You may have heard the age-old question posed by golfers of all levels from amateurs to pros: Do golf balls go bad?

A lot of us have probably encountered a box of old golf balls in our grandparents’ attic or the back of their garage, and we’ve likely wondered if it would be worth taking them out for some practice.

The answer is more complicated than you might expect—so let’s take a closer look at what happens to brand new ball over time.

Do Golf Balls Go Bad

Does Age Affect Performance?

It turns out that the age of your golf ball can affect its performance in two ways. First, older balls may be less aerodynamic due to compression loss, which means they won’t fly as far as newer ones.

Second, older balls may not spin as well due to increased friction between the ball and the clubface. This can lead to less accuracy when hitting shots.

That said, if you are just using your old golf balls for practice, this shouldn’t have too much of an impact on your game.

Do Golf Balls Go Bad
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Do Golf Balls Expire?

The good news is that there is no expiration date for golf balls like there is for food or other products with a shelf life.

As long as you keep them stored properly in a cool, dry place away from any direct sunlight, they should last indefinitely.

However, it’s important to note that exposure to extreme temperatures can cause even modern golf balls to become less effective over time. So make sure you store your collection carefully!

Are Old Balls Worth Using?

The simple answer is yes! If you just want to hit some practice shots around the driving range or on a golf course near your house, then there is nothing wrong with using older golf balls—they may just not perform quite as well as newer ones in terms of distance and accuracy.

On the other hand, if you are looking for optimal performance out on the golf course during competitive play then it might be best to stick with newer models.

All things considered, while it's true that age does affect a golf ball's performance, most casual players don't need to worry about keeping track of how old their collection is—as long as they store them properly and use them only for practice rounds!

So go ahead and dig those old boxes out of storage—you never know what gems you might find! Happy hunting!

Do Golf Balls Go Bad
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Some Final Thoughts

In conclusion, while modern golf balls don't come with a predetermined expiration date, they are not immune to the effects of time and external factors.

Various elements, such as exposure to extreme weather conditions, water, sunlight, and repeated impacts, can contribute to the degradation of a golf ball's performance over time.

Golfers can prolong the lifespan of their golf balls by adopting proper golf ball storage practices and being mindful of the conditions in which they are used.

Regular inspection for signs of damage, such as cracks or changes in texture, can also help golfers ensure that their equipment remains in optimal condition.

Understanding the potential factors influencing a golf ball's longevity allows players to make informed decisions about when it might be time to retire a ball from active use.


Q: Do most golf balls expire or go bad over time?

While golf balls don't have a specific expiration date, they can degrade over time due to factors like exposure to the elements, sunlight, and usage.

Can cold weather affect the performance of golf balls?

Yes, extreme cold temperatures can make golf ball covers harder, leading to a decrease in performance. It's advisable to store them in moderate conditions.

Will water damage impact the quality of golf balls?

Yes, prolonged exposure to water can affect a golf ball's performance. Water can seep into the core, causing it to lose its initial characteristics.

Do long golf balls lose distance and speed with age?

Yes, over time, the core of a golf ball may harden, leading to a reduction in its initial speed and the overall distance it can cover.

Can sunlight damage a new golf ball?

Extended exposure to sunlight can cause the outer cover of a golf ball to fade and become brittle, potentially affecting its aerodynamics and performance.

Does hitting a golf ball against hard surfaces affect its lifespan?

Repeatedly hitting a golf ball against hard surfaces, like cart paths or rocks, can damage the cover and alter the ball's flight characteristics, shortening its lifespan.

How can I extend the lifespan of my golf balls?

Store golf balls in a cool, dry place, away from extreme temperatures and direct sunlight. Avoid hitting them against hard surfaces and inspect them regularly for signs of damage.

Are used golf balls as good as new ones?

Used golf balls can still perform well, but their quality depends on factors like the number of rounds played, storage conditions, and the severity of impacts they've experienced.

Can the type of golf ball impact its longevity?

Different golf balls are designed for various purposes, and their materials may vary. Higher-quality balls may last longer if properly cared for compared to low-quality ones.

Is there a way to test if a modern golf ball has gone bad?

You can perform a simple float test by placing the golf ball in a bowl of water. If it floats, it may have absorbed water which could affect its performance.

Inspect for cracks or changes in texture as well.


Do golf balls go bad? It's a question that's puzzled golfers for years. But with the advent of modern golf ball technology, the answer might surprise you.

These days, most golf balls are crafted to last longer than your average pair of socks.

But that doesn't mean you can ignore them like a forgotten snack in your golf bag.

Storing golf balls correctly is key to a longer lifespan, especially if you want to preserve your swing speed on the course.

Keep those new golf balls away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures, and they'll stay bouncier than a trampoline.

Of course, if you're playing the golf course so much that you're using up a sleeve of balls in one round, you might not have to worry about golf ball longevity as much as the rest of us.

But for the casual duffer who has a stash of unused golf balls in the closet, it's worth taking a few extra precautions.

If you plan on storing golf balls in golf ball storage, make sure they are out of the elements. A modern golf ball is always best to be sure! You just don't know how long golf balls last in the end.

So, do unused golf balls go bad? It depends. But if you're using modern golf balls and storing them correctly, they should last until your next round on the course.

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