Do Golf Balls Get Waterlogged – Are Lake Balls Any Good?

Waterlogged Golf Ball

Are you tired of paying $50 for a dozen golf balls? Do those golf balls end up in a water hazard or out of bounds regardless of how much they cost?

Don’t worry; you are not alone. This is precisely how the majority of golfers feel. As if the equipment and greens fees weren’t enough, even the golf balls are expensive. It’s not a cheap game, but it’s worth it.

One question that comes up often, as a way to save a bit of money, is whether or not golf balls get waterlogged? You may have seen divers filling bag after bag of lake golf balls to sell for a fraction of the cost. Are these golf balls still good? Will they help your game? Here is everything you need to know about waterlogged golf balls.  


Construction of a Golf Ball

Wilson Duo Soft 4

To best understand how golf balls are affected when they spend some time in the water, it’s essential to know how they are made. Generally speaking, golf balls are constructed of a cover, and then inside there are one two or sometimes three additional layers of materials.

The cover of the golf ball is usually made of Surlyn or a Urethane material. The dimple pattern on the golf ball is created by following the USGA guidelines regarding golf balls suitable for play.

Are Golf Balls Affected When They Go Under Water?

To determine how much golf balls are affected when they go underwater, we need to break this down into two categories, the first being new golf balls and the second being used golf balls.


New Golf Balls

Velocity 3

If you take a brand new, never hit golf ball and submerge it in water, you will get a very different result than a ball that has been played for quite some time. A new golf ball has no cuts or scratches in the cover. It has never been compressed with the force of a golf club. For a new golf ball to be affected by water, it needs to stay submerged for quite some time.

How long precisely before it is affected is hard to say. However, it seems that weeks and months can go by, and there is very little change in the flight of the golf ball.


Old Golf Balls

Old Golf Balls

These are the balls that you played for seventeen holes, or the one that has been in your bag for a few months and comes out on a mulligan. There are some scratches, some slight imperfections, but it is an otherwise suitable golf ball.

When this type of golf ball heads into a pond or a lake, it gets waterlogged pretty quickly. In some studies, it only takes a few hours for the water to reach the inner core and start to impact the yardage on the golf ball.


What Happens?

Golf Lake Balls

When a golf ball with these micro-cracks ends up in a pond, water will seep into the center or core of the golf ball. When this happens, the core is not nearly as active as it was because of the water. It loses most of its spring effect that makes it fly.

When the golf ball eventually dries out, it is still not as effective as a golf ball that did not spend any time submerged in the water. The longer the ball stays in the water, the less it will fly.

Now, you may be thinking you can live without a few extra yards as long as you save some money. That very well may be the case, but it’s important to consider we are talking about 10-20 yards, not just 1-2 yards.


How Long Does It Take To Get Waterlogged?

For a golf ball that has been hit several times and has some tiny imperfections in the cover, it will only take several hours for the golf ball to lose distance. This is not that much time. If you hit a golf ball into the water off the tee and you can reach it with your ball retriever, that golf ball is more than fine to keep using without any differences.


 Are Lake Balls Any Good?

Golf Lake Balls 2

So that brings us to the next question, if we know that golf balls do get waterlogged, are these golf balls worth purchasing? Here are a few things to consider.

  • What are you using the golf balls for? Are these balls for practicing in your yard or for keeping in the bottom of the bag if you have a horrible day? If that is the case, the water golf balls are probably completely fine. Are you a beginner player that dreams of hitting a ball straight? Again, these golf balls are probably fine. If, however you are a low handicap player looking to better your score, do not buy lake balls.
  • How Long Were the Balls Submerged? This is a question that may be hard to answer. There is a direct correlation between time spent underwater and distance a golf ball can travel. Do you know how long the golf balls were in the water before they were rescued?
  • Difference in Cost? Is the difference that much? Can you find a new golf ball that suits your golf game for a similar value. If you can, it is likely going to be worth it to go with the new golf ball over the lake ball.

What Does It Mean If They Are Refurbished – Are These Worth Using?

When you purchase a refurbished golf ball, you won’t know if it was in the water or not (unless the company claims that it wasn’t). A refurbished ball has it’s cover sandblasted off, replaced, and then it is painted to match what type of golf ball it originally was.

