The golf ball you play with will greatly impact your round.
Playing with a golf ball that does not have the same characteristics or technology it once had could impact the total distance on your golf shots.
One question that many golfers have is whether or not golf balls can become waterlogged.
There are many opportunities for finding golf balls that have been hit into the water or even purchasing refurbished golf balls, but the question remains on how this impacts the technology.
If you have ever wondered if golf balls get waterlogged and if it impacts your game, we have all the answers you need.
Do Golf Balls Get Waterlogged?
Yes, it is possible for golf balls to get waterlogged.
The process typically takes time and is impacted by the condition of the golf ball itself, but it can happen.
A golf ball gets waterlogged when there are imperfections on the ball itself, which allows the water to get in through those holes.
The interior layers of the golf ball then soak in a bit of water, and this changes the characteristics of the golf ball.
Primarily, golf balls that are waterlogged become heavier and therefore do not travel quite as far.
The tough part for golfers is that you can’t always tell if a golf ball is waterlogged or has imperfections unless you test it out.
Luckily with more modern technology and distance measuring devices, it has become easier to test whether a golf ball is still good.
There are some things that you can look at right away that may be able to tell you if a golf ball is waterlogged and not worth playing with.
What Makes A Golf Ball Get Waterlogged?
A golf ball can get waterlogged for a few different reasons.
The most common causes of a waterlogged golf ball are breaks and cracks in the cover of the ball, the ball being in the water for a very long period, and the age and condition of the golf ball.
1. Breaks And Cracks
Take a look at the cover of a ball you find in the water.
Does it have any scuff marks or slight imperfections in the paint on the golf ball?
If it does, the chance of this golf ball being waterlogged is high.
The reason is that the outer layer of the golf ball works as a protective barrier.
If that outer layer is gone, the golf ball will start to retain water, even if it is just a very small amount.
The tolerances in golf ball technology and creation are very tight.
If a ball is even just slightly off when it comes to performance, the overall yardage could be impacted by ten or more yards.
This is why it’s so important to be sure that the cover on a golf ball you pull out of a pond still looks good.
In fact, it makes sense to always play with a golf ball with a good cover anyway as it will impact your performance, spin, and total ball flight.
2. Time In The Water
Do you know how long a golf ball has been in the water?
When you hit your tee shot in the water and run to pull it out with your ball retriever, chances are you will not have any water damage.
Water damage typically happens over a prolonged time.
This is more applicable to a pond that is cleared out every few years with thousands of golf balls being removed from the center.
Some of these may not have been touched for four or five years, and there is no way to tell how long they have been in there.
The same concept of the cracks and cuts on the ball allowing water to seep in applies here.
However, when a golf ball is sitting in the water for years, you can’t see where the water has gone in; even the slightest imperfections can create issues.
3. Age And Condition Of The Golf Ball
Sometimes older golf balls that have imperfections are more subject to water damage.
If you have played with this golf ball on and off for a few years and it is yellowed out and ready to be retired, it would be more subject to getting waterlogged than a new ball you just pulled out of the box.
Therefore if you pull a ball out of the water and it is somewhat beat up, or it is a model that you know is no longer produced, it may not be worth keeping.
Many golfers will receive golf balls that could be waterlogged, and instead of getting rid of them, they will save them for practice balls in their yard.
Even though these golf balls may not have the full performance necessary to use them on the course, they are not always worth getting rid of.
Are Lake Balls Worth Purchasing?
One of the more popular golf ball sales offered is large bags filled with lake golf balls.
These are golf balls recovered from the bottom of ponds and lakes across golf courses.
This is a big industry, and some divers will come in and empty the pond for you.
However, the golf balls from these lakes are often a bit suspect when it comes to overall performance.
For lower handicap players that are looking to win tournaments and take their game to the next level, these golf balls are not necessarily the perfect fit.
The lake golf balls are typically refurbished in some way, and you can’t tell whether or not they are in great condition.
Of course, you can test each one of these golf balls to see what it does, but that can take quite a bit of time.
However, the lake golf balls can be a good choice for new golfers or even recreational golfers who don’t care about performance quite as much.
There is no doubt that these golf balls are lower in cost and can save you some money.
In addition, you will find that many lake golf balls are top manufacturers and models.
Purchasing a full bag of these lake golf balls means that you can end up with some Titleist or Callaway golf balls and get to try out which type you like the best.
If you have never purchased lake golf balls before, start with a small batch and see if you notice any changes in your game.
How To Tell If Your Golf Ball Is Bad
Waterlogged golf balls do not perform like brand new golf balls.
However, a waterlogged golf ball is not the only type of imperfection you can find on a ball.
Golfers should be aware of how to tell if a golf ball is bad, so they can adjust their game accordingly and take out a new ball to play with.
Here are a few of the ways to tell if a golf ball is no longer good.
1. Sound Has Changed
One of the signs of a bad golf ball is a changed sound.
All golf clubs and golf balls interact with different sounds that we become used to.
If you find that the sound no longer seems the same, it could be that the golf ball has gone bad.
Of course, this sound could also mean that you missed the center of the clubface, but you may want to switch out the ball just in case.
You can switch out the ball after a hole and try a new one.
However, if you are playing in a golf tournament where the one ball rule is in effect, you must switch out the ball for another one of the same make and model.
Keep this in mind if you are preparing for a golf tournament, as you won’t want to experience a penalty for breaking this rule.
2. Visible Scuffs
Take a look at your golf ball and see if there are any visible scuffs.
Sometimes when we take a bad shot, or the ball hits a tree or a cart path, it will get a scuff mark on it.
The scuffs and marks on a golf ball can sometimes change the aerodynamics of the ball and impact the overall performance.
Think about how perfect a golf ball is when it is first created and the uniform in its design.
Now take that same golf ball and change the overall shape or create an area where it has an indentation.
How could that golf ball disperse the air around it the same way?
The answer is that it can’t.
3. Rough Feeling
Most golf balls have a very smooth feel.
They will have a uniform look around the entire ball, and the ball will not have bumps or scratches outside the dimple markings on it.
If you rub your hand over the golf ball and notice that there are scratchy or rough areas, it could be that the golf ball needs to be retired.
Maybe there was an issue with the overall quality of the ball, or maybe the paint has just started to wear down over time.
4. Lack Of Distance
Does your golf ball travel as far as it once did?
Do you feel like you are taking a 7 iron where you used to be able to hit an 8 iron?
The reason behind this could very well be your golf swing, but there are times that a lack of distance can also be caused by the golf equipment you use.
The lack of distance can be measured when you play on the course or by using a launch monitor and testing out golf balls.
5. Feels Dead
For golfers that play a lot, the feeling of hitting a great shot is one that you know.
Sometimes when playing with a new golf ball, or one that may have been around a while, the difference in feel is very easily determined.
If the golf ball feels like it does not jump off the clubface, feel free to switch it out.
Golf is a very mental game; if you think the golf ball may have more of a “dead” feel, take it out of play.
We hope you understand what it takes for a golf ball to get waterlogged.
Playing with waterlogged golf balls can impact your game slightly, but for some players, this does not matter.
Don’t choose a waterlogged golf ball if you are on a mission to shoot your best scores.
Play with something new and ready for the course, even if that costs you a little extra money.
Next time you pull a few golf balls out of a pond, don’t be afraid to use them, simply make sure that there are no cracks or visible imperfections that could have collected water.