Apr 19, 2023
POSTED BY: Nicholas Venditti

Do Golf Balls Get Waterlogged?

Ah, yes - the question that haunts all golfers who've suffered the pain of hitting their ball into a dreaded water trap: can golf balls get waterlogged?

It's a bigger question than just submerged golf balls, too – rain, excess moisture, and freshly watered grass can all take their toll. Indeed, there are plenty of hazards regarding water and golf balls. In the following guide, we'll learn everything you need to know about waterlogged golf balls – when to worry, when to replace, and when not to.

Can Golf Balls Get Waterlogged?

The short answer to the question of whether golf balls can get waterlogged? Definitely yes. Like mold in a damp house, it doesn't take long for the effects of excess moisture to set in. In as short as six hours and as long as 12, a golf ball can become waterlogged. There's good news, though: that doesn't mean a golf ball becomes unplayable, and you can take steps to reverse the course of water damage. (If only phones were that easy!)

You might be thinking: golf balls are so cheap and easy to replace. Why bother fighting to restore the condition of a single saturated golf ball? The answer is that the price of these vital little instruments adds up, and the cost of excess production of golf balls does tally up. Do your part to reduce waste responsibly - and save yourself unnecessary pain in the wallet department - by learning when and how to dispose of a golf ball vs. when they're salvageable.

What’s the Issue With Waterlogged Golf Balls?

You may only sometimes notice if a golf ball of yours becomes waterlogged. Through golf gloves, it's easy to miss the tell-tale signs – the density, the change to the surface texture, and more. But we can bet you'll start to notice once you play.

Waterlogged golf balls fly differently. If the water damage is severe enough, you'll lose a noticeable distance in your shots. Plus, if the ball is older and already has some wear and tear, the water will seep in faster and do more damage. Much like car tires, they may even change as you use them.

Imagine playing a game of football with a deflated ball. You can feel that pain in your shoulder and back from having to put extra strength into throwing and catching already! It's the same with swinging on a waterlogged ball; you have to put in a ton of extra effort to get it the same distance.

Common golf injuries like back pain, tendinitis, knee pain, rotator cuff injuries, and wrist injuries can all result in a higher incidence rate when playing with a faulty ball. Overall, it isn't worth it to use one. But you have to know whether your ball is beyond the point of salvation - or not.

How Do I Know if My Golf Ball Is Water Logged?

Several tell-tale signs will help you spot if your golf ball is waterlogged. Of course, if it's spent considerable time in the water, you should be on high alert anyway. But if any of these come up in combination, it might be time to hit the sports store to get more golf balls. You can see how this could get expensive! Let's get into a few more specifics.


Waterlog will noticeably impact the total mass of your golf ball. The official USGA and PGA-approved weight for golf balls is 1.62 ounces. It's crucial that a ball not exceed that weight or come in lighter, as that can significantly affect players' performances.

Additionally, waterlogging can engorge golf balls and cause them to weigh more, so consider yours to see if it's okay.


Golf balls should be pure and sparkling white in color and tone. Overlong exposure to water can cause them to yellow, or turn a slightly green or brown shade. In that case, you may even be dealing with mold, so we recommend getting rid of it.


Listen up! You'll be able to hear the difference when you strike a new, dry ball versus when you strike a waterlogged one. It'll have a slightly muted thud rather than a fresh crack.

Loss of Distance

When water burrows into the core of your golf ball, it can cut the overall distance of your shots. The compression and friction upon impact may diminish, making for more disappointing returns. You can expect to see up to 30 yards of distance shaved off your driving shots.

Inconsistent Flight

Another way to tell if your ball is beyond saving is if the flight behaves erratically. You're not just working with a loss of distance but the consistency of trajectory and speed. Sometimes you'll strike the ball with your driver, and even if you cut a straight line, the ball could change course mid-flight. That's when you know you need to swap it out.

Should You Use Waterlogged Golf Balls?

According to the U.S. Golf Association, you may change out golf balls between any two holes. If you discover while putting toward a hole that your ball may be defective, sit tight. There's not much you can do until the round ends and you move on to the next hole.

You don't need to be hasty and swap out a ball if the color is the same. In this case, the shot consistency, weight, and distance won't change. But we recommend keeping an eye on the above indicators. You may need to prepare to swap the ball out as they add up.

If your golf ball has absorbed only a bit of moisture, seen some slight discoloration, and is hitting differently, you can potentially dry it out. But if the water has entered the ball's inner core, don't bother. Replace it with a fresh set.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Golf Balls Get Ruined in Water?

Balls can get ruined in water if exposed for too long. It depends a great deal on your ball's condition. If it's new and unblemished with no cracks, you're in far less danger of waterlogging than an old ball with cracks that may allow water straight into the core.

How Long Does It Take for a Golf Ball To Get Waterlogged?

Six hours is the minimum end of the window, and 12 hours is the point of no return. Your ball may not be completely ruined even if it's been exposed. Even though each ball is created equal, every player plays and swings differently, so check it yourself.

Will Waterlogged Golf Balls Dry Out?

Yes. It's been proven that golf balls soaked to the core will never return to normal. They can dry out, but they won't have the same density, shape, or playability as they once had.

Final Thoughts

Even with all the above information, water damage isn't the end for your golf balls. Keep an eye on the signs, continually test them, and trust your instincts. if it feels off, it probably is - so replace it. At Stitch Golf, we can help you select the right golf apparel and accessory choices to keep your swing and golf ball in good form.