This post was most recently updated on January 22nd, 2022
Many golfers go to the store and see two packs of the same type of golf ball. One is brand new and is at Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) price, while the other set is refurbished and is usually half the price.
This article will explain refurbished golf balls and how they differ from new balls as well as recycled golf balls
What are Refurbished Golf Balls?
Refurbished golf balls are used balls that have been repainted to appear new and remove dents and scratches. Some of the outer layer of the ball is removed and remade.
How are Golf Balls Refurbished?
A company purchases the used balls and sandblasts them. In doing so, they take away a portion of the cover in order to get rid of all scratches made during use on the course.
The ball is then repainted with a shiny finish and the ball appears new again. The ball is then labeled with the brand name and model of the ball.
The video below explains how golf balls are refurbished.
Are Refurbished Golf Balls Legal?
According to the R&A, refurbished golf balls are allowed to be used in most competitions. Unless the ball must be named on the List of Conforming Golf Balls required for the tournament, then it may not be used.
Refurbished Golf Balls vs New
Refurbished golf balls are significantly cheaper than their brand new counterparts. They can wear down quicker than new balls after a long period of time.
Performance-wise, according to Rick Shiels Golf, they are extremely similar.
Durability wise, the new golf balls held up better and had fewer scuffs than the refurbished versions. After 10 bunker shots were hit with each ball, the refurbished showed more signs of wear and damage.
In terms of distance, the refurbished balls actually performed slightly better for Rick Shiels than the standard Pro V1s brand new out of the box.
The biggest difference between the two is the clanky sound when hitting the refurbished ball due to a harder outer shell.
Refurbished vs Recycled Golf Balls
The difference between refurbished balls and recycled is in the process of how they are resold.
Refurbished golf balls are refinished with shiny new paint on the outer layers. They are also sandblasted to take away previous scuffs. After having the brand reprinted they are resold at the store.
Recycled golf balls are balls that are found on the course and then cleaned up with soap and water usually.
They are washed and then sold right after. They do not get sandblasted or repainted. They are sold in identical condition to how they were found.
It’s easier to see what condition the recycled balls are when you buy them.
Recycled balls typically work well as practice golf balls for chipping or putting in your back garden where quality isn’t as important.
Refurbished golf balls are a good way to save money and keep ideal performance during a round.
Feel free to share your experiences with refurbished golf balls in the comments section.
Lawrence Smelser is part of the Golfible editorial staff and is a freelance golf writer. Smelser has covered the PGA Tour and most recently the 2019 Masters. He holds a journalism Bachelor's degree from Texas A&M and a Master’s journalism degree from the University of North Texas