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Hot List Golf Balls: How long should a ball last?

By Max Adler Photos by Jim Herity
April 06, 2009

In short, a lot longer than you can likely keep hitting it and finding it.

Ball cores are commonly designed to withstand at least 100 strikes at 125 miles per hour before cracking. That's seven rounds of Tiger-like drives.

Of course, the cover will often go first, especially if you have a steep angle of attack or fresh grooves or tend to rely on cartpaths for extra distance. But these minor scuffs won't affect performance. "As long as the cover is relatively smooth, maybe a little paint missing, you're fine to play it," says TaylorMade's Dean Snell. Still, our testing showed that a serious scuff could cost you six yards on a tee shot.

A urethane cover's durability comes from being soft with an elastic memory. Ionomer covers are more durable because they're firm.

__TIP:__To minimize scuffing, dry your irons and wedges with a towel. A wet clubface increases the shear force, causing the ball's cover to slide over the grooves and tear, instead of gripping and rolling like it would on a dry face.