Recycled Golf Balls: What’s the Deal?

Do you consider golf balls a short-term possession? You might buy them, but you don’t own them for very long. It’s a miracle if you get 9 holes completed with one ball and there is nothing more frustrating than pulling out a brand-new ball, only to see it fly deep in the woods or splash in the lake. Maybe you should consider using recycled golf balls on the golf course.

A premium golf ball can cost you $5+ each and if you lose 4 or 5 per round, that can add up quickly. Suddenly, a $50 green fee has increased to $75 or more. It hurts when a 5-dollar bill slices into somebody’s backyard, never to be seen again.

Of course, you can buy cheaper balls. You can probably get a dozen for less than $15, but they feel hard as a rock and you know Tiger wouldn’t be caught dead hitting one.

You want to take advantage of the new length offered in premium balls and you would like to see your ball dance on the green when you hit a solid wedge shot.

If you want to save some money, but also leverage advanced golf ball technology, recycled balls are an option. While they may not be brand new, they do bring some experience to the table!

Are Recycled Golf Balls Any Good?

What are recycled golf balls? Different providers have different processes for recycling, but they are golf balls that have been lost, found, washed, and prepared to sell again. In some cases, they are re-painted.

In a lot of ways, it is similar to when you find a slightly used ball in the woods that some fellow golfer has lost before you. It is a great feeling when you find a “like new” ball just sitting in the high grass – like a present from the golf gods.

Recycled golf balls are very economically priced, compared to buying new. Typically priced between 50% and 80% less than a new ball. It can be a great way to leverage premium golf balls without paying the premium price.

Recycled balls are typically sold in large quantities – 24–72 balls per package and are a mix selection. The same brand but could be different models and will vary in condition. Some will be like-new, while others will show more wear and tear.

No two packages of recycled balls are the same. This can lead to variability in the quality of the balls you receive, but also is half the fun. Going through your new package of recycled golf balls is sort of like going through a hidden treasure. You will always find some gems.

Many recycled balls are rated on a 3(A), 4(A), 5(A) scale. 5(A) – like new, may have logos or pen markings. 4(A) – like a ball that has been played for 3-5 holes, may have blemishes or discoloration.

3(A) – No cuts, but may have scuffs, blemishes, and/or discoloration. Most recycled ball purchases will include a mix of 3(A) and 4(A) balls.

The Best Premium Used Golf Balls for 2020

Let’s take a look at some recycled golf ball products that are available. You can select a brand you already know and trust or try one you haven’t hit before – at these low price points, you can certainly buy a batch of every recycled golf ball and test!

Callaway 50 Mix Near Mint AAAA Used Golf Balls

This product provides 50 Callaway golf balls that have been recycled from courses across the country.

Your package will include a mix of golf ball models produced by Callaway in recent years, with the majority of them being from the “mid/low-range” product lines (not premium).

Callaway 50 Mix Near Mint AAAA Used Golf Balls

Examples would be Diablo, Diablo Tour, WarBird, Big Bertha, etc.

These balls will include some minor scuffs or marks and potentially have logos or sharpie markings. They may have slight discoloration or cosmetic blemishes that do not impact the performance of the balls. These balls will not include any “X-outs” or Practice balls.

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There is no set ratio on the type of Callaway ball you will receive. Each bag of 50 will vary in both models of golf ball and condition.

Pros

  • Very economically priced – the best deal of the products reviewed – great for beginners to the game.
  • Often these balls have different logos on them – gives a unique marking when playing on the course.

Cons

  • Does not include Callaway’s more premium golf balls.


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Bridgestone Tour Mix 48 Used Golf Balls

You will receive 48 used and recycled golf balls made by Bridgestone. This will include a variety of Bridgestone’s tour golf balls; Tour B330 RX, Tour B330 RX S, etc.

Bridgestone Tour Mix 48 Recycled Golf Balls, White (Packaging may vary)

The balls you receive will be a mix of 4(A) and 3(A) rated – may have blemishes but will be playable. Expect a mix of quality. Most will be great for the course, but some may be better used for practice. Packaging may vary (box or mesh bag).

Many of these recycled balls will have logos (random) and/or sharpie markings from a previous player. No two packages will be the same – the ratio of golf ball models will vary.

Pros

  • Great price to try Bridgestone’s tour golf ball – take advantage of new golf ball technology without putting a huge dent in your bank account.
  • Priced for beginners, but more advanced players can take this opportunity to try out a premium ball.

Cons

  • The ratio of 4(A) rated balls to 3(A) rated balls is not set – could get a great batch or a lesser quality batch.


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Reload (24-Pack) of Nike Golf Balls

24 recycled golf balls produced by Nike golf. The package of balls you receive will be a random mix of different models – some examples include MOJO, NDX, Juice, Super Far, PD1, SFT, NDX Heat, Crush Extreme, PD Long, One Platinum.

Nike Mix Golf Balls - Top Styles! 24 Near Mint Quality Used Golf Balls (AAAA RBZ One Tour and More golfballs!), White, One Size

The golf ball condition is consistent with a ball that has been played for a few holes. Expect some cosmetic blemishes and minor discoloration that should not impact the flight of the ball.

