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How to Test Out Used Golf Balls Before Buying

How to Test Out Used Golf Balls Before Buying

If you’re an avid golfer on a budget, buying used golf balls can be a great way to save money while still enjoying the game. However, not all used golf balls are created equal, and it’s essential to know how to test them before making a purchase. In this article, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to evaluate used golf balls to ensure they meet your standards in terms of performance and quality.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Importance of Testing Used Golf Balls
  3. Visual Inspection
    • Check for External Damage
    • Evaluate Discoloration
  4. Ball Compression Test
  5. Spin Test
  6. Check for Bounce
  7. Ball Balance Test
  8. Assessing Cover Quality
  9. Floating Test
  10. Cold Water Test
  11. Distance Test
  12. Personal Performance Testing
  13. Price Comparison
  14. Buying From Trusted Sources
  15. Conclusion
  16. FAQs


Buying brand new golf balls can be expensive, especially if you’re prone to losing them on the course. That’s where used golf balls come in handy, as they offer a cost-effective alternative without compromising your game. However, it’s crucial to ensure the quality and performance of the used golf balls before making a purchase. In this article, we’ll take you through a series of tests and inspections to help you evaluate used golf balls like a pro.

The Importance of Testing Used Golf Balls

Testing used golf balls is essential because not all balls have the same durability and performance level. Some may be in excellent condition, while others might be damaged or worn out. Proper testing will ensure that you get the best value for your money and that the golf balls you buy perform well on the course.

Visual Inspection

Before diving into any tests, start with a visual inspection. Look for any external damage, such as cracks, cuts, or scuffs on the ball’s surface. These imperfections can significantly impact the ball’s performance, affecting its trajectory and distance.

Check for External Damage

Run your fingers along the surface of the golf ball and feel for any irregularities. If you notice any nicks or cuts, it’s best to avoid purchasing that ball, as it may not perform optimally.

Evaluate Discoloration

Discoloration on the ball’s cover might indicate that it has been exposed to water or harsh elements for an extended period. This exposure can compromise the ball’s performance, so be cautious when considering discolored balls.

Ball Compression Test

The compression of a golf ball determines how much it will deform upon impact with the clubface. It is a critical factor in ball selection, especially for players with varying swing speeds.

To perform the ball compression test, place the used golf ball between your hands and press them together as hard as you can. If the ball compresses significantly and remains that way, it has a lower compression rating. If it feels firm and barely deforms, it has a higher compression rating.

Spin Test

Spin is crucial for golfers looking to control their shots and achieve precise ball flight. To perform the spin test, take a used golf ball and hit it with a wedge or a short iron. Observe how much spin the ball generates during flight and how it reacts upon landing. Higher spin can provide better control, while lower spin may offer greater distance.

Check for Bounce

Bounce refers to the ball’s ability to rebound off the clubface upon impact. For the bounce test, drop the used golf ball from shoulder height onto a firm surface and observe its bounce. A ball with good bounce will rebound well, while one with low bounce may feel dead and unresponsive.

Ball Balance Test

A balanced golf ball will fly smoothly and consistently, providing better accuracy and distance. To check the balance, spin the used golf ball and observe if it wobbles or spins off-center. If it does, it may not fly straight and could affect your shots.

Assessing Cover Quality

The cover of a golf ball plays a significant role in its performance. Look for any scratches, scuffs, or peeling on the cover, as these imperfections can influence the ball’s aerodynamics.

Floating Test

A quick and easy test for water damage is the floating test. Fill a bucket with water and place the used golf ball in it. If the ball floats, it indicates that its cover is intact. However, if it sinks, water might have penetrated the ball, affecting its performance.

Cold Water Test

Cold temperatures can impact the compression and performance of golf balls. Dip the used golf ball in cold water for a few minutes, then take it out and hit it with a club. Observe how it performs, as a significant drop in distance may suggest the ball is not suitable for colder conditions.

Distance Test

The ultimate test for any golf ball is its distance performance. Take the used golf ball to a driving range and hit several shots with different clubs. Assess the distance and trajectory of the ball to see if it meets your expectations.

Personal Performance Testing

Incorporate personal performance testing by playing a few holes with the used golf balls you’re considering. This hands-on evaluation will provide insights into how the balls respond to your swing and playing style.

Price Comparison

Once you’ve tested several used golf balls, compare their performance and price to find the best value for your money. Sometimes, spending a little more on higher-quality balls can make a significant difference in your game.

Buying From Trusted Sources

To ensure the authenticity and quality of used golf balls, always buy from trusted sources. Reputable golf stores and online retailers often offer used golf balls that have been carefully inspected and graded.


Buying used golf balls can be a practical way to save money without compromising your game. However, it’s essential to test the golf balls before making a purchase. By following the outlined tests and inspections, you can find used golf balls that meet your standards in terms of performance, durability, and price.


  1. Can I use any golf ball for my game? While you can use any golf ball, choosing one that matches your swing speed and playing style can enhance your performance.
  2. Are refurbished golf balls worth considering? Refurbished golf balls can be a cost-effective option if they are reconditioned properly.
  3. Do used golf balls affect my handicap? Used golf balls should not significantly impact your handicap if they are in good condition.
  4. How can I clean used golf balls? Soak the used golf balls in warm soapy water and scrub them gently with a brush to remove dirt and stains.
  5. Can I mix different golf ball brands in my bag? While it’s not ideal, mixing different golf ball brands is generally acceptable for casual play. For competitive play, try to stick to a consistent brand and model.

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