What Should You Do With Scuffed Golf Balls? (Solved!)

A golf ball can no doubt take a beating and survive several golf terrains.

They are involved in all the player frustrations and jubilant glories too.

However, after some hits, they can become scuffed.

Here is an exclusive look at what you should do with scuffed golf balls.

Here’s What You Should Do With Scuffed Golf Balls

You don’t have to throw away lightly scuffed balls as they don’t play so differently than new balls. Instead, you need to toss them in your shag bucket or bag and use them for practice. You can have them around for the holes on the course you have difficulty with, woods, or significant water hazards as they can swing freely without being afraid of losing it.

Are Scuffed Golf Balls So Bad?

According to statistics, millions of lost golf balls are waiting to be picked across public and private golf clubs worldwide.

This is because golfers discard scuffed and used balls, thinking that they will not perform as perfect going onwards.

However, research indicates that although a used ball might be showing visible signs of scuffing, as long as it passes the visual inspection, it will not affect the performance.

A practical study tested a new golf ball against three used ones;

  1. one with several holes
  2. one with visible imperfections and discoloration
  3. and a scuffed one and revealed that the scuffed balls performed almost similar to the new golf ball.

So, the great news is that the scuffed golf balls still have a few rounds left for you, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money on new balls.

Related: Can Golf Balls Be Washed In the Dishwasher?

Do Golf Balls Wear Out?

Today, golf balls can endure a multitude of different environments and strikes.

They are more resilient due to more robust constructions and better paint finishes.

However, they might get unavoidable scuff marks.

The only sign of wear on the ball is scuffing, which impacts their aerodynamics and exterior structure consistency.

Otherwise, golf balls are stoutly engineered and will not show any extra sign of damage.

The current golf balls are made of durable design and materials that endure even a swing speed of 125mph.

As a result, the golf balls can take mishits without displaying extreme signs of damage.

However, the exterior of the ball might not be as immune to hits as the interior.

The interior core of the golf ball comprises a durable, sturdy polymer construction.

This provides more stability as compared to the previous rubber and liquid substances used in the past.

As a result, regardless of how hard you hit a golf ball, it will not change shape.

The cover of the golf ball comprises an ionomer material mainly made of soft urethane.

The type of exterior material of the ball is what determines the ability to resist cuts and wear.

The top urethane material endures well to cutting but is prone to scuffing.

In addition, the woods and sharp iron grooves on your golf ground can cause considerable damage to the thin cover of the ball.

Some players replace their golf balls often, while some even replace the ball each hole.

Although scuffed golf balls can lose as much as ten yards in over 100-yard distance, ten percent from the target line, you should not discard the ball completely. Instead, use the scuffed ball as a shag to use in your practice sessions.

When is a golf ball unfit for play?

A golf ball is considered unfit for play if it has a visible cut, out of shape, or is cracked. The ball cannot be unsuitable for playing due to mud or other materials adhering on it, discolored, scratched, or scraped paint.

If a player views the ball as unfit for play in a golf tournament, he can lift the ball without penalty to determine if it is unsuitable.

But before he lifts the ball, he should tell the opponent about his intentions and mark the ball position.

Otherwise, the player might get penalized for lifting the ball without prior indication.

Do Golf Balls Get Damaged In The Water?

Only playing a golf ball repeatedly might not essentially damage a golf ball. Nevertheless, exposing the golf balls to moisture and water may speed up the damage caused by scraping and scuffing on the exterior cover.

However, the damage due to exposure to water does not occur initially.so, if you are a few of the people who go to find the lost balls in ponds and streams on golf courses, you can prevent the damage.

According to recent studies and tests, when a golf ball stays a long time in the water, its driving distance drops considerably.

So, how do golf balls get damaged in the water? How bad does it occur?

Most golf balls have a polyurethane foam surface that is made of tiny cells that attract moisture.

If the ball sits in water for long, water diffuses into the cover aggregating the damage that has already been caused by scuffing.

When the damage gets to the internal core of the golf ball, the golf ball can become terrible to use.

According to experts, when a golf ball sits in water for several days, it drops its drive distance between five and ten yards.

When water diffuses into the exterior cover and enters into the core, resulting in a mass imbalance between the inner layers.

The golf ball also loses the original elasticity due to the decreased internal space.

Even without the golf ball sitting in a pond or lake, it can still get damaged when you play it on a wet club surface.

The presence of water on the surface decreases the friction on the ball, making it prattled by the grooves in every swing. This results in more wearing on the ball and reduced performance.

When Should You Replace Your Golf Ball?

A lot of golfers replace golf balls a lot more regularly, and it is not bad.

But it takes many hits to wear out the ball. A damaged golf ball decreases player performance and can be an annoying experience to play with such a golf ball.

Scuffed balls are not necessarily a reason to swap them.

However, cut marks as a result of thinned iron shots are more troublesome.

But also, the damage might not be as severe as it seems, so assess it at a closer range to know when to replace it.

So when do you replace it? If your golf ball has taken a lot of abuse on the course and become scuffed because of hitting rocks and cart paths, it is the right time to replace the golf ball. Without visible scuffing, a golf ball can serve for seven 18-hole rounds without losing its performance.

You have a higher probability of losing a golf ball on the course before wearing out. So, if the golf ball is still unspoiled after seven 18-hole rounds, you should also consider swapping for a new golf ball.

If you don’t notice any damage on the cover, you should continue playing.

Also, if your golf ball has not been in contact with water for more than a day, you should continue using it as well. In both these cases, your golf ball is intact for smooth gameplay.

On the other hand, if your ball has excessive scuffing and degradation on the cover, it is time to replace it.

You should also consider replacing your golf ball if it comes into contact with water for a day or more. These factors decrease the travel distance of the ball resulting in poor performance.

How Can You Preserve Golf Balls?

The modern golf balls are close to indestructible.

Today, we no longer use balata balls, so it is tough to destroy the golf balls with improper storage.

Modern design is very durable, courtesy of its ethylene covers that can withstand low and high temperatures without transferring it to the multilayer or dual-core of the golf ball.

A common misconception is that storing your golf balls in the freezer would maintain their freshness and compression.

However, if you ever golfed in cold weather, you can attest that the cold makes you lose distance.

Storing your golf balls at a freezing temperature causes the same effect. In addition, keeping golf balls in extreme cold or hot conditions like a freezer can reduce their shelf life.

For the best preservation and results, maintain your golf balls between 35° F and 82° F. This margin can also go higher or lower without any considerable impact.

Other than temperature, other factors that affect the lifespan of a golf ball include altitude and humidity.

Keeping the golf ball indoors at average room temperatures will maintain them for years without decreasing its performance.


Golf balls can become scuffed and damaged, but you have possibly gotten more than your fair share of games out of them.

However, you don’t have to discard the scuffed balls right away.

You can use the scuffed balls for practice in wet environments and woody golf clubs.

You can restock golf balls once a year as you rotate your existing amount.

Otherwise, scuffed balls should not be discarded.


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