Maybe time to take it out of play.
How Often Do You Change Balls?
By Kickntrue on 8/26/09
Besides the obvious answer of, "When I lose one," I'm curious to know how often you retire a golf ball and start fresh. I was inspired to ask after reading SI's Alan Shipnuck answer the same question posed by a reader. It seems some Tour pros have some pretty superstitious going-ons.
This is a very personal thing, often grounded in voodoo. Ernie Els changes balls after every birdie, believing each pellet has only one bird in it. (Clearly Els hasnGÇÖt needed many news balls the last few years.) Many players on a hot streak go the other way and keep the same ball in play for as long as possible.
For me, I'll only take a good ball out of play if I do something amazing with it that makes me want to keep it (eagle, ace, etc) but in general I start with a brand new ProV1 one and play as long as I can with it. If it makes it through the entire round- I'll stash it in my bag as a "go-to later" ball. When I lose my new ball that I started the round with - I dip into my "go-to" balls. If I lose 2 of them- it means I've having a terrible day so I dip into my 3rd and last ball pocket of junk balls and use them until the round is finished. Anything I find along the way either gets stashed in the "go-to" or "junk" pockets depending on how they look and what kind of ball it is.

So that's me- what about you guys? Oh- and did you see TaylorMade just released a new 5-piece ball, The Penta? Wasn't it just a couple years ago that a 3 piece ball was a novelty? At what point are they just adding layers because they can?

Shipnuck's Mailbag
TaylorMade Penta


photo credit


[ comments ]
Kolt15 says:
When i play my titleist in a tournament i change golf balls every 9 holes but when im playing regular ill use it for 2 rounds
8/26/09
 
activesense says:
I was going to retire my noodle+ if it made it all the way through my next round. I would have played 3 weeks with the same ball and that is a record worth shouting about (for me it is). Anyway, while at the practice green I noticed it wasn't where it should be. I checked the pocket of balls in my bag and no sign of it. Next step is to tear my trunk apart to see if it escaped in there.

Otherwise I will play a ball until I lose it, which could be twice per round based on past events.
8/26/09
 
bducharm says:
I will play an entire round with the same ball if I am playing well. Otherwise, I will change. Has to be the balls fault, right??? :-)
8/26/09
 
greendevil says:
I'm like bducharm here; I'll play the same ball all round if I'm playing well. If I'm not playing well, I'll dip into my ball bag for a new one hoping it will have good Karma and retire the 1st ball. I try not to play more than 2 balls per round though; I figure if the 2nd ball does not bring good play then I'll just take my lumps and finish the round with it.
8/26/09
 
jrbizzle says:
Very similar to the author - I start each round with a new ball. If I'm playing 18 holes, I will dip into my "used" balls once I lose three new ones. If I'm only playing 9 holes I'll go into the used after 2 lost balls.

Along the course I often step into trees, long grass, etc at "obvious" ball collection areas if play is open behind me and I'm playing solo. Left and right on par 3s. Long left and right on downhill green approaches. 200-250 yards left and right on par 4s and 5s. I sort through the balls after my round. Anything "good" (a ball that would usually be $20 or more a dozen) and in good shape stays in my bag. In the last year I've probably found a dozen pro V1s & NXts, a handful of Callaway Tours, Srizon Z-Stars, Nike Ones, etc. For some reason I've never found a B330.

Anything "not so good" - off brands, scuffs, etc. goes in my "shag bag". It's one of thos enylong dual string backpacks that they typically give away at 5K run registration.
8/26/09
 
c5agalb says:
A slicer never has to worry about changing balls. LOL and is usually rewarded with many more in return if he bothers to look for it.
8/26/09
 
mjaber says:
I'll switch out a ball if it has a very noticebale scuff or cut on it. I typically have a second ball in my pocket, so it's entirely possible that I will alternate balls between holes without knowing. Usually, I'll play a ball until I lose it or if I haven't put one in the water in a while, I'll toss one into the pond off the green after putting out. Kind of a sacrifice to the golf gods.
8/26/09
 
mjaber says:
I have made par with a ball in much worse shape than the one pictured above. I pulled it out on the 9th hole at Townsend Ridge Country Club, because it was a drive over water and I figured if I was going to lose one, that would be the one to lose. I striped my drive, hit a great approach, and 2 bouncing, meandering putts later, I was in the hole with a 4. It was an old Hogan ball I had found somewhere. It was not longer round and had a couple nasty cuts in it. After finishing the hole I tossed it to one of the others in my 4some and said "Look what I used to make par." We laughed about it for the next 2 holes. It was sacrificed to the golf gods on 18.
8/26/09
 
dooboo says:
Change balls? What are you talking about, changing balls? Don't you think this game is expensive enough already that I should change by Pro-V1 after a round or 2? You gotta be kidding me. I play my Pro V1 as long as I can...if the ball can last 3 rounds, then I must be playing well. If not, I try to go ball hunting to replace my lost ball. LOL. As long as my ball still shows that "white" shine, I play it.
8/26/09
 
Tim Horan says:
My wedges rip hell out of anything but the hardest ball and I generally only use a ball for two rounds of golf. I then give them to our academy for the juniors to benefit from.
8/26/09
 
