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What is the life of a golf ball? How long should you play a ball until it becomes one for the shag bag? do golf balls have a shelf life?
Depends on everything! How hard you swing, where it lands, what clubs you hit it with. If you use a brand new ball but hit a tree or bounce off the path then the ball is probably done. Also, it could be scuffed with good, solid contact with a wedge. It's all up to you and your budget really. Tour pros can switch every hole, to every 3 holes, to after 2 birdies or whatever. I play one til it is too stained, scuffed or paint is coming off. However, in a tourny I would switch if anything cosmetically looked wrong. Studies have said that balls are only good 1-2 years from what I have read.(lose compression supposedly) However, I still have Pro Vx's from 3 season back and don't seem to be any problems. I use the Tm Penta in tournys mostly though.
Former collegiate player, Asst Pro and current scratch golfer
I did see a post awhile back that said golf balls have a shelf life and loose compression each year in storage. I don't remember the exact numbers.
Anyway, I prefer a wound ball and use wound DT90s when I can find them on eBay. I don't remember when they were last on the market but they play well with my slow swing speed.
The real answer Donald would be nearly indefinitely if stored at room temperature consistently - assuming a mltilayer solid core (not wound ball). In other words, if you have a new sleeve of golf balls that was manufactured in te last 10 years nad it has been properly stored, it is unlikley you would notice any degradation in performance due to time. DIfferences would be in terms of the tecnology of the ball itself.
Driving distance was at it's highest on the PGA tour in 2004 and 2005 for two reasons: 1) The ball and 2) The driver COR
The USGA and R&A got serious that year with testing and enforcing limits on conformity. So the hottest balls are actually the first and 2nd generation Titleist balls. Again, were talking small differences.
If you have wound balls or balls that spent any time in water or were subjected to large variations in temperature, then it is possible that performance will be affected for the worse, though no one really knows for sure how much. There are a few white papers floating around the web on the issue.
Thanks for the interesting information.