Do Golf Balls Get Waterlogged (and Sink)

Do Golf Balls Get Waterlogged (and Sink)?

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It’s no secret that golf balls end up in the lake sometimes (oops). It’s also no secret that golf balls contact wet greens, rain, humidity, and other moisture-containing elements. That can lead one to think about the almighty question: do golf balls get waterlogged?

So, do golf balls get waterlogged? Yes, golf balls get waterlogged, and it doesn’t take a whole lot of time for it to happen, either. A ball that finds itself in the bottom of a lake can become waterlogged in just 6-12 short hours. The impact of the water damages the quality of the golf ball, and it will not be able to fly as normal.

If you’re looking to save some money buying waterlogged golf balls or want to know whether or not to use your moisture-packed golf balls, you’ve come to the right article. Today we’re talking about whether or not golf balls can end up waterlogged. You will also learn why you probably should ditch waterlogged balls and splurge on new golf balls.

Can Golf Balls Get Waterlogged?

can golf balls get waterlogged

Unfortunately, even the best distance golf ball can get waterlogged.

Golf balls are designed with a protective coating around the exterior that is not water permeable. Over time, micro-cracks develop in the golf balls, making them much more susceptible to moisture seeping in. 

With that in mind, you likely don’t need to worry about things like humidity and rain damaging your golf balls too much. As long as they are properly dried after gameplay, you should be able to get plenty of use out of them before they need to be replaced due to being waterlogged.

The big issue comes with used golf balls that find themselves at the bottom of a lake. In just six to 12 hours, golf balls will become saturated on the interior from the lake water, becoming extensively waterlogged. Even after properly drying, these golf balls are without saving and should be discarded.

What’s Wrong With Waterlogged Golf Balls?

Well, if we are talking about a brand new golf ball that landed in a lake, likely nothing. Brand new golf balls don’t have any cracks or scratches that allow the water to seep inside. Therefore, a brand new golf ball can easily last in a pond or lake for several weeks or even months without any damage being done.

A used golf ball is a different story. Again, it all comes down to the tiny cracks that let water in. When a golf ball is in water for six or more hours, the water enters the core and wreaks havoc on the “spring” effect, which gives the ball the necessary flying abilities to land those far strokes.

Don’t think that you’re only losing a few yards, either. A waterlogged golf ball is going to have a major impact on overall yardage. It could be as many as 20 yards less than usual, which will place a big toll on your gameplay – possibly even causing you to lose the game.

Should You Use a Waterlogged Golf Ball?

If you are playing a competitive game with your friends, family, or another team, I recommend avoiding waterlogged golf balls like the plague. They will not fly like they are supposed to, and that alone could cost you the game.

It’s not all bad news for the waterlogged golf ball, though. If you’re just practicing or you’re already having a terrible game and have completely given up, then go ahead and use the waterlogged golf balls. It won’t make much of a difference.

The amount of time the golf ball was in the water will also determine whether or not it should be used in gameplay. For example, if the golf ball was only in the lake for 15 minutes, it should be good as new. If it’s been hanging around for weeks in the lake, then it’s best to swap it for a new ball.


Does water ruin golf balls?

Not immediately. Water is not inherently bad for golf balls. The problem arises when a used golf ball with plenty of cracks and scratches sits in a body of water for an extended period. The water seeps in and disrupts the core, putting a damper on the fly abilities.

How long does it take for a golf ball to become waterlogged?

It really depends on the ball. A used ball with immense micro-damage can become waterlogged in as little as six hours. Less damage can give the ball some wiggle room for up to 12 hours or more. A new ball can be in the water for weeks or months without becoming waterlogged.

How many balls can a PGA player carry?

There is no rule to say how many balls a PGA player can carry at once. As long as the balls are the same model from the same manufacturer, they can carry as many as they wish.

When should you throw away golf balls?

When the cover is cracked, it’s time to throw away the golf ball. Another indicator is a fainter sound when being struck. Pay attention to the appearance and noise of your golf balls.


Golf balls can definitely get waterlogged, which renders them useless. This is especially true for older, used balls that have sat in a body of water for over 12 hours. Other liquid elements, like rain and humidity, will damage a golf ball at a much slower rate.