Performance of Scuffed Golf Balls

Dear Frank,
I know the pros change balls often during a round.  I cannot afford to buy balls every month, so I play scuffed balls until they are lost or in the water.  Does playing scuffed balls affect my game that much?  I’m a 17 handicap.

You will certainly see the difference in performance between scuffed golf balls and new, clean, unblemished golf balls.

This obviously depends on how badly they have been scuffed. Many times on the driving range you come across a ball which has been through the ball washer about as many times as we have been misled by politicians. This causes the surface to be less than perfect with worn down dimples. The aerodynamics are completely ruined and the ball’s trajectory is erratic and the distance is significantly shorter than the newer range balls.

A scuffed ball affects the air flow over the ball and it will not perform as designed. In fact if some dimples – five or six on one side of the ball —  are shallower than the others,  by as little as 0.002 of an inch (the width of a human hair) the ball flight may be affected by as much as 3 to 5 yards off line on a 225 yard drive — a long par three.

For most of us 3 to 5  yards off line will not make too much difference and we may not even notice it, except for that one time when everything comes together and we make absolutely perfect contact. Three to five yards may be the difference between buying drinks for those in the club house or not. This may save you some money but deprive you of one of the most wonderful experiences in golf. As an aside, the odds of making a hole in one are significantly better than winning the lottery.

For the reason above I suggest that you clean your golf ball ‘gently’ and as often as you can without wearing down the surface — mud in a few dimples will affect the ball flight – and if the ball is scuffed badly then find a place for it in the shag bag.

Normally a hard Surlyn® cover will resist scuffing from a cart path or vicious sand shot but will also reduce your potential to spin the ball on a wedge shot from just off the green.


What is your experience of playing with scuffed golf balls? Share your thoughts with our Frankly Friends by replying below

6 thoughts on “Performance of Scuffed Golf Balls

  1. There are internet retailers and Ebay where recycled or refinished balls can be purchased at good prices. AAAAA/mint balls or refinished balls are like new and depending on brand and model can be purchased for as little as $8-$10 per dozen.This eliminates the scuffed problem and mitigates the cost. I am 68 and a mid-single digit handicapper and always buy online. My last purchase was a tour- level, refinished ball for $10 per dozen.

  2. With Costco and lower price name brand balls, there is no reason to play scuffed balls. I have also shopped on line and have gotten new golf balls at a reasonable price.

  3. I’m not so much a believer in light scuffing to be a major problem for the average golfer. We are less likely to hit the perfect shot and few will notice a difference. As ones ability increases then the difference would be more noticeable. Sorry Frank but “Three to five yards may be the difference between buying drinks for those in the club house or not.” while true but that works both ways, a not quite perfect shot might find the hole because of the scuffing and nobody would know the difference. Just sayin’

  4. I happen to use Titlest pro V; with my swing speed see no difference between new and ready to discard, but I am 79 years old and have a 85 MPH swing speed and shoot boogie golf on an execitive course

  5. I play at Entrada at Show Canyon in southern Utah. Three holes wind their way through a lava field ,scuffed balls are a way of life.

  6. I am like Ralph, I play until I lose the ball in the water, the deep rough or over the fence. I do buy a medium priced balls, and have a three ball limit. If I lose thre balls in a round it is time to quit, no matter what hole.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.