You’ve seen boxes of used balls in the pro shops and online. The prices look really tempting, but are these used golf balls any good?

The answer to this question is, for the most part,  yes! According to the research conducted by our expert team of golfers here at Tellmemoregolf, the average carry, spin rates, and ball speed measurements are mostly the same as brand new golf balls. We see, on average, a reduction of performance compared to a new golf ball with the same brand from 0 to 3 percent per ball.

It’s not a secret that used golf balls for sale are retrieved from lakes around golf courses. It turns out that the covers of these balls are not 100 percent impervious to water damage over an extended period of being underwater. The longer the ball has been in the water, the less performance you will get after retrieval.

Understanding the risk, used golf balls can be a great value for the average golfer and can even save the experienced golfer quite a bit of money compared to brand new balls. Even for the beginner, using a new and expensive golf ball will only add to your bill if you’re not familiar with how to give it your best shot, quite literally. 

So where can I buy a box of used Pro-V1s? We cover that and all research aspects of used golf balls in our article below.

Are used golf balls good when they're refurbished featured image of golf ball splashing down in a water hazard lake on a golf course

Table of Contents

Best Used Golf Balls

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Our review team hit brand new balls and used golf balls, with careful analysis and tracking equipment.

From 0 to 3 percent of performance difference between these used Callaway balls or brand-new Callaway balls. For the massive amount of money spent on brand new golf equipment, you can save around half the price buying refurbished golf balls; varying between no to a slight performance decrease.

Golf gets expensive if you’re losing brand new balls each time you play. You will realize that $60 for a 12-pack of tour quality balls is a hefty price to pay once you finish this article.


Used Golf Ball Reviews

Our team of expert reviewers compared a performance grading scale, with the same clubs, for these refurbished Callaway golf balls. They were compared against the same model of balls from Callaway.

The difference was slight. A 1% performance decrease is not worth the large sums of money shelled out by your average beginning golfer. The sport of golf is expensive enough, so saving lots of cash on used golf balls is highly recommended by my review team and me.

A few scuffs and discolorations are fine, and most of the time either not present on the balls you receive, or not bad enough to notice. Again, getting 50 used balls for under the price of 12 brand-new golf balls is a great bargain. Our review team highly recommends buying the used golf balls because of the length of time it takes for a golf ball to start to deteriorate: 5 years in normal conditions according to our research.

Are recycled golf balls good? Is a common question we respond to, and the answer is yes. With a 0 to 3 percentage performance decrease, saving quite a bit of money on golf balls is completely worth it to us, especially for hitting it straight. If you buy a recycled golf ball from a trustworthy seller, you’re bound to get a reasonable collection with 5 out of 50 of them being a tad shabby, but playable either way. The only problems you might encounter with recycled golf balls is a chipped cover or a few burn spots. 


Refurbished Golf Balls

Are recycled golf balls good when they are used for recycling wet golf ball on lake.

The look and feel of used balls are discussed by our review team as similar to brand new Callaway balls. There only may be less obvious surface defects such as discoloration or scuffing.

Some refurbished golf ball distributors even go so far as to refinish an old golf ball, giving it a coating of material that looks exactly like a new ball.

Used balls are graded from the terms “Mint” to “Value”, with a “Mint” refurbished ball classed as an “AAAAA” ball, “near mint” as “AAAA”, “good” as “AAA”, and “value” as “AA”. A mint ball will have pen marking, while a near mind ball could have blemishes or slight discoloration. Once the balls are cleaned and graded, they’ll be separated based on their condition, model, and make. The condition of each ball will determine its unique grade and allow vendors to categorize them systematically from the newer golf balls. 

When asked Are recycled golf balls any good? We always answer Yes, as it is accepted that used golf balls are as good as new balls in respect to performance. It’s the price that is the main question and comparing the retailer’s description to what you can expect for your money.

As far as performance goes, you can rest assured that used golf balls WILL NOT affect your performance negatively. If anything, these balls often perform as well as the newer models. Whether you use them for actual play or for practice, these balls will deliver the kind of next-level performance that you’d typically expect from a brand new golf ball. 


Frequently Asked Questions: Refurbished Balls

best used golf balls while refurbished two jumping on lake happy

What are refurbished golf balls?

