It’s a question we get asked all the time: At what point in your round should you change your golf balls? If you’re a PGA Tour pro, you might swap out every few holes because, well, you get your pellets for free. But what about for those of us that pay for our spheres?
According to Frederick Waddell, Titleist's senior manager of golf ball product management, play it until you lose it. Coming from a guy whose living depends on selling golf balls, that speaks volumes. According to Waddell, as long as the ball looks good to your eye, it’s ready for the next tee. You’re not going to wear the ball out by playing it round after round, and you won't decrease its ball speed or lower its spin rate.
That said, although today's balls are extremely durable, if it hits something like a tree or cart path, give it a close look. Shear or scuff marks about the size of a dime or greater will likely impact the dimples and compromise the aerodynamic benefits that have been helping you. In other words, we’ve come a long way since balata.
That's not to say that some players don't have a preference or, in some cases, a superstition. Rich Beem used to play with a new ball on every hole while others, such as Ernie Els, believe there is only one birdie in any ball and change balls after each bird. If that's your thing, fine. But maybe think about giving that ball to a kid rather than put it in the shag bag. After all, it's still plenty good to go.