Are Refurbished Golf Balls Good for Your Wallet and Game?

are refurbished golf balls good

Are refurbished golf balls good and do they even match up to their brand-new peers? These balls look just as shiny and clean as new ones, and they don’t hit your wallet as hard. But there’s more to the story than saving a few bucks. It’s about how the ball feels when you hit it, how it flies through the air, and how it rolls on the green. 

Is it really the same as a ball fresh out of the box? Let’s explore what refurbished golf balls have to offer and if they fulfill the expectations of golfers who want to reduce waste and cost. 


What is a Refurbished Golf Ball?

A refurbished golf ball is one that’s had a past life on the greens and has been restored to a playable condition. These balls, typically found in water hazards or out-of-bounds areas, are cleaned, inspected, and then reconditioned. Sometimes golfers also sell used golf balls at pawn shops or donate them.

Refurbishment often involves re-coating the ball with a new outer layer and reapplying the brand’s logos and markings to give it a fresh appearance.

Refurbished balls differ from recycled balls in their treatment process. While refurbished balls receive aesthetic and protective enhancements, recycled balls simply get cleaned and graded by quality without any cosmetic alterations. 

Recycled balls show the wear and tear of their previous use, whereas refurbished balls look new but may not perform exactly as a brand-new ball would due to the alterations in their exterior structure. Golfers choose refurbished balls for a mix of cost savings and decent playability, while recycled balls appeal to those who prioritize affordability above all.

Are Refurbished Golf Balls Legal?

Wondering if these balls could be used in professional matches? Professional golfers may notice minor performance differences due to the refurbishment process potentially altering the ball’s exterior. Nonetheless, in the absence of strong evidence to suggest that an ‘X-out‘ or ‘refurbished’ ball does not conform to the USGA Rule 4.2, it is permissible for such a ball to be used. This makes them not only an economical choice but also a rule-compliant one for both practice and official play. 

Are Refurbished Golf Balls Good? Yes or No?

Refurbished golf balls offer a cost-effective solution for players who wish to save money without greatly sacrificing quality. These balls, once lost and recovered from various golf course elements, receive professional cleaning and a fresh outer coating. During the refurbishment, experts sort, grade, and renew them, often reapplying the original brand marks. 

For amateur players, refurbished balls perform comparably to new ones, making them suitable for regular play and practice sessions. They may fall slightly short for professionals who demand the utmost precision, as the restoration process can slightly alter the ball’s surface. 

Furthermore, choosing refurbished balls supports environmental sustainability by recycling and reducing waste. When golfers consider the balance between performance, cost, and eco-friendly practices, refurbished golf balls act as a viable option, especially for non-competitive rounds.

Refurbished Golf Balls vs. New Golf Balls

Wondering what golf ball should you use – refurbished or new? While refurbished balls can closely match the feel and playability of new balls, subtle differences, particularly in precision and control, might be apparent to skilled golfers. Below is a table that contrasts the key features of refurbished and new golf balls: 

FeatureRefurbished Golf BallsNew Golf Balls
OriginCollected from water hazards, golf course roughs, or other off-course locations. You can even find free golf balls during your gaming rounds.Manufactured and sold directly from the factory without prior use.
ProcessingCleaned, re-coated, sometimes re-painted and rebranded. Defects are fixed where possible.No processing is required; comes with original coatings and brand markings.
AppearanceMay have slight imperfections, though most are visually indistinguishable from new after refurbishment.Perfect condition with no imperfections.
PerformanceMay exhibit minor variances in trajectory and spin due to previous use or refinishing layers.Consistent performance with predictable trajectory and spin.
DurabilityPotentially less durable due to prior use and exposure to elements, but generally lasts well if properly refurbished.Maximum durability, provided by factory-fresh materials and construction.
CostGenerally lower priced due to their second-hand nature.New golf balls cost more as they reflect the cost of new materials and manufacturing.
Environmental ImpactReduced waste and environmental footprint by recycling and reusing golf balls.Greater environmental impact due to production and resource consumption.
Suitability for PlaySuitable for casual play, practice, or golfers who lose balls frequently and seek savings.Suitable for all play levels, including professional and competitive rounds.
Quality AssuranceQuality can vary depending on the source and the rigor of the refurbishing process.Consistent, high-quality standards upheld by the manufacturer.
Feel and ControlMight differ from the original feel due to additional layers of paint and coating.Retains the original feel and control as designed by the manufacturer.
Availability of ModelsDependent on what is found and refurbished; limited selection of models and brands.Wide selection of the latest models and brands available.
PackagingIs often sold in bulk or without original packaging.Comes in original golf ball box packaging with all relevant brand information.
Target ConsumerGolfers who prioritize savings or are environmentally conscious.Golfers seeking peak performance and brand-new equipment.

How Are Golf Balls Refurbished?

