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If you’re lucky enough to have the same golf ball in play for a long time, it can be hard to know when you should switch it out for a fresh one.
For tour pros, this process is a lot easier than amateurs. If you get unlimited golf balls for free, then changing three or four times a round isn’t going to be a problem.
Of course, for the vast majority of amateurs, this isn’t a luxury we have. Instead, it usually comes down to putting a new ball in play when we lose a ball on the course.
There are times, however, when you will find yourself keeping the same golf ball in play for long periods of time, sometimes over several rounds.
But when should you change your golf ball?
It varies on who you ask, but MyGolfSpy ran an interesting experiment, which explains that even the smallest cover damage can cause your ball to act differently than you would expect.
In the most extreme example, a ball that had dimples sanded down on one side travelled 57 yards offline and flew significantly shorter and lower than an undamaged ball.
While that’s an extreme comparison, there was also a noticeable difference to a ball with just a light scuff.
Using a robot that swung a driver at 100mph, the ball flew almost ten yards offline and reached a peak height that was 11 feet lower than the new golf ball.
These aren’t huge changes in performance, but if you’re competing, then it’s certainly noticeable.
So, what’s the conclusion? How often should you change your golf ball?
Let’s assume you’re concerned about performance and not just playing for fun.
If that’s the case, then as soon as your ball has a noticeable scuff on its outer layer, it’s probably time to change it. That could happen from anything, such as a bunker shot, hitting a tree or a cart path, or simply through wear and tear.
However, if you’ve been playing with the same ball for nine holes and it still looks fine, then you’ll have no issues keeping it in play.
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