Should I Buy Lake Balls

Should I Buy Lake Balls?

With golf balls costing anything up to $50 or more per dozen and prices of goods and services rising across-the-board you might be looking for ways of reducing the cost of your golfing exploits.

One way might be to start using cheaper balls. Buying used golf balls is one such option. Let’s try to give you an answer to the question should I buy lake balls?

Are Lake Balls Any Good?

Golf balls that have been retrieved from lakes or other bodies of water are commonly referred to as “lake balls” or sometimes “water balls”. Many golfers wonder if these balls are any good and whether they should be using them.

They usually come in a variety of grades. Different companies will tend to use slightly different methods of describing their balls but basically, the best quality balls will cost you the most. The absolute cheapest balls are probably only good for your practice bag.

To the naked eye, the highest grades of ball are usually almost indistinguishable from a new ball having perhaps just the odd scuff mark. However, studies have shown that even modern solid core golf ball can become waterlogged and this may affect the performance of the ball.

Some golfers believe that lake balls are just like the new ones, while others believe that they are not worth the money. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide whether to use a new golf ball or a used one.

Don’t forget that even a brand new ball becomes used after just one shot!

Having fun diving for golf balls

Does The Quality Of The Golf Ball Really Matter?

There is a lot of debate in the golf world about whether or not the quality of the golf ball really matters. Some people say that it makes no difference, while others claim that it can help improve your game.

The truth is, it really depends on the individual golfer and their own playing ability. Some players might find that a higher-quality ball helps them get more distance or spin, while others might find that it doesn’t make much of a difference. Some might prefer the feel of a premium ball while others can’t tell the difference. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual to experiment with different types of balls to see what works best for them.

Should A Beginner Use Lake Balls?

Novice golfers will almost certainly lose plenty of golf balls while they are learning the game. I don’t think I could advise anyone who loses multiple balls per round to keep buying brand-new Pro V1’s unless they had plenty of money.

Lake balls and other found balls are collected, cleaned and re-sold at a fraction of their price when new. Beginners and high handicappers should consider using such balls for two main reasons:

1. They are much cheaper than new ones

2. At their level, the performance difference is unlikely to be noticeable

So whether you’re starting out in golf or haven’t mastered it yet, playing with used balls can be a great way to save money and still get reasonable quality balls.

Are Golf Balls Affected When They Go Under Water?

A quick dip in a water hazard like a stream, river or lake isn’t likely to cause any problems but a ball immersed in water for hours or more is highly likely to be affected.

When a golf ball is submerged in water for a prolonged period, it is likely to absorb some water and become waterlogged. The water will affect the performance of the core of the golf ball which is the engine of the ball so you are likely to lose some distance.

The more time in the water the greater the degradation in performance.

Do Lake Golf Balls Lose Distance?

It depends on who you want to believe. Companies that have a vested interest in selling them would suggest that they go just as far as the new equivalent.

However, there is a fair amount of evidence to suggest otherwise.

A Harvard professor has published a paper on how golf balls can absorb water. Undoubtedly a ball that has been immersed in water for a reasonable time is unlikely to have the same speed off the clubface as it did when it was taken from the box. He points out that the cover layers of balls such as urethane are hydrophilic (attract moisture). This alone could affect your driving distance on the golf course.

The higher your own clubhead speed the more likely you are to notice a difference in distance.

Vice Golf suggests that a ball could lose as much as 30 yards off the tee if it has been underwater for 3 months.

Are Lake Golf Balls Worth Buying?

When it comes to buying golf balls, there are three main types of condition

  • new
  • lake/found
  • refinished/refurbished

So, are lake balls worth buying?

Depending on the model and condition, a used ball might cost from about $0.50 per ball, while a premium golf ball costs around $4.00. That’s a big difference in price! But, does that mean that the tour ball is eight times better?

Not necessarily. In fact, many golfers prefer to use lake balls because they offer good quality at a much lower price. So, if you’re looking for a good deal on golf balls, they are definitely worth considering!

How Much Do Lake Balls Cost?

In the United States alone some 300 million balls are lost every year with a good portion of that figure being lost to lakes and other water hazards.

More and more people are realizing that golf balls are expensive and are looking at other options like direct-to-consumer or used balls. If you are losing a few golf balls every round then you might want to compare the cost of used and new balls. 

Here are some prices from New prices from

BallNew ($)Highest Grade ($)Lowest Grade ($)
Srixon Z-Star44.9930.9922.99
Bridgestone Tour B49.9929.9916.99
Callaway Chrome Soft52.9925.99 16.99
TaylorMade TP549.9930.9922.99
Titleist Pro V1 (2021)49.9936.9921.99
Example prices of lake balls per dozen

Lake Balls – Experts Advice

When you have Harvard academics explaining how the materials and construction of golf balls mean they will absorb water when they are immersed makes it pretty obvious that lake golf balls aren’t going to be for everyone.

There will be some performance loss when using such balls. Whether the ball performance drop is sufficient to stop you from using them is your decision.

Vice Golf leaves no doubt as to their opinion on their website.

Since you will save up to 50% it might be worth sacrificing a few yards, however.

Quality Of Lake Balls Can Differ Quite A Bit

The quality of used golf balls can differ quite a lot. This is why companies offer them in several different grades at a variety of prices. Compared with refurbished balls you should have a much better idea of the balls you’ll be purchasing though.

Are Lake Balls Worth The Money?

Are lake balls worth the money? This is a question that many people ask when they are looking to purchase some balls. While there are many different factors to consider when making this decision, ultimately the answer comes down to personal preference.

For most people price is an important element of the decision. Particularly if golf is only a casual pastime and not a serious pursuit.

Some players are happy to accept the trade-off between performance of the golf ball and price while others like brand new golf balls rather than used or refurbished golf balls.

If you are on the PGA Tour and you get your balls for free then it’s not an issue but for ordinary hackers it almost certainly is!

Are You Tired Of Paying $50 For A Dozen Golf Balls?

If you like playing with Titleist Pro V1’s but aren’t so keen on their price then you might want to try buying some used Titleist Pro V1 balls. You can save yourself around 50% depending on the grade of ball and supplier you choose.

Pro V1 lake balls could be a good option if you are looking to save some money and your game isn’t so good that you’ll notice the difference in performance.

Should I Buy Lake Balls: Conclusion

If you are a low handicap golfer or you want to play golf to the absolute best of your ability then used golf balls are not for you. On the other hand, if you are more of a casual player and you’d like to reduce your costs then dropping down to used lake golf balls could be a great option for you.

Golf equipment price rises have far outstripped inflation over the last several years so any savings you can make might allow you to upgrade your golf clubs or pay a few extra green fees!

Direct-to-consumer brands are increasing in popularity and you may be able to find logo overrun golf balls for similar prices to their used versions though.

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