Dear Molly

I hardly ever lose a golf ball because I just don’t hit it that far. Do they ever wear out? How do I know when I need to replace one?

As someone who finds more balls than I lose, I always wondered about that. The thing is, golf balls never say, “I’m tired,” like our spouses do, or beep warnings, like our smoke detectors do. And if we’re not hitting trees or cart paths, they might look as fresh as they did right out of the package.

So I checked in with experts at PGA TOUR Superstore. I thought, being in the business of sales, they might urge me to replace my reliable old golf balls with shiny new ones. But, no! I was told: Unless the ball is visibly damaged or nicked up, it really doesn’t break down.

This is pretty much what experts from Bridgestone and Nike said when I checked in with them a few years ago, when Nike was still making Mojos. They told me balls have a long shelf life, and though little scuffs affected test robot swings, most amateurs would not notice a difference.

A dirty ball, well, that’s another story: Especially with putter and driver, a little bit of dirt in the dimples can greatly affect direction and roll.

One other takeaway from the experts: Storing new balls at room temperature preserves their molecular structure. Best to avoid Colorado summer trunks and winter garages.

Molly McMulligan, created by golf journalist and CGA member Susan Fornoff, is the CGA’s on-the-course advisor on how to have more fun on the golf course. You don’t want to take swing lessons from Molly, but if you’ve got a question about etiquette, relationships or the culture of golf in Colorado, Molly will find the answer. Send your questions along here.


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