Banker85 says:
i TRY and use the same ball all round if possible, otherwise i just grab one make sure its clean and start hacking away.
8/26/09
 
Mr. Black says:
if i start playing really bad i chuck whatever ball im playing with. it has bad mojo in it so i gotta get rid of it. (it has to be the balls fault right?)
8/26/09
 
Bryan K says:
When I make a new low score, I like to find a pond to throw it in. I'll save any ball that I shoot an eagle or an ace with. Otherwise, I play my balls until I lose them.
8/26/09
 
1_iron_wonder says:
I typically try to stick with the same ball for the entire round unless either I lose it or I am playing poorly (a different ball doesn't usually help turn around my game but it is always worth a try). I will reuse a ball over and over until it becomes worn-out, frayed, etc, at which time it gets demoted to a pond ball. I always keep a couple poorer condition balls to tee off with on a hole that goes over water just in case. What was funny was last round, I used this old, bright yellow Top Flite X-out that looked like it was from the 80's and sounded hollow when I hit it on one of the pond holes...not only did I birdie that hole (I usually get no more than a couple birdies a season), but I was only about a foot away from acing the hole! Guess that goes to show you it is much more how you hit it than what you hit.
8/26/09
 
drftorres says:
I don't change balls, my game play does it. lol I have played only a few times without losing a ball but I have seen damages or heavy scratches that may alter my ball's aerodynamics and decide to trash it. I use Titleist ProV1x.
8/26/09
 
aaronm04 says:
I keep two golfballs in my pocket... A's and B's. An A-ball is the one I use off the tee and is usually in very good shape, if not brand new. It is often a "higher quality" ball, such as a ProV1 or a Bridgestone 330-RX (my fave). A B-ball is still a good ball, but not one I'll be sad if I lose. They get played on holes where you might be more likely to lose a ball. Or as a mulligan ball.

A B-ball used to be an A-ball, but has seen better days. Usually has some mild scuffing or peach fuzz (from wedges), but is still playable. It gets trashed when it gets too much of this.

I put all golf balls back in the ball pocket on my bag and evaluate them as A's or B's before my next round. If I'm short on available A-balls, then I'll just put a sleeve of fresh ones in the mix.

The "expired" B-balls are used in a shag bag, when someone needs an extra ball (especially if it's for a mulligan), or are tossed harshly to an unreachable part of the course if it happens to catch my eye in a fit of anger.
8/26/09
 
Mookie says:
Hit a water ball, lose a water ball.
8/26/09
 
cspargolf says:
I start with a new ball and a new ball for putting only. No particular brand unless Pro V1 is available, (usually a prize from a tournament)As my game shapes up or falters I may go to slightly used or found balls. From there they go to my 5gal. bucket to be hit at a county park range where losing them will be no big deal.o
8/26/09
 
wolverine2u says:
I went to a 3 day tournament in myrtle beach with some friends of mine and played a pro v1 for all 3 days. I usually change every 1 or 2 rounds, but i was playing well with it, so i kept using it. It may be a record to play for 3 rounds in Myrtle Beach and not lose a ball, not hit a cart path and not hit a tree. Absolutely no scuffs on it. I was proud.
8/26/09
 
Lee Kuehner says:
Pro V1 makes it two rounds it's retired. Cheap balls I chunk in the ponds after a few holes or a scuff from a wedge. Any ball thats stained so bad the ball washer cant clean it, it's history.
8/26/09
 
JAMES-B says:
One round only depending on the round. It may vanish if its bad. Or scuffed by trees or cart path.
8/26/09
 
DrLongballz says:
I have two pockets on my bag. One for nice shiny new Pro V's and the other for whatever balls I've accumulated over the years. If I happen to hit a sprinkler head and my ball gets scuffed, I'll usually play the rest of the round with it but after 18 it's going in the reserve pocket.
8/27/09
 
ipv6freely says:
New ball at start of new round, new ball if I'm playing bad, new ball if scuffed (and the scuffed one goes in the reserve pocket - usually to be used on holes with water). Pro V1x
8/27/09
 
matt314hew says:
I usually start the round with a brand new ball. I keep them in the sleeves in my bag (usually have 2 sleeves in there). I will use the same ball all round, unless i lose it or it gets scuffed. If i lose it, i go to some of the pre used balls.
8/28/09
 
PingRhoda says:
I generally play them as long as I can. If I'm playing really well, I will break out the ProV's but generally play what I find when looking for other stray balls.
8/28/09
 
CodeSlinger says:
Good grief... I'll post my address, all you guys can send me your poor, worn out, useless golf balls. Tossing out $4 balls cause they have a stain??? I... wow. I wish I could afford to do that. I still wouldn't do it, but I wish I could afford to!
8/28/09
 
dpoimboeuf says:
Hell, I change brands of balls if I play bad... Except Pro-V1's. I usually play with them, but sometimes I get compelled to try different balls... Bridgestone B-330RX for example... Played a great round with them, so they were great... One bad round, back to the Pro-V1
8/30/09
 
tennesseeboy says:
I change balls about once a hole except on water holes where I might changes 3 or 4 times.
8/31/09
 
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