvis
These balls are extremely popular for their high-visibility and super soft feel. The soccer ball pattern also adds an interesting visual touch that makes it easy to spot your ball on the green. These balls also have great control, distance, and forgiveness, making them ideal for a wide variety of golfers.
The Callaway Chrome Soft Truvis balls are available at $50 retail, but you can find them for about $34 in mint condition and around $20 in good condition.
TaylorMade TP5 and TP5x
The TaylorMade TP5 and TP5x balls are known for having great aerodynamics and green side spin, making these great golf balls to purchase used or refurbished. If you’re a golfer who struggles with distance, the TaylorMade TP5/TP5x balls are an excellent investment.
While they retail at $50, TaylorMade TP5/TP5x golf balls can be found for around $25 mint and $15 recycled.
The 5 Best Places to Buy Refurbished & Recycled Golf Balls
When buying recycled or refurbished golf balls, you should always buy from reputable sources or companies that clearly disclose their refurbishing process. This ensures that you’re getting a quality ball that has been properly restored and is suitable for your golfing needs.
Here are some of the most reputable used golf ball resellers.
LostGolfBalls.com has been recovering and processing pre-owned, used, and recycled golf balls for decades. The balls found on their site come from most of the premier courses around the U.S., meaning you’re sure to find high-quality golf balls in conditions ranging from mint to good quality at great price points.
Found Golf Balls not only offer refurbished and recycled golf balls at amazing price points, but they can also customize these used balls with your logo for extra personalization. If you’re looking for a gift idea for the golfer in your life, a custom refurbished golf ball is a great idea.
Golf Ball Planet is another great used golf ball reseller that has been around for over twenty years. With a very transparent grading process and a wide range of stock at affordable prices, Golf Ball Planet is an excellent source for used golf balls.
Golf Ball Monkey is one of the fastest-growing used golf ball sellers in the world, harvesting balls from courses in the U.S. and abroad. What began as a small father-and-son business in 2015 has grown into one of the top e-commerce used golf ball operations in the world.
Rock Bottom Golf is a popular retailer of both new and used golf gear, including used golf clubs and refurbished golf balls. Their used golf balls are available in bulk with fewer options to choose from, but the value is incredible, with drastically lower prices-per-ball than many other resellers.
Golf Balling on a Budget
Used golf balls are a great way to make your golf budget stretch while also allowing you to use high-quality, brand-name balls. Again, be sure to buy from a reputable source so you know you’re getting the best.
Still feeling a little wary of used golf balls? Check out the Stix + Vice Golf Drive Balls! For just $20, you can get a dozen soft golf balls with low compression, perfect for the beginner or occasional golfer. Looking for a more aerodynamic ball with extra spin? Check out our Stix + Vice Tour Golf Balls.
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