No doubt, refurbished balls look new. At least for the first few holes, you play them. The paint on the refurbished balls does not seem to hold up entirely as well as those on a brand new golf ball.

If the look of the golf ball on the first tee is crucial to you, a refurbished golf ball could be a great choice. If, however, you are just looking for a deal on a golf ball, just buy used balls. The fact that they are refurbished mostly makes them look prettier; they are not more effective and may even perform worse.

Does The Quality Of The Golf Ball Really Matter?

Titleist DT TruSoft Golf Balls for Beginners

The quality of the golf ball makes a huge difference as soon as you can see and feel that difference although admittedly it will matter more for experts and improvers more than complete beginners.

If you are continually shooting over one hundred, having a hard time keeping it in the fairway, or even getting the ball in the air, the quality is not going to make a huge difference.

If you are working on lowering your handicap, needing every last yard, you can get, and continually perfecting that putting stroke, the right golf ball is worth the investment. Feel, and distance are going to make a difference when you have reached this point in your game.

One of our favorite ways to tell if golf balls matter is to have a player test two different golf balls. Could they feel any difference at all? Was there any difference in how the ball flew, or how it landed, if the answer is not the quality of the golf ball does not matter.


 Should A Beginner Use Lake Balls?

A lake ball is more suited for the budget golfer than anything else. If you are a beginner looking for the best of the best, the lake golf balls would not be the best choice. If you are a beginner that is frustrated with losing golf balls continually and angry with how expensive this game is, then don’t hesitate to give those lake golf balls a shot.


 What balls should a beginner use? What are the different types?

Typically beginners should go with a two-piece golf ball. The two-piece ball will keep the price down and the distance up. A beginner does not need to worry about spin and feel quite as much as the lower handicap player.


What balls should a mid handicap player use?

Mid handicap golfers typically struggle with the short game more than anything. When it comes to knocking some shots off of your short game, it is best to go with a three-piece golf ball. This type of golf ball will give the mid handicap player the spin and feel they need around the greens but also the distance from the tee.


What balls should a low handicap player use?

Senior Golfers 2

Lower handicap golfers need spin and feel. A lower handicap player usually has higher than average swing speed and the ability to launch and carry the ball as far as they need. Playing golf with a harder two-piece golf ball will not give this player the ability to stop and spin the ball the way they want to. Lower handicap players need to look for a three-piece golf ball (or four-piece) that provides a durable cover and plenty of spin around the greens.


Golf Ball Recommendations

Whether you are a bargain shopper, a beginner golfer, or a mid handicapper, we picked a few of the best golf balls out there for you to play.

Recycled Golf Balls

This 100 Golf Ball Mix is an excellent option if you are at the point in your game when you cannot tell the difference as to what type of golf ball works best for your game. We also love this bargain set for practice in the yard. The golf balls in this container are used, but they have been cleaned up (not refurbished) and will show little to no wear. Great option if you are new to the game and just need some balls to fill the golf bag.

Srixon Soft Feel

If you are looking for a distance golf ball, this is a great choice. What makes this Srixon so good for the high handicapper that while creating incredibly long distance off the tee, this golf ball also provides some great feel around the green. This ball is designed with a specific dimple pattern to help you cut through the wind and get that ball headed directly to your target. Priced at around $20 a dozen, this a reasonably priced option for the high handicapper that can be prone to losing a few golf balls along the way.

Bridgestone RX

When your handicap starts to lower, and you feel like you have some control as to where the ball might end up, this is the time that a golf ball choice starts to make a difference. The Bridgestone Golf Tour B RX golf ball is a great all-around ball. Incredible spin and feel around the greens but plenty of distance off the tee. The Bridgestone is priced a bit higher than some other golf balls out there, but this is the point in your golf career that these types of decisions will be worth it.



When it comes to choosing a golf ball for your game, the decision involves quite a few factors. If you are trying to decide if it makes sense for you to start purchasing waterlogged golf balls, it pays to understand that they will be affected by the time they have spent in the water. If this still does not matter to you, then by all means, save the money on the golf balls. There is no question that the golf ball diving business is still alive and well. You are likely not the only one in your foursome taking a chance on a lake ball.