We ask how often should you change your golf ball and offer some simple advice for what to look out for


How Often Should You Change Your Golf Ball?

For some it’s a regular routine, for others it’s a simple case of only letting go once the ball is lost. But how often should you change your golf ball? What should you be looking out for and how badly do scuffs and cut marks affect performance? We take a look…

The most simple answer to the question of how often should you change your golf ball is that there are no set rules. Some Tour players change their ball after a certain number of holes but the truth is, this is more based on superstition than the diminishing quality of the ball itself. The chances are you don’t do this and instead keep your golf ball in play for longer than the players on Tour.

Related: How To Clean Your Golf Clubs

In recent years, equipment manufacturers have made major strides to improve the durability of their balls. The days of catching an approach shot slightly thin and seeing a smiley face on your Balata are well and truly gone. Nowadays, golf balls can withstand a multitude of different strikes and environments. Better paint finishes and more robust constructions make modern golf balls far more resilient. However, there are some unavoidable marks to looks for…

Scuff marks

More often than not these occur when the ball comes into contact with a tree or road. However, golf balls can scuff when they come into contact with wedges during pitch shots. The sharp grooves combined with the length of time the ball stays on the face, can roughen the surface of the ball. Either way, a scuff mark is not a sign the ball needs to be removed from play. Our advice would be to clean the ball and then see how bad it looks. Play with it for a hole or two and you are likely to find the scuff mark does not affect the performance of the ball. Take a close look at it and of course if the ball is out of shape, swap it, otherwise a scuffed ball is not necessary a reason to change it.

Cut marks

Cut marks, usually caused by thinned iron shots, are more problematic. The good news is, this is very rare. Thinned chip or pitch shots usually come away unscathed. Again, the damage might not be as bad as it first seems. Clean the ball and then give it a very close look. Has the smooth, rounded surface of the ball changed? The place where you will notice it most is on the green. Any sign that the ball is rolling strangely, wiggling off line and you should think about using a new ball.

The truth is, the vast majority of imperfections that can occur during a round of golf make no real difference to performance. We all like to use a fresh ball that’s come straight from the pack but golf is played on a natural landscape and the look of your ball will change during the round. If you manage to keep the same one in play from start to finish, only then would we think about retiring it and adding it to the practice bag!

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