Why shouldn't you play refurbished golf balls or so-called lake balls?

The Hitpin vision is to make golf affordable and accessible to every golfer in the world. We want anyone to be able to play premium golf balls at an affordable price. Often we are asked; How about used golf balls or even refurbished lake balls? Aren’t they as good as a new golf ball? The answer is no. A refurbished golf ball or so called lake ball is not as good as a new golf ball. Especially when you compare it with a fresh premium 4-layer, 3-layer or 2-layer premium ball.

The companies that deliver used golf balls use different methods to make that old ball look new and shiny. Whatever damage there happens to be on the ball—cuts, scrapes or gouges—gets painted over only to cover it up, not to make it perform as intended. You could say the refinishing process is a bit like covering a hole in the wall with paint without actually repairing it. The extra layers of paint added during the refinishing process alter the geometry of the dimples. The result is dimples that are shallower with smoother edge radii. Ultimately this means your refurbished golf balls won’t fly as originally designed.

Below we have collected the most important reasons why you shouldn’t play refurbished golf balls or so-called lake balls.

Lake ball rule no 1

Lake golf balls worsens your game.

In order to play good golf, lower your score and handicap you need to know how a golf ball performs. How far will you hit an iron 7 and how much does it spin when you hit the drive of the tee? Can you trust the golf ball to bite on the green as intended? Every refurbished golf ball or lake ball will perform differently. If you buy one dozen refurbished golf balls, each and every ball in the box can actually behave differently. How will you be able to improve your game?

Lake ball rule No 2

The golf pros change their golf ball whenever they spot the slightest damage.

Look how Tiger Woods, Jin Young Ko, Scottie Scheffler, Lydia Ko, Collin Morikawa, Nelly Korda, Jon Rahm, Cameron Smith, Danielle Kang, Rory McIlroy, Anna Nordquist, Justin Thomas, Celine Boutier, Dustin Johnson, Leona Maguire, Bryson DeChambeau and all the other PGA tour professionals handle their golf balls. After every played hole they control their golf ball and look for scratches and cuts. If they see the slightest damage that might have an impact on the performance of the ball, they will change that ball for a new one. This is the ultimate proof that a golf ball with changed characteristics is a bad golf ball. A lake ball? They wouldn’t touch it.

Lake ball rule No 3

Quality of refurbished balls differ a lot

When you buy a box of refurbished golf balls or lake balls you might be lucky and get a box full of golf balls that performs as intended. But quality differs. It is impossible for the companies that sell refurbished golf balls to guarantee the quality of each and every ball inside a box. In the end you have no idea what kind of golf ball you are playing if you are using a refurbished lake ball. It could be the ball Titleist, Bridgestone or Taylor Made intended it to be, but in the same box the chances are that there are also golf balls that look great but perform badly.

Lake ball rule No 4

A submerged golf ball deteriorates over time.

Test shows that the intended performance of a golf ball submersion into water for a long time was severely impaired. Refurbished balls that have been submerged into water for a long time lose their feel and they go shorter. When Mygolfspy* performed comparisons between a new Titleist Pro V1 and a lake ball, the difference was more than 3 mph in speed with a regular driver. The lake ball was more than 11 metres shorter. With an iron 7 the lake ball was up to 6 metres shorter. 6 metre! That’s often the difference between landing short off, or passing, the green. R&A that approves golf balls for competitions have specific rules for the size of a golf ball. Tests show that lake balls often are more compressed and change in size.

Lake ball rule No 5

Good price for a very bad product.

Refurbished and lake golf balls are cheap. But that doesn’t mean you’ll get the ball you pay for. In the end a refurbished ball or a reclaimed golf ball from a lake is a previously used ball, often with damages and imperfections. It may or may not perform as it was intended. The lake balls often have hidden damages and the material may have been degraded. In the end a box of refurbished golf balls may contain a specific brand and model but the box actually contains golf balls manufactured in different years using different materials. You don’t know what you are paying for.

Lake ball rule No 6

Hidden damages affect the trajectory and the performance of your golf ball.

Every golf ball model on the market has gone through several tests, often with so-called swing robots, in order to perform as intended. A Titleist Pro V1, TaylorMade TP5, Srixon Z-Star or Bridgestone Tour B, just as our Hitpin Golf Balls are intended to perform exactly as intended when you hit it with your driver, iron or wedge. The compression, spin rate, feel and speed should be consistent. A lake ball or refurbished golf ball is washed with sand or chemicals, then often even repainted to make the ball look as new as possible. This severely affects the originally intended performance of the golf ball and you can not expect the refurbished golf ball or lake ball to have a consistent trajectory, spin rate or feel.

Lake ball rule No 7

The refurbished ball spins to the right, left or not at all.

The aerodynamics of a golf ball and how it behaves when flying through the air depends on its construction and dimple pattern. If the different components of a golf ball are damaged you cannot expect your ball to perform as intended. When you play a 4-layer or 3-layer golf ball the different layers and materials in the ball work together with the dimple pattern to make the ball spin and fly in an optimum way. Fresh out of the box the golf ball will behave exactly as intended. However, if the material or the dimple pattern is damaged and/or worn down the ball might spin less or even wobble to the right or left. In other words an unexpected draw or fade. In the end you’ll be teeing off with a golf ball that might affect your game in ways you cannot predict.

Lake ball rule No 8

A Refurbished Titleist Pro V1 or refurbished TaylorMade TP5 is not a Titleist Pro V1 or TaylorMade

When you purchase a box of refurbished Titleist Pro V1 or TaylorMade TP5 it’s not really what the box contains. Even under perfect conditions the characteristics of a golf ball change over time. It’s common that refurbished golf balls or lake golf balls were produced years ago. Even more common is the fact that a box of refurbished golf balls contains balls produced in different years. Tests by MyGolfSpy* show that a dozen refurbished Titleist Pro V1 contained balls manufactured in three different years.

In the end a refurbished golf ball or lake golf ball is a perfect product for those who seek a cheap golf ball to be used on the golf ranch. It’s not a golf ball that you should use to play consistent golf and in the end lower your score and handicap.