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How long do you/should you play a ball?

Doug E

First off, I play Pro V1s for every round that gets posted. However, in the winter, out of GHIN posting season, when conditions of low light, flat light and a washed out landscape make it difficult to follow and/or find a white ball, I like to play a yellow ball. I have played the NXT Tour S and the new DT TrueSoft. For whatever reason, I tend to like the TruSoft better.

In the winter, when the grass in the rough is mostly dormant and the high fescue and other deep/tall grasses outside the rough are mown down, I rarely lose a ball. In fact, I have not lost a single ball since late October, a period in which I have played about 35 rounds.

Back in January, about 8 or 9 rounds ago, I was ball hawking on a virtually empty course and found a yellow DT TruSoft in near-perfect condition, in some recently cut down wetlands grass. Don't know how long it might have been there, but it could not have been for too long, since the TruSoft is a new ball in 2016. I cleaned it up and put it into play on my next round. I have been playing that same single TruSoft now for 2-3 weeks. Probably 7 or 8 rounds. It has become my "lucky" ball. I have been playing quite well with it, but I have always wondered what the best functioning "life" of a ball is, before it loses some of it's distance characteristics or becomes too worn out "on the inside" to get maximum distance. With the exception of one small cart path scrape, it still looks pretty good on the outside. It's not like I don't have a bunch of brand new Titleists to replace it with. I just wanna see how long I can play this one, for kicks. My buddy keeps giving me a hard time about playing that old ball, but I still continue to beat him handily with it every time I do. (Truth be told, my handicap is about 4 or 5 points lower than his, so old ball or not, I should beat him most of the time.)

In season, I want everything to be working at its best. I am anal about that. I won't even use a broken tee on a par 3. I'm superstitious about that. Each clubface is thoroughly cleaned after every shot. I change my Pro Vs out as soon as I see any sort of mark on the cover that I think could affect aerodynamics, even if in reality, it won't. But, in winter, when nothing really counts, as long as the ball doesn't show any obvious issues, and I can't see any loss of distance or greenside spin, since the greens are in winter mode anyway, how long is too long to keep it in play? Opinions please.

22 Replies

  1. Gabriel G

    I knew a guy who would not mark his ball because he said it would "affect the flight of my ball." I used to go crazy trying different balls, different days, windy, sun out, cloudy, etc. I stopped and concentrated on my swing. I play one type of ball now. I would not worry too much, your ball should last a long time. They say you will lose your ball before it "wears out." But you do have a long time not losing a ball I must say. I hope I did not jinx you! Way to go, your game is pretty good. Much better than the average golfer. Me included.
  2. TeeJ

    Longest I've ever played a single ball was 72 holes. That was only because I hit it into a lake on the 73rd. I normally lose a ball a round depending on the course. Sometimes I'll have one make it a round or two. But I, like you, also take a ball out of play when I feel the aerodynamics or performance of the ball have been compromised.
  3. Robert

    18 for sure and if it's clean and no scuffs, i may use it the following round. i have a good back pack full of used Pro v1 and v1x from the years and use them for practice chipping and putting at a driving range near my house.
  4. Chuck Z

    I will play a ball until it gets ugly and no longer playable, certain times of the year. Different story when I play in tournaments. Normally play the Prov1, but in the colder days of winter will pull a DT TruSoft yellow out of the Titleist bag. Easier to see on the brown bermuda fairways in the south.
  5. Sean S

    I switch balls out every 9 holes. I know that I could probably use them longer than that but switching at 9 is what I've always done.
  6. Andy K

    I played a 44 holes with a Vice golf ball. A friend bought them and wanted me to try one. Decent ball but on the 45th hole i hit my drive and it broke haha
  7. Doug E

    Gabriel, maybe you did jinx me. Lost that DT TruSoft in the drink today. No, I probably jinxed myself by mentioning it here in the first place.

    First lost ball in months. Well at least after my penalty/drop, I pitched it over the water to 3 feet to save bogey.

    I guess my question that started this thread is moot now. I had no choice, I had to replace it. But I can say from actual experience, you can easily get 8 rounds out of a DT TruSoft with no marked performance difference from when it came out of the box.

    It was a nice day, near 60 degrees, so I put a Pro V1 in play for the rest of the round.
  8. atappe

    I play each ball until it has a cut or scuff mark on them. When I play the same ball for a few rounds I'm usually playing really good golf.
  9. george t

    In season, I'll tee up a new ball for each men's club tournament, but between those rounds, or off season, I'll use whatever else is in the bag (as long as it says Titleist).

    One disclaimer - if I'm having a rough day, there is a limit to how many new balls I'm willing to lose during a round, usually no more than one sleeve. Fortunately, that doesn't happen too often.
  10. Darron K

    I play Pro V1x most of the year and if the weather gets into the 50s or lower I'll play NTX Tours. So long as there are no visible blemishes on the ball I'll play it, usually not more than 3 rounds.
  11. N Anthony S

    I don't think I have ever played a ball longer than a couple of rounds. I will usually scuff it or lose first. I prefer using the NXT Tour Yellow during the fall and winter. The rest of the time I play Pro V1X.
  12. Tom B

    I give myself a new ProV1x for every round that is getting a score posted. Then in goes in the bag with other "used" balls. If I lose the new one in a hazard or something, out comes a "slightly used" one to finish the round. They also get used for a quick, bang it around practice round of playing a few holes after work, when there's not enough time for a full 9 or 18.
  13. Fred C

    I take pride in using the same ball for as many rounds as possible. My record is 13 rounds and the word, "Titleist" was virtually worn off. The cover finally cracked and the ball was retired; however, it told me there is a useful life of a ball. Now, my ProV1 gets one round and then it spends the rest of eternity in my shag bag.
  14. Todd T

    Once it scuffs or cuts, its off to the shag bag!
  15. RJohnson

    I put a new ball in play each round, like to start with a new one. I will change it if it gets scuffed or chewed up during the round.
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