Do Golf Balls Get Waterlogged (Explained)

As golfers, we’ve all experienced those unfortunate shots that land in the water hazards, leaving us with a decision to make. Should we attempt to retrieve the ball or accept its watery fate? 

One common concern among golfers is whether or not golf balls become waterlogged after being submerged. 

Yes, golf balls can get waterlogged. When soaked in water, the water penetrates the small pores or dimples on the surface of the ball. This effect can be worsened by prolonged exposure to or playing in wet conditions.

In this article, we delve into the world of waterlogged golf balls, exploring the potential causes and tips to minimize golf ball waterlogging.

Potential Causes Of A Golf Ball Becoming Waterlogged

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A golf ball can become waterlogged due to various causes. Here are some potential reasons for a golf ball becoming waterlogged:

1. Water Hazards

When a golf ball lands in a water hazard such as a pond, lake, or creek, it can absorb water through the outer cover and inner layers, leading to waterlogging.

2. Heavy Rain or Wet Conditions

Playing golf in heavy rain or wet conditions can expose golf balls to prolonged moisture, causing them to absorb water and become waterlogged.

3. Submerged or Saturated Ground

If the ground on the course is saturated or submerged due to heavy rainfall or poor drainage, golf balls may pick up water when they make contact with the wet ground.

4. Damaged Outer Cover

Golf balls with a compromised or damaged outer cover can be more prone to waterlogging. Cracks, cuts, or punctures in the cover can allow water to seep into the inner layers of the ball.

5. Aging or Worn-out Balls

Over time, the outer cover of a golf ball can wear down, making it more susceptible to water absorption. Old or extensively used balls may have reduced water resistance, increasing the likelihood of waterlogging.

6. Storage in Damp Environments

Storing golf balls in damp or humid environments, such as basements or garages with poor ventilation, can expose them to moisture, causing water to penetrate the ball’s structure and lead to waterlogging.

7. Manufacturing Defects

In rare cases, manufacturing defects or inconsistencies in the construction of a golf ball can compromise its water resistance. These defects may allow water to enter the ball even under normal playing conditions.

It’s important to note that waterlogged golf balls can significantly impact their performance, leading to reduced distance, accuracy, and feel. If a golf ball becomes waterlogged, it is advisable to replace it with a dry one for optimal play.

When To Retire Waterlogged Golf Balls?

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Waterlogged golf balls can experience diminished performance and may no longer meet the required standards for optimal play.

Knowing when to retire waterlogged golf balls is essential to maintain the quality of your game and ensure consistent results.

Here are some factors to consider when deciding to retire waterlogged golf balls:

Visual Inspection

Examine the golf ball for visible signs of water damage, such as cracks, deformities, or discoloration. If the ball shows significant wear or structural damage, it may be time to retire it.

Weight Comparison

Compare the weight of the waterlogged ball to that of a dry ball of the same brand and model.

If the waterlogged ball feels noticeably heavier, it indicates water absorption and may affect performance.

Bounce and Feel

Test the bounce and feel of the waterlogged ball. If it feels significantly softer or less responsive compared to a dry ball, it may no longer provide the desired performance characteristics.

Flight and Distance

Evaluate the flight pattern and distance achieved with waterlogged balls. 

If you notice a consistent decrease in distance or a change in ball flight compared to dry balls, it may be a sign that the waterlogged balls are impacting your game.

Consistency and Control

Assess whether the waterlogged balls are affecting your ability to control shots consistently. If you experience inconsistency or difficulty in executing shots as desired, it may be attributed to the waterlogged balls.

Age and Usage

Consider the age and usage of the waterlogged balls. If they are old, extensively used, or have been exposed to multiple instances of water absorption, it is more likely that their performance has been compromised.

Personal Preference

Ultimately, it is a matter of personal preference and confidence. If you no longer feel confident in the performance of waterlogged balls, it may be time to retire them.

How Should Waterlogged Golf Balls Be Properly Disposed Of?

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Proper disposal of waterlogged golf balls is important to ensure environmental responsibility. Here are some guidelines on how to dispose of waterlogged golf balls properly:

Drain and Dry

Before disposing of waterlogged golf balls, allow them to drain and dry completely. This helps prevent any excess water from seeping into the environment during the disposal process.

Separate from Recyclables

Waterlogged golf balls should not be mixed with recyclable materials. Separate them from other recyclables such as paper, plastic, or metal items.

