The average golf course has nearly 75 acres of land. That’s a lot of space for errant balls to disappear, and even if you put a RFID tracker on your autographed favorite, it can still get stuck in the mud under six feet of water. Fortunately, unlike lost socks, lost golf balls don’t always appear to vaporize into a parallel universe. Enterprising companies have done the work to collect, clean, and resurface these wayward orbs so they can be reused close-enough to par for most players to enjoy. Whether you vow to use primarily recycled balls from now on or reserve them for practicing technique, a simple swap can make the sport more eco-friendly. Here’s how to assess which sets will be a win for your game.
As you develop your driving and putting skills, any edge a new pro ball might give you isn’t likely to make much of a difference to your score. Grab bags of recycled golf balls challenge you to spot subtle shifts in distance and spin between brands and numbers, and are a cost effective way to find what designs work for you. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll have valuable data to help you choose golf balls based on performance, not hype.
Other than conservation and cost, another reason to consider recycled golf balls is when a beloved design is no longer being made, or sells out regularly in minutes. Scarcity means a seller’s market, so keep your eye on the ball—or the current going rate for it—to gauge whether the deal is worth it.
A fun incentive to purchase used golf balls is to contemplate their history. Companies who sell recycled balls can acquire them from famed courses and tournaments on your bucket list. That means someone’s worst day on the green could result in you playing a special ball that factors in your lowest score yet.