The refurbishment of golf balls involves several meticulous steps to ensure they meet specific standards of playability. Initially, these pre-owned balls are collected from golf courses—often from water hazards or out-of-bounds areas. Sometimes, golfers ponder what to do with old golf balls which is why they sell, donate, or gift them to others. Whatever the way, once gathered:

  • They undergo a thorough cleaning to remove any dirt, stains, or debris. The cleaning process is crucial as it reveals the true condition of the ball beneath any superficial blemishes.
  • After cleaning, the balls are inspected for quality. Only those without significant damage such as cuts or deep scuffs proceed to the next stage. 
  • The selected balls are then subjected to a refinishing process. During this stage, they receive a new coat of paint, and their original markings are often reapplied. This not only improves the appearance of the ball but also provides a uniform, protective layer.
  • Finally, the refurbished balls are polished to restore their shine, making them look almost as good as new. This process does not alter the ball’s core, which means the fundamental playing characteristics are preserved. 

As a result, refurbished balls offer golfers a playable alternative to new balls, delivering a level of performance that is satisfactory for recreational play, all while aligning with eco-friendly practices by repurposing used balls.

Know How to Refurbish Golf Balls at Home

Refurbishing golf balls at home can be a simple, cost-effective way to restore the shine and playability of your collection of used golf balls. Here is how you can do it.

Gather Your Materials:

To get started, you will need a few basic materials:

  • A bucket or container
  • A golf ball cleaner or mild dish soap
  • A toothbrush or a nylon scrub brush
  • A towel or a cloth

Cleaning the Golf Balls:

Cleaning the golf balls is the first step. Begin by filling the bucket or container with warm water and adding a small amount of mild dish soap. Submerge your golf balls in this soapy water mixture. Gently scrub each ball using a toothbrush or nylon scrub brush. This will help remove dirt, grass stains, and other debris from the golf balls’ surface.

Rinse Thoroughly:

Once you’ve cleaned all the golf balls, rinse them thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue. It’s essential to ensure that there is no soap left on the balls, as it can affect their performance on the golf course.

Drying the Golf Balls:

Use a clean towel or cloth to pat the golf balls dry. Ensure that they are completely dry before moving on to the next step. Damp golf balls can be challenging to work with and may not be refurbished effectively.

Inspecting for Damage:

Examine each golf ball closely for any visible damage, such as cracks or cuts. If you find any damaged golf balls, it’s best to set them aside as they cannot be effectively refurbished. Only refurbish golf balls that are in good condition.

Buffing and Shining:

To give your golf balls that extra shine and smoothness, you can use a buffing cloth or a microfiber towel. Gently rub each ball to remove any remaining imperfections and enhance their surface.


Once your golf balls are clean and polished, store them in a cool, dry place. It’s a good idea to keep them in a golf ball container or bag to protect them from dust and dirt until your next game. Now whether you prefer to use them as practice golf balls or for friendly rounds with your friends, the decision is entirely up to you.

The Bottom Line: Should You Buy Refurbished Golf Balls? 

Are refurbished golf balls good enough to play? Well, refurbished golf balls present an opportunity for savings without a significant compromise on quality for most players. They suit a range of golfers, from beginners practicing golf in the wind and testing their swings to seasoned players looking to cut costs. The performance differences, while present, may not impact the game of a casual or recreational player. However, for those in competitive play, the minute variances in golf ball weight and balance might sway them towards new golf balls for official matches.

When deciding whether to buy refurbished golf balls, consider your level of play and what you value most. If the goal is to save money and play a more environmentally responsible game, refurbished golf balls are a viable choice. For those whose game demands precision, investing in new golf balls may be the better route.

For the latest tips, reviews, and insights on making the best choices for your golf game, follow Golf Ace Nation.


Q1. Are refurbished Pro V1 any good?

Refurbished Pro V1 golf balls can be a good option for some golfers. However, whether they are “good” for you depends on your preferences, skill level, and budget. Some golfers find refurbished balls to be a cost-effective way to enjoy the performance of premium golf balls without the full price.

Q2. Can you play with refurbished golf balls?

Yes, you can play with refurbished golf balls. They are particularly useful for everyday play and practice sessions. While they may not always perform exactly like new balls, for most players, the differences are negligible.

Q3. What does it mean when a golf ball is refurbished?

When a golf ball is refurbished, it means it has been previously used and then cleaned, inspected, and restored to a condition that is suitable for play. This process often involves re-coating the ball’s surface and reapplying the paint and markings.

Q4. How do you tell if a golf ball has been refurbished?

Refurbished golf balls often have a shinier and smoother appearance compared to used or new balls. They may have a more consistent appearance in terms of golf ball color and finish. Sometimes, refurbished golf balls have fewer or no logos, which can be an indicator that they have undergone refurbishment. In rare cases, you might notice minor imperfections or irregularities in the coating or surface that are not present on brand-new golf balls.

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