Non-Recyclable Waste Bin

Place the drained and dried waterlogged golf balls in a non-recyclable waste bin or trash bag. Ensure that the waste bin or bag is securely closed to prevent any potential release of the balls during disposal.

Local Waste Management Guidelines

Follow the waste disposal guidelines provided by your local waste management authority. Different regions may have specific instructions for disposing of non-recyclable items, including waterlogged golf balls.

Landfill Disposal

In most cases, waterlogged golf balls are considered non-biodegradable and should be disposed of in a landfill. Check with your local waste management authority to verify the appropriate disposal method for your specific area.

Recycling Programs

While waterlogged golf balls themselves are not typically recyclable, some specialized golf ball recycling programs may exist.

Research if any local or national initiatives accept golf balls for recycling and follow their specific instructions if applicable.

Donation or Repurposing

Consider donating the waterlogged golf balls to local driving ranges, practice facilities, or golf academies that may have uses for them in non-playing capacities. 

These establishments may repurpose them for practice targets, golf ball retrievers, or other non-gameplay purposes.

9 Tips To Minimize Golf Ball Waterlogging

To minimize golf ball waterlogging and maintain the performance of your balls, consider the following tips:

1. Select Water-Resistant Balls

Choose golf balls that are specifically designed to be water-resistant. These balls typically have a durable outer cover and enhanced water repellency, reducing the likelihood of water absorption.

2. Avoid Water Hazards

Be mindful of the layout of the course and strategically plan your shots to avoid water hazards such as ponds, lakes, or creeks. Aim away from these areas to minimize the risk of your ball landing in the water.

3. Play Conservatively near Water Hazards

When playing near water hazards, opt for more conservative shots. Use higher lofted clubs or shorter shots to decrease the chances of the ball rolling into the water.

4. Check Course Conditions

Before heading out to play, check the weather forecast and course conditions. If heavy rain is expected or the course is known to have wet areas, take appropriate precautions or consider rescheduling your game.

5. Inspect Ball Cover Regularly

Routinely inspect the cover of your golf balls for any signs of damage, such as cracks or cuts. 

Damaged covers are more prone to water absorption, so replacing them or repairing minor damage can help minimize waterlogging.

6. Properly Store Golf Balls

Store your golf balls in a cool, dry place with adequate ventilation. Avoid storing them in areas with high humidity or near sources of moisture, as this can increase the chances of water absorption.

7. Use Towels or Ball Cleaners

Keep a towel handy during your game to dry off your golf balls after shots. Additionally, consider using a ball cleaner or wiping the balls with a damp cloth to remove any moisture that may have accumulated on the surface.

8. Carry Extras

Always carry extra golf balls in your bag. If a ball becomes waterlogged during play, you can quickly replace it with a dry one to maintain optimal performance.

9. Dry Balls after a Round

After each round of golf, dry your golf balls thoroughly. Wipe them with a towel or leave them out in a well-ventilated area to ensure they are completely dry before storing them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to the FAQ section dedicated to the intriguing topic of waterlogged golf balls. Here, we address common inquiries regarding waterlogging.

Can Waterlogged Golf Balls Be Restored?

Unfortunately, once a golf ball becomes waterlogged, it cannot be restored to its original condition. The water absorption damages the ball’s core and structure, rendering it unusable for optimal performance.

How Can I Prevent Golf Balls From Becoming Waterlogged?

Store golf balls in a cool and dry place, away from excessive moisture. Avoid leaving them submerged in water hazards or damp areas. Regularly inspect your golf balls for signs of damage or waterlogging.

Are Some Golf Balls More Resistant To Waterlogging?

Certain golf balls are designed with enhanced water resistance, but no ball is entirely immune. Balls with a multi-layer construction and waterproof coatings may offer better protection against water absorption.

How Often Should I Replace Waterlogged Golf Balls?

It’s recommended to replace waterlogged golf balls as soon as you notice the signs. Continuing to use waterlogged balls can impact your game, as they may not travel as far or have consistent flight paths.

Can Waterlogged Golf Balls Be Recycled?

Yes, some recycling programs accept golf balls. Check with local recycling centers or inquire at golf courses to find out if they have ball recycling initiatives in place. Proper recycling helps reduce environmental impact.


When golf balls are submerged in water, they can indeed become waterlogged over time. 

The porous nature of the ball’s core allows water to seep in, altering its weight and performance. 

It’s crucial to retrieve waterlogged balls promptly and replace them to maintain optimal playing conditions on the course.