Previous player pen markings and/or logos may be present on these balls – the packaging and ratio of ball models will vary.
Pros

  • Quality/condition of recycled balls higher than other products reviewed.
  • Wide variety of golf ball models offered – get the chance to try out many different types of Nike balls.
  • Economically priced for the quality.

Cons

  • Doesn’t include the Nike premium balls – you most likely won’t get a ball that Tiger played.


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Noodle Golf Balls 72 Ball Assorted Grade A Mint Condition

You will get a lot of golf balls – 72 assorted Noodle balls of a varying model, condition and type. Delivered in a mesh, drawstring bag. No two packages will be the same.

Noodle Recycled Golf Balls 72 Ball Assorted Grade A Mint Condition Recycled Golf Balls

Great for beginners or practice balls for more advanced players. They will have discoloration, blemishes, noticeable wear, or small scuffs.

It is possible your selection of balls will include x-outs or they could be marked as practice. A variety of models and colors (you may receive some non-white balls).

Pros

  • Great deal if you want a lot of balls, for a little bit of money.
  • Definitely a mixed bag for you go to through – many different ball types, compressions, logos, markings, etc. – don’t expect them all to be great, but you will find some gems.

Cons

  • Mostly low to midrange golf balls – no tour balls in this collection.


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TaylorMade Golf Balls Mixed Grades

A mixed package of 50 TaylorMade golf balls. Your package may include the following models: TP Red/Black, TP Red/Black LDP, Project 5, Penta Urethane, RBZ Distance, Burner LDP, Burner TP LDP, Burner TP, XD LDP, Tour XP, TP Tour, Proto 33, Penta Speed, XD Spin 50 and Inergel Pro.

TaylorMade Recycled Golf Balls Mix (Pack of 50)

The golf balls in this package will not have any cuts but may have scuffs and discoloration. High grade X-outs or practice balls may be included. Logos or previous player sharpie markings may be present on these balls.

There is no set ratio on the model of the golf ball or condition.

Pros

  • Tour (premium) golf balls are included in the mix, but there is no guarantee on the ratio.
  • Wide variety of TaylorMade models included – fun to try different golf balls.
  • Economically priced.
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Cons

  • It is possible your collection of balls will include X-outs or balls marked as “Practice”.


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FAQs

Question: Are used golf balls re-painted?
Answer: Not always. Recycled golf balls are washed, disinfected, and reviewed by a quality engineer for rating, but not all are re-painted. The majority do not require this step.

Question: How are these golf balls rated?
Answer: Companies do this differently, but most have 3 different levels (3A, 4A, 5A, etc.) – 3A have scuffs, discoloration, and blemishes, 4A are balls that look like they have been played for 3-5 holes, and 5A are like new. When you purchase recycled balls, you typically get a mix of 3A and 4A balls.

Question: When I purchase used golf balls, what ratio of good vs. bad am I guaranteed?
Answer: The fun or frustrating part of recycled golf balls is that the ratio varies in every pack. You could get a package of almost all like-new balls or you could get a package that includes a lot of rough-looking balls. There are no guarantees. It is a bit of a gamble.

Question: Will the golf balls have markings on them?
Answer: Yes. Since most are not re-painted and are simply washed, you will find that many of them have sharpie pen markings from the previous player. They may also have random logos. This can be another fun thing about going with recycled balls – you never know what artwork will be on them.

Question: Will I receive any tour/premium balls in my order of recycled balls?
Answer: It depends. Many of the recycled ball offerings include premium balls, but the ratio by model varies in each package. If you want to be guaranteed, you will need to buy a package of recycled balls that only includes premium balls, and this will be more expensive.

Question: Are recycled balls that much cheaper than buying new balls?
Answer: YES. The price of recycled balls is significantly cheaper – anywhere from 50% to 85% cheaper, depending on the type and amount you purchase.

Question: Where do recycled golf balls come from?
Answer: They were new once! The vast majority were lost by golfers throughout the country. Golf course superintendents and/or lake divers find them and send them to recycling companies. These companies wash, rate, and package for re-sale. They are only re-painted if they are identified during sorting.

Golf Ball Recycling is Cool Right?

There is no doubt that buying recycled golf balls is a great way to get a large number of balls for a significantly reduced price. That being said, it is important that you have the correct expectations when you receive your order.

You shouldn’t expect every ball to be perfect. In fact, some of them probably won’t be good enough to actually use on the course. Understand that many will have markings from the previous golfer, and you will definitely receive some balls with random logos. What you should expect is a mix.

Make the variety that you receive part of the fun. It is almost like playing the golf ball lottery, but you are guaranteed to win something.

Some orders will be the jackpot and others you might just get your money back. It is very possible you will pay < 50 cents for a $5 golf ball, but you will also get some balls for your shag bag (practice bag). When buying recycled golf balls, make sorting them part of the process when you receive your package. Go through them and separate them into several different categories.

  1. Premium (Tour Ball) – like new.
  2. Great Shape – definitely playable on the course.
  3. Not Bad – can play 9 holes with it.
  4. Not good enough for the course – good for practice. This will allow you to judge the quality of your purchase in a fun way.

You are giving this recycled golf ball a second chance for glory! It was deep in the woods or at the bottom of a lake, but now it could be your first hole-in-one or part of your lowest score ever!