Refurbished or refinished golf balls are second-hand balls, generally taken from a water feature on a golf course or hazard past the rough of a course where golfers do not go.

They’re the lowest quality of golf balls that go through Used golf balls are ranked from “mint” to “value”, with mint being classed “AAAAA” and value: “AA”.

Is it worth buying used golf balls?

Yes. Used golf balls offer virtually the same performance as a new golf ball for sometimes more than 50% off from some retailers. At the same time, however, you should keep in mind that used golf balls come with their fair share of imperfections.

Because they’ve already been hit several times, you may hit a couple of inconsistent shots every now and then. That aside, rest assured that most used golf balls are extremely high performing and still have a lot of life in them even after usage. 

Are used golf balls as good as new?

In terms of performance: Yes. Used golf balls can be as good as new. As always, looking at the retailer description will help answer your exact question. Our review team tested out new Callaway golf balls vs. used Callaway golf balls and the difference was not noticeable.

We highly recommend saving money and going with these used golf balls, as our review team states, why not save the money? It’s worth noting that you’ll be getting fairly usable golf balls for a significantly lower price range. As long as you’re mindful of the seller’s reputation, you’ll have nothing to worry about as far as ball quality goes. 

How to tell if used golf balls are good?

Read the description of the refurbished ball retailer. If they market the performance as being the same as a new ball, then purchase that pack. The look of the golf balls doesn’t matter as much as the performance, and our tests of used golf balls show that performance doesn’t vary much from used to the new ball. An alternative way to check for a used golf ball’s quality is to drop it.

Give the ball a casual bounce on any solid surface such as a countertop or tile floor. Ensure you make it bounce as high as possible without destroying anything valuable. Compare the height with that of a new ball and ensure it performs slightly similarly to the new golf ball.  

Do golf balls lose distance with age?

No. Our tests show that within a period of 2 years used golf balls have extremely similar distance yardage as a brand-new ball. Going further, average carry, spin rates, and ball speed all stayed relatively the same between used golf balls and brand-new golf balls.

You can, however, maintain your ball’s distance by storing it in temperatures of about 37 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Among the major causes of a broken-down ball structure is UV light. Knowing this, you’ll want to steer clear of balls that have a faded shade that signifies they’ve been left outside for too long.

It also helps to play golf with a dry club. Carry around a spare towel in your bag to dry the club in case it rains or if there’s moisture on the turf. 

Conclusion: Used Balls: Findings and Research by

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If you are professional, then you may be able to squeeze the maximum possible competitive advantage out of your golfing gear and should therefore shell out the extra money for a brand-new ball.

For the average golfer, the difference in performance is not noticeable in the slightest, and you are better off buying a box of recycled golf balls.

Our research showed that the difference in spin rate, ball speed, and average distance carried was only slightly decreased, if at all, so the bigger changes in the distance would be more easily addressed by for example changing your swinging form or upgrading your club shafts.

Our review team has concluded that there is not much of a difference between used golf balls and offered you an opportunity to purchase a well-reviewed box of recycled golf balls. Whether you hit Volvik, Titleist, Callaway or Vice golf balls; our team recommends that you try out some used golf balls for a change.


Patrick Corley

From a golf scholarship to a Southern California University, to a private golf coaching career and an instructor position at a nonprofit organization, I’m here to help you get better at golf! With my 50+ years of golf experience; I bring you Tell Me More Golf. A golf coaching website that helps your game with instructional golfing content that’s ultimately geared toward making you a better golfer and having more fun!
Our golf instructor team brings it all to you, so enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Are Used Golf Balls Worth It? — (and The Best Recycled Golf Balls)”

  1. Absolutely! Used golf balls can be a cost-effective and practical option for many golfers. While they may have slight cosmetic imperfections, the performance remains intact, making them a worthy choice for budget-conscious players looking to save without compromising on quality. ⛳💰🏌️‍♂️

  2. customize your own golf balls

    I am completely in awe of the exceptional article crafted by your team of professional golf instructors, delving into the intriguing question of “Are Used Golf Balls Worth It?” Their expertise shines through as they meticulously analyze the data, present compelling findings, and offer insightful comparisons, leaving no doubt in my mind about the value of their knowledge and guidance. This article is a true testament to their dedication, making it an absolute must-read for anyone seeking informed perspectives on the subject of used golf balls.

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