The Golf ball – New out of the box or recycled from the lake?
01/24/2022 by Elena Sinde Romero
Lakeballs save a lot of money, but can they compete with brand new ones? And what does the term “refinished” have to do with it?
Spoilt for choice – which golf balls are hidden behind Lakeballs, X-Out, Refinished and Practice. (Photo: Getty)
When it comes to golf balls, opinions differ. While some golfers simply play the balls they find in the rough, others rely exclusively on brand new balls out of the box. The pros exemplify the latter, because completely new balls deliver the consistency and quality that are crucial in the game of millimetres.
New balls are the optimum
This much in advance: New golf balls fresh out of the box are the best in terms of quality, consistency and performance. Whether the high price justifies these characteristics for one’s own golf game is something everyone has to decide for themselves. However, if you only look at the performance, this is where you will find the best golf balls. It would be ideal if you always played the same ball model from one manufacturer. That’s what all the professionals in the world do. Coincidence? Hardly!
Lakeballs – the solution to the problem?
The main problem with lake balls is the uncertainty of how good the ball really is. It borders on a lottery whether you get good balls or they are of inferior quality. Depending on how long a golf ball has been in the water, it takes more or less damage. Here it also depends on the temperature, the substrate and the water – all factors that are impossible to determine when the balls are fished out of a pond.
After a certain amount of time, the water penetrates the golf balls, causing damage to the cover layers and/or cores. How extensive this is is anyone’s guess. Usually, lake balls are classified into different categories that are supposed to reflect the quality. However, optical parameters such as markings, shine and abrasion are emphasised here. Sometimes a distinction is also made as to whether there are cuts in the shell. What the inside of the golf ball looks like, however, is not taken into account.
When it comes to lakeballs, you can get lucky and get your hands on a high-quality or flawless ball at an unbeatable price. However, this can backfire just as badly – you simply don’t know. For those who see the price factor as the decisive criterion, this alternative is ideal if you are prepared to accept compromises in quality.
Refinished with new lacquer
Some lakeballs receive a refinish before they are sold. In the refinishing process, the ball is repainted and a new logo is applied. However, since the balls were originally intended by the manufacturers with a different paint finish, which then influences the dimple depth, refinished golf balls cannot be compared with the original golf balls. Often, the new coating is not even enough because it is applied to golf balls that have already been used.
Without wanting to offend the manufacturers of the refinished golf balls – but there are indeed some black sheep here. A name of an expensive golf ball is simply printed on cheap golf balls to suggest higher quality. For example, you buy a Pro V1x Refinished and underneath is a cheap two-piece ball. Therefore, you should always keep your eyes open or your fingers off Refinished golf balls.
Practice and X-Out balls
There are also Practice and X-Out balls. These have either small defects in the colour, the markings or the ink, so that they do not quite meet the quality standards of the ball manufacturer 100%. Sometimes there are also minor physical deviations, so that the performance is reduced, even if only very slightly. This is why they are labelled Practice or X-Out, while some manufacturers simply destroy these balls and they do not even enter circulation.
Due to the minor defects, the sales price naturally drops, which is why money can be saved here. But watch out! Not every practice or X-Out ball is officially approved and complies with the rules. For tournaments, it is therefore better to play it safe and use the “normal” golf balls. However, for practice and fun rounds as well as for training on the pitching green, these balls offer a quality alternative at lower prices.
With Practice and X-Out balls you can save money and get new golf balls in high quality that have only minimal deviations from the standard – ideal for practice rounds. With lake balls or refinished balls, you run the risk of getting poorer quality balls that could have a negative impact on your golf game, but this is where your wallet will be the happiest. If you want to invest more money, brand new golf balls are the best choice.
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